so many ways

the obvious ways

drugs starting as fun

that painless long slide down

booze as social then the need

until you are no longer

the fun every party clown

oh motorcycles

the men we’ve lost

young boys starting stars in their eyes

crushed by cagers drifting

listening to music passengers

fingers on phones texting the boss

accidents by mistake poor design

freaks acts of god wrong time place

illnesses diseases over eating

under exercise neglect

shootings beating knives

& those who took their own

to end the pain

leaving that

for us

to pick up

plenty enough

I had an old music player

the same old seven vinyl albums

I played over over

that & a radio needing batteries

more often than I had them

& books

these came from the library

or there were a couple of bookstores

offering a two for one deal

I’d pick up unreads from friends

any old shit they hated discarded

such were my evenings

sat in my worn dumpster chair

pen notebook close to hand

reading with the music soft

in case the phone rang

it never did

or the door got knocked

that seldom happened

no tv no booze no women

there were a few times these turned up

good women who appeared disappeared

to sneer at the lack of furnishing

complain about the empty fridge

mouldy cheese bread & who needs butter anyway?

they would want to improve the place

& later try the same for me

new sheets curtains a towelling bath mat

these of course lasted longer

than any of them ever did

they’d complain I wasn’t the marrying kind

huff & puff slam the door be gone

the problem being I didn’t understand then

what the problem with me



hank williams

hank one

was singing out

into the night

& she reached over

to change the station

I said c’mon honey

you know the rules

driver chooses the music

shotgun sits & listens

counts down the miles

she changed it anyway

gave me such a sweet smile

so I switched again

found hank 3 singing

about pills & divorces

which only brought a scowl

we were surely heading

straight to hell

papers the walls

the shame grows

heating head between ears

the things i said

tried to mean

just to keep her a little longer

tho’ you knew

anything you had was long dead

didn’t stop you trying

from this feeling of alone

here in this blue room

as the shame grows

hope papers the walls

another lover gone

a cold bed once more

another day to try again

putting the music on low

hoping to find a song

a lyric something

to make sense

escape the heat

in this sad stupid head

scree scree scree scree

the music of pickers

heard in the thrift stores

scree scree scree

scratching of thin metal hangers

on fat chrome rails

pulling the clothes on & to

searching for labels

anything high end



that can be sold on through

make a few bucks

pay the habit

pay the man

pay the bills

churned out to vintage stores

in a bundle blanket

for them to sell on

to folks who’d never

grace the thrift

& the losers here

are you & me

with high end taste

& low money

slipping my fingers

wanting to catch up

see the museums

pictures on the walls

hear the music easy

drowning out the noise

& you had it all

enough to give away

but wouldn’t let me play

sit alongside of you

boy from the wrong side

though night times

I had what you wanted

enough to keep you close

hoping to earn from me

my ears my eyes

the taste dripping my lips

words slipping my fingers

Pink Floyd

he’s read all the books

listened to the early work

is in love with Syd Barrett

the mythos of the man anyway

& we’re almost on the same page

though he can’t help himself

reading from notes in the margin

written by some obsessive

late on a long spliff’d night

& I tell him the bits I know

the rifts between Roger & David

the sacking of Richard

the rhythm of Dave M thudding

keeping the thing on track

but he’s hearing with 21st century ears

sensibilities politics & fears

& the music he hears

is not what it was

in those years

the switch from mono to stereo

how that all shifted the mix

when this first came out of the radio

the dansette sat on the floor

we had to listen tight

over & over

see if we could get it

understand what the band were doing

proto anthropology students

on the trail of space alien spoor

trying to fit what we got now

with what had existed before

& it didn’t

there was a jar

between then & the new work

which created the excitement

this was new this was new

& we had to move

progress with it

or get out the way through the door

where what he hears

fits into patterns

created back then


his here & now