what can you say?

his old ma fell in love with yet another man
who wasn’t even his pa or secondhand dad
just a third party guy way down the line
who should have known better
who should have stayed the visiting friend
not the constant companion

but hey, what can you say?
what can you say?

and now he finds he is losing out on love
he cannot find the empathy she demands
he wants it all to be over so quickly
he doesn’t even need the inheritance money
only the peace of not having to worry
about what may or might not happen

but hey, what can you say?
what can you say?

he should phone and say hello but he knows
the call will be tainted with negativity
and that’s not what he needs on this sunny day
when one life should not feel trapped by another’s
or feelings of anger welled up to the surface
but hey, what can you say?

what can you say?
what can you say?

life is what you make of it and maybe tomorrow
he will make that call and her spirits will have lifted
as if she has no more cares in the world
which of course will leave him feeling much worse
guilty as charged for being the unloving son
with the uncaring and callous heart

but hey, what can you say?
what can you say?

what can you say?
what can you say?

 

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Johnny F

on mist in the night
from a dark corner
he brought with him
a damp lonely light
a crumpled pack
of Major cigarettes
and a constant thirst
for tea and company

the chair by the door
was his alone
reserved for his visits
with unwashed hands
the Sisters of Mercy
bought black welly boots
kept him in clothes
and partially fed

he lived on his own
in his council shed
the ghost of his brother
ten years dead
the family house ruined
land gone to bracken
a few barren cows
just him and the rats

the last of the village
old bachelor boys
abandoned to rot in his
four fucking fields
growing older gets harder
like a peat bog man
sphagnum soaked
with years of rain

a chance meeting
two weeks before
his body was found
on the road out of town
he’d bought me a pint
to the locals’ surprise
Sláinte he spoke
quiet trust in his eyes

there is a saying
that some would believe
if you see in the dawn
a hare taking leave
that death has come knocking
a spirit set free
an old friend is waving
farewell to thee

johnny f

in slow motion

tree falls
in slow motion
death dive

bridge building
in the dark
across the ravine

a vixen
takes her chance
tiptoes over

gives thanks
for richer pickings
on the other side

a storm brews
the tree shifts
falls in slow motion

the fox stranded
accepts new home
raises family

Daddy, I’m all grown up now

I am these bricks, potted flowers
cars, bikes, petrol mowers
my kids have bandaged needs
big trees and little weeds
favourite books upon the shelves
photos of our former selves
furniture in browns and reds
inherited from the family dead

I am this filing cabinet grey
of deeds, doubts, things to pay
carpet, laminate, papered walls
highs and lows, occasional falls
the view is mine, I’ve earned that too
it’s good enough to see me through
a bed, a wife, an attic space
lines now etched upon my face

I am these thoughts, written words
however crazy or absurd
a desk of pens and scattered notes
a lump inside this tired throat
the memory of when you were here
before you went and disappeared
I’m all grown up, nowhere to run
watching others have their fun

ice creams on the pier

in the distance
Beachy Head

we all wore sunglasses
– enjoyed the sea breeze

talked about
this and that and the other

and later – when the tide
had come in on our thoughts

we shed some tears –
the seagulls kept me awake

I lay there at 5 in the morning
imagining swallowing pills

one after another
until the bottle was empty

my face white as chalk
the tide now far from shore

and in the distance
Beachy Head

 

Go Daddy Go!

daddy do
what daddy must
and daddy must do
what daddy must
because if daddy doesn’t do
what daddy must do
there’s a chance that daddy
will never do what daddy must do
and daddy doesn’t want to be
a bad daddy that doesn’t do
what’s right for his son
and for his family
so go daddy go!
do what you must

(someone go wake daddy up . . .)

the good soldier

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the girl with the bloody doll
you come and rape my mother
then you want to marry me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the boy with the wooden gun
you come and kill my father
then you want to enlist me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the old woman in the black shawl
you come and burn my family home
then you pity me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the good soldier to himself
I don’t know what I’m fighting for
then I fight some more

Give and Take

I give – You take
I give a little more – You take a little more

I back off – You take
I back off a little more – You take a little more

I go quiet – You take
I stay quiet – You take a little more

I relent – You take
I relent a little more – You take a little more

I give – You win