a lousy rotten gigolo

she took me to Paris then to go to Rome

in exchange for…

she could get me published

words finally in print

& all I had to do was…

make her happy which wasn’t difficult

sure she was much older had her own strange ways

but we were friends right…?

then Paris the one small room

red wine cooling in the bidet sitting on the sagging bed


I realised my duties the exchange

so I got drunk was a lousy lover rotten with vin rouge

next day on the train to Rome

sleeping on the couchette groaning head & body

knowing my role in Rome

& I made a night there thinking of other lovers

anything but what I was doing

& ran away first light to Pisa in the morning

feeling exactly that

thumbing to Provence Arles Marseille

sleeping among the vines

under the stars with shame as a blanket

& somewhere in the Auvergne

a long hill of walking the understanding came

there was a line I’d test over & over but not cross

of all the lousy rotten things that made me

put down the line there was one in the sand

& of course she never published me

because I had not held my end of the deal

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