She called
you coming over tonight?
make it after 8
after the kid is in bed y’know
I said sure
y’know I got this piece of crap car
if I can get it started
be great to see you
the car had a battery problem
sometimes it’d be flat
other times ok
there was a loose connection
which I couldn’t quite fix
meant I couldn’t drive at night
with the lights on same time as driving
I got there after 8
we’d seen each other
maybe a dozen times
so if I stayed over
I could drive away in the am
no need for lights
she opens the door & I go in
there was her chubby friend
my heart sank
were not friends
& she was smiling
have a beer
says the one I went to see
we need to talk
ok I go
what else did I have?
listen Ben she begins
I’ve decided we’re not going anywhere
& shouldn’t see each other anymore
I look outside
its dark
& I’m thinking
just how am I going to leave?
I get up
leave the beer on the floor
pass the smirking friend
& get in the car
lie on the back seat
try to sleep
around midnight
there’s a tap on the glass
come sleep on the sofa
it must be cold
which it was
s’ok I say
we’re not seeing each other anymore
I can see by her nervous looks around
its not me she’s bothered about
but her neighbours
twitching the curtains playing look’see
and sink back into half sleep
until grey dawn slowly lights the sky
& me & the POC car
can coast down the hill to start
& go home

The difference between want & need

The difference between want & need
there are times I need a beer
but don’t necessarily
want one
missed out on ice cream
when I wanted one
ended by eating my cone
when I needed
& it was not the same
I’ve made love when I wanted to
had sex when I needed to
& these definitely are not the same
I’ve wanted love
needed love
& love is always more satisfying to enjoy
when being wanted
than needed


It was early
maybe two three a m
hurtling to get home
after the longest day
with her
going nowhere
but circles
the needle said seventy
speedometer light against the dark
my beam caught the gold red
stopped in the road
staring straight into me
I tried to slow
struggling to hold upright
feeling the dull thud
the wheels lift
for a second
& gone
gained control
pulled to the side
ran back
this once proud beast
was dead
i lifted its body
to the verge
said goodbye
wished it well
on its journey
climbed back
on my bike
felt the chill
of blood drying
on my hands
knew my direction
& left


I don’t trust them
these cold fish making judgements
will say they have never
wrapped hands around a neck
killed in their dreams
had waking fantasies
in oh so many
satisfying ways
give me a man, woman
has cried deep in the night
beating their fists raw on the wall
over a lover who left
without explanation
backward looks
I count the silver once they have left
my fingers after a handshake
check my body for bruises
in case I missed a moment
as they droused me to sleep
with their sensible conversations
deadened lives of order
in case they slipped a low blow
sneaky kidney punch in
these silent grey fellows
who would have you think
butter would not melt
trust me on this
they still got shit
that stinks
but its hidden way out of reach
& they work sly
too hard to keep it
that way

lose the ego

Lose the ego he said
you’ll live longer
& I can’t help but
recognise the truth
of all that
ego will cause you
more ass whuppings
lonely nights
bruised feelings
than any tough with good arms
what else makes you want
good looking women
better than others?
& all of these will
cause you troubles
especially the good looking women
it’s a high maintenance game
& that is just when you love them
when that stops
watch out
I call him
say hows the no ego thing
I’m in the middle of a three month
world cruise
he riffs
they love us here
nothing is too much fuss
we dress for dinner
visit new countries
every other day
having a ball
& you?
I’ve let all that go
I say
got the ego down
to the size
of a pea
oh do fuck off he said
I’m guessing he’s still
got work
to do
on his ego

