Ian was the toughest kid in school

wanted your lunch money

he got it

would trample through you

for any reason

I can still feel his fist on my nose



there was an air around him

said do not fuck with me

we were 10 maybe 11

& that meant a lot

to us little shits

with the attention span of a gnat

interested only in what came next

what was on tv


we hadn’t found girls



it was some lesson

on something

& the head teacher came in

Ian in tow

we all nudged each other

what had the monster done now?

she put a shoebox on the table

called us in two’s, threes

to go see

& in the box

was this beautiful dragonfly

tiger striped

iridescent wings

maybe six inches long

pinned on a bed of cotton wool

she told us how Ian had caught it

prepared it

found a shoe box

laid the dragonfly out on the cotton wool

& how she felt

we should all see this beautiful creature

she meant the dragonfly

but looking back

the creature on display was Ian

he changed that day from being a monster

to something else


we were all still scared of him

wanted your lunch money

he got it

but now he had another side

a rotten kid that knew beauty

like snow, like rain

Old lady

tottering down the street

in her best shoes

scattering white tissues

from her sleeves in oblivion

like snow

like rain

& the shirt you wore

with the buttons missing

collar twisted askew

that tight dress

gifted when granny died

none of this matters

gravy stains on a silk tie

holes in socks darned twice

nothing is that important

there are no real points

in life for style

everything must decay

& all that counts

is how you lived

whether you used it all up

like the soft tissues

falling from the sleeves

of the old lady

tottering in her best shoes


like snow

like rain



yeah, me

Only a fool believes

I will love you forever

nobody else has ever made me feel

the way you make me feel

call me anytime

I will come to you

it’s not you it’s me

I just need a little space

I will wait for you

do that thing for me nobody else can

I’ve never done this for anybody else

if you ever need loving call me

only you have ever touched me deep inside

I’ll take care of you

anything you want anytime

just do me for you

don’t worry about me

she comes in

She comes in

talking of her day

the stupid shit

we all deal with

when working with others

& my hands fly to my ears

wait, ouch

& because she loves me

is used to who I am

she lowers the pitch

& I get to hear

what she needs to say

it really isn’t

that I don’t want to hear

or want to play my part

it is that I get used to my level

the quiet of writing

low level of thunk

& the world is a noisy place

that I’ve tuned out

over the hours

& now I need

to relearn the language


from others



I first got giddy

at an early age

reading the northern poets

who sounded something alive

reading of me

my life

that other, inner world

then the music came

hit me with all it had

taking me out of my place

offering something other


waiting to be got

so I wrote

& they hated all of it

& the more I explained

the more they hated me

with more passion


than they could summon

for their own miseried lives

they led without love

& I got out

by the skin of my teeth

making bad decisions

after poorer choices

until that one day

I wrote a thing

a few lines scattered

in my spider writing

across an old notebook

& loved it enough to keep it

for a few days more

Not paying attention

to myself

oh don’t worry

not talking

about the unkempt appearance

scruffy clothes thing

we launched over that hurdle

some long time ago

it’s the ‘good habits’ thing

tho’ they tell me I’m untidy

I know where my keys





good habits do that

always putting them in

the same places

it’s more that I was walking

thinking of things unsaid

& you came around the corner


I’d not seen you first

straight into

how good you were

pleased to see me

how well I looked

& that’s how I knew

you were lying

always hated

my careless clothes

you wanted a kiss

some peck on the cheek

so I gave it

said I gotta run

& was gone

from you

while you squealed


I’ll call you!

a man has to keep his wits

about him

pay attention

as predators

never waver on prey


I’ve missed your hugs

she muffles

from my chest

& hangs on for a while

maybe two minutes


feels like an eternity

as my mind wheels back

to when we were lovers

but she doesn’t think of me now

like that

long times ago

not that I’d want that again

in my life today



y’know how it is

to be thought of as an ex-lover

has no thrill



have what you will

to be a was

has been

but no longer

a sexual person

I hold her

feeling her breath warm

slow & relaxed

once I made her pant

gulp for air


& now

I am only good for her stress


& very probably

my own

peace of mind