got to leave it

just let this be

not something I believe in

not sure I ever did

but they say they do

holding on tight for dear life

night after night

& if I had that strength

maybe I would too

but you know in the small hours

when their defences fail

demons have stirred the strong cup

their belief starts to straining

web thin as the veil

separating truth from fiction

low water in the well

long chain to pail

where everybody is thirsty

& all that belief is nothing but

needing something to hold onto

hoping

this will do

edging on crazy

the man loved her

told her all the day

could not leave her alone

edging on crazy

talking about her

he had all of that going on

full time

driving by the house

checking parked cars

asking questions

on who she’d seen

who dropped by

& he called it love

she called it control

& all we could do

was hope he’d grow

snap out of it

before he killed

what he had

wanting to have it all

not six

not six anymore

can’t tell aunt C to shut up

stop talking while she eats

not eight anymore

punching my men friends

to show that I care

has come to an end

not fourteen anymore

getting turned on

feeling the rush

from a glimpse of thigh

has gone

not twenty anymore

can’t do the sex thing

& then leave

those bad manners

got left at the earlier door

I’m not young anymore

the excuses the reasons

alibis

got changed along the way

with the expectation

of respect for others

even if that does not come back

we’re not children anymore

within the orbit

I could hear the train

rattling in the distance

the rain landing on trees

the roof & the road

cars hissing by hitting puddles

splashing back again

& nothing

plenty of that

more than enough to go round

lasting for days weeks months

enough to push me

into wanting to leave

where those left behind

were content to be born

live & die within the orbit

of sound of that distant train

to see me as the black sheep

jumping the hedge

escaping the fold

at a loss to understand

why something more

was needed than that big pot

of nothing

poor choices made

tip toe

caught in her fly paper

she wanted me to go

& I did not yet

want to leave

intuition feeling in my bones

someone else was gonna show

as her eyebrows got higher

voice shifted from low

& sure enough

just as I turned the corner

in he came

it’s a sick feeling

to be right in these ways

churning the gut

head spinning to know

all of this for nothing

more poor choices made

care poured onto barren ground

go visit

they never asked

so I never told them

what it cost

inside

for me to go visit

to try & stay with them

to put myself aside

pretend to forget

for the few hours

we got to play happy families

but always too soon

the cracks would open up

pretence would wear thin

stories would be told

& if I wasn’t quick enough

to slow these down

the sadism would shine through

& I’d have to leave again

all quiet sneaking up

they come to me

in the small hours

all quiet sneaking up

& flying soft tears

at having not been

done

the things they wanted

to be

when they were here

seeking comfort

some sense of their years

left behind

& me to forget

the things they said

the hurt from then

poured into punches

verbal physical

& the surprise is

they are still poor listeners

for concerns other

than their own

but now I find

it is easy to ask them to leave

point them towards the light

they could not find

then or now

some slight ceremony

a cheap room paid by the week

there along the shore

& the landlady did not bother

in the least

I found a piece of driftwood

beaten by tides time the sand

brought it to what was home

let it dry a day or two

just outside the door

dragged it in set it up on the drawer

became my meditation piece

something to stare at

until the landlady came knocking

that piece of wood is stinking

smells of dead seaweed

if you keep it indoors

I’m going to have to ask you

to leave

that night I dragged it back

whence it came

some slight ceremony

pushed it back into the waves

watched it float

disappear from view

made my way back to my cheap room

meditated on the empty drawer

for a little while

feeling I could not leave

too soon

good habits die easy bad habits die hard

I’d be lying there in her bed

whoever the her was tonight

the room would be cold

or way too hot

& I’d be goldilocksing

for my own sheets

get up & go home

kissing them on the cheek

you go to sleep

sure I’ll be in touch

seemed they were

not much fussed

about that either

until now

been with the same woman

for quite a while

& I’m lying there

thinking of fixing the truck

that patch of paint caught by the rain

& she asks if everything is ok

yeah I say it’s nothing

thought I heard something

stir in the night