there were few times

the man offered me advice

on life love other things

we were so opposed

he couldn’t talk clear

& I could not hear

the first time

he was nervous

of friends I had

& the second

was about lovers

telling me to be careful

make sure I had the right one

while I stared hard at him

the first of his ran away

& the second

could not do care

look after him at all

care for him me be kind

& the day he died

gave away his clothes

bundled for the charity

it is her turn

we’re talking over lunch

her aged mother is causing problems

going deaf going blind

drips of incontinence

& I’m listening hard

nodding uh uh’ing in all the right places

she is letting off steam

spinning the wheels of our friendship

greasing the places between

not needing advice

no hints course of action needed

but to listen do the uh uh’s

be there in the flesh

ears open mouth shut

it is her turn to talk now

& some other time

when necessary

it will be mine

being my father

too many years much effort was spent

being different to my dad

whatever he originated

I did the opposite

to never be the same as him

until I got the good advice

you will never be you

until you fully accept how much of him

is in you

is you

& that required thought

decided the way through

I spent a weekend being my forebear

doing everything in the way of him

impersonating my pere all the ways I could

channelling the energy the drive

his half chuckle

that I found to be nerves in a crowd

the half dance he did on the spot

waiting for the phone

to connect

hiding behind the door in company

doing the dishes while listening to every word

to be around but not in conversations going

& found much that I am my father

my dad is in me

& by the end of the weekend

I began to see the real differences

between me & my originator

how I shy from crowds people

but also i

can be there expressing my thoughts

in a room of friends

open to feelings

& fully present

as me

strange long song

not the man for advice

I can tell you what to do

point out your mistakes

give advice when asked

but otherwise

if you look at my life

you’ll see I’m not the wiseman

shaman’ising by the fire

up the mountain out by clear lake

any wisdom here

has come by experience

from getting it all wrong

not listening when good words

got said by the people who know

how these things work from books

this has been a long path

full of side shoots meanders

stopping to look at the beauty

straying too long as the rain clouds

dropped their load on my dizzy head

but if its experience you are after

sage wisdom on how to do it all wrong

pick yourself up to start over again

forget the shaman with the smoke

I’m your man with the strange long song

advice they ask

this one calls

that one writes

what do you think I should do?

& I’ve gotten this far

by working out all of this


for myself

& you need to know this:

my answers

are not necessarily your best advice

but what he really wants

is for me to fill in his court forms

stand up there

in front of the judge

on my hind legs

like a lawyer

but so much cheaper

on mates rates

cos we’re friends ok?


they don’t call when the cops book ‘em

or the shit first hits the fan

because that’s when I’d be most help


they fuck up first by talking

do some lousy negotiating

which they lose everything at

& then & only then

do they call

please pick up the pieces

for this toy I broke

not taught in school

always warm brandy before you sip

hold it lightly in your hand for a while

like a love you want not need

when the bully (rapist/murderer/thug) comes

don’t hit once & wait to see

hit hard & keep on hitting

until they are on the ground crying

that is the result you need

after age 30 buy the best shoes & buy once

get ‘em cheap & you will buy ‘em many times

a dog that comes to your call

is your dog

any dog that runs away

is best to be let go

don’t listen to what people say

watch what they do

if they ask to borrow 5

lend them 10

& don’t expect to get it back

or see them again

& that too is a good result

& be careful not to kill

what you love

drug advice nobody gives

If you are going to do drugs

make sure the person selling

you drugs

sells you good drugs

if you are not sure of the dose

split it into quarters

do a quarter


then do the next quarter etc

avoid other people doing drugs

they will fuck you over

unless its you

fucking them over

don’t ever

sell drugs to people you don’t know


even if you need to recoup your losses

carry drugs in public places

esp. under the influence of drugs

e.g. jumping the train

without a ticket

while carrying a shitload of drugs

if stopped by the police



whatever you got


will always be better than being processed

put in the system

part of the drug life

is understanding

that being caught with drugs

is worse than any effect

drugs will have

except possibly good opiates

never admit

to being under the influence of drugs

blame spirits

mixed drinks

to do otherwise

creates invitation to misunderstanding

invasion of your life

avoid wearing t shirts that say

I do drugs

cannabis headbands

put free the leaf stickers on

your transport

guitar case


of your property

sharing houses


your life

with drug users


at parties

Christmas family get togethers





(if they are the kind of person who does

or needs drugs

why would they need your


or help?)

Dude wants to die

Dude wants to die

got himself some rope

its all over

all over

nothing much works anymore

so I take the bottle out of his hands

take the rope

this knot see?

you’re doing it all wrong

& you need a longer drop

your feet will just scuff the floor

& he tells me

I’m a callous bastard

for not caring more

hey wait

I say

you’re the one with the missus & kids

in the next room

needing your paycheck

end of each month

the one with a half assed noose

hiding in the garage

with a kill me score on the radio

your way will be slow agony

& not just for you

any insurance will be void

who is going to pay the rent?

he comes round slow

fog clears his head

what was I thinking?


I say

this bottle is dead

you could’ve left some for me

Take 5

Its time you took a break

say 6 months

no frills, no thrills, no women

you keep finding the same ones

maybe a time out

might help you regroup?

it was true

there had been a series

of hollow impressions in my bed

my head

flowing into one impression of strange

I moved

lived by myself for almost a year

getting up at 6

running the miles of seafront

end to end

slowly getting faster

easier with it

a small breakfast

& off to work

avoiding the parties

drinks nights out

coming back at night to me

to walk the seafront

amongst the young lovers

seagulls & sea weed smell

to write

avoiding the box

because once you make the move

to be single

all adverts

tv shows

become about couples




I lost weight & felt great

got into my art

avoiding the invites became easier

the ‘here comes the hermit’ remarks

found my way back to me

‘cos whilst it is fun to meet new

it is good to revisit the old

refind the reasons

the why of me


good friends

Finding good friends
is never easy
those who will say no
for good reasons
not their own
will call you out
when that is needed
not for a dud day
mine told me I should take
six months off’f the women
I’d been failing at that
for some long time
a string of married women
one after the other
who loved to be with me
I called them doves
well fed
as they
always returned home
my friend spoke with respect
it was hard to hear the call
but I did
refusing encounters became
my thing
& thinking
gave me time
reflection on
the distance
between who I had become
where I’d started from
not gonna tack a happy ending
on here
but there was one