staid for stayed

we were nothing

but bored kids

hanging round our small town

looking for things to do

excited by new

finding booze a rush

stealing it wherever we could

having no funds of our own

looking for drugs

growing plants from bird seed

in the woods

I got out first chance I could

& when or if I go back

to that same small town

I see him skulking the margins

still bored

no funds of his own

looking for something still

so many ways

the obvious ways

drugs starting as fun

that painless long slide down

booze as social then the need

until you are no longer

the fun every party clown

oh motorcycles

the men we’ve lost

young boys starting stars in their eyes

crushed by cagers drifting

listening to music passengers

fingers on phones texting the boss

accidents by mistake poor design

freaks acts of god wrong time place

illnesses diseases over eating

under exercise neglect

shootings beating knives

& those who took their own

to end the pain

leaving that

for us

to pick up

Those early years

drinking fighting together

in the low bumping along life

sharing whatever we had

my girl became his girl & versa

& I defended him fierce

when that time came

helping each other out

thumb in the air one winter

to bring him food money booze

the kind of blues beyond sad

we drifted away for a while

until he came back to town

& we carried on like before

homecoming buddies from the war

time changes people they say

how to find the way to say

I found he’d become like other people

the kind who inch worm their way

try to be above one another

one night playing the slots

I made a useful win

he came along hand out

grinning brothers in sin

I gave him some money thinking

time came he’d do the same

forgetting he’d shed his earlier skin

& sure enough time later

he had his own luck come in

my turn for the hurtin’

I put out my hand

& he turned away

come in come in

Come in come in they say

so you go in & sit

waiting

for there is always something needed

doing first

before they’d get to you

the washing drying

a myriad of executions

until

can I get you something?

& you know better

than to ask for booze

as to elicit a frown of disapproval

so you say

what are you having?

If it is to be coffee

it will be the dull instant kind

no misunderstanding why it is cheap

there at the discount supermarket

& if booze

oh yes I’ll have the same

& a measure will be given

passed to the lips to be sipped

appreciated molecule by molecule

to want more is to indicate alcoholism

or worse gluttony

& you hear later they wonder

why you don’t visit more

really live

wanting to live really live all of life

feel the sun on my face in a week day

fuck that only for the weekends shit

& money only seemed to be a honey trap

all we needed was enough to live easy

the booze the chemicals food to sustain

roof over our heads cool in summer

warm in winter a motorcycle to go from a to b

forget the status symbols bright flash to show

all on lay away the drip drip of hire purchase

showing out to those who didn’t care for us

neither a borrower nor lender be theft is free

live with what you have within slender means

a poor mans manifesto for living for fail

to learn they will go along for a short while

hoping to twist & turn you to wanting more

& if her effort comes to nothing

you know how this will end

she walks out of the door sad but gone

rinse repeat ad infinitum

says the fool

I got the legs for it

fella thought it easy

watching what I did

hey I can do that

went back to school

studied hard failing

at this & everything that

ended up doing stuff

he never wanted

& late one night

when the booze

had made everything simple

he confided

I liked what you did

thought I could do that

you made it look so easy

hows about that?

I suggested we started

from other places

had different hard times

learned dissimilar skills

he still looked puzzled

until I said

I made it look easy

‘cos I got the legs for that

hows about that?

designated

the cat couldn’t move

unless we promised him

booze women drugs

of any kind

that did not matter

just the promise alone

could get his ass out of bed

& upright the women

flocked to him

which creates its own jealousy

in the life of a band

fucks with your head

but the man could wail

spank that plank

get the crowd on their feet

& we according to him

were pulled along in his wake

so we went along his way

for a little while longer

knowing full sure

those appetites that ego

the gigs would end

we’d be designated

just one more band

doomed to fail

itch not able to scratch

I want to buy

feel the pill the chill

chasing down my veins

class A taste

back of the throat

tickling down

smells on my fingers

rolling papers

sitting in dark rooms

creating cutting lines

music all the way

chasing dragons in back streets

buying booze

just to take the taste again

& how to tell you

your love

much as I need you

in my life

loving me

will never completely

take these needs

away

& to be true

I wanted to be gone

& to be true

I felt my people

wanted me gone too

one less mouth to feed

more cash for the booze

but where to go?

loving the sun the beach

the mountains lakes

green meadows blue skies

so many places

where to choose?

& knowing nowhere

could now be home

setting out for something

to be always alone

never settling here

wanting to be over there

somewhere else with you

you can never go home

though I walked the streets

there a while

thinking of the things

I did you did

& those we used to follow

friends foes leaders & frenemies

all the confusion

being a kid growing up knows

& knowing they are here now

hiding in their homes

stuck behind painted doors

thinking that equals safety

caught by the TV

booze gambling the powder

pills anything

to keep them placated

sedated off these streets

where once they roamed

free to breathe

easy inside their skins

now lost to poisons & fears

we speak in different languages now

but that don’t mean

we couldn’t find common ground

just we can

never go home again