take away

take away the pain

the loving of you brings

aching of earning a living

the misgivings mistrust

exchange for singing

late in the night

long journeys together

never making our destinations

same time

same place

ever never

again & again

not a quitter

she was a great girl

kept me satisfied nights warm & rested

days sliding by sitting in her kitchen

talking of the world tides habits rides

& then

chopping logs for the winter stove

twisted my back couldn’t lift a roll

staggered back inside

she applied ointments potions unguents salves

laid me flat on the floor massaged my spine

left me needing so much more

& then

I slept fitfully until morning came

made it to the crapper

praying for rain holding on to anything

escape the pain

came the time for paper needing be done

& I couldn’t twist reach area one

& for a minute I wondered pondered on

could I ask? would she?

I made it to do what I had to do

flushed walked unsteady out of there

laughing some

you ok? what’s the matter? she asked

all concerned & I said back soft

just be very grateful

I am not a quitter hon’

mr. parker

my art teacher

the man listened

looked at what I did

sure there were other kids there

making better representations

in life sketches & paint

while I flung down

trying to force fat fingers

shape stuff from my head

& this cat got it

understood the frustration

of getting it down

the ideas vision

even if the flesh was weak

he was willing to follow

& that was good for a while

but like all jealous lost adults

children have to have hierarchy

& they thought themselves

better than me

surrounded the artist

to let no one else in

looking over their shoulders

thinking only they

could love the man

needed the attention he had

one foot low

I’ve walked away before

one foot low

in front of the other

treading time slow

wishing hoping

for a turnaround

which is not to say

I felt nothing

if I walked away the hurting

heading for the horizon

looking for newer songs

& I will do this again

when or if

the scenery fades

the curtain falls

leaving nothing

but cold rain

hurt & pain

I owe it to me

you owe this to you

to get up & walk away

don’t let people

give you poor love

let you down again

to roll me on the ground

curled up in a chair

guts rotting in pain

the quack gave me pills

to ease my days again

& finally stuck a tube

down my neck with a camera

confirmed I had ulcers

but now they got a cure

for helicobacter pylori

& sure enough

those gut aches went away

but now I had a headache

tight shoulders stiff neck

the doc had run out of ideas

wanted to give stress pills

suggested I examine my life

& he was a wise old man

because I was thinking

it was my woman

playing around

ignoring me

giving the gut aches

pains in the neck

these witch doctors eh?

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