29 Sep 2017

Man John

My man John is from round here
but he’s been all over—couldn’t tell
you where. Guy’s tanned
from all the years under the sun,
has this craggy face that tells stories
before he does himself.

My man John doesn’t have a home, doesn’t ask
for money, just once a cup of coffee
if I didn’t mind (and yes, I got him one).
He plays the drum, a little one,
and the banjo as well. He goes around
with them slung round his side, turning out tunes,
this song in Spanish, that one in Hindi.
He asked if I play anything.
I said I just write.

My man John’s been roughed up,
kicked in the face, taking it all in his weary stride.
A song’s a song. A meal’s a meal. Blessings are blessings.
He’s a monk, a bard, out of time, on the move,
always on the move.

My man John is from round here
but I’ve not seen him awhile,
not for a long time.

16 Sep 2017

One I Rely On

Been around longer than any friend or lover,
was once the rock weighing down,
gripped tight as hope,
turned into a snake (little devil)
to slide through ribcage and coil
around a heart that’d learnt to beat
and seize it with questions,
questions, doubt and dread
one by one laid to rest in a graveyard
kept out of need, not respect,
not remembrance,
and after every six feet of earth
the voice from nowhere
and those cruel five words:
never far enough to forget.