Everybody got a Jane…

So here’s mine…Tall, thin, blonde and beautiful. Fucked up in that special way only beautiful women are when they come from a spoiling love which they felt as poverty. Fucked up by regard given for good looks rather than personality. Fucked up by attention given for all the wrong reasons, or so they will tell you. Fucked up by the prizes that follow from all of these and hollowness that needs to be filled by something, anything, and anyone, any obsession for now.
Everybody got a Jane. It’s a rite of passage to be gone through, some make it out sane, some not. Some die late embittered, burnt fingers chafing into the long nights that follow.
When we first met I never noticed her, not in any ignorant way, but more of a “there’s this great looking woman over there, I’m here, she’s with someone else that’s it.”
Then we spoiled it. But wait.
We worked together and I never realised that she was falling in love with me. Or so she told later. One day cycling, my pride and joy new mountain bike, bicycle shorts all Lycra and Chamois. She smiled lips open and wide, wanting to be going with me. Then later, she came around with a card and a present for my birthday, spreading her blue cotton dress across the floor, wishing me well and, and, well, she cried, over what I didn’t know, but wanting her to stop crying and to, to do other things that before had never entered my mind about her. Thinking just what was this about? This present then tears thing?
But this is too quick. Months passed between my first meeting, working with her and this. But then that’s how we were, we moved pretty quick.
We went out for beer, just a drink to show her around. Her man, never mentioned, never asked after. She drank easy, pouring and ordering relaxed and slow with smiles for barmen and barmaids, glasses ready to be filled, just for that smile from her again.
We talked of life, music-my passion, drama-hers, and anything else that helped touch the sides. I think retrospect is paranoid, or maybe just liberated from those times, who can tell? I was only too happy to be with this beautiful creature that laughed at everything I said and smiled at life. Later I took her back to my rooms, she sipping Vodka bought on the way.
On the edge of my unmade bed, she cold and wet from the rain. Taking her clothes off to keep warm in my old sweatshirt and teethchattering, what else could I do but want to warm her? Her tales of unlove in a coldened marriage, what else but to hold and want her better?
Then the touching, holding, fingers here and there, kisses and calls in the air between us. Fumbles and fingers caressing, losing mind, gaining feelings, rushes and blushes. Feeling her warmth and wet, entering, gaining momentum only to be thrown out by her body, pushed out and wanting in, hushed voice telling of wrongness but wanting, whispers of please, but please don’t, then hands finding and encouraging. Making this happen was not to be easy anymore. Falling asleep to wake cold and alone, a note of having to raise children from beds, attend to toast and schools.
Thinking of what had happened and whys of the evening before.
To meet again later at work, nothing said or hinted, smiles exchanged, over break, we must talk, meet later. Timings arranged, other events changed to make space.
Her arriving later with Vodka and smiles, a newer white crisp cotton dress, outlines suggesting stockings and sex to come. Me listening of love but no promises of futures as the vodka passed between us. Listening to words but wanting else. Listening, watching lips, blue eyes in concentration while time passed, then hands reaching, pulling toward, breasts offered and taken.
Some habits take aeons to accrue, others happen despite awareness. We settled soon into patterns of she arriving after kid bedtimes, vodka in hand and tales of woe, needing to stare into space while chewing on inner cheek. I would read, watch t.v. Until that too would distract. Her need for me was to be her space, still, existing in non-existence until her meditation on inner demons was done. I was Sir Galahad, all knights rolled into one, and I could do this until her dragons were set in stone.
Then we would make love, slow, gentle easing into the night. Inventive, touchy feely stuff you read about in books, where each time passion increases as tempo slows. Me incredulous that she could be so turned on by me, her wetness flowing to soak sheets and me. Sweet and wet as overripe peaches warmed by summer sun. Many times I awoke, hands clutching into blanket, holding on to not knowing what. Darkness everywhere and hearing her breathing, deep and low, body angled into dreams. Knowing later but never wanting to ever know, that love created in this way: spoiled, rotten and wrong, creates the best sex, intense, passionate and of course, doomed to build death, hate and poison that takes years to wash away.
