No End To Time

We were boys back then, when days were longer.

We were stronger, too, in body and in mind. In time

perhaps we would weaken and soften, but in the now of then,

no end was in our mind, not yours, not mine,

there was no end to time.

We were hard and proud, eager, loud,

happy, stupid, drunk on beer and being young,

though we did not know then

just what that meant.

It meant being more alive

than ever we would be again.

Moving on from booze and song,

we fell apart and into what was yet to come.

The moment we began to think of others

our youth began to leave us.

Our selfish armour pierced by the lance of love

and the prick of its thorny crown, we found

there was more than just our self to centre on.

From the moment after being young,

little leavings of ourselves fell all around us,

dribbles and trickles of what had been

invincible lay in mortal ruins at our feet.

We die in increments.

What you had been was gone too soon,

crashed out in a welter of steel

and a sixteen-wheeler that you never passed

on a road coming back from your future.

Your mortality ruined me, my friend.

I had not yet learned to live.

When You Were

When you were here

I did not hear you

I did not listen to you

You were just you

When you were gone

I could not miss you

I could not think of you

You were too you

When you were dead

I could not look at you

I did not want to

You were not you

Block Paving

Block paving

It startles me

The realisation shakes my head

I’ve been staring at it for daze

Thinking about life

The unversed, and everything

But mostly life

This isn’t how it should be lived

Staring at brindle bricks

Wishing you were someone else

In some other place

Wishing this was not

Your only life

The Downbeats

They make a fine day dull, a good day bad,

the downbeats,

the joysuckers, the miserable fuckers,

the ones who moan and groan all day,

who will not go away and bore the arse off others, pray,

than me.

These selfish shits get on my tits, the way they whinge

about the things they cannot change, the way they gripe

about their lives, the normal, everyday, the stuff that we do anyway,

the stuff that we all have to bear, the stuff that isn’t bloody fair.

They wake and curse the morning sun.

Too bright, it is, or not enough, they ask someone to turn it off.

Just think of that! The sun! The twats.

Don’t let them near, don’t hear their words,

don’t listen to these malformed turds.

The downbeat mind is not the kind you want to enter into.

The mind you want is good and bright and lets you know you can do.

This Is Modern Love

It begins with a barbecue. It often does.

Out on the front lawn, with fold-up chairs

and a puffed-up paddling pool,

on a manky stand that is never cleaned,

they cremate creatures and eat them.

The lighter fuel stink and the great swirls of smoke

they freely share with neighbours,

who stare and tut through laced-up or blinded

windows, from where they see but are not seen.

The food is lubricated with lager, cans in hands

all day, from early until too late.

Today there is some issue. You can see it in his walk.

He moves cocksure most days, straight back, pimp sway,

but today he is hunched, head low, arms just that bit akimbo.

His voice is raised beyond caring.

You can hear the fucks and twats and bastards

from two streets away. The children watch in silence.

She sits and smokes.

She has been here before.

Soon, after he begins to throw things, cans, food,

chairs, she stands and walks slowly into the house

and says goodbye to the father

and drives away, his voice enlarged by rage behind her.

Two days later the car is back.

The passenger door opens and he gets out.

He walks to the driver’s door and opens it to let her out.

The children emerge, skipping out of the car

and following them into the house.

There is no distance between them.

This love is a disease.

This is modern love.