the coffee can

we were students together then

he was a big fella & we got on well

same kind of humour seeing the world

not taking anything too seriously

one time out in the day for drinking

we got asked to do a paid survey in the street

asking how many times we ate out

breakfast lunch dinner snacks in the week

I only had a couple being broke as

where he had most meals out

breakfast Chinese Indian Mexican

couple of years later we met sometimes still

got for a long coffee talk on student days

our lives our women finding work lives

he told me he’d been diagnosed bowel cancer

was due for treatment soon but let’s meet again eh?

six months after that we met again

he’d had surgery then some chemo

but the worst he said as he sipped on tea

they got me in this hospital for coffee enemas

I went in slept the night they woke me in the morning

putting this can of coffee there on the side

length of tubing the whole works

I got dressed went out for a cigarette

kept on walking & walking thinking

had my life come to this?

found a café ordered a full breakfast

& now my friend it is time to say goodbye

no tears no anger no fuss just lets enjoy what’s left

Horse 3

was his own man

living the life he wanted

could not understand

how us youngsters could settle

what he felt was so much less

while we saw him sat at his table

clutching his racing paper

eking out his drinks

sucking up the warmth of the bar

rather than sit in his tiny place

spending drinking betting money

on gas to keep warm

he’d not lived with a woman

for a very long time after

he’d lost his Paris whore

you little fuckers don’t get it

when love gets taken away

he’d quietly say

there is no point in chasing that

in another girl

that would be cruel to her & to you

we smiled of course

we knew no better then

worse some of us never would

& those of us that did

cursed his memory

for being so right

waits by the big oak

got away

from the green fields

lying under the oak

sitting as a teen boy

smoking dope

sipping on stolen wine

kissing the girl

thought everything

was just great

taking all I could take

from this sleepy town

wanted to show her life outside

instead she wanted babies

had a series of men

who loved her at night

but not in the day

until she got the cancer

went on

now she waits by the big oak

waiting waiting forever

for me to come by


to be the monster

they made me out

to be the monster

because I found them

to be mundane

with their just sayin’s

half done sentences

faux nervous giggles

half finished laughter

own it I said


be who you be

& her I threw away

for not being more

than just a pretty face

finding vengeance

her life trip now

setting out to destroy

my work my life

my reputation

now that does deserve

a half sentence laugh

faux girlie giggle


you knew I was a monster

when you bought in

brought me inside

once their life

working at the thrift

there are fewer things sadder

mebbe being thrown over

for a better other

divorce death

or loved ones

family cats dogs dying

than working

with these remnants


of anothers’ life

cardigans with names sewn in

worn carpet slippers

grannies cutlery drawer

thrown into a cardboard box

knives forks spoons

bottle openers corkscrews

jumbled now in the plastic tray

still holding the crumbs

of her


their life

whence you came

There is always more than one way out

turn your life around

you can always go full circle

go back from whence you came

sure there may be a sense of defeat

hints of shame or failure so I’m told

a learning to be gained from about

or a sidestep to pick up let rip

with the money on a train bus

go missing leave your phone laptop

take flight fright in the night run

new town new life fresh wife love


you can send me photos from your phone

of your piles of money

rag eared thousands in cash

your grinning drug running buds

stacks of full baggies plain view

& we can wait for the po po

to kick in your door

stop you in your car or street

& hey presto

your new life will arrive

new threads new friends


all exits

Dude on the train

looks like an ex bank manager

a branch that was closed

due to the economy

slowdown in trade

& there is an air of defeat

hanging over his head

small dark cloud of waiting to rain

& being a nice guy

I’d love to smile say

might never happen fella

but life has taught me strong

with unfortunate harsh lessons

never get involved unless invited

& even then

make careful note

of all exits

this song senor

this song senor he smiled

es one of love the lover

who has gone away

walked the mountains

the mesa desert dunes

to go earn a peso in another country

& all she has now are letters

of loneliness new old cars

cold water shared rooms

a life of working living hard

he put some effort & soul into it

& I swear I saw a trickle

a little bead of sweat

these were sweet lies

the song was an old back country ballad

I caught references to dying vaqueros

wrapped up in homespun linen

where there will forever be

bad sad deaths in the afternoon

but who was I in this hot place

to deny the mariachi his money

this meagre prize?

we are here

walking with pilgrims

minding your feet


footsteps sweat

trying not curse

on this path of the lord

but life is for living

& this burden

makes minds backs mouths

sore to burn

stopping to rest

at a clear water spring

eating talking laughing

not thinking of miles

ahead behind to do

& tomorrow

will come along easy

as you pick up your pack

set those boots swinging

lets go look at the view

begin to try

to understand why

we are here

need better

the arrogance man

flares from you

leaves a trail of smoke

& I thought obvs

he was smoking

something himself


a kind of green

with a hint of blue

& you? I asked

I got nothin’ he says

all slow sullen

I got nuthin’

not like you

you got it going on

you radiate charm

like life bounces off’f you

oh man

I go

where to start?

I say soft slow wistfuld

I think you need better drugs