Month: July 2016

Real estate

I rented the second cheapest room I could find

160 a week

no air, windows have to be opened from the outside

the lights and fan only work if you jiggle the switch.

The cheapest place had guys sleeping in cars on the property; it was upstairs

the stove was rusted out

and prostitutes worked in the apartment two down.

It looked like fun

but I thought I can afford a little better.

While I was looking at the place

a tree fell over in the yard onto the fence.

The real estate agent and I just looked at each other.

“Happens” is all he said.

On the carpet, there was a brown stain about the size of a large dog

and the toilet bowl had been broken and glued back together.

Water leaked onto the bathroom floor.

At least here, in the place I took,

it’s quiet. No one plays their music too loud.

Sure the hot water is only warm

and the gutters overflow

but life is short.

I looked into the mirror today

I look about ten years older than I should

and I think I’m losing my hair.

But what’s that got to do with this old apartment?

Somewhere not too far away, as I write this at 10.06 pm

a gunshot rings out.

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The fortune

Outside a light rain is falling

turning the concrete path grey-black.

With friends, I sit and drink. We stay warm and laugh

one cries out

“We have a treat coming tonight” and he looks at his phone.

A few drinks later, a knock at the door.

A man near to it swings it open.

A tall woman, thin and bent, her face a centre to a nest of black hair,

someone to frighten children strides inside.

She holds a red case that reads

Madame LaCarrie -Fortunes told.

The laughter and talking stops

but all around the light reflects off white teeth

the room full of smiles.

The woman stands before us, full of confidence

Surveying the room with a cruel eye and thin-lipped hunger.

She holds out her free hand, the other clutching her red box

And says

“I can see the future.”

It is all she says before striding forward and humping her box down

So that it claps with a bang.

We all follow her movements.

She holds her hands out again and waits.

Those who know lead the action

And they start to put coins in the gypsy’s palm, and she gulps them into her pockets

With greed and flashing eyes.

Someone shouts; “Turn down the lights” and they are turned down until

Only around the fortune teller lights glow, enflaming her black hair.

The box is opened, and the table is littered with her cards. She points to me.

“Choose,” she says. One eye open more than the other.

I had not laid a coin in her hand.

“Choose” again comes the hissed command

And I choose.

The card is turned over, and we look to it.

“The woman you love, loves you not,

No one will ever be true to you,

You are not true to yourself.”

It is all she says and then looks around the room and selects another.

Sitting back her words echo in my mind

And drive me into a fury.

“What do you mean?” Suddenly I shout.

The crowd stops, the old woman’s eyes smile, sending me deeper into a fury.

“I have spoken,” she says. “There are no more sights for you, remember my words.”

The woman I love has found the flaws in me, and it twists inside me

The gypsy woman has only touched the nerve; the wound appeared by my own thoughts.

Suddenly, in that crowded room, I was alone

My thoughts ran to you.

I have been cut down.

Believe me

Believe me

I didn’t mean to break her heart

It screws your karma.

-Karma isn’t the good and bad things that go around

Another lover told me

-Karma’s what decides what you become in the next life.

Tell that to Karma.

I once stole a library book

And kept it for ten years

For ten years I had bad luck

A decade of misery.

The book was ‘Planet of the Apes.’

I mailed it back to them,

And then the next week.

Things picked up.

I’ll never steal a fucking book again.

 

 

 

This voice, heard yesterday at evening.

An old man, dreaming on a bench by some ancient stone building

Turned to me yesterday and said;

Her smooth hands could break a man’s wrist,

What has she done to be so strong?

I knew a woman who would,

Work all day, washing and lifting,

Moving and cutting

Yet became weak and bent like an old sea-nail,

A cancer cut her in half in the end.

Live life with passion, before it ends.

Some people never find passion

But mock and blur their evenings with drink and lies,

Find something to love, something of value

Something good

And feel it surge in you until it burst forth like a great spasm,

Wear your passion, share it, but keep it safe.

And if someone loves you,

Pray nothing hurts them,

Not cold winter rain

Not strangers,

Not a car on a cold Wednesday afternoon, skidding across stones.

