& how do you feel about that?

pushed way down

& how do you feel about that?

to say those feelings

were pushed way down

some long while ago

for a reason

the hurt the pain the truth

how easy this heart is

to be pushed around

a pretty face pretty smile

nice words pretending kind

enough to manipulate my mind

embarrassment of being a fool

caught on such little bait

yeah I pushed them way down

for fear of being nothing

just another clown

for not learning the lesson

the first time

these predispositions

these predispositions

inherited

from those who made me

black traits of darkness

from the old man

that I only truly escaped from

by recognising how like him I was

then differentiating what was truly mine

beginning the process after that learning

the runaway gene

from her I never knew

met just a few times in passing

knowing nothing of her or her kith & kin

but seeing in faded photographs likeness

these predispositions

I hope will wash out

lose their lustre over time

in those who will follow after me

become but dwindling characteristics

fainter memories of a broken line

of a time

& people gone before

a different wisdom

needed the learning

but the movement

out there on the lawn

caught my eye

a leaf waving in the breeze

lollygagging at my eye

& I was reminded

sleeping out under the stars

checking out constellations

hearing the deer eat in the night

badgers sniffing my toes

a different kind of wisdom

taught by connecting

to the world universe beyond

& today my attention

needed bringing back

to things only workers

in offices need know

out at the night owl

just to sit & listen

the taxi drivers drunks malcontents

getting burgers tea coffee cokes

talking of the late night streets

better than any tv or book

the things these guys see hear

have happen to them

& I was new to my relationship then

finding it hard to see what I’d bought into

knowing something was missing

but not knowing then

what was mine

I was entitled to or even owed

every now & then they’d get fed up with me

I hadn’t the money to buy anything

so I’d clear up the trash

move the cans around

sweep a little if asked

just keeping my ears open to learn a little

find my way through

but I never did

that came later after I’d left her

found my real rock bottom of alone

& began to claw my way back to me

& nobody from back then

knew about The Night Owl

my own last refuge in the dark

trying to find my feet

or would even understand to care

Shackees & shackles

the women i’ve lived with

sharing tiny beds big beds cold beds

second hand mattresses on the floor

& I loved them all

the women that is

& felt

stronger said

those words in lust in heat in anger in pain

& when each one left

or I finally threw them out

those beds would hold me alone

in sadness incoherent in rage

until found myself again

each one has left their mark

& over time I learned not

to treat this one like the last one

though there were similarities

I had after all chosen them

or at least given them the opportunity

to choose me

& as we’re friends I can tell you

I love them all still

the women

that is

No courses

Look, I said, I’m trying

just doing my best here

yeah, I know, she sneered

& that just ain’t good enough…

which leaves no place to go to

but sit in silence

refuse to think of snappy comebacks

stare at the paper on the floor

advertising night courses

cheap at the local college

& I’m looking at welding

lessons in Art

& she’s at my shoulder

what’cha looking at there?

I got a course in mind for you

mebbe something to do with love

& I look deeper like I’m interested

here, I say, look there

they got one just for you

beginners course in manners, respect

& she leans in to see

then realises

it’s a goof

they got one on treating women right?

yeah, I go, hang on, I’ll get my coat

time to go sign up

& finally her mouth shuts

opens, hangs wide

as I shut the door