One Man Drowning
Tony once your world was Nugget-bright and new
but not far out from the Fifties you ran aground
(and funnily enough it’s rust that most recalls you)
and the gulls, your girls, began to crap all over you.
The decade of our shaping we never shake off,
but your deep nondescription – who did that?
Did your courage fail you once or many times?
Was it that bitch of a wife
who’d spread her legs, and fold her arms, you said,
and actually time your Sunday fucks?
I see you now at band practice,
an olive oily guy in lime green socks,
and how they ruined your music too, an average
natural talent losing courage at every chord, falling, ailing –
a quiet “Sorry” is all I ever heard –
and one man drowning.
And drown you did, the lungs filled up,
and the green one-metre man up from out of the sea,
the faceless one who entered your room that day,
came and took you, terrified, away.
I remember too your furtive benders, the luckless fishing those days
did you hear only the slap and accusation of the many mall waves?
I see now too the old Zephyr that took all your money
and gave you fuck-all back, the blue-and-orange house
you built in a bloody swamp, the never-completed athroom,
the cardboard bedrooms, and behind every door
mother, daughters, one, two, three.
Bass guitarist, badge-collector, gentle Bodgie,
you were dying, dying long before your early death,
your mild brown eyes asking Why?
None could tell you then, Tony,
and today from another shabby plateau, with gulls above
and shoals below, nor can I.