mist on the glass

end of the night

I’d get home

she’d be there waiting

vodka coke ice already poured

mist on the glass

she’d tell me her day

& I’d say much the same

another would get poured

watching blue smoke curl

be drawn out the window

& apart from a peck on my cheek

at the start of our time tonight

there’d be nothing no hugs kisses no pass

until the level in the bottle

got awful low

the last cigarettes smoked

we’d prepare for bed

lie side by side

I’d reach over at last

once I asked how come

we don’t do this earlier in the night?

oh honey came her response

you’ll do me roll over start to snore

& I’d never get my drinking with you done

& yes I knew right there the truth of it

though we continued for a while

until she found a better drinker

left me to snore

hell is others

Sartre was not wrong

hell is others

& the hell comes from

not fronting them up on their shit

& when you do

the hell that comes

from letting them know

what assholes they are

but now they have permission

to be just that

& this third position

of letting them be

only ends up

with you

being surrounded

by assholes

like yourself

letting what be be lacking in honesty

drinkers man

sat in the back seats

of the kitty korner lounge

the days

when smoking was allowed

designated driver sipping cokes

my passengers my friends

sat along the bar

swapping bullshit stupid jokes

buying rounds beers chasers cigars

while I read my college books

& I heard a commotion

blows were trying to being exchanged

I got over there quick

separated them body style

some crack made about some event

happened years ago

& the best bit was: nobody

could remember who said what

started the spat

just they wanted to fight

never quite made it outside

it was about then I really needed a drink

but being designated driver

this was my turn not to be stupid

koans

what is the sound

one hand clapping?

took me some time

to work my way through

I got the scorpion & the tortoise

that whole crossing the river thing

two monks carrying the woman over

who let her go on the other side?

but the one hand clapping

seemed so personal

wondering about the sound

then one afternoon

slowhand & BB playing a long blues

telling me it was three in the morning

while the clock ticked slow

I noticed was about 2 in the afternoon

& I got it

had my satori

one hand clapping

was the applause I’d been waiting for

for these stupid jokes I make

all my life

breakfast

walking in Santa Pola

early morning cool

the sun just beginning to warm

as I turn into the corner bar

opposite the open market

seeing the crowds beginning to form

& already the noise in here

for non Spanish ears

is hard to bear

I order zumo de naranje

& a café con leche

tostada con tomate con aceite

some days maybe if hungry

y jamón

& if it is to be one of those days

a sweet Valencian

vino el blanco

which looking around

is one of those days

for most everybody here

today

forgive me

I was only young

thought this was how life

things were always

going to be

when she threw me away

the pain twisted the world

everything

felt like the end of days

& then

I learned to breathe

pick myself up

start over

forgive myself

for the drama

the tears

being a pain

to other people

who did love me

warts ‘n’ all

could forgive me

help me laugh at myself

for these growing pains

hard stones

these people I knew

watching them now shuffling the street

collars pulled up woolly hats on

sticking out tufts of thin gray hair

this early mild November

faces focussed down against the wind

only they could feel

these people I knew

had exchanged difficult words with

moving across my line of vision

hands in pockets holding hard stones

hate rancour malice cold skin flints

heading for their drowning

on this light November day

so cowered hunkered down

they cannot not see me

these people I knew

once cared for

unable to be in the day

to let go of their hard stones

& be warm people again

anymore

new tyres on the car

they don’t do that rotate thing

anymore

fella standing oily rag in hands

told me I needed 2 new ones

could do me a deal

& I sat sipping shit coffee

from the machine

not flicking thru’ car magazines

thinking on rotations

cross ply’s radials winter tyres

the time you got a flat

& you asked me what to do?

I pointed out the garage

said fella there can help you on your way

would be the best plan

& later the look on your face

asking why I hadn’t gotten in the dirt

changed the tyre for your spare

like your last man did for you

(like that had worked out well for him)

& I asked you to show me your spare

for you to find there wasn’t one

as I told you then

there’s your answer right there

passed this way

looking around

seeing these trees

mountains green

meadows pastures

thinking I’ve passed this way

before

though I can’t remember when

& it must have been some time ago

the roads are wider

trees are taller

everything is the same

but different y’know?

& on that corner

something unseen catches my eye

reminds

of a sadness a gladness

of being here with somebody

before

something light

she asks

y’know to make a change

& I offer her the keyboard

to mebbe bring in the sun

which quietens our discussions

for a little while

& I write instead

so here’s this

I woke up this morning

having slept not thinking

of the idiots we pay big

to fuck up our world

& I wasn’t thinking of them

their indiscretions we pay for too

while I ate breakfast

no newspaper no news feed

to throw a cloud in

doing the shit shave shower shampoo

I forgot about the clown show

happening in the streets

then I put down these words

& for a change

I offered her a read

for her to say

y’know exactly that’s not

what I mean