A Deal

If I paid you in cash
would that make
meeting up
an easy trade to do –

without those afflictions
brought on – again –
by your loud dam?
(How she stage-whispers

in your shell-like –
that ear-piercing hiss
about your choice of men
and your other failings)

You never liked her
enough – be honest – love –
your mother’s devotion
will not be won – not yet

If I paid you in cash
would you lie down
for me? Currently (I see)
there is no queue

but then my appetite
for easy ways
seems long spent –
Let me pass on that deal

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

First Person Singular

From my Mass Observation Notes 12th June 2017

I am both fully awake and in pain at seven-forty AM
I am now learning a new word – Imprimatur
I am feeling a rough poem coming on
I am taking the rake of our stairs with care
I am making two teas in the fitted kitchen
I am climbing the stairs with two mugs of tea

We are drinking cooled tea in our double bed
We are discussing how much the day will cost

I am reading the headlines on my smartphone
I am now stiffly rising from our double bed
I am now stood showering
I am singing loudly to Clair from the shower
I am checking my emails as I dry my body
I am dressing as Clair showers and talks
I am listening to Clair’s words
I am listening to Clair’s tone of voice
I am watching Clair dry herself
I am telling Clair that I love her more than chips
I am leaving our house in a sudden rush
I am walking with my stick to the high street
I am at breakfast with four other husbands
I am ordering a Full English Breakfast and latte

We are talking about last night’s comedy show
We are talking about imported lawn mowers

Glen is now paying for all the breakfasts

I am walking back to the house on my own
I am now stopped at my favourite park bench
I am on my smartphone checking my emails
I am now standing up and turning to home
I am now back at my emptied-out house
I am suddenly greeted by our small dog
I am walking the dog up and down roads
I am sorting the recycling bin on the drive
I am lending Otto my Karcher pressure washer
I am walking up the garden to my shed
I am sat at my desk in my shed
I am sending and receiving emails on my PC
I am doing kid management on my smartphone
I am redesigning Cars3 experiential space for Goodwood
I am re-rendering FatBoy Slim’s DJ booth in Lumion
I am reading a new brief for a design to be completed today
I am walking slowly from my shed on uneven slabs
I am eating a rushed lunch of cold beans and toast
I am walking back up the garden to my shed
I am being hassled by clients by email on my smartphone
I am Whatsapping our kids to sort childcare tonight
I am opening my shed door and stepping up with care
I am sitting at my high desk whilst waiting for a reboot
I am listening to The Archers whilst working on my PC
I am hassled by another text on my smartphone
I am hassled by the wife to get to personal trainer at four PM
I am managing and meeting my design deadlines
I am rendering out 3D models in Lumion
I am designing an exhibition stand
I am listening Gardeners Question Time on Radio 4
I am making more more changes to Cars3
I am postponing the personal trainer on my smartphone
I am thinking about tomorrow’s poem

Clair is now back from her hair appointment

I am commenting positively on the change

Clair is setting me a countdown to theatre-leave-time

I am finishing what I can to meet my deadlines
I am now shutting down my PC

We are rushing to get out the house

Clair is driving our car
Clair is worrying about her mum
Clair is not saying much
Clair is filling up the car with petrol at Tescos

We are now in Eastbourne
We are watching the first half of the play
We are now sitting outside in the interval

I am watching a smoker light up

We are discussing the show

I am conscious that my legs are hurting
I am checking social media on my smartphone

We are now heading back in to the show
We are leaving the venue after the show

I am now stuck at fifty-three
I am now treated like I am eighty-three

We are looking for our car on the seafront

I am being driven home in the dark
I am trying to find out more about Clair’s feelings

We are now arriving home
We are entering the house in silence
We are being greeted by the dog

I am locking the back door
I am switching off the last light
I am climbing the stairs

We are now in bed
We kiss goodnight

She is turned from me

A Price to Moor

You have found
a preferred supplier
My observance
is contracted out

Small service
is true service
he said –
but for you
it was always in doubt

You took that
online attention
and confused it
with some kind of love

Now you live
in your house by a river
where mirrors
reflect your old doubts

I found your profile
beguiling
but then found
that you lied to us both

Kissed Canvas

It is easy to cheat
any marriage –
try slicing your brow
with a clean bread knife –
then forever blink
blood-spat sights

Head spinning –
slo-mo – pugilist stuff
of gob and busted teeth
from a fast fist –
upon both sides –
my glass jaw breaks

My eyes are shattered
by tears and stresses
as if rabbit-punched
and left to wonder
about rules and who
has bunged the ref?

Count your prize money
and lift your belt
with a kiss to your corner
and your proud family –
I-never-could-have-done-it-without
and leave me alone

The Mother-in-law Joke

She then struck out
with an open hand
to land callouses
and a creased palm
flat and fast across
my unshaven cheek

Unexpectedly received –
her flesh-reddening hate
applied five digits wide –
a gold ring-smacked slap –
it was my mother-in-law’s
barely risible routine

All because my wife lies
so turning her sour love
into a vinegary mash –
Never live with a woman –
those joke-gifted words
rung from another time

And if that assault
had been my strike out
then jangled handcuffs
would now be mine –
inequality has
its slight advantages –
sometimes – for some