I can say au revoir

& not miss a heartbeat

hoping that to be true

other times

vaya con dios

wishing god to go with you

even if the gods

i’m thinking of

may not be the same

as those you want


always seems



like a laters’ people

but that goodbye

there have been so many

that hurt

were final

ripped feelings

out of a face

being stone

for the parting


on friendship

I do have friends

a very few

to say select few

is to be unsure who selected who

those who love to get me

into troubles

those who will never hurt me

& then

one or two

who have let me down

these are the apres

after disaster ones

whose badness

& mine

I know for certain

we are fickle

us beasts

holding on to each other

for comfort

in a world

that holds sell

as a prime mover

& despite all that

we try to hold bonds

of trust

& dare I say


built over time

good times

& those long mediocre


I can forgive the now

if we have strong history

you have made good memories

with me

without that

life is nothing


can not exist


From a first


uninterested glance

all old people look the same

it is only

as you get closer

you begin to find

their stories are all different

from another time


mainly you hear

the lack of noise

that young’uns have

& that special

not giving a toss

their peculiar lack of care

from having lived



higher times

lean years

fat years

& how these beasts

look much the same

with the long lens of history

their avoidance now



noises in the night

scares in official letters

invasive tests

holding unhappy results

& all we see

is the neutral clothing







possibly in the hope

blend in with the others

to not be an easy target

as the grim reaper

comes closer


I am of course

a towering adonis

flaxen haired

high cheekboned

lantern jawed

stick thin

& special

in possibly a universe

or two over

I come from peasant stock

lucky enough

to have avoided transportation

for minor crimes

to sunnier climes

we wear our poverty

profound within our bones

the short legs

wide shoulders

of an eternal line

of labourers

existing between thin meals

skinnier wages

& the threat of eviction

that tribe

never holding a name

after the loss

by the roman invasion

demanding tithes


or the lash

Durotriges no more

end of the Deceangli

days of the clan

looking out for each other

now destined to be

proud citizens


to starve for pay


going to school

holding hands

with my big sister

over busy roads

which are but side streets now


that this was not a space

that would be good for me

I did the cry

run home thing

then the fighting with teachers

I knew deep

this place was there

only to steal my soul

whatever I understood

of that then

this vast impersonal theatre

that made everything personal

in its attack

yet held

an incredible defence

adults versus kids

& victory can only come


as you refuse

to be like


brighten their eyes

I could do sports

played for the school



decent all rounder

& then that all just faded

I found girls


the workers of the word

& wanted something more

than what was on offer

& tried to strike out

find a new path

not that it hadn’t been worn

over the centuries before

just new to me

& now when anybody

maybe the plumber comes

to fix the pipes

or the carpenter

putting doors in

when you talk to these guys

riff a line

a phrase or two

that brighten their eyes

they still

will not

could not

even dream of

putting their hands

in their pockets

in exchange

for the workers

of hard won words

The man is by nature


has never built

created a thing

in his life

he knows what he knows

& holds himself tight to that

which does not stop

his criticism of those

who tried

sometimes failed

& tried again

until they did

what they needed to do


he’d not gained promotion

because these are the people

who kill the world

& while you don’t want

to disturb the man

you do want to shake him up


that attachment to a safe life

he wants it

you feel it

by how he likes what

you do

wants to be part

of your life

even if

the unending critique

gets hard to take

from a fella

that won’t