She stands up,
“Do you like this dress?”
I push past, buy another drink.
She comes over,
I go to kiss her.
“So what was that?” she says,
“Are you sober?”
She pulls me to my feet.
We’re through the door,
into the evening light.
I half turn.
She walks away,
lost in the night.
It’s Saturday night all over the country,
the dance floor is almost empty.
And on we go, talk about things,
I don’t know what,
She uncrossed her legs,
passed me a cigarette
we exchange numbers, this and that.
“So you’re a photographer then?”
“Do you want some pictures sometime?”
I look across at the fruit machine.
Then start something
and forget what I’m saying.
And if I had answers,
I have lost them.
Once there was an ancient inn,
a world as it used to be,
a welcomed change.
I thought and dreamt,
past dark trees,
the world as it used to be.
A man and his dog beside a fire,
smoke into the woodland climbing.
In fairy tales we go back in time,
through the leaves light filters down.
I was with some girl,
past the bouncers on the door.
I rush into the busy day,
I need a thought
to take my thinking away.
Outside the house,
I’m in the car, texting;
she can’t change me or my history.
Whatever sadness she brings,
she’s been a good friend.
Every day I get up, go for a drink,
and back into bed I sink.
It was the middle of July,
felt like April;
I was thinking slowly.
And under city streets, just like this one,
run networks which are hidden.
And in the skies, a false intelligence
Someone will bring it down,
it could happen;
I’ll break into the local police station,
get back my keys that were taken.
Her brain is worse than mine,
has a faulty imagination,
believes in her star-sign.
She confuses her thoughts,
and out she goes, with anyone,
can’t get back in, left her bag behind,
makes plans that never happen
lies and tells the truth at the same time,
is cheerful in a depressed kind of way;
I can’t tell where she draws the line.
She watches the world on reality TV,
buys her life on eBay.
In the bar, there she is, looking away.
She gets up, I don’t look across,
give her the satisfaction
of ignoring me.
You think about her life
and how she sees it.
Are we real, or do we imagine it?
We all go mad in different ways:
waking up, naked and flying
in night skies
over leaning stones,
through the park
and across the tennis court.
She lay across the sofa,
one curve went into another.
What I noticed most were my thoughts;
I looked at you and changed my mind.
I pulled you close,
I want all of you this time.
you don’t mind if I do.
I love you tonight,
but one day won’t.
I travel, troubled;
along the track I carry the load,
walk away from those I love,
leave myself unsettled.
I’m going back to where I last saw you.
The pain is inside me
and visible too.
Writers express what they are in words,
photographers in pictures.
“Who’s that, then?
What’s that, then?
Oh, has it? How’s that? She was pissed.
I went out with her last week,
to shut her up
She’s got a boyfriend, then?
So who was that?
The thing was to get her to cheer me up.
It probably won’t happen.
I wouldn’t say definitely,
the thing is, she came round again.”
In the night, a hot-dog van.
She slipped behind,
came out of her clothes,
I give her a hand.
I stayed a night or two,
You don’t stop loving someone
just because you are no longer seeing them;
Love is difficult to define.
Under the broken skies
that blow across the lands,
a chapel beneath the waters
where children with echoing voices run.
Above the waves, gulls;
windmills turn on the seven hills.
Dreams tell us about ourselves.
Tonight the world is magical;
your thighs, my face, your hips, my hands,
your thoughts full of desire.
We fought together, back together,
back and forth forever.
The stars are climbing the skies,
the gods are present everywhere.
It’s a miracle life is here at all.
Along to the bus-stop,
and on to the weekend I go over.
Kitchen full of dishes,
rooms full of spilt drinks,
on the roof her lost dress.
There’ll be something to talk about
when she’s sober,
says she won’t do it again,
uses the same words as last time.
And who’s going to love you through the winter,
buy you things from the charity shop,
have you back when you’ve been unfaithful?
You never quite know with the people you know.
And that one in the spare room, explain.
So where’s that key, then?
The road goes over the horizon.
The mirrored wall in the hotel foyer
reflected the room;
here we once stayed,
I couldn’t know this was to be the last time.
I knew where we might find a pub,
outside, broken glass,
movement at the bar,
up-turned chairs in the garden.
The door opened,
she’s fallen pregnant again,
comes across the floor.
“Are you getting one in for my friend?
She really fancies you, she likes her men.”
In the graveyard, after dark,
our bodies close to the bodies
that no longer walk.
In time she stands,
pulls down her skirt,
and under her finger-nail
fiddles with a bit of dirt.
Time runs in one direction;
I want to know that everyone I have loved
who has died,
is not alone.
At the start of summer
the car was gone from the driveway.
She arrived last year, legs up to here.
