Said Goodbye outside of a Greyhound Station
in Chicago and I wrote last words on a window,
which she would have read backwards as
YSAE TI EKAT, thinking she got the message,
then rode west on a variety of stained back seats
for half a week, and on arriving in Seattle
staggered to the first motel I could find with
R MS AVA BLE, and was able to sleep well,
if not as well as I’d slept beside her, sent
a text expressing some regret and in the shade,
couldn’t make out the alphabet or message relayed,
wrote Wrist you were Gere, and I so shouldn’t have
been surprised when she replied with a picture
of Richard Gere waving on the set of Primal Fear,
bit back that she was a pretty but sarcastic woman
and added a Snapchat of the Space Needle at noon,
ending with the promise to be seeing her soon.
The sweet lady from London,
sat next to me on the train from Grantham
asks for the name of the novel I’m reading.
I’m reading Porno by Irvine Welsh,
because goddamn of course I am,
and when she wants to know what it’s about
I remember my policy to make 2018
a year of honesty, tell her it’s
partly about Scotland, but
predominantly about pornography.
She switches seats at Peterborough station,
and upon finishing the chapter featuring
the threesome complication scene
I glance in her direction to find her
three quarters of the way
through Fifty Shades Of Grey.
I ask her what it’s about,
as we enter Ely, and she gives me
a funny look, considers her book
and tells me it’s about love.
If I were Irvine Welsh I’d say
something equally witty and wicked,
but forego honesty for human decency,
stay tight-lipped as we near Norwich.
Walking through the darkened streets
and I am drunk on love and drunk in general.
You are and always have been an excellent shoulder,
equally handy when it comes to Tracey Beaker trivia.
I vaguely remembered the dumping ground
but I often get it confused with my hometown,
was well off the mark in the music round,
got muddled about Morrissey and let the team down.
You find my keys for me, unlock the door,
and I manage to make us pasta and sauce
washed down with the last of pre-drink whiskey
which you promptly deem right to take off me.
I take off my clothes and get into the bed,
you take your pictures and then do the same.
Maria came from Nashville
with a suitcase in her hand.
I was a tourist who looked
almost nothing like Elvis;
just a boy from Blackburn
with a rucksack on my back
and a half-empty pack of trail mix
melting in my back pocket,
hoping that, just maybe,
she’d make a man out of me.
As soon as I boarded that return flight
I fought to forget about those nights,
when we used to play cards on your front porch
with a corner store haul of beers and smokes.
It seems though, that they’ve been on my mind
since the afternoon that Lemmy died,
Ace Of Spades, lyrics I know better than I should,
knowing that, when it came to cards, I was no good.
Your brother, he always had me beat easily,
and the two of you often laughed at my naivety,
perhaps even took some pity on me, but I,
I was always a winner with you by my side.
After those games, I tended to stay over,
long after folding hands, 2AM, warming hands,
folded in bedsheets and holding you closer,
talking until the morning and making plans
to use the evenings better,
dine out instead of playing poker.
Looked up my wordpress stats,
found myself sitting stoic on
a few thousand views, plenty of poem,
my poetic self-condensed to their labels.
Three-hundred and twenty four poems,
two-hundred and ten tagged ‘self,’
one-hundred and eight tagged ‘nostalgia,’
with one-hundred and seventy-eight on ‘travel,’
and I suppose that I am a nostalgic self
who likes to travel and write about it,
less so about ‘relationships’ at just shy of thirty,
five about ‘grief,’ six about ‘dogs’
and only ten about ‘drugs’
(I know which I prefer).
Three-hundred and twenty four
with my own name attached in margin
and perhaps these words are all I am,
this being the first filed that way.
I watched you shaving in the shower,
placing metal against your thighs
and skimming soft down over knees,
fingers in the foam and water,
your free hand wrapped around
freshly cinnamon scented strands.
From the bed I was only envious
of an inanimate object, having
caressed your skin with less intimacy
than that which stripped the hair from
the places I burned to grace that gently.
I never wanted those moments disposable,
wanted to soak sharp in you
for however long you would let me,
but that morning the water was shallow
and you’d dropped the handle
to turn the nozzle towards zero,