his school a sentence he put up with
sexual innuendo he couldn’t work out
the city’s night markets he yearned toward
a loveless home life he cleared off from
excitement he never got enough of
perplexing trouble he kept skidding into
relationships he was urged to talk through
confident others he wasn’t as good as
bad situations he slipped out from under
adult education he felt he should take up
the poetry lecturer he suffered for
a secret affair everybody knew about
divorce scars nobody gets over
the bed he made and now lies alone in
So I read a lot
How can I be a character I pity
in short stories, a Gordon or an Ian
living like a goldfish in Twilight Village
still thinking only of himself, oblivious
of the staff’s clear-eyed evaluation
or what happens in the minds of others
while he sits half-turned in a chair
hunched low, half-listening for the door.
No poetry anthologies can be spotted
just colourful tracksuits, too large.
They offer to share their feast of hours.
He lies, pretends he isn’t starving
stares out the window at guests leaving
quickly, away from TV’s fake laughter
his manners masking welling anger
the strain to climb into time vanished.
It’s too late could be the story’s title.
Their pub, the booze, bands, their songs
the ebb and flow of her laugh
her ripe lips, hot breath in his mouth.
He imagines her lonely somewhere
worries she is not, or maybe worse.
Gordon’s just the name of a character
in a slight story, in a slim volume.