ten years

after the old man died

not straight away

but soon after

I found I couldn’t write a line

make it go flow the way I wanted

& no I don’t know why

but I was dry as the high desert

which was awkward

as I was doing that for a living

writing in house for a company

so I shuffled stuff around

rehashed older words

gussied up some old stones

& generally faked it for a while

& the fun part

was they loved it

never noticed at all

except when the lesser clowns

started borrowing meaty chunks

thinking it was safe wholesome chaff

missing the meanings there below

even dry my work had an undertow

about year eight they let me go

so I packed up my freak tent

went out to find a new show


mixed messages

I had told you I wanted to move on

but kept on sleeping with you

looking to find somewhere to go

& you felt

my not hating you enough

to stop all of that

but not liking you enough to stay

were mixed messages

& I felt

to say I like some of the things you do

but you are not enough to keep me here

was a message too hard to give


I had some idea I was gentle

had forgotten some older ways

& then today

thank you lord

a non helpful helper at the DIY store

shook his head condescending eyes

with a smug grin: I can’t help you sir

& I felt a real urge

to punch him

right there on the chin

thank you lord

I can still be stirred

anger rise to the top

there is life here still


got no moon in june

you don’t leave anything out

do you?

she said

after begging to read what I wrote

I’d suggested

a couple of lighter pieces

suspecting she’d be soft in the head

for some romance poesy

I don’t have any moon in june stuff

I warned her

sunlight flittering through the trees

creating pools of light to dapple the ground

ooh I like that she trilled

try Milton I proposed or Wordsworth

what I got here is rough stuff

words from the ground up

getting out what it is to live life

start with nothing

& very probably end that way

anyway she read what she read

& hasn’t been back to ask for more

maybe she found Wordsworth

or Milton there at the cheap book store



some secrets you never get told

they come handed on a plate

& you must make of them

what you will

my friends had moved to Paris

& every now & then

I’d make the trip to go see them

with loaves of fat white thick sliced

packs of strong PG tips loose tea

the brown sauce that ex pats love

& other bits & pieces of ephemera

that create an English life in France

humbugs, kola kubes & gravy powder

when I got the message: go to Cynthia’s

which to me was a ladies knicker shop

in the window was an array of corseterie

big bra’s, ivory French cotton knickers

knotty rubber looking suspenders

which to a young lad like me

reeked of older ladies & aged austerity

take this code & get me one black, one white

so I struggled up my courage

pushed open the door into the inky black

presented myself & the code at the counter

to an older gentleman in his later years

he smiled at me ‘how can I help?’

I thrust the paper holding the code

‘oh yes’ he said ‘Angela is it?’

please take a seat, I’ll find her file out back’

where later I learned

he kept the files for his bespoke bra fitting service

for thousands of discerning ladies across Europe

I sat for a while resting my fired up blood

& slowly, gently, much like himself

the shop settled into view

the inside was not like the outside

here was much wilder stock

brighter colours, materials of negligees

undies by the score in satins, silks

leather wear, fetish gear & whips

he came back, bringing a slim box

‘one white, one black’ still smiling

‘can I get anything for you?’

I paid him, shook his hand

not today I said

but you know I’ll be back


late summer

with the woman I was with

left her brooding at home

set out with a truck full of bike parts

to a bike meet in the next county

& set up with not a pot to piss in

wondering if i had the gas


get wherever might be next

watching the roadies set up a band

in the middle of the oval dust track

they were playing Jackson Browne

over the p a

running on empty caught my mood

having run out of energy

to keep that last love alive

& we shared some smokes

much later a beer or two

when the band got up to play their stuff

I had by then a pocket full of cash

selling bits of bikes gone before

& the road was mine to own

come the next new day

all I needed was the courage

to live

& somewhere to go


I learn the hard way

learning like that

is the best way it seems

for me

to make these lessons stick

passing through the hands of strangers

all those the ladies I tried to love

starting off easy hearts & good hours

doing the things you both want to do

heat & lust everything slick & quick

then all that slows

passions dripping out the window

pooling on the poor floors below

to find myself walking out of doors

singing walk away walk away

soft low almost out of breath

my losers sad red refrain

when she begins

all you want is the sex

& start groping when I wanted hugs

it’s not just the timing that’s over

I’d be muttering to myself

holding on to this lifeless doll

who used to tear my clothes off

but now my hair is plain wrong

I can’t talk straight save my life

got poor attitudes need working on

worst she don’t want to see or know

somewhere she broke my heart

leaving me rolling out the door

walking to find someone

who just might like

not love me

in my

searching once more