Our Cemetery of Companions

You will allow yourself
to re-settle
into old comforts
on his threadbare sofa

and then enter into
a layered removal
from this other man
full of arguments –

from a disagreeable
who lives uneasily
by designing trip hazards
and elephant traps

In that room air will double
beyond that level
required for meditation
and a balanced life

Find a neutral buoyancy
by letting your lungs
half-fill with his kisses
Do not sink to him

Noted

From our solemn mediator’s
lined notepad – Just a cheap thing
he referred to his underlinings

He instructed you to observe
Some basic ground rules
now he knows how you are

Do not put aside your husband’s
neurological condition
His Parkinson’s cannot be ignored

It all went wrong weeks earlier
as you pulled out your own pen
when you wanted to Strike a deal!

It all went wrong when you roomed
not for love – a family trait – equalled by
sisterly disruptions of vows

I could not fix that drugged damage
when you stumbled from Brighton
Off your tits and smelling of builders

Our mediator knows who you are
as he gives me a look of concern
and says Are you able to carry on?

1,000 New Church Road, Hove

His twisting right foot
takes him past that door
where she had twice –
maybe more
quick-scurried through

up double-took steps
to a fat goatee face
which she’d anointed hard
with two monkeys’ worth
of her itching kisses

One thousand more
than he had accrued
in those thousand days
of running aways?

As his turned-on-heel
takes another’s embrace
which lifts him higher
as his suddenly-lover

No more counting
or care
of steps now rhymed
and left unnumbered

yo-yo

you you spoke far too soon
’bout your last sandman
’bout that last sandman
’bout your spare fuck man
you you spoke far too soon
’bout men and squirting sex
and bad sex in warm rooms
you you spoke far too soon
’bout a man ’bout your sandman
’bout your sniffed white lines
’bout men limp in your bedroom
you you drunk you you drunk
in a bar with a man not Oman
with a man whom you you knew
a first cousin on your account
first cousins count as last lovers
you you spoke after five hangups
you you answered five before were
five unanswered lies after lies after
you you gave it a week a week
post-valentines after your card
cards swapped rarely by you you
control-alt-delete you you soon

Working Girl

We briefly spoke –
it was a Monday
and you were out
in Central London
sounding slightly
drunk – three gins
gone and done
but not asked
about on your
next day return
Instead – it was
calmly stated
a week later –
you had taken
your lover again
We were shopping
for our youngest
in Haywards Heath
A bombshell
in M&S was not
your worst ever act

That Farmer’s Wife

Tess was never an unalloyed maid –
not Hardy’s vessel of pure emotion
untinctured by innocence

Such country girls are as scarce
as a hen’s brightly bared tooth
Too hastily judged? Or not?

She was metallic – below – to me
When bared – again – by a kindred
lover – our fusion rubbed to rust

Divisions of men – such she kept
mapped close enough to feel – to plot
and find her way – only her eyes shut

whilst her barn doors swung wide
to near-unhinged arcs of openings –
as her balm of blood – of love’s slaughter –

blew out on her cousin’s stunk breath
as he bent with her to snort at troughs
aligned by credit cards – then blocked

All a loss – it is no more a sweet place
Not for me – Sour scents off her wetness
turn on Etkin-Bell’s ring finger

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten
her odour as he wipes his creased brow
She dragged too many too close by lies

These Players

There are no long embraces –
no more slowing of time
by a hold on your intimacy –
or by those so-silent
acknowledgements
No unsaid understandings
by affection’s expressions –
none by a raised eye to mine

There are no looks in poor light
between slowly rolled reveals –
none from behind your kabuki’s drop
to show last acts and dull speeches
by your poor choice of leading man
to your bloodied hack of a queen –
an actress dressed by quickened lies
wearing arsenic in her makeup

Awakenings

In this year – so far – we have agreed
to annul our two-hander – your play

to not to be wed – to let go of – to lose –
to admit your need to be fulfiled by others

This you had inverted when it served your
reversal from vows and our long history

