and so it turned out

loud guitar intro

turns out you was an alcoholic
and in trying to keep up with you
all that loving made me sick
all that drink and all that worry
I couldn’t stop the feeling, sorry
I couldn’t stop the spending either
I blamed my selfish self
I blamed your deadbeat dad
I blamed your bear of a bastard brother
where the fuck you got the money
only your Irish Catholic god knew
where it went
where it went

it blew and blew right through
the rusted legs of Brighton pier
it sprayed its bleary eyed and salty tears
right through the narrow Lanes
calling to the derelicts to drain
their tomorrow sorrows today
drink to forget
drink to forget
drink to forget
but you couldn’t forget the mantra
and you wouldn’t tell me what the fuck
you were drinking to forget

so we drank some more
and we smoked some more
and we drunkfucked a little less
the thrill was leaving us I guess
the Marlboro reds still glowed
and we kept spliffing up the blow
we had stones for beds
friends floors for beds
hard floors for beds
other people’s
slept in beds
for beds

and for company once
we had the clouds of Michelangelo
executed on a bedroom ceiling
what a weird and dizzying feeling
living like Kafka
sharing our vodkas
Sid and Nancy punk rockers
bare naked light bulbs dangling
I couldn’t keep my hands off your body
under those clouds we were somebody
fuck, it felt good

we were loud too
innocence long since ploughed
can’t remember the soundtrack we played
the tunes are all mixed and frayed
like the years, months and days
the tides came and went with a stab to the heart
we split when you left rehab
the fun had all but disappeared
the beach strewn with empty cans of beer
Schlitz and Special Brews
the vodka bottle run dry
no more reasons why

you melted back into the night
a ghost from those dark alley ways
out of sight but never out of my mind
haunting me
haunting me

loud guitar outro

not altogether clear

it’s not altogether clear
how we made it here
your brother’s house
somewhere near Elm Grove
on a settee, you and me
the washed up night’s debris
and there you fucking are
in my baggy blue jumper
must’ve lent it to you earlier
though where we go from here
is not altogether clear
when two worlds collide
those worlds can’t run and hide
your life versus mine
like we both stepped out of line
but somehow that seems fine
and there you are sleeping
in my two dead tingling arms
afraid to move in case
that drunk smile on your face
is lost from my close up view
dried vodka spittle lips on you
smeared make up, angular hips
morning breath, white as death
no, it’s not altogether clear
what the fuck I’m doing here
think I’m falling in love with you
but then again I don’t know you
what and when and why and who
did this thing just really happen
seems a long time since back then
the vods, the beach, the first kiss
I’m not altogether sure about this
I’m gonna need a piss soon
there’s light coming in from the moon
or is it morning coming out too soon
so frail and helpless
in a world that couldn’t care less
just see if I can ease myself out
you’re still out for the fucking count
there’s cramp in my shoulder
I drank so much I’m sober
happens that way sometimes
gotta piss, gotta leave this house
your brother’s fucking house
for fuck’s sake it’s getting late
it’s getting early, can’t stay and wait
for you to wake and then what
your brother comes downstairs
a growling hungry hungover bear
and then what, and then what
it’s not altogether clear
my nose in your ear
I’m sliding to the floor
crawling to the door
I’m out in the cold air
I’ve left you there, in there
wearing my baggy blue jumper
I must’ve given it you earlier
I light the last Marlboro red
first rays of sun stroke my head
takes a piss behind his shed
still taste your vodka lips on mine
it’s like we both stepped out of line
not altogether clear how this came about
how we made it here, made it there
and will we find each other again
any some fucking where

