His Last Leaf

Frank Ormsby rarely writes –
only now by medicated spurs

set quick to the side effects
and his drugged obsessiveness

which are my nowhere-near-equals
to his northern placed verse

No more lined up by his diluted voice
Loud Frank left it at school

He opens up his vowel larder
of self-affirming stories

His Rasagiline’s rattle is double
of my dose – no ghosts yet

in the corner of my eye to fade
as Frank’s stand on his laid table –

then they briefly sit alongside him
until slipped back into mindful spaces

Frank works to avoid word boredom
with a poet’s fear of word silence

Words Burn

VLADIMIR: You should have been a poet.
ESTRAGON: I was. [Gesture towards his rags.]
Isn’t that obvious. [Silence.] 
Waiting for Godot. Samuel Beckett

A whole ninety-eight cents
have recently been credited
to my low-tide bank account
from Yanks’ penny clicks

on my must-do-better lines
in newly-hewn sob stories
without no strummed blues
which now appear to appeal

to a slew of red neck readers
who enjoy my so inconstant
complaints – in blank verse –
about my current former wife

A true trailer park tale – he typed
We are all trash novel writers
Burkowski still raises a drink
to the 3-year-old’s who’ll never meet

because his words burn
like my continued condition
and we shall meet – Charles and me
downstage without direction

Matrilocal

Am I not uxorious enough?
I just read you my last poem
and it was met by a hush –
as if I had said nothing –
I know you said nothing –

You are a tough one to peel
like a thin-skinned Valencia
which refuses to avail
its tight pith to my digging nails –
never one to loudly respond

to my wagered words on paper –
these verse observations
of the spinning of things
in the near space we share
by our legal agreements

The Collection

I am almost the same age
as Mr. S. Armitage

Today I bought
a collection of his work

from the secondhand
book shop – just off the drag –

where words are piled
between pencilled prices –

I feel bad – please tell me how
I can pay him the rest –

so that I am not short-changing
Mr. S. Armitage

Freight

I favour the white spaces
between my words –
my loose goods trucks
left uncoupled –
let to roll into others’
classification yards
under the pull of inclines –
ridden
by the freighthoppers –
you few readers
of these lines
who find the hewn floor
a brief comfort –
and me – another traveller –
of sorts – I sit alongside you