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

was

me

see the world to come

she loved she said

being around poets

writers artists

because

we could see the world

to come

I was flattered naturally

poets & pretension

going together seamlessly

in this slender frame

though the only problem

I could foresee

was we did not much

enjoy being around her

with all that drama

she got going on

collections

I was the back-up man

the rules said

there had to be two

but he could handle everything

so I’d stand around looking glum

thinking on knock off time

wondering on drinks to come

this one this one he said

is a problem her man is at sea

so she’d like to pay old fashioned

I need you awake y’get me?

so I stood all alert camera ready

in case allegations got made

she invited him in he refused

you know I got no money today

can we work it out some other way?

& she smiled in what I guess

she thought was enticing

opening a button two

& it was then I remembered her

maybe five years ago more

working the seafront

looking for drinks

offering company

ok ok he said this is another week

added in you do understand?

ok she said you can go

but your friend can stick around

he’s been here before

& the blush lasted

the rest of the day

as ideology

did not set out

to be the enemy

but somewhere she got told

with obvious certainty

as a man

I was the problem

& worse

she would be the victim

& that mindset

is a trap

of the first order

any kindness is enticement

all cruelty holds the idea true

& who has the patience

the time the energy

to wear down

such sad thoughts?

far easier

to find another whose ideas

are their own

not thrown

as ideology

making promises

something

I said I would never do

making promises

along our way

I let go of you

tearing breaking apart

everything I’d said done

& said I would never do

you looked at me

beyond sad

beyond understanding

not the person

you thought I was

& that was the problem

far as I could see

I had reached out for you

too many times too often

found you not there

preoccupied inside

by your own thoughts

too far away

to come to me

the conversation was over

I had feelings about things

the stuff that happens

as we all grow up

& she told me I was

an angry young man

the conversation was over

& when I talked about my body

the things I had going on

had been done

I was told I didn’t understand

they had done their best for me

the conversation was over

I tried to express myself

in paints then sculpture

here in words on a line

& got told

nobody wants to see this

feel this hear these ideas

the conversation was over

& then they told me

the problem with you men

is you don’t talk

about your feelings

& then I really knew

the conversation was over

the poor always pay more

sometime around midnight

I couldn’t drive no more

pulled into an industrial estate

put the seats down low

wrapped a thin blanket on

closed my eyes feeling the dry

& just as the black swept in

yappy! yappy! coming closer

fading dopplering away

yappee! yappee!

then yappeeee!

close in to the window

I opened it a crack

woss the problem?

I’ve lost my little dog she said

her looking in all around

haven’t seen it I said

to her disappointed face

I just need to sleep some

then I’ll be gone

& she went on her way

satisfied she’d sounded out

the vagabond the bum

maybe burglar

sleep disturbed wondering

FFS who loses a dog

on an industrial estate

past midnight on a Saturday

anyway?

just listenin’ to the wheels

the problem

it was her car

might be my money my gas

& of course my plans

but after hundreds of miles of nothing

coming from her

I wanted to leave her on the kerb

see if that solitude worked for her there

in the high desert sun winds carrying sand

might just give her something to think on

we stopped that night edge of town

cheap motel & thin cheap beers

I asked her right out:

where do you think we’re going

you & me that is

from here?

she sipped her beer a while

fixed her face in the bar mirror

I’d like to go north some more

see how that feels

it was then I understood

her silence

was just nothin’ goin’ on

& it might be easier on me

if I got accustomed

grew to like

just listenin’ to the wheels

for a while longer

what saved

my sad sorry way of being

is I make a poor dope fiend

hanging with the crowd

doing wide lines of coke

& wondering just where I was

did I miss the joke?

sure it was great to be up

lets make a movie script out of of this

when all I wanted was a line of humor

people able to swing a wit

not slumped in chairs

watching shit on the tv

rolling papers as a competition

where I kept looking for the prizes

my call always let’s go out get some air

sit round a fire watch the stars

find a place we can talk share a beer

but having no place for punchy drunks

idiots falling flat on their face

forever knowing when it was time to leave

& always

do whatever you want

but don’t ever make your problem

my problem

please