not that close

tho’ we’d known each other a long time

even if we were not that close

in distance ages friendships

we had just been involved in the same scrapes

had recognised a kindred soul back a while

continued in late night phone calls we did now & then

him talking of the black dog hounding his heels

his new love starting to fold

& I played him some gil scott heron

there in the background to remind him

we are all new here

he could always turn around

sure there’d be pain in the doing of that

but we knew hell is hot & messy

we’d already lived through all of that

before

it is possible to do that

if you’re not that close up

to a friends situation

snapshots of

they bore me

these lazy people

talking about their cruises

the clothes they get to wear

pretending to be rich people

while scrimping on the booze

getting extra free coffee packs

from the stewards they hate to tip

picking up sugar sachets at the coffee stops

penny pinching for appearance sake

in 14 days we did 8 countries

they do all the organising for you y’know?

drop us off pick us up

look at all these pix we took

we went to X

then we went to Y

there in Z for a day

walking XXX for a long morning

it’s surprising how much culture

you can pick up so quickly

take snapshots of

& we met some great people

who were just like us

why don’t you come next time?

be about them

being that way

I introduced

the dunning kruger effect

to my wonderful

all-knowing colleagues

the idea that people underestimate

their own stupidity in situations

overestimate their own abilities

& joy of joys

they thought I was talking about me

because of course

their own infinite wisdom

precluded any notion

this might just might

be about them

sitting in the round

teaching

holding tutor sessions in my home

groups of eight or nine

working through difficult stuff

sitting in the round

talking listening

when I noticed one

had gone all squirrely

sitting next to me

placing her bag between us

later the others told me

she was taping these sessions

tho’ they didn’t know the why

she’d run off to the toilet

at each break we had

changing the tape they’d tell

what are you going to do?

let it run let’s see what happens

let her come to me for reasons

& sure enough she did

she’d misconstrued something

I’d said taken offence

had made a complaint to my boss

was gathering evidence

soon after that she never came back

I never said a word to those there

but the words in my head were

sometimes the trash

takes itself out

not all about me

I liked my colleague

but felt her as distant

never quite there

in the moment

& only later

as we’d both moved on

different jobs

different places

a catch-up phone call

she told me her man

was jealous of me

her working alongside

she’d now let him go

had found her a new man

too little too late

to rescue a friendship

working relationship

too late to find out

all that was

not all about me

kinda hot

on the back seat

I guess it did not look like

at the time but I was in pain

with the getting drunk & all

we were driving all over

bar to bar

hoping to find

& at some point

I was in the back seat

alongside someone new

we got to touching

her clothes coming off

mine following the pace

doing what we needed

forgetting the driver

shotgun mate

when she whispered

they’re looking in the rearview

I’ll get ‘em to stop I offered

don’t worry she said leave ‘em to it

it gets me kinda hot

emotions of the jobbing writer

my colleagues were clear

they did not like my emotions

which neatly caught the problem

I’d told them I felt the company

was heading in the wrong direction

& these sentiments they did not like

but rather than think about our aims

their response was emotive

angry hurt petulant cloudy

& the irony of those fevered responses

to my statement was lost on everybody

I got out as soon as I could

at my exit interview the HR fella

said with a smile & a flourish

this is an adolescent organisation

in that it has daddy issues? I murmured

we are still growing learning finding our feet

y’know feeling our way he said ignoring me

2 years later the company folded

having ‘lost its way’

one trick pony

y’gotta feel sorry

sad for these guys

I walk up to the bar

& as Joe wanders down

I point to the guy standing there

him first I say with a nod

so Joe walks over takes the order

what did you say? says the fella harsh

giving me the hard eye

I guess he didn’t like my look

I said I say loud

I thought you were here first

looking him straight in the eye

half turned legs easy spread

hands open gesture

ready to throw if need be

ok he says soft

caught out

this one trick pony

thinking I would back down

mumble some half ass words

when we both know

he was hoping to provoke

be the trouble man

this one trick pony needing something

he’d now have to go elsewhere

to get