I see

those sergeant major eyes

checking corners for dust

carpet for mud specks

kitchen for comparisons

to her spotless place

bigger rooms for size

she got a nice new lease car now

holidays in the sun on layaway

but I don’t see her laughing much

getting out amongst friends

doing the things you do

y’know like for fun

& I’m ok with what she got

I’m happy can live with the ways

we got the things we do

hoping one day she will find

her happiness too

not in peace

I sat down

where the great man wrote

to take a look

read from his book

& heard what he heard

saw what he saw

& I understood the words

had already fallen

for the idea

some time ago

felt the sense of place

exit from cities

foul humanity

dirt squalor disgrace

but I was not the only pilgrim

others had been before

& no doubt more

will come

like those who leave their litter

bottles cans paper plastic

homage corrupts if the wanderer

comes for bragging rights

not in peace

satans cat

the curse of memory is you remember

I haven’t seen this fella in ten years

offer to buy him a coffee & he says yes

provided we sit outside the place to yak

what he doesn’t know is I know he’s barred

got thrown out a couple of years ago

ordered couple of meals ate them & couldn’t pay

but I’m not going to mention this today any day

I ask him how life is knowing he’s in a spiral down

& the yarn spills out all across the pavement floor

how great life has been the women passing through

got himself a pied a terre little walk up flat

the last woman kept the big house car & cat

as he talks I’m watching his face spotting the tells

little furtive glances left & down glances more right

his clothes are all black got that sheen from never wash

dirt rubbed ground in deeper buffs up to a dull grease gloss

the strap on his shoulder bag knotted pulled fight tight

the girl brings the coffee looks me over hands the bill

whispers: you take responsibility for him, you will?

& again he misses these cues stuck in the long story

as I drift thinking I was told I’d find him again drunk

sleeping on a bench round the back of the big library

instead here he is sipping coffee talking of Lucifer

always taking responsibility for the shape of his life

& I wonder if I should offer him money wait for the ask?

& the lies piling higher make me want a knot cutting knife

the sadness instead knowing all I can do today is walk away

whatever this fella needs I can’t do this Sisyphean task

the new normal


nodding out on trains

gouching in doorways

talking out loud their grievances

to nobody but everybody

muttering in monotones

to cats not there

& not a one cares

tents on concrete

here, there, everywhere

the stink of dead piss

weeks old shit in plastic bags

skunk green on the street

grimy faces needing a meal

dirty hands open for change

& I thought I was battle hardened

the grouch with zero fucks

yet feeling these

like a slap in the face

where to begin

& where does this end?