the only boy to give me comfort
is Bukowski
as I stave of the dullness
the dullness of the bus
and the woman talking on the mobile
wha'? she says
and I wonder if she can see her face
hard and pinched like mine probably
today getting my passport photos done
I'd looked like that
like a criminal or someone out of the asylum
they'll never accept me
her Majesty's Government
it's plain Blighty isn't treating me that well
and everyone's an ambassador for their country on a passport

there's nothing much to tell, on the bus
except there's a girl all shiny eyed indignation
because a man dare brush her
and when I'm home
it's cold
that's what you get for 340 rent
cold and damp
and I know there's no point in job hunting
too old, unskilled, fallen out somehow
not walking the walk or talking the talk
so I sit hugging the radiator
my cheek against its brazen stubble
and allow the onslaught of thoughts and feelings
I've been fending off to have their  way
so I become a zombie
not even the red curtains drawn back for the stage of the garden
give me comfort
nor the birdsong
or the cat, who only fumbles after her own comfort
how like humans are cats, it must be why we don't like them

and it's no good
I have to reach for the wine or the beer
otherwise I can't access my feelings
the shadows cast by the light on the wall
aren't enough anymore
nor's the cat or the bigness of my room
and when the old blues come
extraneous noise and the cold make it worse
and the fear is
the fear is
drowning in one's own shame
pity, fear, neglect
and not being able to say anything
sitting dumb,
a sellotaped mouth like when I was 5
that must be why artists are artists
it must be why I give in and drink
and try and make my feelings clear and
reach some understanding
as my house mate opens the door
hot and sweaty from her yoga
vibrant and shouting
and  eating vegetable stir fry
and I wish I were her
singing and healthy and assured
to be so assured
everyone in Herne Hill walks with that assuredness
even the homeless men and the drunks
Bukowski reassures me
but I'm uneasy with it
uneasy walking with the outcasts
when once I was easy