31 August 2017

Any Burden


I’m in chemical confinement

l a s t ..o f f.. t h e.. b l o c k s

held in a generous solution

replete with aspic crown

maybe something I said

crossed that invisible line

I offered them contrition

but they just tied me down

I’ve got no padded cell

just a padded mind

this way’s more humane

and so it would seem

to the casual observer

but if he scratched the surface

the observer just might find

there’s more to skinning cats

than first meets the eye

I want more human rights

and far less human wrongs

I waited up all night

by the telephone

when finally you called

I said I wasn’t home

I didn’t feel no better

and I was still alone

but I’d bear any burden

and I very often do

I’d even commit a murder

if I could only get to you

*Image: portrait of the author as a young man


30 August 2017

Dirty Feet


me and my dirty feet do well enough

our stony egress from domestic strife

was sanctioned by our physician

and relayed by express riders

across the kitchen table

in a flourish of insult and injury

but we made good with smiles

and the enduring trace elements

of lithium and freshly squeezed irony

this was a bitter lunch, a scant repast

that cost too much


29 August 2017



I’m coming clean

cause it’s good for my soul

I stole them words from a cracker box

I’m leaving town on a bus later on

a circuitous route through the badlands

throw any blood hounds off my trail

I never liked it here anyway, it’s a shithole

the folk round here never took to me

some people say that I’m vain

but I never claimed to be perfect

I like myself if that’s what they mean

when it comes to me I’m biased

some distrust me cause I have no soul

but when push comes to shove I’m honest

don’t you go thinking I’m running away

it’s just that I’m allergic to lynch mobs

and when they find out just what I did

they’ll come to an early consensus

that I am no longer meant for this world

but loving someone was never a crime

whatever the difference in status

just to be sure that you understand

it wasn’t the act, but the feelings

I left her in tears, but its better this way

a life on the lam is no life at all

when you’re young and receiving a baby


27 August 2017

The Power Of Speech


where do you get your sharps?

I need to know they’re clean

I’m allergic to dirty things

so don’t touch my pistol

unless you wash your hands

I get more trouble that way

than opposable thumbs allow

your voice sounds kinda thin

hold it up to the light for me

because I know about these things

I know what you were on the inside

you were a lavatory superintendent

and a bona fide shit herder

there’s no shame in that my friend

many a named player shovelled shit

I’m the prescient son of a prescient son

And I’d have had the readies handy

if I had only foreseen their coming

so spill me that trick you do

when you’re bombed out

down under the bleachers

it’s cheap seats for me and you

until we can fashion key holes

and the necessary certificates

to get us from here to there

wherever here or there is

I know you think you know me

but that’s unlikely to be the case

somethings are unknowable

and others have matching luggage

but irregular identities carved in haste

presumably out of dubious necessity

those spectators who crowd us out

at the soup kitchen

I pay them to stare at me

it forces me to remain spectacle

in a world that rains disappointment

but I’m over all that for the time being

except for the embarrassment

and the sudden deep coil reflex

when someone mentions her name

I know you don’t mean nothing by it

so don’t give it a second thought

I only called to reassure you

that I still have the power of speech


25 August 2017



deep inside your psycho tenement

where I have eaten sacred roots

you store up secret treasures

of dirty lies and bitter truths

I did not return for your disclosure

I have long since ceased to care

I wanted nothing more from you

than the paper that sets me loose

why did I settle for an inventory

of sorry tales and damaged goods?

you turned me out a disappointment

and you served me dog’s abuse

you thought of me as an appendage

to your sycophantic retinue

those were days that I’ll remember

though they’ve ceased to be of use

they left a trace of disappointment

that would linger on for years

but I don’t hold all that against you

I know you couldn’t help yourself

So please don’t furnish an excuse

besides, I left that shit behind me

and I do not miss the stench

so strike me from your book of names

where you list the details and address

of easy marks and diverse suckers

those indolent backsiders

and the hysterically obtruse

who pay your fares

and pay them gladly

for the promise of a fondle

or a surreptitious kiss

don’t confuse me with those losers

cause you ceased to be of interest

when I first realised the truth

I’m not the fool you made me

back when I was just a youth

I don’t associate with wankers

nor do I hang around with thieves

I no longer want inside your knickers

you’ve long since lost your mystique


23 August 2017

Your Favourite Lover


Three’s crowd darlin’

Did no one tell you that?

