late at night

wandering home across the city

& her feet hurt her

like I’m going to carry that load

we stop frequently

to listen to her moans

her to rub those feet

& she sees the corner boys

falls quick into line behind

lets just get through eh?

the boys have nothing else on

though they stop to watch as we slop by

make muttered noises & laughs

she leans in whispers please keep going

& there is a time to be tough

hand out the stare em down looks

but these were just bored past bedtime boys

with nothing else to spend time on

its ok baby I say in her ear

not far to go & lift her body some

its time to get on home

just a few more steps

& we can take the weight off

have a sip something fine

prefer the silence

I wanted us to be lovers

but couldn’t cross the divide

it was all I could do

to push you away

go run & hide

& none of this was badness

only sadness wrapped in frustration

I did not know

how to reach out to you

& you had no words to say

help me cross the road

nights I could not sleep

wanting to be close to you

instead we slipped into silence

the safe places inside

& I wonder now I reached out

tried to try again

would you prefer the silence

leave me on my own again

it’s a wonder I’m not insane

my people told people

I was lazy & crazy

when I told them of the pains

they’d put me through

we like the kid they’d say

dunno why he acts lies this way

he’s fed & watered given the lot

though there was never ever

any mention of love or warmth

& if you treat a kid like this

tell him he’s mad for giving truth

don’t expect a model citizen

some bright beacon of youth

understand its gonna take a while

someone special help the boy

grow up become the man

he was always going to be

before you pinned the words crazy

on

like some perverted brand

the guy at the desk

says come back in twenty

there will be a table then

& I take her to a bar over the way

& as we walk in

one of the ladies is cackling

I had to walk home my panties in my bag!

& I see her beside begin to sniff the air

like a horse in the first race

might refuse to jump

its ok I say lets get a quick drink & go

don’t worry a thing these are my people

I know how to handle bums like these

& I smile easy at the barmaid

& she nods as welcome home

just where have you been?

we stayed awhile the table could wait

as we sat & listened to the noise

tales of rough living low life

walking the street

as she beside sipped & relaxed

the world had brought theatre

right there at her feet

I always learned the hard way

Lois loved a joint

one as her feet hit the carpet in the a.m.

another driving to work

break time lunch one in the afternoon

on the way home from work

& the after-dinner celebration

of another day done

I held some concerns on this

regarding her gently zombified state

never mind the work she was doing

around child care & protection

but apparently I was just old

aged before my time outta my prime

had given up rebellion & youth

which came as some surprise

especially when I looked in the mirror

& I wondered if the smoking was a mask

covering some other inner hurts

but no the gal just loved her weed

while the work around the place

our going out seeing friends

gentle sailed by dead flowers on a stream

you know I let her go & in a heart beat

she moved on found another man

let her do as she pleased

bloodhounds after

I was young invincible & everything had gone wrong according to that

I was running from all & anything that wanted to chain me

was living in a hand me down mobile home with no permissions

perched there on the edge of a stinking creek no water no toilet

just a small old black cracked stove for winter heat

but they’d find me every time, come knocking the door; see if you’re ok?

& I wasn’t, I had no money no job just these reams of paper pens & scrawls

living on stale loaves of bread no butter just jars of fish paste & if I needed to puke

it’d be into the creek same for pissing & the locals didn’t like that all

some fuss about pollution they said I guess they’d missed the irony ball

I’d got soft been living with a woman long time she’d finally seen sense she said

threw me out though we both knew we were as bad as each other but only the one

gets to carry the can & I was the man

I was feeling lower than a self loathing dog full of pity only for me a sense of I should

be ashamed but of what I couldn’t yet rightly see so tried to stay my days night alone

but they’d find me every time, come knocking the door; see if you’re ok?

bringing bits of pie booze drugs some little evening company & i never turned one

away a man sitting in his own shit can never refuse to play for who knows what the

morning brings? a broken bed another woman to turn into the light of day as the

crow sings tssschkk!

tie me to the bed she begged & all I had were some old school ties bits of string

give it to me daddy she sang I want to feel you deep into me & man I tried as the bed

legs gave out one end I was pushing uphill on a mountain who had only given me a

pack of cigarettes & was now letting out steam like it was spring with the river letting

the ice free again there was a knock at the door you killing that girl in there? no

mister she cried he’s treating me just fine & I wanted to be out of there too taken

back to another time sheets of good linen daddy’s seat by the fireside food in the

fridge booze on the cabinet but you know a man has to live even if all he has is

sordid at least she’d brought cigarettes others turned up with nothing thinking all they

had was enough & I was rotten with the cold had no energy poor food just my

sparkling dry wit for company but they always found me…

to ask to answer true

he’s not the kind to ask

he is a man after all

& we don’t ask personal

of each other that much

so when he inquires just what went wrong?

I take a deep breath & hold

& the sigh comes out unclear

where to begin?

she was a great girl I wanted to be with

but man she wore me out

had no real ideas of her own

& after a time y’know we want

to be loved right back?

had no initiation no get up & go

& yeah if I prompted she‘d be there

ready to pitch in let it flow

& its great to hear an echo

once in a while lets you know

where you are out in the wild

but at home that over time

becomes such a lonely sound

& you have no other choice

than to let that go

I saw him nod his head ok I get it

& that was that closed

better place to be

I could not quit her

feet stuck to the floor

would not help me walk away

& my head ached with the fury

of my impotence to move

I swear she had my balls in a paper bag

tucked away for future use

in some satanic ritual

once I’d shrivelled up & gone

& her face smiling at my sadness

only spurred me on in my disgrace

if I could’ve cried I would’ve twice over

only there seemed no sense in going on

I let her let me go had no moves left

& the pain of being refused seemed to me

to be the better place to be

than waiting for more punishment or hate

thankfully that taste of bittersweet hell

left me with no wish for wanting more

familiar to our ears

sleeping on soft beds in cities

to lie hearing police cars

screaming up & down the avenues

thinking of nights out under the stars

there completing the silence

dreaming one day to do this

set out in the light to find a spot

amongst green trees & soft grass

not understanding

they love the city the noises of it

& will grow fearful as night grows

to the unfamiliar sounds

insects to find ears open flesh

screaming owls tearing on voles

lying half awake restless

blades of grass crackling

is it mice? rats? worse?

not knowing if a fire

will keep troubles away

or bring them close

to finally sleep worn out sand eyed

as dawn comes near

dreaming of soft beds in cities

sounds familiar to our ears

not just in fairy tales

I was a dumb kid

got sold a pet mouse in a cage

by another dumb kid at school

my step mother hated it

she hated me too

but that’s a whole other story

kept ragging the old man

it scares me! it scares me!

so I kept it in the shed

for a whole three days

until she screamed at him

its escaped! its escaped!

but when I got there

miraculously the mouse

had got back in its cage

meticulously latching

the little mesh door behind

back to school it went

to be sold on to yet another dumb kid

but I wasn’t that dumb

to not know what

had happened here