numb nuts

in any crowd hanging on

there is always one

& this’un

kept calling me numb nuts

with the eyes kept begging

me to ask the why

I bided my time

‘til I felt fresh enough

called him out on his line

it’s ‘cos you got this dead face

don’t ever respond

to whatever I say

y’ever thought? I gave

that you come out with such shit

givin’ out a bunch of lies

that I keep a straight face

to save

laughing right out loud

at you?

I kept the dead face

except the eyes

staring into his

wonderin’ if we’d be rolling

fighting there on the ground

yeah ok he said

another day eh?

& BTW its your round

cure of sun

how am I an idiot?

let me count my days

offering opinion when one was

neither necessary nor needed

by being an angry voice

when all around lay a sea of peace

running my mouth

lying cheating bullshitting obfuscating

& not learning quick enough

from all these mistakes

running from shadows

frightened by the night of others

went a’roaring as if that

cured one thing ever

pushed hard in a slow pulling time

fought where fighting did not fit

& a kind word could fix

soft apology might cure

held my head high

when a bowing

would have done

refused to let light in

the cure of sun

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

the puzzle

the puzzle

for you & me

was how I felt

to be a gentle boy

puzzling as to how

others commented

created filled in spaces

make me seem dark

complex complicated even

when I was struggling

with the poets

they thought I was

fighting in the streets

robbing aged sisters

sucking up drugs & suds

savagery

thankfully the girls got it

denying the darkness

finding thoughtfulness

late night rhythms

with just enough bite

to piss of their parents

you you & you

an ancient place

with you you & you

three women of a certain age

sitting on a ridge in the sun

top of the stone quarries

where they never say the name

of the furry long ear

with the white bob tail

I took the photograph

of you you & you

you never loved me

fighting me for nine years

you learned to love me

over thirty years

& you

you loved me from the start

recognising a fellow soul

a joyful happy heart

no hurts intended

& if only

I could have traded

your places in my life

what the world

would have been

Girl with a black eye

saturday afternoon

sitting at the bar

waiting

& his girl walks in

sits next to me

says he’ll be here in a while

& I notice then

she has a big black eye

I raise an eyebrow

she misinterprets this

points at a beer tap

one of those please

so I buy her a beer

as every man in the place

leers wild at me

even the barman jeers

as he puts her drink down

was it him?

no she says all quiet

but he’s not convinced

neither is anybody else

& I don’t mind fighting

for the things I’ve done

said I was gonna do

but this looks like

I’m heading for a kicking

so I order more drinks

soften the bruises to soothe

just then he pops his head in

we still going fishing?

I call him in

order him up a drink

say to the barkeep

this is her man

look after him eh?

I need to step outside

for a minute or two

after all the jaw jaw & fighting

I love talking to you

she says

looking for my flattered

flush reaction

tho’ we always end fighting

& we do

she has that cocktail party syndrome

going on

has great openers

middle eights lifted from the greats

but no finishers

clinchers of her own

& me…?

a lot of time by myself

in a chair thinking about

about

whatever there is

I don’t get to pick up tired phrases

heated over leftovers

& so

when we talk

I say things her highbrow friends don’t

& that confuses her inner narrative

lineal track of what follows what

& worse

after all the jaw jaw & fighting

she won’t sleep with me

I’m too rough apparently

drinkin’ in LA

hiding out from the hotel

the lesbians going at it

knives curses fists

& worse

the make up love after

talking with Silicon Valley nerds

& when they hear

you’re from out of town

the finer points of baseball

cost of living in the city

smog masks v hero death

stink of piss in the air

panhandlers not really trying

avoiding the personality test

blind eye to turnstile jumpers

cheap gold Mexican jewellery

& later when they feel

they got to know you

death & rebirth

of their dream

throwin’ rocks eternal

the first time

I’d be about five

playing over on the waste ground

& the older kids came over

began muscling in

shoving me out of the way

go home to your mum got said

& he ain’t got one she run away!

& before i knew it

I was fighting kicking & biting

knees faces arms

everything got in my way

they threw me down pretty quick

walked off muttering to themselves

& that’s when I was found

throwing rocks at their backs

by the neighbours who said

what a rotten kid to be doing that

but then they mumbled between them

he ain’t got one at home

to show a better way

& they wondered why I hated them

too