This Old Man

This old man, he played on

until all his mind had gone.

With a tip-tap, slip-slap,

where’s the dog and bone,

send him to the old folks home.

In her pearls, his old girl

watched him as he lost this world.

With a tip-tap, slip-slap,

on the dog and bone,

asking for some care at home.

All alone, on her own

his old girl went daft also.

With a tip-tap, slip-slap,

get the dog and bone,

take her to a different home.

On their own, separate zones,

each went down the slippery slope.

With a tip-tap, slip-slap,

lost the dog and bone,

each one died but did not know.

This old pair, past all cares,

burned and scattered, no one there.

With a tip-tap, slip-slap,

buried dog and bone,

everybody dies alone.

In Bangalore

Once upon a time in Bangalore

I lived in a Palace, and from there

I could see a world I would

never know. The rules of the road

we’re indicative. The lives of

the herd were imperative.

A greeting was a meeting

of hearts and minds and souls,

of simplicity and complicity

in the life and love we all share.

There is no brighter beauty

than the darkness of their hair,

or the brown-eyed brilliance

of the faces I saw there.

Outside in, I saw the thing

that makes me love them still.

It is the will to be a friend

until the end of time.

I have never known

a sweeter people

in all my life.

The Abandoned Homes

The lawns are untidy, leaf-littered,

bits of toys and garden tools scattered

all around. The ground is weedy, seeds

of unwanted things still hanging, in need

of attention, a thing they cannot find.

Windows made opaque by curtains or blinds,

or sometimes just dirty sheets nailed

up to hide the fact that they’ve failed

to cover their secrets and lies, their things to hide

from the careless world that waits outside.

These are the homes of the never-had, the ones

whose dreams have gone bad and beliefs are long gone,

whose hopes were abandoned at the school gates,

where the miseducation that they got from the state

gave them just enough learning to understand why

they would never amount to a thing, so they try

to live in a way that will give them some fun,

or at least in a way that will leave them quite numb

to opinions of others. They don’t even care now,

they see all these rich cows,

the ones who had chances

the ones without debt, the ones with finances,

they see them and their homes with their neat

little gardens and fancy nice cars and sweet

little children and they look in the mirror

and they sit back and wonder

‘how on earth did we get here,

just how did we get here?’

These are the homes of the abandoned.

I am not one of them.

I am not.