too gay

playing Puck

Shakespeare’s midsummer night

dream

end of year school play

there in borrowed pantyhose

crouched spouting

on a painted mushroom

caught in a spotlights gleam

expectations for the audience

to steal the show

& afterwards

walking home alone

not allowed to take the bow

end of all the scenes

& maybe

this was just too gay

for the old man to swallow

his boy painted in tan tights

up on the stage

& never mind the applause

the praise

all that just goes to hollow

when at the end of the night

you have to go home

& it is

just another day

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tenuate

she’d go see the doctor

get her diet pills

say she was putting on pounds

turn those dark eyes on the dude

& the prescription

was cheaper than eating

we’d be pin eyed for weeks

dropping weight days nights

talking talking talking

going here & there

walking walking walking

& nobody would employ me

looking at those pinwheel eyes

that house is knocked down now

I went back to take a look

& the quacks won’t give out the dospan

no matter the fluttery dark eyes

all that beauty caught on the hook

how thin need it be?

looking through some photographs

the old kind

you keep inside a drawer

out of light

out of sight

for fear of fading

& I found some drawings

he gave me

back when we were friends

could hold a conversation two

& I was tempted to throw

much like he did me

last time our paths met

since we’d spoken the time before

shit had come to light he felt

on who I was more

& all I felt was sorrow

I’d taken him as he came

never looking for others

to confirm deny my judgement

hear stories of shame

& how thin

need friendships be?

if like old photographs

we keep them out of sight

out of light

for fear of shading

by another’s sun

let’s see what the night brings

I noticed the car parked outside

fella inside looked interested in me

going out coming in

otherwise he seemed to sit still

not smoking reading

breathing it seemed

& she rang later in the day

I threw my husband out

I’m free to see you now

oh that was unexpected

but tell me as I never asked before

what does he look like?

tall thin south American

going grey at the temples

faint kind of moustache

is he good at sitting still

doing nothing it seems?

oh yes! she cried

he was excellent at that

so when will I see you again?

oh don’t worry about all that

I murmured down the phone

let’s see what the night brings

first

wants to know

she wants to know

why?

& I try to give her answers

it is like this

because

you give them certainty

give them all of you

for free no fee

& that takes away

their hope

because they know

they haven’t got

what you do

are & be

never can

never will

& instead

it becomes easier

for them to hate you

rubbish your time effort

undermine you

because that

makes you the same

as them

in their heads

it’ll come to you

somewhere out in the woods

by the thin river

I found the old man

sitting loose

leaning against a stump

whittling on a piece of tree

he smiled asked of me

you got any water son?

so I settled nearby

I’m making me a stick he told

to help me get out of here

ran out of water

kind of everything really

I thought I was easy

forgot I was no longer spry

the things they don’t tell you

about this getting old

is it all catches up on you

taking an easy walk in the woods

becomes a trial

something life threatening

y’know?

but I was young then

could only smile offer help

he took the water

& fell into step

as we walked out to safety

for him

while for me it was only

to a place I’d been

not to interfere

Bar Ato Huesca

mebbe 2 in the afternoon

I’d driven through the pyrennees

needed food

& I belly up to the bar

say cerveza por favour

& the man goes wha?

with his hand to his ear

&  i repeat cerveza por favor presion

& the pantomime goes on

so I point at the pump

do my own mimic indicate small

& he poured me a beer

later I suggest raciones?

point to olives meatballs in tomato

chorizo swimming in oil

he brings me bread & a fork

& all becomes good in the world

just as at the end of the bar

another pale anglo comes in

she walks up slow

looking around nervous

says un café con leche

por favor

& the mime act starts over again

as suddenly I get it

for these Spanish locals

we are too quiet

undemanding & shy

here you need volume

to beat the background noise

silently I urge her to shout

as I’ve learned the hard way

not to interfere

as her gaze sweeps over me

just another unhelpful man

in this world of sweated boys