One day I’ll find someone as lovely,
do a movie, a pizza,
buy some garage flowers,
go home, walk arm in arm
past an unmarked police car.
A dog was barking on the night,
my heart ached,
and along the sea-front
she lost one of her shoes.
I thought about those boys
The night passes over the hill.
We have recurring dreams;
and if there’s a God, we see it in other people.
The brain becomes what we think,
so none of us can help any of it.
In her gaze a disturbing power;
and under the foaming sea a fire.
It was windy through the night;
a rainbow rose with the morning light.
The stairs that led down
go up along the balcony.
That night, I felt I hadn’t slept,
was swimming with the dolphins;
in the sadness of the sea
they take care of me.
The world is just the same for the famous,
it’s only the way you are treated that changes.
Those who are successful
represent those who are not.
The paparazzi line the streets.
I breathe in the same air as her,
my clothes smell of her perfume.
I kiss her warm breath,
her body is a perfect size.
This is a popular place
for cheating couples to stay over,
and there’s people without jobs,
making money sat at the bar.
I looked down and saw you walking up.
The universe is mostly movement and light
and at the end of life,
we become transparent
God is either there, or not.
I’m exactly right or absolutely wrong;
into space we are sent.
The garden opened up into a wilderness.
From one end to the other we walked
into the vanishing day;
she smiled, because she was young.
The trees gently move on the skyline.
Along the dusty track a traveller;
he spoke of troubles coming from afar,
mighty storms and winds;
I put money into his hand.
A magpie takes flight.
You’re not going in that pub,
I’ve seen all sorts from where I am.
I awoke thinking of something,
then back into sleep again.
In the gallery across the road
they’re showing photographs.
And above the busy street
the sky goes on forever.
There’s no evidence of life outside life;
we don’t continue;
but you stay young in a picture.
We had evenings in hotel bars
late night conversations in parked cars,
felt the emptiness that follows physical passion.
Along the road it’s early morning,
there’s flats for sale
that can’t be sold.
And onto your hand I hold,
your body leaning in.
Every land mass comes to an end.
The waves shimmer like diamonds,
sand blows along the wind-swept shore.
In our changing world, on our faces
shadows and lines deepen.
Into the mirror she glances,
we all age at the same speed.
I stopped for petrol and chocolate,
see how my car’s looking,
see how I’m looking.
Someone draws up,
you only have to glance at someone
not to like them.
I walk to the fruit-machine along the pier.
And in the TV bar
the players are in at half-time,
the stadium lights shine,
the night skies darkening behind.
And when will the people watching football
realise they’ve seen it all before?
How did I get here, sat alone
when my friend is drinking with nice-looking her,
takes a photo on his mobile, heads together,
puts his hand on her knee:
“You’re having a nice time, aren’t you?”
It seems she’s not happy, unless I’m missing her.
I am mostly at home,
when I’m home I’m there.
And if you’ve got the time,
Come back to me,
I’m so tired;
You could text a line.
I knocked on her door,
saw her through the window,
she rents the lower flat.
The sea flows out, travels back;
you taste the salt.
It’s a cloudless day, the sea is up.
She lies along the breakwater,
with her bottle of suntan oil.
Everything transmits and absorbs
the world around it.
Beyond the beach shop
selling teas in white cups,
the trees sway.
I was naked under a car,
it’s one in the morning, outside a bar.
I was the rebel, unpredictable;
it takes a life-time for someone to know you.
And when she lifts her hand she wears a ring.
I reckon she takes it off in the evening.
I’m looking for her,
in and out of cafés,
in and out of parties.
Among the mountains,
castles, oak doors, marble floors,
and, at dusk, faint voices,
and on the tables, wine and candles;
outside, battles and wars.
Against the dying light
And over she comes
and says she’s had it.
In her bag a small lipstick.
“Most people have had it,
so are you interested?”
“I’ll tell you something,
I’ve done something stupid.
The money, I’ve got it,
but it’s in my other trouser pocket.”
The sky has an end-of-the-world feel,
I am walking along the horizon;
my feet feel distant from my thoughts.
She will, I know, break my heart, like everyone.
Every sunrise brings a new day,
every sunset takes it away.
And at dawn upon the estate, the sun will rise again,
beyond the dustbin and the orange crate.
I know my way about
when it comes to women.
We go from pub to club,
have a rubbish night out.
In the corner an unplugged TV;
the stripper bends over,
you sit next to me.
She buys me a drink, I touch her face,
she closes her eyes, I look back at you.
Come tomorrow, I will be with some other.
Then along the sea-front, back to the club bar.
Someone notices me with the camera.
Her thoughts come in from another place.
Life whispers her name
from the vastness of space;
she feels I control her thoughts
where everything is connected,
and maybe it is.
Art has rhythms and echoes,
like themselves but not themselves.
