stripped away

everything

got stripped away

parents

homes

toys

clothes

until

there was nothing

left

not even dignity

just cold empty air

& now

you wonder why

I carry confidence

everywhere I go

when you’ve been left

with nothing

you learn

everything

is an up

today

standing in a room

no warning on the packet

I find myself feeling loss

standing in a room

staring out the window

feeling some dread for nothing

as I wonder where you are

there was no warning

anywhere on the packet

I know ‘cos I searched

high & low

not wanting these emotions

expecting them

after the day I fell for you

I’m happy getting the highs

but these dips when you go away

loss & less in empty rooms

were unexpected

empty

sick of it

the thoughtlessness

denial of responsibility

waste of time & energy

& all she needed

was to accept her part

but no

obfuscations

feelings & nay sayings

refusal to understand

this was down to her

& I feel shit

because I heard a false note

did nothing to stop the action

& now we are come to this

feeling like shit

not wanting to be around

empty

I was taken

much against my will

Sunday mornings to listen

fidgeting ill

the glory of god & those who preach

& I listened good

there was nothing else to do

& what seemed to be missing

was those preaching love

had so little to give

wanted me to applaud

the cold hands reproach in every look

waving aloft the good book

taking the money given

offering too oft recited feeble words back

& those who took me there

when I looked in their cupboards

well

you know the story there

richard comes around again

he comes around again

needing a drink

strong if available

as again

he has drunk anything

everything at home

but he won’t ask outright

for this is a social visit

& I’m too much not a sadist

to punish

drag it out

so after a few minutes

of strained silence

I offer

& he takes

everything changes

after that first sip

he has words

ideas

things to do in life

but too quickly that goes

as he sits & eyes the dead glass

its betrayal of being empty

& I fill again

again

until an hour

maybe two later

he goes

he never reciprocates

brings a bottle

why would he?

after all

all this is

is a chat between friends

c’mere baby

I’d get in half six in the a.m.

after doing things I’d prefer not to

but all that paid the rent

the many other things a man needs

& she’d wriggle over

give me some of her warmth

before she went off to work

we were living for the weekend

something we’d promised ourselves

the life that we would never do

& some Saturday nights we’d go out

or early she’d whisper c’mere baby

& that meant we’d never go out

at all

I’d lay there afterwards empty

as a man ever gets

not thinking of the half six a.m. Monday

the things a man has to do

to pay the monthly rent

just lying back beside his best girl

blowing smoke sipping beers

the world at rest

content

to break a man further

days between the sheets

plotting my return to the world

lost in what had happened so far

& hoping the future

would not turn out the same

& he comes to my door wanting change

I ain’t got nothing but some ideas for you I venture

as his mouth turns down at the tips

look all I want is enough for a drink

ok ok I say but first lets help you think

I put some work your way

just how did that go?

weeeell it kinda didn’t

y’know I made the first day

then she got sick & the dog

crapped on the carpet

the car wouldn’t start

& well, y’know how it goes…

I turn out my pockets wide

got some fine blue lint here

few crumbs from an old cigar I found

you hurting too? he ventures

eyes scoping the room

see what might be around

yeah, I might be, I say

just not maybe in the way you are

mine is a different down

& he leaves muttering to himself

how he might be broke

but there is just no need

to break a man further to the ground