Three caused more murders

Than greed ever done

And baby that’s a fact

There’s a man odour in here

Like the smell of dying dogs

You better burn those sheets

Cause they’ve been spoiled for me

There’s only room for one man here

So who’s it going to be?


When I first met you baby

Five or six years ago

You didn’t have a clue

But my how you have grown

Have you gone all femme fatale?

Is this a game you’ve been playing?

Well the fun and games end now

Don’t waste your time explaining

You better make your mind up

Or I’ll have to set you free

Who’s your favourite lover

Is it him or is it me?


21 August 2017



There was a crock of shit at the end of my rainbow. That’s the very first time I was gifted anything for nothing. There’s irony in that statement cause brothers and sisters – nothing, not even shit, ever comes for free. I was once an archdeacon for the diocese of no hopers, now I’m a bagman for the combine. I collect what’s due them from the people of the parish. They shell out a little corn to those who’re in need and I gather the proceeds. I just come from stoving Fat Eddie’s face in. I get a little vexed when people don’t pay. For one thing I’m supposed to – it’s the nature of my job and for another I’m on a slice of the trim. It’s in my own interests that the punters cough up; so if they don’t then things can get rough.

Fat Eddie’s wife asked who gave me the right. I told her I was free to do as I pleased. She told me my freedom was an obscenity while I helped keep my neighbours in chains. That was something to contemplate; however briefly, I’m no philosopher so I wouldn’t know. I just do my job and don’t think about it, because in my line of work thinking doesn’t pay. If it was up to me there’d be no collections and we’d all live in peace like the good Lord says. But it isn’t up to me, so I do what I have to. Whatever it takes to keep my head above water. Times are tough and they’re getting tougher. I just play the game. I don’t make the rules.

Some local loser followed me from Eddie’s. My tracks were still warm and revealed my bloody feet. This joker tried to tap me right there on the corner. I said I don’t do loans, I only collect them, but I gave him a sawbuck for temporary relief. My good deed done, I was soon on my way. I had places to go and people to meet. Business is booming on account of the recession. People are hard pressed, but they still have to eat.

They said I was a sociopath and a menace to society when they locked me up and lost the key. I just do my job to the best of my ability and hope that it’s enough to keep my people off the street. We all do what we think we have to. That’s the nature of the game we all play. We are all of us slaves to the system and no matter what they say none of us are free.


19 August 2017

4:15 am


a good night’s rest, so they say

is the next best thing to sleep

but I can’t stay still long enough

to get me some relief

I close my eyes on the world

to reveal a world within

I can’t divert my mind

from the thoughts

that are keeping me awake

I try my best every night

you don’t know how hard I try

there’s just no ease in the dark

but that’s the nature of the beast

the quirt cuts deep, yes it does

and won’t grant me no release

it’s a long slow death, so it is

when all I need’s a little peace




I wish you’d take your can of worms and collect your dirty sheets. I don’t care where you go, or if you pound the streets. Why don’t you gather your scant belongings, it really shouldn’t take you long. Just stick them in a plastic bag and leave me the fuck alone. I hate to show such indifference, but I’ve really had my fill. You only come here anyway when you have time to kill.

I’m sick and tired of you and the dramas you enact. I simply want you gone and now; please don’t ever come back. Whatever thrills tomorrow brings you won’t involve me. In any case your idea of fun is very rarely free. I’m tired of your misadventures and the hassle they entail. So I’ll no longer be there to bail you out of jail.

You’d best delete my number; I won’t be answering your calls. I’ve got other folk to talk to and they won’t roast my balls. I see you smashed the bathroom mirror. Did your reflection cause offence? Or was it just another case of psychotic self defence? I cut my feet on the shards you left, but it’s the last I’ll bleed for you. Your next donor stands in line for the abuse he’s no doubt due.

