after all the jaw jaw & fighting

I love talking to you

she says

looking for my flattered

flush reaction

tho’ we always end fighting

& we do

she has that cocktail party syndrome

going on

has great openers

middle eights lifted from the greats

but no finishers

clinchers of her own

& me…?

a lot of time by myself

in a chair thinking about


whatever there is

I don’t get to pick up tired phrases

heated over leftovers

& so

when we talk

I say things her highbrow friends don’t

& that confuses her inner narrative

lineal track of what follows what

& worse

after all the jaw jaw & fighting

she won’t sleep with me

I’m too rough apparently

class clown on offer

there was always the role

of class clown on offer

going for the laughs the giggles

as there was nothing else going on

wordplay with the old men

understanding we were going

to take over one day soon

knowing full it was the teachers

putting us on with thin veiled despise

the good ones had patience

while the bad ones knew sensed

they could behave badly

to ill-fitting kids like us

we were destined to be non achievers

coming from shithole lives

they could beat us with words

digs in the back out of sight

nobody the wise or caring

just one more adult with anger issues

we dealt with them by mockery

knowing that they lied

& all we had to do was endure

until we could get out of this place

to the real world

which was at least honest

in its cruelty



grounded to my room

I was willing

to believe that out there

outta here

lay riches

a life worth living

doing things needed be done

for love


for kicks

anything other

than this thin existence

with people who believed

the 9-5 gave status as beings

in hock to hire purchase

the never never

buying things brings

because that

she wants her poesy delicate

poets thin slight in frame

reciting madrigals

knowing all the roses by name

& anything else

is but a disgrace to art

writing lines about dead life

curtain calls for shame

& I try to prise her eyes

away from yesteryear

hints & provocations

to living in the now

but no

she knows she wants tears

from heroes in pale

feather behind the ear

reciting words from dead people

because that

she feels she can get behind

some slight ceremony

a cheap room paid by the week

there along the shore

& the landlady did not bother

in the least

I found a piece of driftwood

beaten by tides time the sand

brought it to what was home

let it dry a day or two

just outside the door

dragged it in set it up on the drawer

became my meditation piece

something to stare at

until the landlady came knocking

that piece of wood is stinking

smells of dead seaweed

if you keep it indoors

I’m going to have to ask you

to leave

that night I dragged it back

whence it came

some slight ceremony

pushed it back into the waves

watched it float

disappear from view

made my way back to my cheap room

meditated on the empty drawer

for a little while

feeling I could not leave

too soon

feet beating the meter

early afternoon summer

sun hanging high there

looking on

walking along

I’d been to see an old honey

& her neighbour man

gave me a smoke as I left

& a mile later


I was standing

rooted to the ground

what was I doing

visiting her

wearing these old shoes

faded blue jeans

this t shirt print wearing off?

& the whys

soared to the sky

just what the fuck was I doing?

with me

my life ways of being

I kept walking

letting the pace wear this off

& before I knew where I was

five miles had gone

these old shoes were worthy

the t shirt was just a t shirt

& the faded blue jeans?

reflected in a shop window

showed me just who I was

an ordinary guy

shuffling along

feet beating the meter

to his own song

hadn’t yet understood

one of those chance encounters

fella is talking in the street

got a cause to support

& he wants us to be just that

I stand & listen for a while

thinking of counters

support in equal measure

& as I clear my throat

to offer my pennyworth

he gives me a look

makes it clear

he’s taken in my shoes

lack of dress code

to suit his beliefs

& I close my mind too

walk on

good habits die easy bad habits die hard

I’d be lying there in her bed

whoever the her was tonight

the room would be cold

or way too hot

& I’d be goldilocksing

for my own sheets

get up & go home

kissing them on the cheek

you go to sleep

sure I’ll be in touch

seemed they were

not much fussed

about that either

until now

been with the same woman

for quite a while

& I’m lying there

thinking of fixing the truck

that patch of paint caught by the rain

& she asks if everything is ok

yeah I say it’s nothing

thought I heard something

stir in the night

I did everything I could

I did everything I could

to get in my own way

going to a decent school it was said

many went on to great universities

aiming to be doctors lawyers

dentists professionals

you know the one

grand country farmers

& if I couldn’t do that

be the lead foreman there

at the truck factory

& Doug the doctors son

was aiming high he said

so why don’choo?

I knew I wanted none of this

these good little boys

gonna be achievers smug upturned faces

tugging their forelocks

with their yessir nossir how high sirs?

& some

became embezzlers of old folks hard earned

or wannabe politicians who settled for local

pox doctors at the town clinic

& Doug the doctors son

manages the kwiki mart now

after his trophy wife left him high & dry

took his house & son

while I did everything I could

to get in my own way

to sit here scribbling lines

not even voted

most likely to not succeed

patterned strange

not just cut from different cloth

made a whole different way

patterned strange

I never understood

how she did not feel the 9-5

got in our way

there were always

things we could do

could get to be done

but no

she loved

that whole hanging with people

doing a good job for the man

somehow made all of it fun

while for me

all that was taking hours

precious time away from feeling free

sure bills got to be paid

the certainty of taxes

but those moments got taken away

from what little life we had left