Counsellor

Listen for a living
They pay you not to care
Just keep good time, a tidy room
A plastic plant and chair

And sit and hear their problems
With tissues close at hand
You take the place of absent friends
(The job they couldn’t stand)

They do not need a verdict
It’s not your place to judge
This isn’t their shock-therapy
You cannot bear a grudge

The woes they wail to tempt you
Are all the world they know
Unpacking all their sorrows
They dump the lot and go

Not fearful that tomorrow
They’ll pass you in the street
No matter what they tell you
You have to be discreet

Get it together

We keep inconstant company
To care and share alike
The only things you won’t divide:
Your food, your pets, your bike.
Her lipstick’s on the headboard
His fags are on the floor
But somehow through domestic life
One tenet does endure
You always put the seat down
To keep me on my toes
So I must guess the pronoun
From the drink, the scent, the clothes

Photographic evidence

A pile of snaps
From years ago
A half-forgotten time

A party frock
The neckline low
A painted face – sublime

So young, so slim,
With carefree stance
How many now would know

The secrets held
Within her glance
The setting for that show

Do I quite dare
Display this face
A portrait from my youth

Or are the few
Would recognise
Too great a risk of truth

I miss that girl
That piece of me
That juggled many hearts

But see her safer
Mystery
And hidden in the past

Merry-go-round

I ride this bus
And pass the place
Where first I learned of work

Another world
In time and space
New politics and perks

I started young
It must be said
And strove to earn my worth

And struggle on
Two decades late
Still using what I learned

It’s no surprise
It’s changed since then
But somehow seems the same

I guess what goes round
Comes again
In everything but name