You can raise a glass in fond remembrance for all the shit that we have done. You know it really makes no difference, cause in a moment you’ll be gone. Last night was the last time you’ll sleep beneath my roof. I can’t say I’m going to miss you. It wouldn’t be the truth.


18 August 2017

Tread Softly


I just dummy up these days. No one cares to hear what I have to say. But I have seen what I have seen and I know what I know. I have witnessed our faint progress beneath remote uncaring stars and I know that we are bound to them by forces beyond our comprehension. The life of man, a single man, is of little significance in the great tide of events. Epochs have come and gone to leave no trace but fossilised remains in The Museum Of Natural History.

What shall I bequeath I wonder to those who come after me? Will some trace of my love linger still in the hearts of my progeny? I have no wisdom to impart them, no great insights to share. I doubt if I’ve had a single original thought in my entire life. If I could leave them anything it would be this advice; tread softly through this world, but don’t take the same route twice.


17 August 2017



it’s the stony silence

the morning after

a savage beating

the night before

it’s that fragile feeling

of quake and tremble

and those crimson stains

on the killing floor

the dawn reveals

the shameful secret

of blackened eyes

and fractured jaw

the sacrificial lamb

was led to slaughter

under dismal skies

by a man of straw

it’s a mouthful of ashes

and a handful of nothing

but the familiar lies

from his bloody maw


13 August 2017

Shadow Dogs

Black Dog

for those we are about to deceive

may the profits make us truly grateful

and though we have been known

to fold our cards too early

we still catch them worms

cause there ain’t no flies on us

we was gifted twice in this life

as exponents of those killer graces

that grant us immunity from persecution

and with the promise of our chosen names

sanctified through industrial language

to never reveal our source code

or the identities of our sponsors

we was once foreign to the combine

and now we are its masters

long may we continue thus

in the pursuit of power

through knowledge

and to orchestrate the game

from the safety of the shadows


11 August 2017

God’s Own Medicine


send for a physician

one who can prescribe

god’s own medicine

a scripture green and gold

a liturgy soft and splendid

the only prescription

that’s good for the soul

I’m just an old fart

trading in words

just six feet away

from the bone yard

and a long way from home

some temporary relief

is all I can hope for

god’s own medicine

does that for me


7 August 2017



There was arsenic in his voice, boozy and bitter with recrimination, dark and foreboding as a winter storm. He was hostage to his fate; tied down by a wife and mewling brats and locked into the mundane drama of domestic life. His only succour was the drink that made him mean and the memories that only fuelled his dissatisfaction.

He was something of a philosopher when drunk – but his homilies smelled of meat and murder, and his declarations were as brutal as his hands. His facts were plain as his daily bread – his fictions as transparent as his liquor. He seemed to sup from that poisoned cup that twists at a man’s insides. He spewed forth a venomous mixture of sarcasm and bile that burned the ears and shamed the listener. I can honestly say I never knew him. I never saw beyond the disguise. He was an enigma to me and a puzzle to my heart was my old man.


6 August 2017

Jesus Is Waiting


3 am again

and my mechanism

is stretched to breaking

tore a line from scripture

blessed are the poor in spirit

for they are on their tod

they haunt the early hours

searching for their God

but you know what they say

you’re never really alone

when you have a good book

solace comes in many forms

so I read the testaments

in search of consolation

and have been informed

that Jesus is waiting

but he can’t come

to the phone right now


1 August 2017

Bicycle Thieves


you were famous

for the snatch and flight

the derailleur gears

and the headlights bright

those diamond drapes

with shiny stud collars

sharp as razor bills

in assorted colours

you always knew the score

where to be

and not to be seen

where to chore

and get away clean

you knew just how to come and go

those blanket ropes

and midnight runs

that only we would know

we captains of the road

were bicycle thieves

catch as catch can

the vagabond heroes

of numerous misdemeanours

and villains to a man

authors of a petty crime wave

diminutive in scale

but we had a grander plan

for staying out of jail

we all had our allegiances

we swore not to betray 

but as form follows function

just as all things must decay

we were merely chocolate outlaws

who would one day melt away