lady wants to know

why do men do this thing?

silly jokes, poor puns

my husband does this too

& I try to tell her the why

but I can see she don’t believe

so I’ll try with you

this is the way

we test the deep waters

of our relationships with you

discover who & how we are

the standing in our group

we throw this stuff out there

ease the working day

testing the response

no no no she insists

men are unemotional creatures

really, such a sexist view?

flogging the dead horse I continue

I can hear in a response

who is angry with someone

needs time to talk it through

the tired ones running on fumes

& the one feeling deepest blue

well, that’s you she says

holding on tight to what she thinks

well, I say, I knew straightaway

this was your unhappy day

when I cracked that funny

not so much as a smile

& that’s ok, really not a fuss

I know now to give you space

for a little while


in you

she sought solace

when I wasn’t around

& I forgive you

for succumbing

when you were alone

as she told you

that was how she felt too

& why not?

death comes all too soon

for those who sit & wait

being too short

to give up on new good times

the harder part

is that you forgot too easy

took what was in front of you


about her


& yourself

in the world

in the what lay after

the easy lay

so thank you

for letting me know

she was worthless

not worthy of me

as are


that isn’t about that

it wasn’t

the cigarette burns

on the lid of the plastic toilet cistern

or that she would cut pizza

using scissors

I’m made of stronger stuff than that

or that her sheets

never got changed

sliding on the marks made

by other lovers

though I did feel a twinge

about all of that

or the carpet never got hoovered

drapes didn’t hang right

roughly pulled every night

hanging loose off the rails

here & there

that the kitchen

had a sink full of crocks

& she’d hang a wry smile

if you feel something

you can be the one

doing something about that

bottles in cupboards

there under the stairs

in bags with half eaten food

from outdoor events

all with about a third

left floating for the rats

they caused more than a twinge

made me want to reach

find my hat

but no

I left you lover

not for the sloppiness

evident there in your life

the living of it

but for your carelessness

of me

which becomes betrayal

when you forget to pay attention

to the me

that isn’t about that

dog pile

early twenties

riding motorcycles

in love with the world

me, everybody I met

& that whole thing

which gravitates

to motorcycle clubs

if you are doing it right

out on the town

drinking, smoking, speeding

& two, three in the morning

there will be a crash pad

somewhere to go

ease off the evening

coming down slow

with more smokes

beers & other things

women & fun

until everything winds down

round four or five

& where to sleep

is never the issue

the dog pile

everybody sleeping

touching each other

hand to foot

head to toe

on arms, legs

bodies gently intertwined

that way all are safe

pull one out

pull all

easy indoors

but good practice

for the great outdoors

keeping each one safe

dog piling

comfort & safety

trust in all

in later times

this also became about

knowing where everybody was

so the police could not

pick us off

one by one

my only frame of reference is me

late one night

& the flow had taken a holiday

at least that was my hope

I took the jug downstairs

to sit in company

her, the cat, the jug

& me

& the comedian was spitting truths

to this kid in the front row

sex is different at twenty one

than it is at forty five

how the bits that matter

are now in slow ebb

what the kid could take for granted

was no longer true

the crowd loved all of it

the women especially so

as did i

for my frame of reference

is usually only me

these things I note in passing

but never talk of publicly

our culture being obsessed by youth

this natural wane

is not for debate

but pills to defer

that special decline

are freely available

but it’s not the same

& such youth is never wasted

I cannot breakdown

you talk so gruff

I think you are a hard man

when it comes to women

not uncaring, just, just….

& she tails off

lost in sentence

& unthinking

so I tell her of times of silence

this is never supposed to be

that sitting there just overthinking

thin shadows chaining the wall

& all has gone away

could I have done things better?

talked out the troubles

until the world settled down

& all has gone away

I thought how things started

was how they were gonna end

that’s not how life is

the lesson to be learned

turning on the tv

playing music

only reminds we did this together

tugging at heart strings

nothing new to play

feelings only hurt today

you want to be a poet

they told me some time ago

then take a welcome to the pain

circular moments

when I get through this

I’m not sure I’ll be the better man

there is nothing as I look around

anchors me to this place

but to walk out the door

is gonna take all my strength

say hello to mr jones

this fool is now all alone

& all has gone away…

looking at her then

seeing if she comprehends

there is a little tiny lost tear there

corner of her eye

but its not anything

of what I’m saying

all that served

only as reminder

of what she has lost

to herself

she shrugs

dabs in her bag for tissue

but what you don’t say

is your pain


deep loss

so I order her a coffee

me a stiff cognac

gesture I will pay the bill

la quinta

to the bored waiter

in the corner

who has seen all this

so many times before


we will part at the door

for this one

is lost

to her own cause

SRH, y’know

you men she says

accusing us of being menstrual


you guys got hormones too

yeah, we know, I go

setting to put the record right

(& mentally swinging a lightshade)

in the Navy we talked of SRH

some guy not getting his day straight

can’t function at anything

we’d shout SRH

go get it sorted

come back smile on your face

oooh she asks all earnest

what’s that about?

a fella gets lonely out at sea

‘bout a week from shore

he’s lost his loved ones

there ain’t much privacy any more

& those hormones get to backing up

& if you don’t take yourself in hand

then it’s hard to concentrate

on the job you gotta do in the day

wait…she says

you’re talking of…


sure, I go

a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do

afterwards, he’ll be just fine

ach, I was taking you serious

& all you do is sarcasm

oh no, not me, says i

solemn as blood

SRH is a thing we’d shout

when a man wasn’t sitting right

but you talk about sarcasm

did I ever tell you when

I got runner up in the sarky’ finals

out in the desert one year?