I would watch them

as they went about their shopping

hoping to learn something

perhaps to help me fit in

while I waited for the next peach

to drop

sat back sipping a beer or three

on those long afternoons between the wars

seeing clearly a look around the eyes

or the mouth in the women

slightly pinched

as if the world had been promised

& not yet delivered

& there lolloping alongside

gently vacant

happy to take whatever came their way

their men

& the women would not give me

the time of day

or a second look

to which I am forever

truly thankful



late summer afternoons

dry & looking to drink

women in the park drinking gin

& while they were not my first pick

they had the gin going for them

so I inserted myself in

lots of small talk & flattery

& they passed me a china cup

filled to the brim

all I had to offer was my wit & easy words

tickling them in their ears

making promises to love them

be with them forever the whole nine yards

the bottle got low

there were noises made time to go

& I got invited back to a walk up flat

dusty & dirty curtains ripped up the folds

setting sun lighting dust mites in beams

scratched snatched off wallpaper

I was beyond caring wanted to see

find out where all any of this leads

& her nephew popped in borrow some money

stayed for the party drinking her gin

& she said straight as a cat

the boy likes you wants you in bed

I protested but the price clear to stay

the three of us later tucked in together

& lay I lay there thinking on the price of gin

keeping her big snoring body between me & him

sometime around four I woke being sucked

& I liked it let it all just go & go

in the morning slid out of there

catching the pavement empty

the sun burning my eyes hard & low

wondering where the dry

would adventure me next

just what price might make me say


blue overalls


in the woods

one of those times

she was asking about us

I was trying to respond

honestly as I could

without making commitments

& I saw him

a man in blue overalls

there by a tree

following us

looking to say something

looked like a big no

so I stopped

waited for him to catch up

which he never did

though I saw him clear

I described him to her

watched her face turn pale

sounds like my father

been gone ten years

& he smiled at that

pointed to me mouthed go

maybe you should wait a while

see if he’ll speak to you?

she stayed a while

then caught me up

said: I got nothing

though I could see him laughing

hanging back there all blue

waving goodbye

he knew

like I knew

we would not be walking

there again


between the pages

lying there

an accusation

crushed flat

a tight little blue posy

faded by the bleached paper

the book I was reading

back then

thrust into my hand

one Saturday morning early

with an apology

I behaved badly

I am sorry

& she was gone

running down the street

after my thank you

& smile

a man never forgets

the first flowers given

to him

though tainted

they may be

why do they have to make it all so personal?

its over she said

can’t be doing with you any longer

as I scanned the room

thinking what I’d need to move out

boxes cars friends

ok I said I accept

you accept? she screamed

after what I’ve put up with?

your friends coming round

you & them getting drunk

watching the boxing motorcycle races

all the time

& you?

you don’t eat me enough never have

you smell fart too much

wont eat properly & don’t bathe

ok I said I accept

& she went on some more

I wasn’t sure if there was replication

in the mean nasty flow

but it sure felt like it

& then I remembered this was my place

I’d gotten over that fickle flaw

of finding women who hated me

& giving them a house

wait I said holding up a peace hand

this is my place, you don’t like it

there is the door…

& she started in again

how I was insecure a phony

couldn’t fuck right left rings on the tub

so I settled back let the wind blow

told me I couldn’t write all I did was whine

why do they have to make it all so personal?

if they don’t like me enough

to help me be a better being

but a thing to shout at

there…just there…that’s a door


we were lovers

some long time ago

she never refers to this

so I don’t either


perhaps she has forgotten


I was a lousy rotten lover

& there is no point

in raking cold coals

if you don’t want

to start another fire


she is telling me of another

who gently took her clothes off

& gasped at her beauty

I of course had never done this

but then I hold no memory

of her tenderly undressing me

& letting out any exclamation



anything else?

those cats

would do anything to protect me

yank me off the street

pat me down

put me in a cage for an hour

or a day

checking me out for drugs

which if they did make me stupid

did not make me daft enough

to carry them when these guardians

just might be around

to slam me to the ground

stamping on my long hair

kicking in the nuts

suggesting I get a hair cut

find a new place to hang

& they’d let me go

with a nod to be careful

on those streets out there

& I’d smile sweet let them know

well, officer when I got you

to protect me

what can go wrong?

unless there is anything else

I should know?