Later that evening, she walks home;
over the stone wall
onto the flower beds, the sun shone
and from the lawn I carried drinks
from outside back in.
And when she danced,
her bra strap showed.
My arms slid under hers;
by morning we were on the road.
When I was young I would meet the girls,
take them home or something.
Each atom is not alive,
so what is consciousness,
makes me what I am?
We are inside and outside everything;
no one understands the world,
I’m caught in the past:
I wander about the house,
it is run-down.
I think about the next drink
and the one just gone.
I lean against an unmarked door.
You don’t think with language;
I watch the dance floor,
didn’t fancy anyone,
wasn’t bothered not being with her.
And in the morning,
I go in and out of myself,
sometimes sad, then happy.
Had a tablet halfway out the home.
My doctor said I should be on them.
Before last orders
she flew through the door backwards.
Along the street I walked beside her.
I’ve seen men alone
and girls on their own,
and when I’m dancing, I usually ask
are you with anyone?
The party’s on.
“Shame your bloke’s not turned up.”
“Haven’t heard from him,
my phone’s been working.
I want my tenner back.”
She wasn’t listening when I was talking,
that’s the trouble with women.
104, 19 Jul 2017
And when I’m in her bed-sit
she leans back and turns off the light.
And in the kitchen there’s fifty pence on the fridge.
I’ll put the blind up Monday,
the mattress outside some day.
She comes up; tells me who she’s going to be
and who she’s met, she’s so transparent;
believes that, if she doesn’t talk about herself,
she might vanish.
I love her, you can tell.
And when she walks she sparkles,
draws money from the cash-point,
turns, goes back on her word, argues.
All day thinking about her,
into the wet shining night we go,
into the Sky Sports bar:
it comes off the post again,
falls to a defender.
The lads come along the streets,
followed by the girls
texting on their mobiles.
The better looking you are
the more they stare.
I came in on a boat, the sea in the boat,
beyond the off-shore islands, a shining light.
The sky goes a long way up,
The sea flows both ways; we let out the rope.
Along the sands pebbles, driftwood;
up and down the skies, the days float.
I see you in your coat; I have to have it,
till one day, there’ll be nothing more to own.
Then I will rid myself of everything,
look at the stars from an empty room.
I notice you walk past me again.
It’s easy to see someone is special
if you don’t really know them.
It’s December: the tree’s up,
the lights are on.
Outside, the snow is under my feet,
and on the roofs of cars.
In the morning she bends over
pulls up her stockings;
under the clouds the cold day begins,
and at dusk the pubs open.
The moon is less than half,
shines through the evening.
Along the coast the sea sails the boats;
the moon shapes our thoughts,
gives light to travellers.
At the turn of the tide,
in the last light
There’s a path in society and another,
which is hidden outside the system.
I can’t forget the evening,
nor the place you walked away,
and still I think of you
as being there in some strange way.
In the streets I lift my camera.
A photograph is a pause,
something I remember.
Outside, opposite, a burger stall,
headlights on a broken door.
Tonight I’m with her,
we go about, here and there.
Our bodies are made up of other planets
and lost worlds.
After the pub, at closing time, I kissed some girl.
All the people look like each other.
That summer the land was light,
through the night, parties.
The sower sows, the harvest grows
and in the fields crop circles.
I’ve been walking off my grief,
kicked every fallen autumn leaf;
always the loner,
making a world of photographs,
out with the camera.
I watch the street,
the street you thought I’d never come down;
I was running slightly late
and there you were-
walking away from someone
only to find yourself
running into them.
Through the window, the light was fading,
the breeze was lifting the curtain,
and in the corner of the room
a fly settles, and lifts,
and sinks, and rests,
I visit the café where the girls were,
on their faces shadows from their long eye-lashes.
She didn’t look up.
I sat across from her,
she had come from over the road.
We walked along the pavement,
past girls’ names on the wall.
I wonder if she remembers
sheltering by the bingo hall.
In a doorway I shelter from the rain.
It might be man that brings life to an end,
We are made up of atoms and empty spaces,
and particles that don’t exist.
I walk past the church
and think about things you can’t know.
The rain hasn’t stopped, but probably will.
Past the parade of shops,
past the lap-dancing venue,
along the line of second-hand cars,
through the cloud cover
over the square I go.
I don’t know who you are;
in the club, low ceiling.
He’s down. It’s done.
Quick as Concorde in the back of the police van.
And on the last bus,
running for nearly no-one,
she leans over, radio on.
“I don’t know why you don’t want me,
I’ve got a home,”
checks for messages on the phone.
We all have a mobile now,
put our photos on line.
Art is heartache and disappointment,
life is much the same.
Beyond the sea front
I watch the weather come in
the changing light, the water lapping.
