carrying pain

people don’t know

unless of course you tell them

(& then they don’t want to know)

that you are today

carrying pain

being easier to forget ignore

carry on as if everything everybody

is operating at 100%

we’re all fit fixed good here

this conceit we have

life is for us the winners

those of us nothing to lose

cheery faced big grinners

no lottery win needed

we need to just chose

live long

& carry on

tenaciously stupid

there with the presenting problem

in an early therapy group

the therapist working patient

drawing out the real issue

bringing design to a close

he was happy for a while

went about his life until

I found him a few years later

holding forth in another group

letting out the presenting problem

hinting at his other needs

as the therapist lanced this boil

brought the past into now

caught us right in the feels

& sure enough time goes by

I found him in another round

talking on the presenting problem

throwing out the weighted baited hook

this time the therapist caught it

passed it softly back with a smile

I think I caught your earlier rehearsal

remind me what is it you forget

to remember hold on to?

they love you when they love you

I was her bass player

a little vignette

dancing queen from Abba

while she riffed on Springsteen

my home town

time that changes

no longer how her life goes

like when she was a child

in her daddy’s arms

I played the bass

as she explained her losses

the hurts that bind to sorrow

losing her way to find a home

hinting yet not exploring

how she had failed to grow

& after the gig

I picked up my bass amp & leads

made my way to the underground

never to hear from her ever again

understanding lovers

they love you when they love you

your back beat makes the sound

but forget so easy

when you’re not around

& now

they forget they made their positions plain

back then there was nothing for me

except very much more of the same

shame slander embarrassment & pain

tho’ they wonder why I set my face to go

away from them out happy into the rain

to sleep on beds of freezing bricks & cold

struggling to find something to hold on to

as they whisper now we have always been here

they forget I remember the nights no answers

their telephone ringing no ansaphone clear

no letters replied no responses no call backs

the times they kicked the dog no mind

I learned to stand maybe a little crooked

nevermind my leanings I grew them myself

sometimes sitting or standing these two feet

blue days

& the only thing to work

(the pills will kill you

slow you down

make you forget

who you were


will be)

is to throw that leg over

your motorcycle

ride out of town

(away from the people

who will kill you

slow you down

make you forget

who you were


will be)

find the big nothing

& put some miles

between you

& what ails



all of that is

tiny or nothing

in your rear view

as foolishness

don’t ever forget

I remember you

will remember you

until the last breath

I breathe

& I know you had to go

felt every reason to leave

but know too

I was true to you

that askew point of view

you had

was only the blues

wailing low in your thoughts

& what you mistook

as foolishness

were only

this poor boys attempts

trying to be loving

& kind


I forgot to tell you

I was packing apple pies

from a conveyor belt in the long nights

riding my motorcycle home

boots covered in pastry

through those narrow dawns

thinking had my life really come to this?

then come pay day I’d pick up the packet

& know I had lost my way

but life throws changes surprises

& all you need do is hang on

never forget to laugh at yourself

all those surrounding you

& that is what I forgot to tell you

laughing is what keeps you sane

in touch with yourself

all of us the rich the poor end up the same

only you took a shortcut to that

forgetting to laugh at this life

taking everything as serious

making you think

you had to end your game


my old man learned early

play your cards close to your chest

let others fill in the gaps

he wasn’t much concerned

in how you felt about that

or fussed if you felt him cold distant

if he cared for you he’d do stuff for you

decorate fix your car clear the driveway

there were times he would be emotional

but nobody wanted any of that

he’d explode into fierce words

fast fists to quell opposition

& that as a kid was beyond frightening

no doubt the reason why his first wife

my mother left him flat for another man

I was only a toddler when one night

I heard noises downstairs went to see

she was standing by the window trembling

he was shouting loud straight standing over

get me the poker! she said to me eyes wide

he’s going to hit me! I got the fire poker

a heavy line of iron dragged it to her

he looked at me with those wild eyes

as I stood in front of her & I will never know

if he remembered that but I felt always he never forgave