something with feeling

I want you to write


with real feeling she said

something you care about

I was about ten or eleven yrs old

liked English

cos I got to write

imagine new worlds

I put down

how I’d not seen my mother

in five years

had no idea

where she was

but I knew that I missed her

what I had

these peasants in charge

was no second prize


the loss of love

the empty space

& she gave me a B-

lacked style she said

some grammar errors

it was then I realized

English lit is corrupt

as a study in literature

for expressing my soul

any real feeling


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 things women do

leave their stuff at your place
bra’s, knickers, hairbrushes, toothbrushes (not toothpaste)
make up, hair pins under, on the sofa
possibly most important: strange foods in the fridge
leave an impression in your bed
your head, your life
refuse to sleep with you until its right
then before they leave have a ‘crossover’ period
sleep with the next loser in line
while she makes up her mind to leave or stay
believes in women & children first
will demand equality in all things
but not for restaurant choices
(& will walk into & out of your restaurant/café choice
because it didn’t feel right, the décor was wrong
the waiter was surly, there was an odd smell
we’ve eaten here before….)
paying the bill, the tip
putting gas in the car
talking to the mechanic
shooing the wasp, mice, spiders
any & all wildlife out of the house
want to see what is in your phone
diary, calendar
but to see in her handbag/purse is
a total violation of her privacy
will analyse your friends & try to weed out those
she don’t like or don’t like her
will one day leave
your kitchen spotless
the next
a scene of utter devastation
ditto the bathroom
ditto your life

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

Broke my heart

I went to the book store
took a good long look around
the stuff there big on flowers
figures in mists
shadows all dark
fonts cursive on covers to explain
& found the narrow section on poetry
had a wary look to the offer there
poets maintain interest in moonlight
or possibly their publishers do
persevere on colours of pretty things
their cool understandings of the void
& it broke my heart that still
no one is interested in the real
the continuing mystery
within you & me
of farce, of awful, of beautiful
our divine ambiguities
we create between us
in our pursuits
of harsh love,
thin lust
spite hate
& pure cleansing fire
all missing from those beautifully
printed black on white pages
with covers so artfully rendered
if only there was as much thought
I thought


do not look for consistency
instead scan for contradictions
for there
lies the humanity
in the cracks
of discrepancy
between what we think
what we do
how we tell others
the why of what we did
this is the bottomless river
conversation among friends
we hear what you say
watch what you do
this is the joy
of our wonderful lives
to call each other out
& enjoy the joke
when we do
don’t you?

He got himself

one of those store bought women
with some notion of her values
being close to his old fashioned kind
went overseas to where it was hot
met the family & thought about it more
she arrived middle of December cold
looking small, frightened & young
while he smiled took her back
to his second floor flat
they settled there together
seemed most folks idea of bliss
sure, sure, he said its not all roses
I gotta take Viagra daily she got needs
then there’s speed to keep up on walks
nightime I need the sleepers or
she wants jiggy jiggy once more again
I’m not complaining its just….
he trailed off as I looked at the lines
tracking over his face tired as is
& I’ve not been out to see the boys
my bike is sat back in the garage
while we spend the day doing the
maybe its just the honeymoon period
I offered more in hope than kindness
Mate…its been a full two years now…
I was drifting from the complaint
or was it a whine on how good it was?
& I began to think on the receipt
wondered if it said: ‘no returns’
wished him well, walked on some more
& last I heard he was half the man in size
a good exercise regime (& drugs)
will do that to you, eh?

they tell me eyes dead

they tell me eyes dead
scanning the crowd
like they were taught to do
I listen to my constituents
well honey that’s your job
i’m meant to throw a fish?
i’m tired of being fed
my own wise words
by this freeloading fool
hair & clothed just so
by their personal aide
the people
are years ahead
of plump politicians
in what it takes to bump
grind along together
in this hand to mouth life
we know drugs aren’t always
bad for you
the cop is not our friend
that in fifty years
we will be forgotten
& their politics game will
continue to roll on
just give us what we need
without a it’s a for you
your own good ceremony
except the hanging
we don’t want that
maybe we’ll save that
for you

Your problem

she said
is that you won’t do
what women want
I think she knew
I was doing the nasty
with her friend
who wanted me to
make her my exclusive
which much as I loved
doing the nasty with
was not enough
to make her mine
I said
I love ‘em if they
get close enough
lick ‘em if they ask
& treat ‘em like equals
what more
can a poor boy
that’s it exactly
she said
that’s your problem
right there


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.