And back in time there were those parties
where we couldn’t remember a thing.
They say they were great,
but no-one remembers anything.
And up the sloping street
the same crowd moving, into the next pub flowing.
You know what, it’s only halfway to the weekend;
she’s already dressed up, smudged eye-liner,
and on the far side of the room:
should have seen the noise.
I wander back over.
I’m sorry I made her cry.
Someone else took her home,
hated herself in the morning.
Those skies above the holiday resort-
Along the water’s edge figures walk;
the internet is not real people,
the generation to come will lose track.
And on the sea the falling rain
falls until morning.
She’s like some girl off the pier;
I’m always finding myself with people like her,
a bit wired-up wrong.
She lights another cigarette;
I ask if she’ll give me one.
Away in the car,
past the old men in shirt sleeves
watching the traffic,
and turning into the caravan site.
And later, along to the club she came,
made us both unhappy,
drove us home.
In the afternoon in the park,
along with the actors and rogues,
she’s topping up her tan,
her magazines full of celebrities and personal columns.
I put my last coin in the fruit machine.
All the women in the pub had company.
At the bar I remain all evening,
Outside, a car engine turning, a woman’s voice:
“Go home, you’re not getting in,
I’m closing the door, you’re not staying.”
Soon it will be another day,
the seasons are changing.
I lie in the orchard with the scent of flowers,
families leave for the coast.
Hills and cities divide us,
minutes turn to hours.
The distant daylight had gone;
she lifts her dress, cigarette in hand.
From across the road she had come.
There was a time, that will never return,
when I used to see you
across the room.
I was looking at her when she finally noticed me.
“I’m not seeing anyone,” she laughs again.
“Are you sure you’ve got my number?
Are you certain?”
From the fruit machine I had a three pint win.
I go over, smiling.
“I’ve got someone at home,” she says,
“I don’t need another one.”
A car door opened,
and across the car park someone ran.
I saw her turn, she had blue eyes,
I had the same.
Talking fast and rough, at me she looked,
“I remember you when I had my clothes off,
do you want it again?”
In the morning there was a holiday feel to everything.
And who can you make love to,
if you can’t make love to your best friend?
Around the days of December,
the rain pulls the sky down.
Into the corner shop I ran.
The children chase the pigeons,
the pigeons return.
The slow dance section is only three songs long,
and against the wall the women.
Where will they be when evening becomes morning?
I glanced across at her unmade bed,
and went out for a last cigarette.
Down the corridor, I looked back
to where you waited.
I’m not saying there was anything,
but there was something.
Over the stream the hills rise.
Milky sunlight reaches into pools of darkness,
the horizon opens up,
the track dips past the village shop.
In the distance the sky is empty of hills.
The mist is down, covers the church spire.
Trees have lost their leaves
and up through the fields, parked cars.
And into the afternoon
we walked, through the showers.
I notice those park benches
where I met the girls.
I remember the moment you walked away.
Now you’re on the street shopping.
Sunlight on the buildings,
an aeroplane trail in the heavens.
She smiles and seems pleased to see me.
Away go the cars, the lights are changing.
I lay across the pool table,
I never care what I do.
Outside, evening fell.
Footsteps sounded in the yard.
I raised my eyes, we looked at each other,
“What are you doing, looking at me smiling?”
Most of life is disappointment,
but love gives you hope.
I sat in the afternoon sun;
the waves lay still
and out along the horizon
the waters shone.
Along the cliff tops, in the scented heat
and on the waters a sail boat.
The glitter-ball turns above the pier
in the burning light.
Music was playing,
and from over the seas
came the warm, sweet night.
The breeze never stays still.
I look into the distance,
my arm around you.
The landing goes up and down.
The night faded, in came the day;
through the car window,
over the river, a child lifted by angels.
Along the track over the mountain,
and down the pathway I ran.
She stood by the window.
I missed your soft kiss, your laughter,
your blouse, your hair.
I walked back to the car,
and when I dream, I’m actually there,
on the same road winding
but no one knows where we’re going:
I wonder where you have to be to find out.
Outside, the air has dropped,
and from across the field she walks up.
Soft moonlight creeps over her home;
the light under the door
comes from beyond the river.
The sky is filled with stars,
hills and ruins, moisture on the leaves,
ancient forests, distant places,
the subject of artists.
Remember that picture of us,
no longer to be found?
Down a leafy lane in October
a rain-beaten path through the bracken,
we walked in shadow and sun.
“Tell him to tell her I’ve got a new friend.”
I’m on the sofa watching the game
and all of a sudden it was in.
The others are already losing.
“It’s not over yet,” she shouted across the room.
And in the night-long cafés
the girls in groups smiling beautiful smiles
along the street to parties,
along the railings pushing, pulling.
the early night was warm.
