worn path

we all knew that

he was secretly gay

as in

he had girlfriends

slept with women

in relationships that never lasted

amounted to much

not that any of that

bothered us

we were happy

to hang out with the guy

go drinking

did the shit that friends do

because we were fond of him

& yes

we’d offer openings to draw

help him we thought

come out

but no

the girls beat a worn path

to his door

only to leave disappointed

after maybe a month

if that

& we loved him more

when he could

no longer live like that

not that strong

she offered to take me away

& i know that I wanted to

she had a face that was kind

offered to do me better

but when I think of you there

I had to gracefully decline

what we got is something

I find hard to put words to

been those rough times

are peaks & valleys love?

some things I can’t quite define

but I do know that

I’m not strong enough

to test those years we have

I had to put her behind

a pretty face is a pretty face

but what you got

I feel true to say

is a harder thing to find

living in sin

was living underwater

every action slow protracted

feet stuck in glue

I knew she was unhappy

hell I was too

we were doing the bumpy thing

most days nights we could

so I was hoping

it wasn’t about that

we drove once 100 miles

without one word from her

& when your first love is language

Sartre had it right

hell is definitely others

we were sick for each other

& a life living miserable

was there

if we continued

tell me the right time please

you didn’t leave when we broke the furniture

to burn to keep warm

when we lay in bed frost on the windows

not getting up until we were forced

by knocks at the door hunger pains

coming home finding the place burgled

anything left of value we had gone

insurance? really? please

the police knocking the door on our dangerous dog

eating out of date food packets from friends

hitching to get around no money for gas

bus trains or lunch until we got home again

& he goes on for a while more

but when he was getting himself together

was when she said goodbye

& I hadn’t the heart to say just mebbe

just mebbe she’d gone as far as she could

with the all of that trial & tribulations

as far she could & when you were getting safe

your feet finally on good ground

she felt was a good time to go

& as the night wore on

he had worn himself to a halt in his litany

I did get to ask please tell me if you can

just when

is ever the right time?

the man had tidy rooms

his girl had just left him he said

I got the one spoon

knife fork plate

& I figure if I rinse ‘em straightaways

he was all serious

I’m not gonna miss her

for a week mebbe a few days

& I tried to be encouraging

is what friends are supposed to do

but I noticed hard not to

the growing pile of empty bottles

wrappers from fast food

growing by the door the sink

lets go out for a walk

I offered sure he said

mebbe we can stop for a drink

so we sat for a while in the sun

watching the empty glass pile grow

me encouraging his silence

waiting for the axe to fall

well he finally offered

don’t it all go to show

you give them everything you got

& then they run off with some fella

you didn’t even know she knew?

& it was my turn for silence

because everybody else did

the patsy is always the last to know

trapped

by wanting good love

to be part of what should be

never can be

& bad love is all around

zombies feel the hunger

come running slow

hoping

I’ll take what’s on offer

don’t know the difference

between dead or alive

& there was a while there

I took what I could

& did not know that difference

she came by

to tell me it was all over

cried a little

damp on my shoulder

& I reached for her

& that was it

we were rolling on the floor

so I put some extra effort in

to give the new fella something

to be compared with

she came by

& later

as we sat in bed

her with a cigarette

me with some sadness

not yet to the third date with him?

oh fuck you she said

got dressed & left

she came by

here’s your shirt I borrowed

the books mixtapes

& made sure there was a gap

there between us

that I knew I couldn’t cross

so didn’t try

& it was then

I knew for sure

it was over

sympathetic

I know I wanted an end

some surcease

invasive thoughts of you

fragments in dreams

gathered up what was left

underwear from deep under the bed

toothbrush half lipstick on a shelf

put these in the trash

piled books I’d given you

sent to the thrift

& walked to the beach one evening

two porcelain dishes & a hammer

more than half in the bag

but then

who walks to the beach sober

hammer in hand?

sat on the rocks

set to smashing the china

sparks where steel hit stone

crushed your gifts to pieces

left nothing recognisable anymore

& there was sadness in the destruction

and end to something fine

walked home lighter a little bit

slept soundly that night

ever since

sympathetic magic

has its place

sliding

easy women they come & go

I took my love

wherever I could

no illusions no fakery

seeing as best I could

they loved my money

sitting the afternoons

getting up late

hanging out those dingy rooms

waiting for sunset

ready to go out

& you may feel

I’m unfunny unwise unkind

but when my money

came to an end

they were off

sliding when I was out

off to find new friends

whoah what a ride

I wasn’t looking for love

just something somebody

fill some hours in the downtime

& I learned a new thing

it is the crazy ones

make the best ever lovers

even if they steal your soul

clothes car money your mind

twisting up the bedclothes

everything in your life

& they take a while to work out

longer still to work them out your life

leaving bombs everywhere

work friends acquaintances landlord

& defusing them one by one yourself

can take years out of living

but when you get some space

you can look back with a smile

whoah what a ride