The vodka would give permission to speak; she talked of frustrations and lovers who missed her by their needs. I heard the warnings but wanted anyway. She talked of foods and not needing to eat, the need to be slim, retain her shape: after two kids it was pretty good eh? All was information to me, where this, we were going never entered my head. We had our space in my rooms, tight under the eaves, safe from the world, who could need more?
I took her to Spain, travelling across France, staying in cheap dingy rooms that she couldn’t afford but complained bitterly of. To Pamplona, me for the first time noticing how the vodka level slipped down the bottle, how food necessary for me was wasted for her. Her drunk in the afternoon, sliding through streets, hanging off my arm, pulling me down, asleep on a bench in the park, snoring, bag rattled across the ground strewn cosmetics, passport and toothbrush. The last not making sense until much later.
Yet. Siesta’s, cooler evenings stretched on cotton sheets in hotels, she sucking me until I would beg for release, as good as love ever gets. To lie together as ceiling fans spin flies into oblivion.
Baguette’s better thrown in temper rather than eaten. Anger at my raising at her lack of food. Distractions of rough foreplay, her need to be spanked, I dumb as only young in love men can be. Loving in place of fighting or was it the other way round?
My inarticulacy stares at me across the page, I loved with all that I had and yet did not have enough. I could not make her happy but thought like some school report come to haunt I could try harder. Chasing my tail and hers across a continent, complete in misery, as she wanted more, more that she was not able to verbalise otherwise the need transmuted and lost. A guessing game with only losers as the prize. Watching her flirt with strangers and then being needed to pick up the pieces when such went astray. Hearing her moans of bottom pinchers but catching her glances to entice.
My jealousy spurred her further, yet I did not know how to let go. Despising myself for knowing my weaknesses and still being around or wanting more, masochism or abuse? How close together these were. I would break free for a few days until she would return bearing gifts to beat on my door, seeking forgiveness or needing solace supposedly only I could offer. I could not refuse her though I tried other lovers; they and their own peculiarities would seem pale. We would make love instantly to stave recriminations, questions, though these would arrive dressed in rags in later conversation.
As our time moved on she felt need to be in company though quickly despised all friends and acquaintances, rubbished overtures from all. Her drinking now not easy but forced and gulped, time running out. Nagging that I could not fulfil her. Snarls at words not wanted or wanted heard. Here visits grew infrequent and missing her became painful but welcome, then she would return, all smiles, love and gifts of welcome. I wondered the guilt of her gifts, friends told of sightings drunk at parties, I nodded my hearing pondering of their inability to see my pain. Then a party together, late, missing her presence, finding her in the arms of a stranger, his hands on her white knickers, her kissing him not seeing me, the light shaded but strong enough to burn holes that last forever.
I left, she coming after me, apologies, blaming drink, the moment, and a forceful other. Me cold and angry, into the pit all cuckolds hide to escape the gaze of others knowing glances. We fought for the first time. Wanting to hit her, using words as fists, her scraping, scratching, and despising my weakness for her deeply as I did. The morning bleak, eyes weary with sight, running away determined to never answer her calls.
Of course she came back, vodka in hand, now wanting to smoke dope to ease the drinking. Wanting to try eating, wanting meals bought only in good restaurants. My now seeing her rise immediately after eating to take her bag, go the toilet and return with freshly brushed teeth. Resentment rising in me as I paid good food bills for her to vomit them away. My weariness at the binges that sapped me but somehow strengthened her. Feeling the failure that comes from wanting the best for another, wanting to help but slipping surely into control, into helping when leaving would be better.
One summer week, she nightly picking me up from work, buying vodka for us and pizza for me. Drinking, me watching videos while she reflected, sparking cigarettes off the stove, taking me to work, to follow the ritual again. Then, finding myself walking the road for extra vodka, catching myself and recognising that this was out of control: 7 bottles in 6 days. Too drunk to run away or change the day but still knowing that this could not continue.
More fights, arguments, other lovers, a litany of shame that in it’s making saps and contorts to destroy better being. My understanding over and over the pull of moth from bright candle flame, the suck of fingers into fire. I was in deteriorating orbit, pulled closer by another’s’ gravity, shamed by debauch yet recognising that this was the only game in town. I continued to leave. To leave. To return. The gaps of days became weeks; slowly immeasurably her influence waned. Then. A call, again late night needing me immediately, getting out of bed, dressed to attend, she ‘phoned again, apologies, emergency over. Feeling stupid at being caught by her until she asked to see me in the morning ‘sober’ to ‘talk.’