Later on, through the evening and into the pub,
I thought she was barred.
Looked across, gave an unhappy smile,
lit her cigarette, and turned.
The miracle of being sixteen,
the sun shines down,
The radio filled the room,
I think back to my memory of her.
The streets came to your door,
now no longer there.
Along comes a dance song,
sounds like the last one.
The best things just happen, they’re not planned;
it’s being kissed as I kissed you that’s beautiful.
I remember these things,
the hill top view.
Her skirt has a broken zip,
she goes where the bus goes;
with her shoe she touched my leg.
She’s in love with me,
as well as a few others.
Someone smiles at you. I turn round,
looking back as far as I can hope.
I think a lot about her, I’m never quite happy.
The harbour life goes back and forth.
Women waste my time,
I waste it back some more.
Then what do I like her for?
Trouble is, I don’t know.
And when she leaves, she waves
as far as the corner
and there’s that smile of hers
that comes from somewhere.
The roof tops reflect the sun.
From the leaning fence
the police tape has come undone.
I look at her on the bus;
does she know she’s less good-looking
than she used to be?
I go out with her Saturday, but not regularly.
Her clothes were scattered across the floor.
Everyone is on Facebook.
Everyone is now an artist,
I open the window,
the phone rings:
What are you selling?
I don’t need it.
Stop calling me by my name.
I don’t know you.
What’s your name?
Now you’re calling me mate.
Is there a problem?
How did you get this number?
Don’t do this again.”
A new day has risen, now up and shining.
And from the dining room
I saw the parked car, the lawn-sprinkler turning.
The day is tinged with sadness.
Into the early morning breakfast café I came
and as she passed, she took a good look at me.
An unhappy woman can do a lot of harm;
I can’t bring peace to her mind.
Everyone is dependent on each other,
everything is in competition,
everyone is on their own.
Past the houses for sale and cheap hotels,
the girls are spending their pay in the bars.
I look across at the fruit machine.
I guess most women are available,
to the right man.
But don’t worry, love, I’m going home.
The present controls the future:
experience is outside but experienced within.
Every photograph is a moment in time,
that reveals something hidden.
I remember the girl on a swing,
the sound of the evening train,
that bridge where the track goes under.
My heart was broken.
It’s the end of summer,
I’m sitting opposite the sunset,
I’ll wait for you here.
I couldn’t take my life seriously,
always concealed myself, was never real to myself,
that’s why I say I wasted my life away.
Maybe nothing exists; I could be no one,
only pixels on a screen.
Showers sweep along the coast,
and by morning we are home.
Built into creation
is the ability of things to evolve.
That’s the genius of everything:
we come from the same source,
She’s the one smiling in the photo,
blue dress, blonde hair,
she may look like a few famous names,
what would I care?
And there’s this one of me,
leaning from the car window.
She’d seen my driving, got herself insured.
And down I look, at the car engine,
and hardly understand a thing.
The road rises ahead,
and leaves in the mirror.
Everything felt far away, as if I wasn’t really there.
And I wonder what’s happening
to her, in her, for her.
I carry a bottle or two from town.
Across I pull the curtain;
we made love.
It’s hard to accept the end of an affair.
She had an unreliable story.
came from a shabby home
with a television as big as a door
a crucifix that hung to the floor.
I move through the city,
cover the streets with my camera.
“Are you interested in coming back,
I only live round the corner?”
The sun’s rays come from heaven,
a place we never gain.
Life divides and separates,
nothing exists without a centre.
Life is based on thoughts,
yet nothing is there.
I am a survivor in the world of Our Saviour.
We are here to understand
something about ourselves
and the world.
There is no life outside life,
no route that leads to perfection,
nothing so distant you can’t draw it in.
And into the night we walked
and spoke as we went,
about everything with its meaning,
and the meaning of everything.
You can’t live all the things you think about;
if only I could live in the present,
let go of tomorrow.
Will she see me?
Things like that, I don’t know.
You can only change
if you know why you want to.
I let my feelings stray
and lose the meaning of everything.
No one can touch you on your journey,
no one can be me.
The sun comes out briefly
from behind the houses.
I look down from the balcony,
below, the women passing.
They know what they do,
wish I was like them.
But I’m famous enough inside my head,
not to mind returning to an empty bed.
She gives me a smile, I move to the bar.
Outside the pub, car doors slam,
and out of the car-park,
the cars turn into other evenings,
stretching out along the darkening road,
the sky falling.
She saw him pale and old,
against the gentle rain,
moving through the last of his days,
slow and unshaven.
The avenue slopes up, the cameras look down.
In his kitchen, the light in the fridge is broken,
the white kettle the same.
I’ll be fine, given time.
I’ll work out the mind with the mind.
