the ayes have it

my boss felt I was some kind of thug

& discovered all kinds of evidence

that this was true

my woman thought I was her greatest lover

& found everything I did between the sheets

all that I said were sure indications

until that is the wind changed direction

my enemies knew in their bones I was an idiot

as every action word I uttered showed them truths

verified their deep considered deliberations

& there was nothing I could do to change any of that

there were some I taught told me I was kind

compassionate full of warmth & encouragement

while others decided the same words & actions

were signs of insanity sarcasm & subversion

& all of these are truths

while none hold water

the ayes may have it

while the noes hold power

& in all of these

I am but a seeker fumbling his way through

to fall silent

nothing to say

no bragging rights here

& all this is

a conversation between adults about parents

grandparents longevity life

& all I can do is to fall silent

an absent father

now dead

abandoning mother

dead for five years before I found that out

a half brother who never speaks

a half sister who will not speak

to talk of this is to drown out others stories

highlight the missing in mine

better to fall silent

for the scratched scab to itch later

as the clock crawls to four

sitting in her adoring circle

she loved her gay boys

she told me

sitting in her adoring circle

apparently I was jealous

of all her attention

& I hadn’t the heart to say

one such night

as the wine flowed

she sat twittering

one of her adoring boys

whispered to me

she’s such a dog isn’t she?

& I had to leave

never to return

knowing how much she spent out

to keep the wine flowing for her boys

& that if I told her this

she would never believe

shoes off at the door

she was making me a better person

or so she said

shoes off at the door

hoover every other day

dishes done stacked to dry

& sap that I was

I went along with all of this

even if she was married to

living with another

to come to me in the night

for the things we both loved to do

& I had been too long by myself

beer & a rind of cheese in the fridge

cupboards empty but dust

coming home music on

read for a while write for a bit

& all that changed

she taught me her chicken stroganoff

to leave me sleeping sated

off to her home other life

breakfast & kids to school

full fridge drawings stuck on the front

while I woke understanding

I was not a better person

try singing that to the tune

some of my favourite things

places I’ve seen been

that felt like my true home

corner of the street waiting to cross

disused garage fading paint

advertisement for tyres French midi

sleeping hearing the sea on the beach Alicante

mom & pop restaurant orange county

Chinese place off’f powell san francisco

madames under the pines sud atlantique

nights beer & pool Williams ariz.

bright angel trail grand canyon

Italian deli’ Victoria london

corner of estefeta pamplona

Dusseldorf sitting by the Rhine

watching the barges

Berlin misty night walking in the cold

roast pork greens sauerkraut hamburg

climbing the castle Leon in the bright sun

try singing that to the tune of my favourite things

Julie Andrews

slight ritual

burning photographs

I could not quit you

many times I tried

& the last time

I burned your photograph

slight ritual

down there at the beach

ashes to the water

take you away

way out of reach

& pleased to say

all of that worked

all I have of you now

are pictures

half ideas in my head

time can never bleach