Living with loss

he tells me of lovers

counting them off

finger by fingers thumbs

indicating toes

people he called out love to

now gone

the way of all flesh

living with loss he tells me

as the jug empties

& we call for more

gentle under the trees cicadas moon

& my turn will come he sighs

caught in the thought

the majesty of death

of course I say quiet

reaching across for olives

& oil

I know nothing of any of this

for I am immortal

having never ever felt loss

suffered in any way

felt life’s thin cruel whip

y’know he said all bright

& firing now

for my longest ever friend

you can be such a arsehole

so many ways

there were all kinds of crazy

living in the hotel cheap week rates

near to the seafront beach

& I’d run that every morning

something to do try to change my ways

she’d come round every afternoon

floral tea cup held out y’got anything to drink?

& I told her every time I wasn’t drinking today

but she never believed kept knocking

the thin gay boy who wanted to suck my cock

who too didn’t believe when I said I was not inclined

& the fateful night

coming in late from night school

her door was open come in! come in!

I’ve had a windfall

the crazies all there sipping from bottles

I sat for a while dozing under a yellow lamp

as the crazies drifted away one by one

she droned on about past loves

big money scores to come

& around two I woke to a head between my legs

warm fuzzy feelings I’d forgot I could have

waking in the morning thinking time to run

in so many ways

how thin need it be?

looking through some photographs

the old kind

you keep inside a drawer

out of light

out of sight

for fear of fading

& I found some drawings

he gave me

back when we were friends

could hold a conversation two

& I was tempted to throw

much like he did me

last time our paths met

since we’d spoken the time before

shit had come to light he felt

on who I was more

& all I felt was sorrow

I’d taken him as he came

never looking for others

to confirm deny my judgement

hear stories of shame

& how thin

need friendships be?

if like old photographs

we keep them out of sight

out of light

for fear of shading

by another’s sun

pretty shallow

it was her face I first noticed

then that sensuous body

& I talked with her

liked what I heard

& before I knew what was what

I was involved

in the intricacies of her life

she had a man but could not leave him

would be with me until the witching hour

sometime around one

& I took all that she gave

never extracted more than the willing

her needs to be fulfilled

until I got to it one night

feeling the empty bed beside

not suggesting tears saying I cried

but man there was nothing there

could fill this gap inside

& I let her go knowing full well

she was never mine anyway

just my dish of shallow

thin tepid pool

that I could never dive into

& ten years gone behind

after those sad times

coming to see you there in the hospitals

lying thin frail

knowing it was but time

days or weeks

& now its ten years gone

I guess I found my way back to you

some way for us to forgive the past

though I could never get you

as you understand me

different times between us

too much time across the years

I was determined to live without fear

even if that meant saying goodbye

& those others you left behind

their hands remain closed

its fists not fun for these

& it is too long to be living in hope

for sleeping people to wake

it don’t come easy

its late

he’s drunk enough

he feels

to begin telling truths

I’m not like you he goes

life has been hard y’know

& I’m drunk enough too

not to argue

lets hear what the cat has to say

there’s a woven through story

of women who never loved

those who never laughed

people who died

times he cried in the pain of it all

struggling with the alone

& there amongst the weft

this golden thread

I never had it easy

not like you he says bitter thin

hey fella I smile

to you

this might look that way

but the smile here

is because I know

it don’t come easy

to any of us

but that sure is

the way it goes

the sex thing

rolling through towns

I used to know

sweet memories

of janey there judy here

all those susans sally-annes

along the way

thinking how then

how far

I’d go for the sex thing

some of these were loves

some nothing but lovers

wanting but the same as me

not that they’d say that then

though we’d all know in the ends

the tortuous routes taken

buses cars motorcycles

when those broke the thumb

for an hour maybe two

talking our way into the sex thing

making it more in words

than it ever was in lives

none of us made it through

to anything more than a little love

ours the tiny death of moments

in the scheme of our things

& if I think of them fondly

is to forget forever

the thin love that they brung

coat

he calls by again

again

I can almost tell

by his knock on the door

wanting to borrow a little

until the weekend

y’understan?

& I’ve got nothing to lend

nothing changes there

& he says man

you are always going someplace

where you gotta go?

what I don’t tell him

I keep a coat just there

by the door

& when I see his outline

wide against the frosted glass

I pick it up

start to put it on

before I answer the door

oh, man, I was just off out

sorry can’t stop

mans got places to go

shit to do

& leave him gulping

thin air

as I stroll away

from all of this