I Should Retire

The mean clock is doing it,
the balancing trick, ten-ten,
as ever the secondhand there
timed it, re-ticked on cue,

aligned with the brief minute’s
late-late reach to the far right,
just as I looked, synchronised,
to check another missed hour,

and I should retire at this point,
not too late, never, ever too late,
but for a man (of so many years)
it is so correct to consider such,

as others’ worlds spin in beer rounds,
long wet snogs, and streamed films:
I shall find comfort in a double bed,
propped-up pillows and hope,

whilst fitter men, soaked in bitter,
fuck-and-dance, dance-and-fuck,
in beer-washed sticky nightclubs,
swiped by Tinder, as I sleep soundly

through their infectious ribaldry,
and not have to hear the repeat
of chat-up lines I re-rehearsed
back in 1982, but never copyrighted,

then there was no intellectual theft,
instead we stole left-over half pints
and lengthening kisses with strangers,
to return to single beds in shared houses,

waking to cold kebabs at ten past ten.

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