hey Annette S

wherever you are now

I hope life has made you happy

I remember sitting next to you

when nobody else would

there in junior school

they hated you back then

called you the stinky kid

left you completely alone

but I remember you gave a smile

as I tried to talk to you

which made them hate me too

& I’d like to remember it

that I was strong enough

to be your friend

but I never was

so this is my apology to you

let you know I understand

what they put you through

cos the truth is love

they came for me too

Living with loss

he tells me of lovers

counting them off

finger by fingers thumbs

indicating toes

people he called out love to

now gone

the way of all flesh

living with loss he tells me

as the jug empties

& we call for more

gentle under the trees cicadas moon

& my turn will come he sighs

caught in the thought

the majesty of death

of course I say quiet

reaching across for olives

& oil

I know nothing of any of this

for I am immortal

having never ever felt loss

suffered in any way

felt life’s thin cruel whip

y’know he said all bright

& firing now

for my longest ever friend

you can be such a arsehole

we’re all broke here baby

I’m broke she said

looking at the floor

sad smile downward eyes

we’re all broke here baby

I said

corners of mouth lifted

but feeling no smile inside

no I’m broke

as in I can’t pay my rent

& the landlord will hassle me again

I owe for the month & if I don’t pay this time

he’ll want paying in some way

cash or the other…

so we passed a hat around

raised a goodly amount

I took her home drank for a while

looking at her her pale bare walls

leaving around three quiet spent

come back tonight bring a bottle

we’ll do it all again she said

so I knocked her door at seven

& the landlord came out stiff angry

she’s run off stiffed me the rent

you a friend of hers can help me out?

nope she caught me too I said

corners of mouth turned down

but feeling the smile inside

just one more that got away eh?

collections

I was the back-up man

the rules said

there had to be two

but he could handle everything

so I’d stand around looking glum

thinking on knock off time

wondering on drinks to come

this one this one he said

is a problem her man is at sea

so she’d like to pay old fashioned

I need you awake y’get me?

so I stood all alert camera ready

in case allegations got made

she invited him in he refused

you know I got no money today

can we work it out some other way?

& she smiled in what I guess

she thought was enticing

opening a button two

& it was then I remembered her

maybe five years ago more

working the seafront

looking for drinks

offering company

ok ok he said this is another week

added in you do understand?

ok she said you can go

but your friend can stick around

he’s been here before

& the blush lasted

the rest of the day

loved to pop his collar

slouch around

like he owned the place

strutting it to the ladies

like a dog on low

threatening drink his life away

tho’ I saw him wafting

through the crowd

waving his drinks

letting them know

he’d started early today

& being the kind of friend

listens in watches your show

I held an easy count

as my own flowed down

pulled him end of the night

hows it goin’ slick?

I’m good to go he said

been drinking since 11

hey it’s me don’t forget

I picked you up past 2

we had the first ones together

yeah yeah yeah y’know?

I’d had a stiffener before that

but now we both knew

his game popped collar

slouching low spreading shit

was just a game

to get him through

& we all know

there are others do worse

you didn’t ask so I didn’t say

chance meeting in the coffee shop

so many years later

after I’d fucked up my job

got in a row with an idiot

so they’d let me go

& you were my friend

some kind of mate

who dropped me like a hot stone

& here we are saying hello

as if all that never happened

no whatever did you do?

& I don’t talk of how I bounced back

went on to bigger better things

found there was life elsewhere

but took the lesson learned with

we talk of other things

our loves our lives in general

& you didn’t ask anything

of any real importance

so I didn’t tell

& left with no new news of you

but still felt

I knew exactly who you were

weird gig

jealousy is such a weird gig

yeah there’s the finding your girl

locked in embrace kissing in the stairwell

obvious gig

& you vow to let her go

call it betrayal or something

but the other stuff you never know

your friend who tags along

loving everything you do says them

then you find they’ve been keeping tabs

telling others when your life goes wrong

that stepping up on anothers’ shoulders

to see clear learning from your mistakes

laughing in other crowds he’s such a fool

but ain’t I great?

the people who never give you love

sweet straight praise in your everyday

but happy to piss deep in your pocket

limit you these things you do to play

when things start heading astray

these are not your people

who don’t accept you as you are

breathing air underwater

pushed down underwater

almost never came back

days behind the door

found it hard to come down

when she left

leaving scars on my brain

from the wrenching

of us apart in goodbye

came the waiting days

turning out the light

closed curtains

a funereal friend

there but not there

not eating

booze the only friend

that understood

that I needed time

not to process

she told me loud

I was too weak

when she needed

me be strong

& too strong when

she needed me to submit

but to learn over

begin again

breathing air

without her by my side

sucking it all in

she got me

she got me she said

understood my wandering soul

or was it affections

gave plenty of pens

good solid paper

left me to draw my own

conclusions

& I wanted her there

beside me as my friend

though she wanted more

that bit she didn’t get

though she said she understood

how hard it was to get out of bed

only to do more of the same

each & every day

nobody there

to provide solace in my evenings

she was prepared to do that

if I was interested in offering the other

& how to create a desire

where none exists?

& worse sustain that over time

of course she hates me now

says all I did was take take take

in the name of artistic freedom

I could’ve told you

The air on fire
in portuguese mountains
driving thru’ hot ashes
blackened forests
I’d love to do fado
but you are gone
cool mornings
on a french beach
before people spoil it
playing in the waves
surfing for me
coffee in Spanish bars
thin sweet pastries with custard
sugar wrappers on the floor
but you are not here
autumn in England
leaves, mist and rain
driving to destinations
songs on the radio
coats, hats wind in our hair
like that spring picking bluebells
these we will never do again
because you are not here
my friend I thought
who would always be
around
has gone