third world Europe

I’ve eaten at Hemingways in Faro

sipping my beer

& wondering how much

ole Ernie would have loved

the purple bougainvillea

framing the door

the blue jacarandas in the square

placed a red bandanna

around his statue’d neck

at the start of San Fermin feria

in homage to the man

the battle of the moors

before running before the bulls

gaining my own Pamplona scars

living to tell the tales

Hem’ came from the first world

defined by modernism

yet seeking in our ancient ways

its own elegant sophisticated

third world ways where

we cannot be modern

his own home truths

wars, women, eternal life

defining himself

by not being us

taking what he felt

he best of the old world

into the new

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funfairs

the funfair at seven

watching two guys

in a ring of people

coats wrapped over one arm

the other holding a blade

circling

looking to stab

not be stabbed

fierce words

I’ll fucking do you

I’ll cut you, you fairy

& then wild slashing in the air

& later my nose blood flowing

from a bump on the dodgems

this memory

hot sweaty people

noise

& so be it eh?

there he goes

walking a fine dog

other side of the street

& that look on his face

says: I won’t see you

which is good by me

we last spoke in what

how many years?

& now he wants to snub

over something I did, said

all those years ago

I have no memory

of what this might have been

did I steal his girl?

was I unkind?

never mind

we are to play this out

different sides of the street

him head held high

me minding my own

thinking

ok

& so be it

alex caught up with him

why would you tell my girl

I’ve been seeing another?

& he started stuttering

be, because, she deserves better

than me? roared alex

like you, you mean?

& he started stammering denials

one more word to her son

& I will kick your ass, you get me?

he nodded, but the defiance was there

glowing slow & low in his eyes

a week went by

& alex’s girl was still getting stories

whispers in her ear about other women

& he caught up with him again

did I tell you straight?

did you misunderstand me?

& with that Alex lashed out with a fist

I warned you, I told you

& you continued

he was kicking him now

laying in hard his frustration getting out

I pulled him away

shouting, enough!

& alex straight back

it better be

this guy saved you

anymore & I’ll make sure he

no one else will be around

next time

you understand?

& the fella groaned

as I walked alex away

I got home that night late

& as I walked through the door

I could feel the black mood festering

what’s this I hear about you & this girl?

this battered guy came round

I patched him up

he told me;

you & alex jumped him

& then he told me about you

& this bitch….

cat got your tongue?

& all I could think

never save anybody

rattling around my head

I should’ve let alex stomp him

never save anybody

unless they beg for your help

its ok, I said

he’s an idiot looking to die

I saved him from a worse kicking

but he obviously wanted more

was wanting his killing

laid at someone else’s door

she had ideas

some were gone by the sun

easing through the curtains

& others became gentle obsessions

I’d like to be rough sexed

she said all serious no horror

not rape raped

but taken by force

in some dark alleyway

& this idea did not fade

certain filigree elaborations

the element of surprise

being added & unprepared full part

the unceasing part of this drama

& late one night

weaving our way across the dark city

her amorous mood seemed open

ready to play

I stopped

she went on into a dark back alley

I caught up

pulled her to me

hands grabbing feeling

in all the wrong right places

& she screamed

loud, longer than I’d hoped

windows were thrown open

harsh questioning voices called out

apologies had to be made

over misunderstandings in the dark

the rest of the way went in silence

no more was ever spoken

of this disturbing interlude

her fantasy voice was quiet

& after we split

she would tell people

oh, he was such a brute

which to be fair

was much how I felt

about her

a pleasant evening with friends

all goodbyes said

as I then gently plodded home

walking the city streets

enjoying the beer buzz

echoes of conversations

& then

she was there

standing on the street corner

I want to talk she said

& fell silent

biting her cheek

the seconds dragged on

take me home, kiss me

& I kissed her

she guided my hands

to her hips, ass

& I felt her stocking tops

suspenders…

she walked with me

wobbling

& I knew beyond doubt

this was another mistake

no different from all the others

I’d made with her

we made it to my place

she fell on the bed

lay on her back

opened her legs

& started snoring…

in the morning

she had no memory of meeting me

how she got here

no clue how she just happened

to be in the right place

right time

to meet me

I drove her home to her place

dropped her off

& could finally breathe

this time life had been kind

for paints

I had some old felt pens

cheap & thin transparent in hue

almost the colors of moonlight

my paper was ancient yellowed wallpaper samples

found in the free bin at the decorators shop

there on the corner between the pub

& the Asian grocers who gave grey wrapping

that I used as portfolio paper for poems

I had biro pens salvaged from the bookmakers

the short kind designed for quick hands

& then to be discarded

I painted on an ancient piece of scrap board

all the names of the loves in my life

from first crushes to hips in the night

then in biro the rooftops

slates, tiles, chimneys, tv aerials

the places I was living of

if not living in

& amongst all of this poverty

I was inspired by this defeat

to create only for me

thankfully

none of those paintings exist now

nor do the poems of my despair

some I spat out at soirees

sad one day exhibitions for such souls

but all of this is gone now

& I am pleased with that

because none of those

can define me now