unless asked

Songs on the radio

she hates the noise

interrupting her thoughts

which of course

she does not share with me

unless asked

& then those tail away

so I sing to the songs

the playlist I made

mixtape if you will

to come away

make this trip together

& I’m singing to her too

if she would know it

looking to the distance

when a lyric melody

catches me

oh you have goosebumps

she says

are you cold?

yes I reply

there’s a chill in the air


Chance encounters

if you listen to them

which you should never do

they will tell you

men are hard work

difficult & dangerous

& yet

we were leaning over a pole fence

staring down at Bilbao

bright lights of the city below

& after a short hello

in French Spanish German & English

he talks to you of his life

his visits here & there

the life operation to come

he cannot tell his family for fears of

& all I can do

is wish him the best

to all of that

& his travelling beyond

thinking how easy this can be

to be truly met

if we are only strangers


Running girls

when she came to me

I took her in as she was

as a place to rest

place to slow

she was nervous

& I came I to know

that was how you were

a running girl

& the worst always is

watching another grow

is to understand

feel in the bones


one day

the time will come

for the running girl

to go

they want what you have


they don’t want


Atlantic coast

the kind of campsite

where if you don’t hear the roar

of the trees the pines

you hear the surf night & day

the season was closing fast

everybody local had gone away

when I found him in the shadows

he told me he was travelling

with jesus

hoping to find his way

between here & Santiago

& those I asked are your plans?

more for fear for him

with winter closing in

as I noticed jesus had not provided shoes

a tent winter coat or map

& he sighed long & low

like this question was raised by everybody

by fools who did not know

the lord is here with us now

he said smiling again

who needs shoes on holy ground?

& all I could see were shadows

stones & sand

a scruffy dirty traveller

standing alone

questioning just who

was the mad one



the last time I was here

I was younger brighter faster

like a tigger on heat

for you

becoming eeyore

as your truth shone through

I knew nothing of alcoholism then

though I loved to drink

becoming sadder

finding your empty bottles

your emptiness

where none of the history

the heat the light

meant nothing to your madness

need for the next glass

& all I became to you

was a means

money when you needed it

holder of booze as necessary

propping you up

support for your ends


into oblivion

go visit

they never asked

so I never told them

what it cost


for me to go visit

to try & stay with them

to put myself aside

pretend to forget

for the few hours

we got to play happy families

but always too soon

the cracks would open up

pretence would wear thin

stories would be told

& if I wasn’t quick enough

to slow these down

the sadism would shine through

& I’d have to leave again

around you

there are always

people who want things


that they may not even

have articulated yet

but they will want from you

& all you can do

is to hold on

wait until their needs

have become clear

or you

have managed to extricate


from whichever drama

they have created

because to ask you

straight out

making demands

may result in a NO


they must engineer

create situations

in which

your only option is

to say yes

a grudging yes

or a frustrated ok maybe

in which case

they will have won