on old kodak stock

black & white photo

on old kodak stock

my thin body mid air

scything into the water

& what the shutter

could not capture

was how F cold the water was

thin the sun was on that day

the photographer

held no trust in my care

was on her way

to leaving me

the hint came

when I suggested

I take the same picture of her

& she smiled shy

no that’s ok

& sometimes

life brings what you think

you wanted

she was beautiful funny

could drink along with me

wanted to go places

just to go see

& then you notice

the destination is always

the same

the bottle

sitting drinking on the floor

because if you fall

you can’t go much lower

anymore

those nights on the town

on my money

to wake find the open door

she’d gone out needing more

& this isn’t about love

at least not for you

you are not the bottle

just the route to

something around the eyes

I see it sometimes

snapshot pictures

or staring back in the mirror

throwing shave around

the old man staring thru’

which would tickle him

with her saying I wasn’t his

the wicked things women say

when they want to hurt deep

& fair enough first look

I am unlike him

in oh so many ways

the how I live my days

but those pictures

& the mirror in the morning

don’t lie

write

your stuff is just wrong

she says

holding nothin’ back

you write weird

he says

like his words are worth

a million to you n me

well I say

I’m not writing for you

& I hear the chorus

like a sweet refrain

just who

are you writing for?

& I give the smile

if you’d actually read

those words right there

hanging on the line

you’d know exactly

who I had in mind

some mistake

there was a misunderstanding

the person I get paid to be

front of the class

mr patient answering all questions

& this grumpy fucker

sitting back of the bar

setting out to wind down

put his feet up find release

if you please

& you learn to be this

otherwise if when they find you

the bar becomes

a tutorial session

extension of the lecture theatre

or maybe that’s just me

who I really am

we meet up

sitting drinking coffee

miles from anywhere

mid point between our towns

& I start the game

asking after old friends

never using their real names

& I know exactly what he’ll say

but I have to ask anyway

or else he’ll never talk

he’s still a drunk

him still owes me money

& as for him never a word

as I wait for the steam to blow out

& the loser?

yeah he’s still around never calls

& his mate still hasn’t died

the one with ailments

all that disease

& we laugh again

the prelims are done

now we can get down

to me & him

the nothings of friends at ease

limited

is what she felt about me

the stories told

around the bitter camp pyres

ladies hold

for inquest after love has gone

& I never knew

she had dreams of slaves

empires

me there on my knees

mewing lapdog

faithful to her needs

& you wonder out loud

short shout out

if it was me or her

in that brief run

not paying attention

let ‘em go

side of the road under a bridge

as the rain fell all around

the questions came

is this what you do?

this is how it is to be?

& I was thinking

if you got doubts unease

let ‘em go

she shivered

but did not come close

it was about then I knew

she’d not be sticking around

after the rain stopped

as it always does

she got back on the bike

as we headed south

& I was thinking

maybe a hundred

or a thousand miles from now

she’d be hesitating

& I’d be letting go

blindfold

put me in a room

with a dozen women

& I will be able to tell you

which one is her

& I’m not sure

it is just smell

that alone

will stay with me forever

or the heat in my head

lower belly twitches

when I get up close

all these & more

even blindfold

will lead me to her

but please

don’t do this to me

ever

wyatting

that café is closed now

when it used to be full

of us kids going home from school

plugging the jukebox

playing the hits

then with a sly wink

finding an obscure b side

enjoying the wtf? roar

knowing the song was gold

if not widely known

wyatting the crowd

cocksure we knew music

had the real score

educating the masses

until old man Hiatt

would throw us out

being too noisy being kids

until we stopped going

& he made no money

had to close the doors