falling

she crashed through the door
bought liquor, Marlboro reds
staggered about, left, came back
another crash, she swung about
bells ringing like it’s Sunday
not Saturday night, late night
about to close up, pull the shutters
tally up the takings, light my own
long drag in, dim the strips
want to join me she says
but I’m shy, she’s drunk
whole town is drunk, me I work
it’s late, night is young
tempted, what the fuck, fuck it
come on, she laughs at me
there’s a hint of Irish in her smile
momentarily mesmerised
who is this girl, where did she
where did see come from, drunk
done, locked, doors shut, locked
it’s all locked, check again
hey what you waiting for
she holds the bottle to her lips
vodka, it’s vodka, it’s a Stoli
shit I gave to her cheap
she holds out her hand and
you know what, I’m falling
let’s go to the beach, she says
but it doesn’t sound like that
words slurred, vodka lips
take her hand, just take it
it’s a short walk, alleys, bars
late night, shouts in the dark
she passes me the bottle
the vodka taste of lipstick
mesmerised, I’m falling
we stumble onto the beach
stones in banks, steepish slopes
finding the right angle
not too steep, not too flat
vodka lips, vodka breath
it’s a Stoli, gave it cheap
make up the rest tomorrow
exchanging names, falling
she shouts my name, loud
echoes on the water
echoes on the moon
our faces reflected in the bottle
Marlboro red glow
midnight sunset eyes
fingers in fingers in hair
in her mouth, biting
and I’m falling for her
this drunk girl, the beach
we’re part of the night
we’re part of each other
no turning back, falling
me for her, her for him
there’s something more there
behind the bravado, subtle
a story to tell, unfolding
falling, the night is falling
we’re both falling and then
what will happen, what next
we don’t fucking care

when I go back

when I go back I ask
are you still there?
the memories drift down the river
remember the water on our toes?
I watch them from the chalky hill
remember the chalk on our skin?
they rush under bridges
I search for your reflection there
lingering past pubs and familiar places
we were without a care then
wending their way through the town
hand in hand the two of us and more
like a gang of gulls out on the piss
on the beach and under the stars
suddenly swirling high above the church
remember the shooting star on New Year’s Eve?
heads cocking from side to side
back to yours for more I remember
eyeing up the potential possibilities below
sneaking up the familiar stairs at 3am
unrecognisable faces in the crowds below
would we recognise each other now?
I was born here yet who do I know?
you left and now you are a stranger
searching under all the familiar stones
I leave none unturned
but of course no-one is expecting you
there are so many stones upon this beach
a dying man circling above his past
a dying man walking these empty streets
looking down at his own familiar loss
the sea breeze beckoning me
why not go there – head out to sea?
out – out to sea – but where?
maybe try your luck in a different land
and there will I be free . . ?

how are you doing today . . ?

how are you doing today? people ask
so you tell them as best you can
but the conversation often turns back to them
and they talk about their problems not yours
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

how can we make you happy? they ask
so you tell them just exactly what gets you down
and you tell them how you would like to live differently
but that would mean drastically changing other people’s lives
so you change the direction of the conversation instead
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

they sacrifice their feelings for the sake of others
they say to themselves, well
what if these changes are made and I’m still not happy?
the self-doubt wins out every time
life chugs on
some days being better than others
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

so how are you doing today? people ask
you tell them how you give each day a rating out of ten
how being over five is generally good
how being over six doesn’t happen very often but when it does . . .
or how four is heading in the wrong direction
anything below four is tough
you tell them how ratings can be given throughout the day
but you only tell yourself not anyone else because
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression

people with depression often hide their feelings
they can be chatty and jovial and really quite pleasant
whilst underneath still having a number four kind of day
manageable but not great you know
they’d rather be somewhere else
or simply just held
silence can be a great healer too
it’s why people with depression often don’t talk about their depression


YOU and HER / HIM and ME

YOU made HER cry
I made YOU cry
YOU slept with HIM
I slept with HER
what was right for YOU
was wrong for ME
grow up YOU cried
I AM growing up I replied
GROW UP!
SHUT UP!