You morphed – not frigid – fearing your age –
of being your mother’s fat-arsed daughter

with her own cast of doubtful lodgers
and other blood-tied historical sniggers

You have dragged our experiments
and failed-at tests from our turned bed

out into the open – as your buried pain –
when your bared pain makes you come

I am now awake to such hard nudges –
ones once ignored – filed away for ages

The Elephant at Her Eightieth

I do not want a piece of cake –
Thank You

Your mother brought it back
from Great Aunty Sue’s wake –
or was it her birthday party –
from that family jamboree –

Except for you and me my boy –

at The Grand Hotel – Brighton
which featured an elephant
in The Ballroom

It was erect – so huge –
tight between their party pieces
and it stood on your mother’s foot

John rode it for his entertainment
as your mother stroked
its flaccid grey trunk

And Aunty Sue asked –
Why isn’t your lovely family here,
dear Niece?

There was no honest answer –
not with such a whopper
in the room

Mr Cohen’s Words on the Matter

I’m reading Lorca’s poetry
whilst Leonard sings to me
on the hottest Easter Monday
since nineteen-sixty three

My poorer verse dissipates
dispelled by blows of blame –
She vaulted ‘cross my body
on her way to another game

He’s old enough to be her father –
she was fool enough to be his wife
Their papers have been posted
He typed out her loving lies

He will see her in that lawyer’s room
who’ll be paid to watch them fuck –
his hourly fee is twice as much
as she was paid to suck

Ariadne’s Clue

Ariadne’s ball of thread was called a clewe
that word being of an Old English source –
cliewen – which can mean a skein of thread

Now – no trial and error among your words –
instead my art is gathering your scatterings
of clues and insinuations – of what you said

before your lies fermented to find you drunk
Our shared bottles of removed inhibitions
took us both into a playground of sweated beds

They oiled your snare – your sour smell of sex –
your perfume to attract others under bindings –
those you bought to find pain without blood

I found your lace and black bits curled sullen
in a hard-knotted bag – One item – a mouth gag –
admits your desire for ill-use outside your head

Home Improvements

Your buck of a builder arrives
in his sign-written truck
they belong
to your dull stepfather –
both the van and the man

and in your imagination
you have used his hands –
calloused – to fix things
in your mind – everyone knows
how these things develop

You returned from a night in Brighton
red-eyed – smelling of men –
of booze and wrecked
He had driven you and your sister
home
Such a gent

Other’s Endings

She said she resented him
swanning around
and her wearing fears
of his limped inability
to earn that old income
no longer kept her
tied to their settle bed

Instead – she rolled over
onto another handyman
for his stiffness to press
into her loosened skin
and for his shadowed face
to take her excited stench
to feel some connection

Afterwards – she said
it could’ve gone either way
when admitting her part
She bet on a wrong result
She needs so very much –
be it a ninety-pound man
or a fat promissory note

Waiting Rooms

You’re not qualified enough
by your distrust of cocaine
and an ageing disinterest
in disreputable bedrooms

Stay in – keep it straight
and look after your kids –
make sure good things
happen on time for them

whilst others party
wearing white moustaches –
All those kissing cousins
bringing elephants into

relatives’ sitting rooms –
ones already disturbed
by dementia’s whisking
of related recollections

You will find a distance
in your moved-to postcode –
in new waiting rooms –
and by flexing your dignity

Inconveniences

And she complained
loudly to herself
that this wasn’t
what I wanted

This marriage of
inconvenience
since his diagnosis
and reduced income

deflecting focus
from her inherited
sense of insecurity
One passed down

from one who
got around too –
as noted by relatives
looking inwards

at her admitted acts
to keep me sane –
forever locked in place
in an echo chamber

Kelley

You could be renamed
Siddhartha

by that forced passing of
your own marriage act
without my consent or seeing
your hotel-safety certificate

You had checked out exits
and did not look back
at soiled sheets and towels
which you had rubbed

I pray you find happiness –
I rename you – Kelley Lynch