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MONDAY EVENING

Rain tapping on the roof
Warm coals singing
In the candles' glow -
Sawing
Scent of wood
Fish breath on the cat -
Purring
Oven singing
Smell of Shepherds pie
Cat curled on the croched rug -
Green eyes watching
Big brown kettle starting to steam
Warmth
Light
Wood
Tools
Supper
Tea
Contentment...
Sawdust settling on my toes.

UP

The worms were up.
The rain brought the birds...
They were company at least.
Previously, alone on my bed
There was the sky.
I drew a landscape on there,
A lake and some mountains.
Who has been on my mind?
Mainly women.
What shall I do when the
Curtain comes down?
Look for the birds,
Wait for the worms,
Look again at the sky.

OKEY DOKEY

I saw a lake in the
Sky.
I've got to stop asking
WHY?
All is not evil...
Just you wait and see.

JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE

1.
O Campbell Street! - beacon in the night -
My deserted childhood surrounds me
But memory fails me.

I was the pupil in the public eye before.

2.
I did well at school.
My brother was not a fool -
He kept me under his fist when I was young.
Now I am a hero - if unsung -
to my mum and dad.
I will be glad when the bulldozers finally come
to Campbell Street.

3.
All this morning waste!
Monday - a week to come.
Tuesday - one day gone and nothing done.
Wednesday - I wish I had a form!
Thursday - I know this is wrong.
Friday...
Could be good.

All the girls are in their black.
Term is on.
The bar is full.

SIX DAYS AT THE RADCLIFFE INFIRMARY

John's gone
Or was it Fred?
Anyway, somebody else
Is in his bed.
He made me laugh, kept me happy.
Half the time here, half in the RAF
Slinging his hammock and trying to walk.
He could talk.

"NIL BY MOUTH" over Graham's bed.
His wife thinks he's dead.
To all intents and purposes,
He is.

The young boy wants his
Mother,
Wants to shit
All in a pan.

And there was Rosie
(But you knew)
And she squeezed my hand.

The girls are laughing tonight.
All that was wrong
Doesn't seem to matter.
Kate's at the Apollo.
Rosie is on

She knows the ward...
We're an unhealthy herd,
And we're beginning to love.

JUST WHAT I THOUGHT

The view from my bedroom - in my bedroom -
Was good today.
There was no noise outside my bedroom - not even traffic.

I'm fit enough not to have to lay on my bed.
Standing is good.

I hear that a man is luckier than a woman
Cos he can stand when he pisses.
Is that all it takes?

There's a lot to love I don't understand...
Dull day,
Stay away Blues,
20p on the fridge,
Back to bed after coffee...
Not one call.
I'll never fall in love,
It will fall on me.

THE NORTHERN LINE

A woman had followed me down the Northern Line.
She looked lost. I was.
I thought all the interest was mine.
I wanted to go North - I wish she had.
When I got outside she looked back and smiled.
I could have cried - again.

One day, perhaps, I will write a book about the looks.
Today at the Oval I went North and all the interest carried on.

ON A DAY AFTER RAIN

I passed you by when I was on the bus.
You were a character from one of my poems.
I thought again about the two of us...
I will see you again.

On a day after rain
I'm happy,
The streets are dry -
There's no reason why
I should be lonely...
I'm not -
Are You?

If you're a character in one of my poems,
You will be.

But I was on the bus, Chris,
And you were on the street.
Should we ever meet
You know it would be wrong.

It's all too long
Since I walked in the rain.
There's no reason why
I'm on this bus.

I'm waiting for the ferry to dock
And for Christmas to break across me.

SUNPOEM

The sun was out strong,
It fled with the wind,
Along the chimney pieces
Down to the Cowley Works.

Like the workman's yard,
It's hard to be precise.
It is nice: to see
Nature and man,
Hand in hand,
When the sun spreads
On all that desperate endeavour.

I don't feel clever
Sitting in the sun
To make a rhyme.
It's time for a singer to sing a sun,
Like Noel in the morning
When his chest is full.

Give me a home
Under the sun
So I don't need a bone...
I'm not baying at the gate

THAT WAS YESTERDAY

The weather changed on market day
And Joanna went to a friend,
But
That was yesterday.
"I'll leave next year..." says Meg

Don't send the story,
I mustn't stay too long,
But
I could have loved you,
But
How many times can I say that?
I want my hat to hang somewhere,
I want to go to the market with a friend.

