die on the vine

what’s with all the paper?

she asked looking around

ideas half ideas I put down

some make it to poems

some just die on the vine

no one likes poetry

she said scornful then

like that was true for everybody

because she knew it to be true

yeah I write what I like

& if that passes the cringe test

that I can read it the next day

without too much shame

embarrassment the cringe

I keep them

maybe put them out

for people to like or not

& some well y’know

just die on the vine

& I knew right then

as she held no value

for me in the word

we’d go through the motions

but whatever we had would

well y’know

had died right there

on that vine

become become

everything hurt

in those early years

from the way people said hello

to the glare of the world

if I set foot outside the door

& it did not matter

my opinions thoughts

were deemed useless foolish

my bones were grinding

even my skin was pain

that everybody I met

seemed to have their face

set dead against me

the constant was always

become become


more than you are today

while all I wanted needed

were the bed covers

over my head

some place of solace

while I tried to work out

just wtf

was going on


like any frog

I had not noticed the water


we don’t like you flying

they said

it’s not very green

good for the planet

so I took the train

where are you? they called

on the train be there later

taking a whole day

for a one hour flight

being green

oh that’s not good enough

oh the clues were there

the water heating up

nothing I was doing

would be good enough


it was time to find a new way

to pay rent

& I wonder on the stories

she came to me

as a runaway child

needing a place of safety

her man

having pimped her out

got her cleaned up

cured the drip from her johns

thankfully nothing more serious

she stuck around for a year

nearer two

getting fitter healthier

growing right past me

& she left the way she came

a runaway

finding a new man

offering a place of safety

& I wonder on the stories

she told there

make her anchor take hold

as Kermit called it

my flying tattoo’ed lady

as Kermit called it

Lydia was a dropper

casual discarder of dross

dead tissues keys

anything not needed now

lost spoons on worktops

knives kitty corner of the sink

contact lens in cars

with amazing talents

to step over stuff on the floor

& I wondered aloud

was it those beautiful breasts

made it so

took away her sightline

anything beneath

so’s she couldn’t see?

certainly she saw

there wasn’t a problem

& if any of it was for me

I could pick this up

it seemed

my lady of the high wire

needed a man on the safety net

& right now that was me

wading upstream

I wanted her to be

who she told me she was

had been

there in the beginning

now it seems

for such a little while

but like any prospector

finding a tiny nugget downstream

I was spending my time

in cold water

wading upstream

finding nothing


not understanding

I was stuck

in a foolish dream

of riches to come

try to have this known

I would tell you

try to have this known

I am but a simple man

of naivete

simple understanding

no head for schemes

& you will make of that

what you will

but please try to comprehend

I have no space to take any blame

when things around me go astray

people will do what they will

& I hold no brief

in telling you what you do

is wrong

so please if you can

treat me as I treat you

that way be assured

we will surely

get along

watching that fire burn

when you get to the place

this is how things are

she will ever be

neither of you can change

there comes a choice

retreat into pointless tears

take the lesson & go

which is never to say

you will never leave her love alone

that’s what memory is for

but you will need to be


in another space

loving from the distance

self-preservation brings

watching that fire burn

on another shore

rich people are different from you & me

rich people are different from you & me

in a training therapy group for a year

principles based on honesty in all things

& on the last day she tells us

she was lying all along

came from an old family oil lumber gold trains

all those things that create great wealth

had never worked a day in her life

perpetual student learning things like this

could not tell people how rich she was

for fear of exploitation

so she exploited us to learn

how other people live y’know?

& I did not feel sorry for her cocoon cotton wool life

or anger at the untruths hiding shirking the work

I’d taken the year to shed some tears

learn to be in the world in a better way

rich people are different from you & me

them coming from old family oil lumber gold trains

hiding behind high walls have no need for truth

thinking about the crimes created

I’d finished my long day had driven over

by way of the store for supplies

we’d sunk a few beer bottles

were just hitting the levels on the vodka

when her phone rang

oh hi yeah give me a second I’ll take this in the kitchen

leaving me to surmise

& I listened in at the closed door

to the one-sided conversation

I’ll meet you there in an hour I’ll get rid of this one

I do like young boys

by the time she got back

I was sat ready composed for my demise

that was Linda she needs me got some crisis going on

a friend in need y’know?

I told her I was too drunk to drive

putting on lipstick doing her eyes saying

I don’t care I need you out I’ve gotta go right now

I left drove a half mile climbed into the back seat

hoped there’d be no police patrol

thinking about the crimes created

by older women

loving young boys