I arrived, no answer to my knock on the door, checking my time, trying the back door finding it open, calling for answer. I climbed the stairs fearful of what I might find.
She asleep. Alone. Relieved but concerned over what emergency had taken place here. She stirring eyes baggy in the sunlight, breasts droopy in dressing gown, looking for cigarettes. Asking what I was doing there no memory of ‘phone calls…
I made her coffee as she bathed, not wanting to notice the beer cans, different brand cigarette packs or the empty condom pack. Wanting to leave, this was no longer for my concern, I was trying to leave her, not be caught again. Drinking coffee, Jane now dressed and made up for the day, me wanting to be anywhere but here, with foresight I’d made plans to meet a friend later. She wanting to go out, talk, be friends, my senses taut as in the presence of any predator. I left after agreeing to meet that night, though I felt the yellow streak on my back pressing deeper in to flesh and psyche. We met for drinks of course; she was burning slow, angry, biting into me, until finally I said I would leave. Outside the night dark and cloudy as she began telling me of my uselessness, my inadequacies, how she’d heard I was seeing another and then she attacked, nails in my face, hands pulling my hair, me twisting as she grabbed for my balls, falling to the floor, hearing others laugh at the spectacle as she tried to kick. I waited. Knowing that this would end. Cold, lying on the ground feeling the pain but feeling release in an inner complete and contented way. I knew now that I would never return, could never return, I had finally been ravaged and needed no more. She laughed as I struggled to my feet and said my goodbyes, believing that I would return. I always had before… That would be a nice end, eh? And it did feel like one, though life being savage as it is and we would/will but deny it: a month later, a dark late night of rain and swift winds, I lay in bed watching t.v. and heard a knock at the door. It was Jane. Drunk and inflamed, all made up with perhaps nowhere to go, holding onto the door and wanting to talk, I allowed her in. she needed coffee she said and making it heard the storm approaching, she questioned of newer loves and places I’d been, of missing her and stories she’d heard from others of her kicking me to the floor. She threw her coffee at me, kicked, missed, and kicked again. Asking her to leave passioned her further, she ran to my room throwing records, music, hi fi to the floor. Then she fell onto the bed, begging to stay, asking for love, forgiveness. Then she fell asleep. I picked up my papers, music and began tidying as she slightly snored. I wanted her gone, picking her up roused her, I threatened a bath to sober her, she screamed at me to let her go, she began kicking blindly at me again and I pinioned her. I would not have taken these things from a man; she knew these things yet still demanded special privilege. I carried her to the door, she screaming, biting, gouging at my balls. Finally I pushed her through the door, she screamed that I would pay for this and was gone.
The Police arrived hours later, just when I thought it all over, accusing me of battery, assault and actual bodily harm. I went with them, but making sure that others who had been in the house made their statements too. Jane hawked photographs of bruises telling tales of violence to all who might listen. My embarrassment somewhere turned to shame at being involved in this, denial was pointless as was the showing of my bruises, cuts and hurt, Jane’s win in the short term by their lack of shame and who cares for the long term these days? Nobody of that time matters to me now except in the few times of self-reflection such as these. The Police saw the situation as it was, suggested that I never let her in again, to ignore her, no matter what. All good advice only perhaps now for the first time I heard the truth in it, but isn’t that how advice is? Only useful at the right time or when we’re ready to hear it…
She called many times, always late, drunk of course, mumbling incoherently, as I continued to ignore her pleas she continued rubbishing me with others. Once I saw her walking toward me, I ducked away not needing any further reminders. I believe at the time I loved her, though I know I will not ever love again in such a way. I learned and that’s all any of us can ever hope to gain from any relationship. Learning the features of such relationships, obsessive, co-dependent, fucked up, call it what you will: the sex being the best ever, the over concern for another, the wanting to make them happy, the continuing despite shame, loss of friends, self respect and on…
Everybody got a Jane: I’m over her now. Aren’t I?