The wind blows, the leaves speak.

There is a tree of mid-size with long heavy branches

that grows by a country path.

The younger part of myself

collects stones, mostly quartz

and leaves them at the base of this tree, as offerings.

I ask the tree to watch over me

and I ask it for luck.

I like to walk this path in the evenings,

just as the sun is setting behind the hills

it is then the cold western wind blows, rushing across the wet ground.

I stand by my tree

and experience the loneliness that helps me remember happier times.

I will take you to my tree one day

and maybe you will understand;

maybe you can leave a stone and make a wish.

There are spirits in nature,

be kind to all things,

be kind to yourself.

 

She reveals her kindness

Once again, like storms I remember from my childhood,

The rain has returned to fill the fields and forests

With deep puddles and the kind of mud that can swallow machines.

She has been sleeping late this morning

Because there is nowhere to go

And the weather is as good as a locked gate.

I watch her face, trying to record the details of her appearance.

I have seen her kindness

It comes out of her like the glow from a flame.

It makes me smile, a sad little happiness.

She shares pictures of dogs with me.

Animals who need adopting from the pound;

She would have them all if she could.

And in her gentle love of animals and from her thoughtful acts

There grows a gentle love in me.

The kind of feeling that lets a single tear fall from my eye.

I am ashamed in case she sees it

And asks me ‘are you crying?’

I would laugh and say no, my eyes are tired.

The truth is; it is a tear that says

You have touched my heart.

Onto the street, at 2 a.m.

Everything is Electricity with that woman,

every contact flows with the sharp bite of invisible power.

Descend the stairs to the front door at night,

see how they are worn smooth and round,

they dip in the middle, from the hundreds of people

who have worn a track upon them.

The countless people and their feet

their dreams and their lies

their problems and their sicknesses

coming and going

until the air here is heavy with ghosts.

Black marks on the walls, the bannister scratched

They have been all over, nothing is new, nothing is untouched.

The used, the touched and loosened is all I’m used to.

 

Swing the door open to a foggy night and a wet lane,

A man lies in a doorway and coughs as I pass. I wonder why he doesn’t go inside

and sleep on the old stairs.

She sleeps on the second floor,

her apartment is better than mine; it’s bigger.

Mines an old box, nothing works.

I like to visit her; I do it as much as I can.

Not just for her company but her heating and large bed.

We stay up all night talking, and she fascinates me.

The city echoes with hundreds of horns, like a deranged and disorganized symphony.

How many promises are being broken tonight behind these walls?

It gets heavy but you carry on,

the steps get worn but you still take them,

hoping they lead to some warm place, where someone will hold you for at least one night.

Thursday and I’ll be gone

On the tenth floor

-David, it’s important you read this letter

I look out across the city

-I cannot stay; I have to leave

The clouds mix with the steam

-I don’t want you to wait for me

that rises from the roofs of the buildings

-we would never work out

I have been watching from this window since 6 am.

-I have to be free

now it is light; I can see people at all levels,

-I don’t want you to come around

people sitting in offices

-take your things, don’t leave them behind

people on the street

-understand, this is the way it is

workers, in hard hats and yellow vests

-please don’t contact me

emptying broken tiles from wheelbarrows

-we had fun, didn’t we?

I can only imagine the noise.

-something to remember

Is true freedom being able to do what you want, when you want?

-I’m leaving, going overseas

On corners homeless huddle under blankets on soaked yellow mattresses.

-I love someone else

A car stops in the road; a bus turns quickly

-Thursday and I’ll be gone, I promise.

Thursday and I’ll be gone, I promise.

To you, on this warm wet night

The house is lonelier now than it was before I met you,

Lonelier now.

The dark rooms, the empty halls

Were not so dark nor empty

Before you.

Now they underline the fact that you are not here.

On the streets, as I stand under the bridge

Avoiding the rain, my clothes wet,

I watch the cars come down the freeway,

White lights coming, red lights going.

Like the cars, we are always just arriving or just leaving,

The time we are together is so short

It becomes a blur of light and noise.