my thanks go to Nigel

the sickly musical kid

who first got me

to put these words together

make my own lines

I was the roughhouse kid

the out & about’er

& Nigel was the indoors kind

the kid who couldn’t

absent from school

more than he was there

he’d get me to mime along

as he played his guitars & songs

early Beatles hits

derivative Stones & blues

& now he’s married

to a rock star

got them a couple of kids

if you mentioned my name

passed on my thanks

I feel sure

he’d say


no fuss

the all of it & that

they said they were looking for talent

while I was looking another way

something that might work to capture me

I got the high priests of poetry

understood the all of it & that

the rhymes they were setting out to do

while I was searching the streets

listening to what they called low lifes

spitting out their heart felt poison bars

crazy at what had been done to them

poverty pain prison working blues

the nearest I got were the war poets

& even then the lines they sung

were distant detached highbrow lost

I was looking for words that hummed

sang of me & you walking broke

unable to eat the high yellow sunset

worrying about the shoes on our feet

hanging on in until tomorrow comes

but that don’t sell in the bookstores

draw in the crowds make fortunes

help make my teachers & me to meet

spitting it out

she talks of anxiety

& mental illness

coming on

how she hopes to get by

without falling

into that steep dark hole

& I’m listening

I always do

even if my mind is wandering

to times

I hadn’t a clue

what the next day would bring

more hunger more pain

no money blues

the times where I learned

there is no referee umpire

to even up the game

make play fair rules

& getting up

to fall over again

was all I could do

to mark the days

as foolishness

don’t ever forget

I remember you

will remember you

until the last breath

I breathe

& I know you had to go

felt every reason to leave

but know too

I was true to you

that askew point of view

you had

was only the blues

wailing low in your thoughts

& what you mistook

as foolishness

were only

this poor boys attempts

trying to be loving

& kind

some days

the abyss stares back

days there was nothing

walking to & from school

the park

going to bed

waking up

the only thing holding me

was me there in the dark

beyond boredom

loneliness left behind

walking up the stairs

only to pass down again

& they asked if I had the blues

& I said I wished it were

at least then

I’d have a name

something I could cling to

you can tell them clear

but not if they don’t want to hear

you can tell them clear

until your voice becomes hoarse

your face turns puce

the blues have got me today

nailed me to the floor

& you hear them in a smile

say sweetly

oh that’s just not you

have a shower get a shave

pull yourself together move on

to another

I loved you baby

but that feeling is long gone

our paths heading different

it is time to call it a day

& you hear her say

oh its just a rough patch

lets just try over again

& that’s when you realize

who feels who is important here

& who

has to walk away

gets the blues

I’d walk the concrete

along the sea shore

feeling like a fish needing a school

looking out at the lights passing ships

sitting in dock pubs bars

nursing a long beer

hoping for something

anything to happen

occasionally the door would open

to people who had lost their way

some random looking for low life

finding it

bringing attitude

the world & its brother

could bounce off

other nights sitting watching

the neon bar sign blink off


wanting divination

this is how it is

will be

waiting for the sun

to bring the light

end to these blues

not understanding then

not everybody gets the blues

or survives them