A TOWN ON THE TURN

I like a town on the turn
Five Thirty
The crowds are going with somewhere to go
I've come from nowhere
And have nowhere to go
I noticed a girl
Sitting in the cafe
She smiled at me
I tried to respond
She left
When I got outside
I could have cried
To think of all the time
The two of us could have spent together
Never seeing one another again

NOW LATER

Now, later, I have not cried...
I wonder whether she has?
Perhaps we couldn't care less?

All that was positive
Became negative -
The sun shone,
I hated it.
I handled good money
And burnt it...
I didn't eat anything
Today, yesterday -
(Oh Shut up!)
Tomorrow
Is my
Permanent address.

BUT

I was lonely
But
Only because Joanna was in London,
John was out
And Tom was out.
I was in.

I am freer
But,
Only because I can walk around my flat,
Nibble at the toast,
Watch the boys going to mass.

What does it mean?
(And it means a lot)
I have slept through a lonely night
And risen,
Fifty p on the fridge
But,
John was out,
Tom was out
And Joanna still in London.

LONG WEEKEND

It was a begging weekend
I took all from those who gave
I was a con man
I conned myself only
I slept lonely again
In my bed and my head
There was Meg - who took her stockings off
There was Diane who might love me
There was Celina who just looks beautiful
And Marie came on hot and was Scots
And the con man who loved them all

TO THIS

Graham is permanent.
They talk easily.

A woman by the phone
Knows me.

It would be the same anywhere.
I am frightened by that,
By my own incompetence
And nature's dissatisfaction
With men -

That one can bring all of this
To this.

I will think mostly
Of the ghostly figure
Who moved upon me
When I was dozy and lost.
"Is there anything you want?" - said Rosie.

WHO?

"I know you from the ferry, don't I?"
"Oh when was that?"
"We talked when the sea was flat."
I enjoyed Dublin
And you went home to Wexford.
All my memories are vague.
I don't know a face...
Though I remember the place
Clear as a bell -
DONG!

It's all wrong,
The face I should know...
Whenever I go, there's always me -
Everyone remembers me -
I'm not just a face in the crowd.
It was cold in December
And I stuck in her memory.

APATHY

Naked in the kitchen,
I burnt the toast.
She couldn't care less.

Dressed formally at school,
I taught unwilling children.
They couldn't care less.

Much later, I have not cried...
I wonder if she has?
Perhaps we couldn't care less.

ABOUT TODAY

There was a woman on the bus today.
She walks in the street. She smiles in the cafe.
I'm writing a poem about her.

I've stopped.
I don't think I can take any more.
You're easy and lovely in your leather as fur.

There, one comes up in my mind,
Neither fact nor fiction,
Another figure from my verse.

It's a curse - exclusion
Only breeds confusion.
I've had enough of that.

I'll take the eight-fifteen to Crewe.
Will you, Jo and Meg?
I won't beg:
I'll just wait for time.

SALT

The salty smell in the tent
Is always what I want
To prove that I'd had sex.

I always want a lot more,
I suppose a whore
Who likes a bit of dirty sex?

You can't change a friend
Into a fantasy figure. She'd send
You away without even the talk.

Back to the tent,
To see who'd sent
A message: only self-sex! Took a walk...

There can be a good night.
Still no salt. The tent's still all-white.

PLENTY-ALWAYS

Some of the rooms I've known and lived in
Have not been for a dog a bone.

Guests there
Have never been here
Unless I pushed.

Where was I ever invited to?
Plenty-always stayed too long.

So here's a song:

Give me a bone
That I may have a home
And let me give
Plenty. Always.

DUBLIN

In Dublin's fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty...
I can count four.

The young girl at Blackrock -
With her cello in her hand -
Missing the station.

Another girl, running round the green.
And then were Nula and Nell -
And I think you can tell
That they were something special.

They didn't miss the station.
They didn't run round the green.

They were as giving as I'd ever seen:
Tall and even,
They both took my heart
On Christmas Day in the evening.

I'll never see them again -
I'm tired of saying that -
It's always the same,
Never a game...

I think you can tell,
The sea was far from flat -
It rose and fell
When I left Dublin in the evening.