the divide grew wider

YOU despised HER
I defended HER
YOU defended HIM
I despised HIM
YOU blamed HER
I blamed HIM
HIM versus HER
HER versus HIM
ME in the middle
and little by little

things fell apart

WE all grew apart
YOU lost HIM
and I lost HER
HIM buried
HER married
YOU made ME cry
I made YOU cry
WE both cried
WE both tried
to pull US together

as the years went by


some nights

i.
some nights
unseen forces crush my skull
I drift to the darker side of day
an empty space awaits
it’s what I crave and totally hate
both sides of me fighting
I work back through the years
try to find a cause
arrive at the usual suspects
but are they worthy of headlining?

ii.
am I justified in calling them out?
should I own or disown them?
box or let loose?
share or secrete?
right now I am in control
I can play with these feelings
kick them about inside my head
ask them questions
what do you want of me?
when will you leave me alone?
truth or dare?

iii.
remembering when
when my head was a quieter space
how young was I?
six? five? four? three?
I could’ve been someone I guess
but those voices held me back
calling me out
putting me down
closing me in
walking me away
dictating my choices
unable now to go back

iv.
and it’s all about the future now
making the most of whatever is left
finding solutions and strategies
negotiating the woods and trees
seeing light at the end of tunnels
staying calm
steadying the heart rate
accepting what I have
what I cannot have
occupying time and space
breathing

fragile

i.
fragile
a leaf exposes its veins
like a drug addict in a brownstone
blown on a southerly breeze from Central Park
long the length of Lexington
climbing high on escape ladders
peering into dark spaces
where people go to rot
like leaves exposing veins
describing in detail
fragility

ii.
and waiting
waiting for the wind to blow it back again
an easterly or westerly to knock it sideways
into a bar or coffee house
over the heads of pimps and whores
over the piss soaked floors
through the rear doors
into alley canyonways
narrow and thin
gangling and unfed
unwashed

iii.
sin soaked
adrenaline stoked
feeling the walls with both hands outstretched
like you are mighty
like you are Jesus fucking Christ almighty
born from a Black Tupelo in the park
blown on the breeze down Lexington
to a brownstone graveyard junkie den
stroking the vein just because

iv.
you are thin as an alley canyonway
warm winds in the subway
crazy like the echoes in Grand Central Station
comingup escalators
comingup brownstone stairs
knocking on heaven’s numbered doors
wondering which is yours
running your finger over your vein
you’re a leaf
see through
fragile

v.
blown from one trip to the next
the needle’s whore
summer’s autumn
autumn’s winter
your black clothes the color of mourning
the leaf crumbling in your palm
dry like your shrivelled skin
disintegrating before your eyes
waiting waiting waiting
for that southerly breeze

vi.
to blow you the fuck away . . .

escaping the nightmare

i.
losing track of the days
rain washing them off the calendar
down the hillside
into the river
the beautiful boiling foaming gallivanting river
carried out to sea
a bloated body shaped log twisting in the current
no need for days when land recedes from sight
exodus

ii.
caught in the undertow
pulled under
beautiful black sleep
watery grave
seaweed blankets and luminous algal blooms
I wake somewhere unknown
far from the reality I have known
I am reborn
I am Adam
I am Crusoe
and here the sun warms my waterlogged bones
purity

iii.
I am reborn
cast up to the heavens on the back of a leviathan’s tail
shot from the bows of ancient hunters
scribbled on the walls of forgotten caves
clothed in animal skins
bearer of my own history
wanderer of continents
I meet no-one as I wander deserted lands

iv.
I am a deserter
words fail to leave my mouth
thoughts never dare to form
I am mute
I am blind
my actions are instinctual
my behaviour animalistic
grunting scratching cavorting wildly
I roam the land lost and blind and searching for an evolutionary window
mute

v.
mutating
opportunistic
impulsive
alone
hermaphroditic
shrinking evolving ever smaller
diminishing in stature
losing relevance
returning to the soil
to the sea
I crawl back from whence I had come
primordial again
a microbial organism
disease causing

vi.
man making
from the stars from outer space
I am reborn
I am finally free
free to float and roam in my own galactic bubble
creator of galaxies
time traveller
eternal being
master of my own destiny
limitless lover of freedom
I am gone
I am free
I am I
I am
I