The brain is rewarded
by recognising itself,
explaining itself to itself.
We are made up of the same genes.
When I’m gone, pray:
it may make a difference,
who can say?
I know the truth,
I can make your heart ache.
I know she loves me,
what can I do about it?
Nettles and rusting tin cans
along the summer track.
I will always miss her,
by the canal I sit.
The dark sky. A pale cottage,
I know it’s you in there,
her place so small.
It’s her place I’ve known before.
I throw my coat down,
take her in my arms,
but one day I’ll love someone else,
Life came from the ocean;
in ploughed fields fossils are found.
Outside the train window,
the skyline is moving away.
Life is unstable;
on the hillside I lay,
slopes climbing far above the clouds,
far beyond the sky.
She takes herself down the pub,
stands at the bar, waits for love.
Into the room I come,
I caught her looking.
It’s a nice little size,
Open are her windows,
CDs on the floor.
My life would be no good
if she wanted me no more.
The night streets are like a film set,
the traffic sitting there.
White buildings rise and descend,
the carpet runs up the stairs
and in the bedroom plants, shelves, mirrors,
and from the window throwaway take-aways.
Past the homeless,
in her carrier bag she carries a new dress;
you only make your first impression once.
At the sound of a closing door
I return upstairs
and lean out of an open window.
Below, the river road travels the forest
through a clearing,
and through broken sleep into rain falling.
The mists lifted and I saw a circus horse
and a man kneeling.
We don’t live forever;
time becomes smaller and smaller.
And down from the stage she comes,
singing slightly away from the microphone.
We have a night out, then make our way home.
Sometimes I get taken for a celebrity;
I’m that much of a looker, they think I’m off the TV.
And when I’m down the pub
I know the world she’s after.
She looked at me and I at her,
we laughed again.
As she was leaving,
she looked back in.
I know the pubs,
they all know me.
I’m drawn in, I see who’s there.
I make my way up,
give her some hello chat.
Last night got in late, you tell me how
under the lights of the gambling club
in a street brawl
And in the morning I had some bad news.
“Good. What is it?”
“She’s coming to stay.
I couldn’t quite say no.”
I wish in some way
I could go with you,
down some forgotten track
where sheep graze on the hill.
In the church, above the altar,
there are angels in stone;
outside, pools of rain-water.
And if you love someone
you want the most pleasure from them.
Along lawns, orchards and gardens,
summer turns to autumn.
Evening to night,
moon to sky,
From across an open field another time,
I turn the pages of a photo album.
The way she opens the gate,
I notice her from behind;
a bird is blown in the sunshine.
Long is the night, cold is the moon;
the evening shadows I lie on.
The sun will soon be rising,
together we will love again.
The world gains in time and loses people;
a silent photograph of a single white piano.
The other side of the line,
a burnt-out car.
The unthinkable can happen,
you’re taken too far.
Across the foot-bridge
you get touched inside your clothes.
It might be true, it could be lies.
Along the broken track
beyond the hill,
I remember a song about some boy-girl.
You glance up, a glimpse of Heaven.
Gravity pulls you down,
life sucks you in,
and at the end of a disappearing day,
there’s dancing moonlight across the room.
Along the road the traffic’s a blur,
cigarette in hand, I hold it there.
I look down to see where the self ends,
and here begins all of everywhere.
I hang around the shops,
it’s lunch hour.
There’s little consolation in being with women.
I’m slightly withdrawn,
sitting in the shadow of the room.
And if you think about the old days,
you start to miss everyone.
And here she is, in a cast of many,
but isn’t anybody really,
and in the street
they are handing out leaflets,
as they leave through the theatre entrance,
into the street life of the street all day,
passing street people on their way.
I like her, she claims to be something;
I want to be her,
I can’t stop looking.
She wants to impress,
presents herself nicely.
I know what she wants,
she makes her parts look lovely.
She pushed her drink along.
“I like your watch,” I said, as she got down.
A few of the lads were looking.
The turn in the street
that led up a flight of stairs
through a second door,
where the windows looked across into back rooms.
Someone stood with her petticoat to the knee.
Around the open curtain came the evening.
Above the skies a dark grey;
some believe in God.
There’s a madness in everyone
and the more you know it,
the less you are alone.
It’s the faces that reflect ourselves
that we are drawn to.
Across the fields I see you coming,
splashes of shadow,
and sunlight on the wind moving.
My thoughts run up to the horizon.
And when your next life has come,
it will be as real as this one.
“You went out with that one in his van.
Give him two weeks and he’ll change his mind.
He might not have you back,”
I said with a smile, “and that will be that.”
Under the over-cast night I slipped away.
The train is at the station;
down the line places wait for me.
The weekend is getting closer.
I walked up the road,
I loved her more than I thought.
The God particle is almost visible.
