Martin, my son,
stop drinking.
Your wife is drifting away.
You frighten her.
She swims in tears in the kitchen,
hoovers the darkness.

When she left you for the first time,
you slashed your manly wrists,
trying to grab her back
from all those deserted streets.
Bandaged now, you’re on the pool table again,
gambling your love for another pint.

Martin, my son,
you’re a helpless fool;
a boy apeing a man,
a man apeing a boy.
You have your jobs to do,
she has hers.
And so the barriers grow between the sheets.

Martin, I pity you.
You were just brought up that way;
without much chance,
dreamless and without love.
You took your tattoos down the pit.
On your first day at work you were sick,
cried on your mother’s pinny,
soaking her with fear and affection.

Martin, my darling boy,
you grew from an angel into a brute.
Your eyes narrowed into hate
when you beat your first woman
and fell asleep on her.

Give it up, Martin,
show the world that you care.
You’re young enough yet.
Because you failed to kill yourself,
you’re lucky.
You’ve got a life to live.
Give that life ot her.

Martin, you’re supposed to be a man,
but you could still
be beautiful.


(From 'Dreaming North', 1986 - written in Peterlee, County Durham)

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur