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

not particularly painful

if unwanted uninvited

something as simple as

slipping into a Sunday afternoon bath

Badedas green water & bubbles

novel fat towel to the side

good glass of Corbiere

heat hot up to my shoulders

easing the tension held there

& then a memory bursts through

I’m two years old

smallest kid in the boys dorm

at the children’s home

& last to go in the bath

that grey going on black puddle

flat reflecting strip light overhead

the nurse forceful & harsh

don’t be a baby get in in!

the water was cool

I’d jump in splash a bit jump out

standing on cold lino’ to dry

on the already used damp thin towel

not a particularly painful memory

but one that surprises in being

unlocked not retrieved for so many years

as I lie cocooned by this hot bath

wondering

why now to deliver this?

how I remember these things

there was a worn carpet laid on bare boards

holding only the centre of the room

two chairs either side of the open fire

a sofa & a high table we sometimes ate at

curtained windows either end

that in winter had frost on the inside

my little room had cowboys on the paper

thick rough blankets & in winter coats piled on too

it is the biting cold I remember most

cold feet on cold floors cold coming in

cold going out cold weather cold people

cruel carers who took the money & ran

& these would steal my few toys for their kids

nothing stayed nothing stuck mother run away

father always absent a ghost figure tired pale

& I never knew from one day to next

would any of these be there when I got home

within the walls of this cold place of no food

always gut hungry for anything going

& now when they say you ever coming home?

I tell them I find the north too cold prefer the south

& they try to tell me I’m a too sensitive soul

but we know better I’m a soul with strong memories

remembers the cold remembers how it lingers on

forgetful drinker

the first & only time

I turned up all ready to go

got all the kit stuff we agreed

& he looked at me all strange

what?

we were gonna do…..?

he shakes his musty head

offer some lost winsome grin

oh I’ve forgotten again

please can you forgive?

so now when he’s drinking

I borrow a five or a ten

some rusty tool he’s got hidden

make plans him to come to me

let him be the fool

with memory to lose

roil

It’s a chuckle of memory

she lived along the street

her man invited me over

sat me down with a cup of tea

pushed a fat spliff at me

looked me over

& asked who I was

there was no answer to give

this was not a conversation

between friends

as she sat there & smiled

it was a bitter interview

all of which I was unaware

she had decided to leave him

move on to me

of which I yet knew nothing

I could feel his intensity

roil off him in brittle waves

as I sat sipping tea

huffing his ganja puff

& wondering

if today was going to be

a good day

or one of those days

the world rears from nowhere

bites you on the ass

Sticky, not in a good way

beware stirring the memory pot

for what is in there

may not always be what you think

dip in

if you must

but beware

it is sticky

& not always in a good way

those golden moments

put away for a good day

may

have become melded together

formed a half eaten mess

of gray

the faces of lovers

faded

& the pain that love made

thin strong steel is still there

as you struggle not to care

searching for morsels

from happier times

beware stirring the memory pot

it is sticky

& not always

In a good way