Bread, bread

The old man stooped to where I was sat

& said:

bread, bread, she calls

from the other room

oh & milk

will you want to come

I’m heading out to buy?

the thought I had is gone

gimme five I shout back

the paper sits numb

staring

accusing

what was it he said

to me?

oh yeah:

listen, son, I won’t always be…

cat food, the poor cat has nothing

as she opens the door

you coming?

Yeah

I go

I got nothing either

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To be or

an accountant

putting the words

down in rows

with a montblanc

black ink

on cool clean white

late at night

in my own time

or the one

who sits here now

wondering the why

my road is always other

would I be happier

being that straight way

devoid of the drugs

booze, bars & bikes

whores & thieves

thin mean minded girls

being a steady man

not this scribbler

using any biro at hand

on crumpled grocery bags

wondering in the shadows

if is there a difference

value

to the work

Tell me

she says

with the husk of love

still deepening her voice

tell me of you

your wants

loves

lusts

desires

fears & joys

& you want to give

be part of this

giving small details

snippets

bite sized pieces

of you

hoping that next time

when the rage takes her

they will not come spewing back

but they do

& later she will share

your shames

wishes

hopes & dreams

with the mediocre

to snicker over

as she works

from bore to bore

bar to bar

not caring

she has killed

I dreamed

I was an urchin

fluttering the streets of Paris

picking up pennies

errands for the well to do

there was a newsstand

ice water sales in summer

open all night

rotundas carrying adverts

fliers for the shows

all needing glue

sleeping on pavements

inches from shoes

shuffling feet

& I knew the newsstand

where it was

went back to see

any clues from my dream

it was closed

had shut some time ago

nobody buys newspapers any more

gossip magazines

hangs fliers for shows

& the street kids

are gone

hidden away

Dogs of war

she wanted a dog in her life

so we drove to the kennels

we weren’t fucking each other any more

but that don’t mean

we can’t be friends she said

picked out a liver & white spaniel

named it after the area it was bought

I dropped her & the pooch off

making clear I was out of their lives

& went about mine

there’d be calls from time to time

could I look after the hound

for a day or two

while she had a fabulous weekend

away with a new lover

or

the mutt had found a way

to open the fridge

could I come sort?

& I’d go over

making sure to keep my escape clear

fix the fridge with a dog proof catch

take the fleabag for a day or two

& drag it back to her hen house

of grumpy women

that could only look at me sideways

I miss you being around she’d say

all wistful round eyed innocenti

& I looked at the overfed critter

lying there snoring

farting at her feet

thanking my foresight

in leaving my escape route open

gracefully give my goodbyes

& run

More, i need more

I’d had savagery since the beginning

had begun to develop the taste

could dish it out easy on a give or get basis

& once I was able to play the game properly

the world turned

all that stopped

she said: your problem is you always want more

nope, I said, the problem is that you can’t give more

you like to be the bitch dishing it out

but once I start giving back you run away

screaming life is unfair

and you learn

we are surrounded by the weak playing it strong

and once you know that

the fun is no longer there

the mediocre besiege us with soft platitudes

singing please ‘keep on with us toeing the line’

else they get scared

you become the feared

& that is true

for what else

use

should a wandering poet be?

At the beach

I was 8 I think

playing in the sand

my dad & uncles

in the bar on the pier

this was their holiday too

I was reminded often

while the ladies huddled

tight in their group

tutting over watches

looking at each other

the pier

talking of strange things

my young ears

did not need to hear

I was reminded often

my sister & me

finding shells

bits of seaweed to add

to our fine sandcastle

then the men came back

they’d bought a kids bat & ball

we were all going to play

I was sent off into the distance

to catch the long balls

that would surely come

finally I got my chance to bat

caught out first pitch

sent back into the distance to catch

while the men played on

this was their holiday too

I was reminded often

as they stomped the sand

grinding our sandcastle down