yesterdays fancies

a crust

heel of the loaf

yesterdays fancies

slice of stale cake

& I was just a hungry boy

end of the food chain

mouths quicker to take

than my own

& this nice lady would feed me

a crust heel of the loaf

if I hung around

catch her eye

near her back door

until the day

I heard her talking


this poor ragged boy

never has enough to eat

comes from a low family

other end of the street

I feed him anything stale

& as the shame clear

caught my ears

I knew I couldn’t go there

no more


to turn away from

the seventh day’er

suggesting my antecedents

made me on the wrong side

of the accusation

& the words rise

only to stick in my throat

the long work the marches

hours nights spent

trying to put right


I had no part in making

knowing I was doing

the work of the lord

& i knew

she wanted to make me cry

if not knowing the why

so i had to turn away

knowing that would only

serve her undefined needs


but I would not

be doing undeserved guilt today

the running kind

& you she says

pointing a finger at my heart

cos (thankfully) she has no gun

every time we fight

you run

& I tell her

I like you

times’ I love you

others’ I can’t be around

you get to a place

your tank full of spite

maybe you’ve had a bad day

& you want to run your mouth

I’m not that kind

can sit

& just let you pour it on

but if you come to me

say something I do to upset

you got another thing

I can instead do better

then be sure

I’ll stay & listen

hear full

what is on your mind


the problem of starting late

using the years of youth

for other things than a career

then going to college amongst young people

who have not done those things

that took the good years away

tho’ maybe they are just now considering

edging on to the darker line…

fib filling in gaps of employment history

having to remember the lies

out in the wilderness of temp posts

three months six months a week a month

switching from place to place

picking up on skills gapped in those years

leaching on friendships gained

only to leave lose touch over again

then moving finally on to a full-time post

to find yourself amongst people

who never did the strange things

yet still are now on the same pay grade as you

to wonder whether if working full time

like these gaining the one job career

are the real wilderness years

the talking

that & the raised

arched eyebrows

it was the talking

got to me

the hours needed spent

on who was creating

failing divorcing

petty rich bitch quarrels

on use of a line

liberties made of charcoal

when pastels

gouache was better


the talking rather than doing

that & the eyebrows

raised arched

to emphasise how clever

we all were


putting pen to line

brush to white

rather than working

raising sweat

for a living

y’never said

these petty frustrations

of people

who don’t do

what they say they will

that mount

to an ever-rising frothing tide

until frustration boils over

& they say

all innocenti

y’never said

which to be fair

you never did

for some little fear of offending

& now

they circle like fire ants

hell bent on destruction

but now they have permission

to offer

get their catalogue of resents

out on you

they will be there

the energy

the devotion you realise

must be needed

every day

every fucking day

to beat the bastards

beaters abusers cheaters

the lifeless who sit & watch

from the sidelines

this baying mob

who must be pushed back

handed their asses today tomorrow

otherwise every hour

they will be there

trying to turn out the lights

end your freedoms

make you less than you are

the only alternative

to retreat stay inside

do nothing say nothing

hide your light away

but man the energy

devotion necessary

to fight every day

every fucking day

is a killer in itself

this crazy habit

I was young then

& people’s opinions seemed

to mean


& they laughed

when I said I wanted

to be the poet

& they were right to laugh

nobody needs a poet around

when you work hard

to make a living

but what I didn’t know

that I was amongst

the wrong people

academics journalists presenter types

those folk who don’t sweat

to make their rent

they love a poet to be around

but yes

they still laugh

& I think now I must’ve

just got used to being


for this crazy habit

of mine

make monster mistakes

to be young

arrogant as a flag pole

was the greatest gift given

to my youth

to not care what other people think

about music clothes politics life

anything everything

to fuck anything that moved

& move on like that never happened

make monster mistakes

& laugh them off

just to try again again

for failure

for success

often not knowing

which is which

was the greatest gift