Those early years

drinking fighting together

in the low bumping along life

sharing whatever we had

my girl became his girl & versa

& I defended him fierce

when that time came

helping each other out

thumb in the air one winter

to bring him food money booze

the kind of blues beyond sad

we drifted away for a while

until he came back to town

& we carried on like before

homecoming buddies from the war

time changes people they say

how to find the way to say

I found he’d become like other people

the kind who inch worm their way

try to be above one another

one night playing the slots

I made a useful win

he came along hand out

grinning brothers in sin

I gave him some money thinking

time came he’d do the same

forgetting he’d shed his earlier skin

& sure enough time later

he had his own luck come in

my turn for the hurtin’

I put out my hand

& he turned away

after all the jaw jaw & fighting

I love talking to you

she says

looking for my flattered

flush reaction

tho’ we always end fighting

& we do

she has that cocktail party syndrome

going on

has great openers

middle eights lifted from the greats

but no finishers

clinchers of her own

& me…?

a lot of time by myself

in a chair thinking about


whatever there is

I don’t get to pick up tired phrases

heated over leftovers

& so

when we talk

I say things her highbrow friends don’t

& that confuses her inner narrative

lineal track of what follows what

& worse

after all the jaw jaw & fighting

she won’t sleep with me

I’m too rough apparently

Horse III

I think of Horse

& his whore

after the war in Paris

having to run

after the American beat her

& Horse beat him for that

is always bad form

to fall in love with a working girl

the Madame she don’t like it

& he could never go back

I think of him sitting

there corner of the bar

drinking everything drinking slow

staring into space

maybe thinking again

on who he might’ve been

& I wonder if the Madame

put up the whole show

just to move Horse on

& whether Horse ever

made that connection

he came in

sat down slow

checking out the place

himself in the mirror

back of the bottles

there behind the bar

& you wait

is this one a talker

a martyr

heading for the fall?

& you wait

anything you have to say

has been said

left back there in the war

around the fourth drink

he starts muttering

& after a short while

all you can say is eh?

he begins to tell his story

another bad woman gone

how she’d stay out all night

coming in as he was leaving

not a word or any story

& after a short while

he took his clothes & left

there are gaps

in all of this

because he left out the good bits

& maybe you were not listening

that well at all

because of the overlaps

between his version & your’n

& you wait

hoping he’s happier

learned something

thru’ the thick of it

more than

there is a price to pay

for everything

all women are whores

cos’ those kind of guys

can stink up the place

until no one cares for anything

at all

international hotel breakfast wars

Is more of a prolonged

set of skirmishes

with set piece confrontations

the Portuguese have taken over the toaster

set up a junta

to ensure their breakfast rolls are delicately done

while the Spanish militia

ties to empty the naranca dispenser

passing glasses in relay

while eyeing up the toaster positions

Portugal belongs to them they insist

& the people would live better with good guidance

meanwhile the English are fighting a dirty war

nipping in & out to slide in a piece of bread to toast

a lull in the naranca brigada attention to replenish its juice

they do not talk to each other in this

unsure of class lines or background

or catch each others eyes but unseen their guerrilla campaign

wages on

the Americans talk on the sidelines looking to join the action

waiting for an invitation that will never come

or is it leadership? & then one sallies into action

making a strong play for the coffee machine

which angers everyone as she must read the safety instructions first

a chippy Scot slides his cup in hiding his intentions

with a pert comment: choose your poison lassie & press the wee button

like this y’see?

he takes his full cup & goes while she puzzles out his accent

the French meanwhile wait patiently checking out the lay of the land

they have seen all of this before

will wait for a quiet moment in the battle & having reconnoitered completely

will sweep in to gain the spoils of war

& tomorrow as yesterday

like today

will be the same

arcs of fire

I think i know how the dinosaurs felt
watching those meteor arcs of fire
fall short of the horizon
to feel the same all around me now
we had solved war we thought
were working towards happiness
in love, care, health for all
& resting after what felt a long fight
thinking we’d won the great battle
we took our eyes off that wandering ball
& the bastards snuck around the back
restarted that vicious tired old game
sending boys off to fight in foreign places
killing off the hippies was only a starter chore
for the military industrial complex
who need to build the numbers of the poor
in the craters of what we thought we’d built
they came back to win the war, stealthier, sneakier
stronger with the might of the mainstream media
& now we know the aim of their game is
our children will not have our standard of life
can’t afford, can’t get a home country built car
no houses, no money in a long two job day
I voted honey sounds so pale to say
as does I trusted politicians to deliver
not just for themselves, their very rich friends
but for us too
I think i know how the dinosaurs felt
watching those meteor arcs of fire
fall short of the horizon

Between the wars

they droned on
about their war
as we ran around
shooting down Messerschmitts
with our spitfires
as they spoke in love
of times before the war
between the wars
the Great war & 2nd
we’d borrow their words
hande hoche fritz
to play our own wars
games of running around
play dead
& now we have no
between the wars
these now bleed into one another
& kids don’t want to play
of weapons of mass destruction
& our old soldiers
feel no glory
in hard fought battles
won for political gains
for there is none