Nettle Soup

I turned up

not out of the blue

just a day later than I’d said

her folks put me in a room,

out back

away from the main house.

They weren’t being mean

just protective of her

they offered to feed me

but I didn’t want any fuss

so I made nettle soup

made it last the 2 says I was there

we weren’t drinking, or smoking

or fucking either

for that detail

I was

just glad to be

with her

and out

of the latest trap

I’d sprung on myself

Oh, and coffee

lots of coffee

we walked

brooded on a future

that would never come

to pass

and after the 2 days

I said goodbye

to never

see her again

or live

on nettle soup

white goods gods

Noises

in the middle of the night

3 am

as I pad in

barefoot to the kitchen

& hear the songs

of the fridge in the corner

wanting to tap my feet

find the melody

that will never come

or is this the way

aliens may contact us?

mistaking our veneration

of white goods

as the love

we have

for our gods

places

Places i’ve lived

I can’t number them now

addresses

gone from memory

places I put my stuff

some for days

weeks

now & then

for years

in all of these

there weren’t many

I could call home

& when you call

try to talk to me

pull me to places

you believe I belong

I can’t tell you

the person you speak of

sure as hell ain’t me

these places kept

the rain off

sometimes the cold

but the hurt you put in me

shows no sign of getting old

so forgive me

if I keep the call short

but there’s places

I need to be

more writing

on tattered bits of paper

hold the comfort

the sun is shining

somewhere else

than where you are

to me

oh what fun we had

mornings were not a fuss

I knew what I had to do

i’d roll out of bed

crack the shower

& be gone

be in first

ready with coffee

the boss’d say:

you need painkillers?

I’d gracefully decline

with a bright grin

no need

had an early night

& this would be after

a 3 am roll into bed

I figured

tell him the same

as he told me

nothing

& that way

he couldn’t dangle it

in front of me

at my appraisal

the others’d

pour in late

bleary eyed & hanging

i’d make ’em coffee

hand out painkillers

offer water

which only made ’em

hate me more

as they’d been out

to the same places

quit at the same time

the boss’d appear again

look around

make noises

about all young people today

& we’d yeah, yeah, yeah

him back to his door

later time they’d go out

for a liquid lunch

hair of the dog

the ‘get thru’ today’ beers

i’d sit in the empty office

slumped way down in the chair

catch some zeds

& be fresh as they got back

all post beer & poor sandwiches

& now they definitely hated me more

they wanted to be

the loafing around kind of people

hanging out

waiting for the boss

the world

to recognise how special

they were

& what killed most

they had no recognition

understanding

the boss did not care

& if one of them

were to be special

he’d make sure they were promoted

out of his department

so as

not to be a threat to him

they had their revenge

of me in their hate

finding my poems

the ever half finished novel

& joyfully misinterpreting

each line

page

oh what fun we had

They lie

they lie

they lie

everybody lies

they lie

they lie

they lie

& they lie

even you reading this

they lie

they lie

they lie

& they lie

I was wanting to make a list

but that might mean some group

got left out

so

[insert name here] they lie

they lie

they lie

they lie

& you have no right

to believe otherwise

gut struck

You hated my poetry

& I can’t blame you for that

you always believed

I had more in me

you said

these words look easy

on the paper

& it is my job to tell you

there is pain

in wrenching the line free

but you don’t want to hear

the truth in that

or that I once loved you

how you put the knife

all the way into me

& I couldn’t let go

you had to do that

for me

light the way ahead

I struggle to belong

there have been

schools

universities

associations

groups

fraternities

families

& I cant seem

to hold my place

in any of them

this is no tragic loner lament

being oblivious

to the whole thing of it all

yet some days

I wonder

what must it be like

to have your niche

cosy armchair by the fire

place where they remember

you fondly

one of us

one of ours

old alumni

I have burnt bridges

by my identity

not choice

not for me

the coffee klatch

fund raisers

welcome committees

I was pleased to leave

these dead places

& they were pleased

to let me go

we met for a purpose

& when that purpose ended

so did we