I stand out the rain,
against the doorway I lean.
The wind blows through me,
I feel part of everything.
I moved the glass further away,
my thoughts gone.
On the table behind me
I placed the wine glass down,
more empty than before.
The edge of the evening fell away.
Later I sat outside,
the night sky hidden.
I drew the glass towards me.
There were voices.
I held a match to my cigarette,
felt the breeze, and drew in smoke.
There were more footsteps,
then no footsteps.
Was there money left?
more than I needed, less than I hoped.
We are drawn in by the football screen,
back and forth, forward and across,
and back again.
From outer space
to patterns under the microscope,
life is much the same.
The sun begins its journey down.
I wonder if I met her once,
maybe the other side of the weekend.
I can’t believe she’s married
and still out with me.
In the sunlit fields and hay-barns,
the girls think about the boys all the time,
go from one to another.
She lives in the house without the upstair curtain.
Upturned boxes and litter in the garden.
Above the slanting roof up go the pigeons
and when she goes out she could be anyone’s.
I’ll be seeing her up the road when she returns.
My thoughts would take care of me.
I would open the window,
call the dogs over,
they know their names;
behind them I close the door.
Nature is in constant movement,
everything goes on for ever.
I wish I was back beside a summer sea,
the scented night, the pale moon sails away.
All those times she promised me;
the present is becoming the past.
The sun slants across the room,
it was morning.
Along the front the silver paint on the railings.
the holiday crowds, the café signs.
Between the girls there was a shortage of girls.
I was always hoping,
my shirt was open.
The sun sinks behind the sea horses on the winds.
We all have the same dreams;
I wander around the amusement arcades.
I don’t love her any more,
just what she was waiting for.
Let me be with the one who wants me,
beside a mountain stream,
listening to the waters tumbling.
I know everything has to die,
and when we go
we arrive at nothing.
And up she sat on the warm sands,
in her white costume,
book across her lap.
After the hot summer comes the dark thunder,
down to where we are.
I know nothing will be the same again.
She didn’t stop for long;
I’m at a table smoking,
up and back to the fruit machine.
Cherry, bell, cherry.
Bell, cherry, lemon.
In the red sky the sun is sinking.
I kiss your mouth,
we are virgin.
I look for you in my days.
You made it all worth living,
made the ordinary interesting.
In small circles we turn.
Everything on the planet
is kept in its place by opposing forces.
In the cosmos there’s something rare;
so there is, and isn’t, a god,
you can’t know where.
We go on holiday.
Again I love her
on the beach in the sunlight of the day.
She had a wardrobe more full than empty,
little kick-off shoes.
I was always around her, as she was me.
In the summertime of our days,
in the sunshine behind your summer shades.
Some girls remind me of girls I’ve known before.
Everyone has a way of escaping,
a sense of longing.
Every woman I know
watches the men passing.
In my sadness I don’t notice many things.
Someone goes by
and there’s that perfume.
I heard distant traffic,
the sun sparkling on the car window
and for one moment I am with you.
You can lose and miss people,
as I do,
and if I had a car
I’d be back with you.
Every moment being alone together,
on your arm forever.
I don’t know what is worse,
being with you or hurting without each other;
the loss of you
is always present in me.
In a doorway a woman stood
and looked me over.
I turned back and smiled.
Along the path, across the park,
and in my thoughts,
she followed me all summer.
And here I’ll be thinking
the world through.
It’s a sadness to wake up
remembering she’s gone.
I’m back in heaven, with the pubs open.
Life fits where it touches,
it’s all out there.
I slip down from nowhere.
“Tell you one thing,
I’ll win the lottery, that will show them.
Tell you this, I can’t trust you,
Guess where I am.
I’m in a cab,
going back to mine,
In a place somewhere near,
in a run-down pub,
was she a friend of yours,
did she look lovely or something?
I’m learning to see what we are.
We are not our thoughts,
we are not really here.
Then some afternoon out on my own,
dreams come out of the blue.
The streets go down to the sea,
I was near to tears,
and coming up the slope I put my bags down,
light a cigarette.
Beside the wall I sit.
The car is the best pleasure.
To be away from everything
with summer in the sky,
Where are you now? I want to know,
I won’t give up believing in you.
Did you expect me to?
“Girl, don’t go away from me,”
was all I could say.
It was never enough;
how could I expect it to be?
I exchange one woman for another:
I was wrong, didn’t listen,
found it hard to take criticism,
hard giving up believing in you
when it’s the only thing left to hold onto.
The car park fills up nicely.
We go up when it’s sunny.
I am no more than a few steps away,
and you falling out of your dress.
So there could be a God,
there could be hell.
I’m a bit too good-looking for her.
She might like me, it’s hard to tell;
in her bare feet she runs
past the rising sea and ice-cream van.