standing in the cold
breath clouding
last words
before we leave for home
the half lit world
just starting to stir
as we begin
to think of sleep
the night shift
is a hazy world
of in-betweens
never quite getting
the day
living like others
our hazy camaraderie
begins to break
we nod
in deference
to the work we made
stunts we pulled
games played
on each other
in the night before
to get through
the pain
that is working
while our loved
ones sleep
say goodbyes
head back
to our homes
rat holes
never to see
the light
like citizens do.

South Harting june 3rd

I haven’t been here for a few weeks now and I can tell the difference as I stroll along the path into the down. The recent hot weather and showers have helped the Dog roses and blackthorn to grow into the pathways lending a green shine as the sun bores through their canopy. As I walk further the path becomes darker under the Yews; my foothold more slippy as the sun cannot dry out the mud under here. Above the wind is whipping the trees back and forth to give the occasional bright flash of light before the canopy closes again.
At the bottom of the trail I scatter rabbits left and right, they haven’t heard me coming because of the wind. I stand and watch as they run, tails bobbing. The sky is open here, clouds scud across leaving fast weaving shadows of shade and light across the three lush green valleys that intersect here. I climb a bank to sit on top of a small hill to see further, across on the other valley slope are two deer. One is resting half in shadow and the other is grazing. I stand and watch for minutes, they appear not to have seen me. I sit and watch the wind sending tree blossom and leaves across the valley floor. Then I see two more deer; slowly moving across left to right. I lie back to watch the clouds racing over my head, the noise of aircraft and the distant road subside.
I wake up.
Grazing to my left is a baby rabbit, maybe 15 feet away, totally unconcerned by my presence, it continues to feed as I slowly stand up and stretch myself. I decide to see if the deer are still on the opposite bank, they are but now there are four. Big beautiful and red brown, two lying down and two feeding. Bright and bold in the sunshine. In late autumn I’ve heard the bucks braying here but never seen one, today I get to see what beauties they were calling to.
Its time for me to go, I begin my walk back again scattering more rabbits, some bigger ones this time, one sits beneath a thorn bush, pressing low into the ground and I gently walk away to not frighten them further.
Walking up the hill, back into the shade and cool, I stop to catch my breath and admire the rust coloured yews when I hear a snuffling, a rustling. There at my feet a baby badger is scouting the new undergrowth, feeding on whatever lies there. I can’t somehow believe this, I stand mesmerised as it rushes back and forth, creating its little path, I could reach down and stroke it, its that close. I’ve seen badgers before but I’ve had to work hard for the pleasure, this is incredible to have it playing around my feet searching for food. I introduce myself, seems so impolite not to when I am part of its dinner table, it stops, sniffs and then runs to hide behind a tree. This is comical; I can still see its body sticking out behind the tree. I leave, taking in the dog roses twining around the trees and waving in this late spring wind.


You went ahead
& did it
writing in the note
how you’d researched
the detail
& I’m still not there
in the place
where I can support
your decision
& yes
it wasn’t mine to take
there were a hundred plus
to say goodbye
& not one
would’ve denied
you comfort
in your last days
but you took
yourself away
kept it all in
& denied us
our care
our thoughts
we knew that life
was not going
how you’d
planned it
whose does?
& I was hoping
you’d get through
over yourself
into that place
where all of us sit
in life
goofy faced
& laughing
look at WTF happened
to our plans
but hey
no transigimos con la traición
for a friend
I once felt
as part of my family
& was hoping
to meet again

slotting nice words into rows

They sit & watch the box
my loves
mother & daughter sharing
tv experiences
while I sit
in other rooms
stringing words
to lines
or lying
I understand
from that same tv
that these shows
are shared by millions
are the best thing
and i
of course
just can’t get
don’t understand
that staring at flicker
is life affirming
like small talk
nice dinner parties
I guess I never have
not being built that way
though I do get
that the tv
telling me of it’s brilliance
is like those tired poets
slotting nice words into rows
rhyming with brilliance
but still can’t raise a flicker
telling me
how great they are.