As a musician

you don’t hear music the way

that I do

she said plain

if with a touch of malice

to add colour to explanation

tell me then I said

eyes open ears the same

what is it

that you bring to the party?

she began with words

something about subtlety

exploration affinity to rhythm

love of melodies deep joy

when the right notes hit the line

sounds like

good poetry to me

I said all subtle soft

oh no! she cried anybody

can wrote that poetry stuff

but only a true musician gets music

are we talking snobbery here?

I asked all polite

my turn for the malice pin

y’know she said face all stone

there are times

I know exactly why I hate you

that’s a great line I thought

but never said out loud

I’ll save that for another time

there was a window

& it was all I could do to look out of it

couldn’t be out there in the world

really enjoying the view

while you were moaning on

how I spoiled everything I tried to do for you

I kept on looking seeking grace

while your lips continued moving

distorting that once to me pretty face

thinking I’d surely paid enough

in bringing you here paying for the room

the window framing the view

wondering too how soon I could escape

leave you somewhere good for you

another hotel country town city place

knowing no matter how much that cost

& right now if you hated me

knowing you hated more being alone

but at least then

I would be out there

in the world in the view

as my shadow falls upon

you are an angry young man

I doubt your motives

things have gone missing

somebody has done this

I don’t like how you look at me

what are you thinking?

can you take your sunglasses off?

I need to see your eyes

when we’re talking

did you do this?

where were you on xxxxx date?

that is so typical of you

what you mean is

I think you’re saying that

I’m not sure about your motivation here

when did you last?

beat your wife

racially abuse

sexually threaten


wants me to listen

he got

that hyperbole

stringing out the lines

the excitement

of enticement

to push others

commit the crimes

in response

to his sweet words

covering the hate

& I’m saying louder

listen people listen

wake up

before its too late

but they say hush

hear the great words

the whoosh of his rhetoric

weft of well crafted words

creating space

for things to happen

wants to know

she wants to know


& I try to give her answers

it is like this


you give them certainty

give them all of you

for free no fee

& that takes away

their hope

because they know

they haven’t got

what you do

are & be

never can

never will

& instead

it becomes easier

for them to hate you

rubbish your time effort

undermine you

because that

makes you the same

as them

in their heads

Six lines from Richelieu

Miranda r. was her name

made me think of her as Miranda Richelieu

she was called in to mediate a meeting

between me & Mick w. another teacher

we were teaching the same courses

at different colleges

& I worked part time at his college too

Richelieu was called in ‘cos Mick was a jealous prick

upset that my course was stealing his students

the truth was he hadn’t got his course accepted

to give out the all-important certification

& I had which pissed him off some

to get away with that he began a whisper campaign

trying to get me fired as a hate person & thug

which quite rightly made me want to punch the prick

though we professionals tend not to do that

the mediation was tight as he wriggled & prevaricated

offering weasel apologies but I held the line

later Miranda Richelieu invited me to a further meet

to ask questions about my teaching at the college

she had that warm professional way that you know

for sure goes off like a switch once the money stops

I sat with her for an hour having nothing to hide

wondering how much of Mick w’s poison had got in

& at the end of the year there they offered me nothing

no more work no reasons why just goodbye no thanks

& I think a punch in the throat to mick w.

a fuck you to miranda r.

would have been the more honest way to be

but us professionals tend not to do that

her perfection

I was that kid

while Pippa was the other

Pippa’s dad was an architect

mother was a blonde beauty

stay at home

keep the place right

look beautiful momma

which she did just so

& Pippa read beautifully

as I’d stutter stammer the lines

& every year the lit prize went to her

though she never wrote her own

I’d hear the teachers mutter

don’t let the kid get big ideas

he can write

get above himself

can’t say a straight line

& the joy of being a kid in school

they hated Pippa & her perfection

& they hated me equally

the stammering kid

for the lack of mine


I heard the words

he is so pompous


hush here he comes

& I’d sit with them for a while

pulling in the ideas

drawing down what they wanted done

suggesting this

maybe that’s

to go away write up what they needed

& we’d meet again

they’d pull faces

where I’d missed a point

huff where I’d been too crude

to go away start over

until it was done

& I guess they hated

they couldn’t do what I did

turn their half assed ideas into flesh

something that could be reproduced

in the minds of others

make it straight make it clean

make it mean what we mean

they’d chorus happy young faces

& you & I know

to know pompous y’have to be pompous

pretentious is as pretentious does

the hardest thing to do is love

& smile when the piranhas bite