Then this guy comes up and says:
I was going out with the one you saw me with.
Well, it’s ended.
I’m on the streets and keep being moved on.
I can buy a tent, loads less than the going.
I need a couple now,
I’ll borrow it back.
I won’t do it again.”
She smooths back her hair,
and slams the door.
In the shadows I felt alone and upset.
Out the window I go leaning.
The best stories I ever heard
were always misleading.
Everyone loves a woman
to go back and forth,
who does what she can,
as many times as it suits him,
who takes his fancy
as the fancy takes him.
It would be a while before I would see her again.It would be a while before I would see her again.
Behind the autumn fog,
down the road the slow journey.
Dirty are the buildings,
cheap is the wine;
there’s no privacy on the streets,
cameras turning all the time.
No-one is free, nothing is mine.
I’m a little lost, nowhere to go,
this place is just a bit past where we know.
She’s coming up, low-cut top.
I’ll look at anything I haven’t got.
I’m vaguely worried most of the time,
I was confused by women,
confused on my own.
Yet it’s been said, I’m the one to open doors,
make a deal, dress for a meal,
sometimes with the boys,
always with the girls.
I was with one of her friends,
can’t remember who.
“Am I doing it right?” she’d say.
“Like the last one, just ok.”
And on the streets I’m messing with the girls,
arm in arm.
All life is rubbish.
It almost is.
In my thoughts I go thinking,
her kisses are much the same.
Down the slope of summer I hold her.
There’s a notice for a model in the shop window
by the pub near her home.
I saw her there earlier on,
she was with no-one.
She’s had loads, they say,
she’s caused plenty, me being one.
Not worth the worry, never was.
Mornings in the shop,
evenings never sober,
I sit where I normally sit,
have a TV dinner.
What does she see in me?
Have me stay over.
“I’m no-one to you.”
She says I’m free to go,
I might just do so.
You can’t ever know who is where.
And the slow sliding of her
keeps me thinking
about all that which makes her interesting.
Life goes by,
the evening blue makes us cry.
Everyone is separate and passing.
There’s a homelessness to everything.
You get fed up with my looks
and you’re off again.
And in the morning she saw me out.
The door was open, and into town.
A taxi swinging into the street,
past the coffee shops, the sound of feet,
down the slope and along the way,
those leaving steps gone behind me.
Clouds gathered, evening came.
Tonight I’ll go back to where you were
and, if you want answers, “I’m in the bar.”
You hoped for a holiday, a forget it all;
across the buildings rain fell.
There are men driving up and down with money.
If love can happen once it can happen again.
Up with the skirt and into town,
I can have it if I want it, but I don’t want it;
I hang around the pub,
last orders gone.
And yes, when you get to heaven
and there’s no one there,
it’s just another sad idea.
From under the trees, into the shade,
The world stood still;
as I sat by the road
I felt the pain of remembering,
I long to be wherever you are.
I know what it feels like for you to be no longer here.
Some days I hardly give you a thought,
and the thoughts I’ve had don’t matter anyway.
Across the street I saw you wave,
Now I’m sitting in a place we used to love,
everything is as it was;
I felt the presence of your absence,
was looking for someone like you,
an easy mistake to make
as anyone might do.
And from your bed you’ve come
and back into mine, as you’ve always done.
“I’m leaving my job,” she goes.
I said, “I’ll do the same.”
We went drinking and left on the evening train.
Without money you’re in prison.
We nicked the ladders, walked up to the house,
put the last bit in the van.
Couldn’t lock the front door, we didn’t know how.
I took out a cigarette, darkness fell.
“I’m not married,” she said.
I pushed up against her, she looked at me.
I looked back to see what she was at.
She’s had every kind of love,
with her broken down walk and high heels.
The street lights shone on her face
and when she danced she cried.
There’s tears and tragedy on stage and screen.
The fruit machine offers something for nothing,
and takes everything.
You get caught up in a car chase on a video game.
Life can give you a friend
and life can bring it to an end;
she doesn’t love me,
why should she?
Was wandering around, wondering what to do,
a corner of the sky through the window.
Man makes God up.
The wind has dropped
and there’s this thought that comes from nowhere,
I remembered I won’t be seeing her.
Suddenly I saw her,
then lost her along the pier,
down the place and up the street.
Never sober enough to remember,
I lifted my face; up came the gulls
over the surveillance camera,
below, street litter.
And over the roofs an ocean sky,
and her gone from the café,
skirt rising up, losing her feet,
beneath the swinging branches,
borrowing money, and away.
I loved her then, some of it true.
Love lasts a bit, you get pulled into it.
Her blouse was undone.
I had no opinion.
I felt free, my heart was open.
Now I am silent and separate
with everything to regret.