some guilt

woke me around three

I was thinking of you

or was it you

how I pushed

you away

you to leave me

not knowing then

how to bring bad things

to a good end

if I was cruel

I hope you know

if I could

have done better

you would have been

the first person

I’d show


poor choices made

tip toe

caught in her fly paper

she wanted me to go

& I did not yet

want to leave

intuition feeling in my bones

someone else was gonna show

as her eyebrows got higher

voice shifted from low

& sure enough

just as I turned the corner

in he came

it’s a sick feeling

to be right in these ways

churning the gut

head spinning to know

all of this for nothing

more poor choices made

care poured onto barren ground

go visit

they never asked

so I never told them

what it cost


for me to go visit

to try & stay with them

to put myself aside

pretend to forget

for the few hours

we got to play happy families

but always too soon

the cracks would open up

pretence would wear thin

stories would be told

& if I wasn’t quick enough

to slow these down

the sadism would shine through

& I’d have to leave again

all quiet sneaking up

they come to me

in the small hours

all quiet sneaking up

& flying soft tears

at having not been


the things they wanted

to be

when they were here

seeking comfort

some sense of their years

left behind

& me to forget

the things they said

the hurt from then

poured into punches

verbal physical

& the surprise is

they are still poor listeners

for concerns other

than their own

but now I find

it is easy to ask them to leave

point them towards the light

they could not find

then or now

some slight ceremony

a cheap room paid by the week

there along the shore

& the landlady did not bother

in the least

I found a piece of driftwood

beaten by tides time the sand

brought it to what was home

let it dry a day or two

just outside the door

dragged it in set it up on the drawer

became my meditation piece

something to stare at

until the landlady came knocking

that piece of wood is stinking

smells of dead seaweed

if you keep it indoors

I’m going to have to ask you

to leave

that night I dragged it back

whence it came

some slight ceremony

pushed it back into the waves

watched it float

disappear from view

made my way back to my cheap room

meditated on the empty drawer

for a little while

feeling I could not leave

too soon

good habits die easy bad habits die hard

I’d be lying there in her bed

whoever the her was tonight

the room would be cold

or way too hot

& I’d be goldilocksing

for my own sheets

get up & go home

kissing them on the cheek

you go to sleep

sure I’ll be in touch

seemed they were

not much fussed

about that either

until now

been with the same woman

for quite a while

& I’m lying there

thinking of fixing the truck

that patch of paint caught by the rain

& she asks if everything is ok

yeah I say it’s nothing

thought I heard something

stir in the night

tell me the right time please

you didn’t leave when we broke the furniture

to burn to keep warm

when we lay in bed frost on the windows

not getting up until we were forced

by knocks at the door hunger pains

coming home finding the place burgled

anything left of value we had gone

insurance? really? please

the police knocking the door on our dangerous dog

eating out of date food packets from friends

hitching to get around no money for gas

bus trains or lunch until we got home again

& he goes on for a while more

but when he was getting himself together

was when she said goodbye

& I hadn’t the heart to say just mebbe

just mebbe she’d gone as far as she could

with the all of that trial & tribulations

as far she could & when you were getting safe

your feet finally on good ground

she felt was a good time to go

& as the night wore on

he had worn himself to a halt in his litany

I did get to ask please tell me if you can

just when

is ever the right time?