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 Would ‘any woman’ find me difficult to live with?

My tastes are simple: space for several thousand books,

The smoke from my pipe stuffed with aromatic Balkan Sobranie, 

A leftover from the Sixties, frequent brief absences to fulfil

My duties as a carer, unending phone calls

And the unenviable reputation as England’s worst or best complainer,

"Treading on toes or keeping people on their toes"

Also a warm and welcoming vagina, an insatiable need

For fellatio and cunnilingus, a bed with clean sheets

I can retire to by five with a hot water bottle 

To calm my churning viscera while I read 

Endless analytic texts, tomes of French poems to translate,

A notorious weekly newsletter to edit, a quarterly to write reviews for

And – I must confess – cable TV so I can access Starsky and Hutch.
I need a cottage in Haworth to go with the wife, Companion or whatever, to see with me the changing Seasons of heather from purple September glory To the browns of winter and wisps of summer green And meet with Michael Haslam, fellow poet, Maestro of the moors and shape-shifter supreme.
I write these verses sitting in the marble hall Of City Station’s restored art deco glory, The rats and debris of decades swept away, How much I need the kindness of strangers, The welcome from my son’s nurses on the Ward with the highest security rating Leeds possesses, A magnificent rotunda among lawns and wooded glades, Air conditioned with more staff than patients- When visiting times are readily extended to encompass My moorland walks and journeys to the capital When I visit Brenda Williams, England’s leading protest poet.
In an Eden garden which spreads its lawned sleeves To envelop my tobacco smoke which irritates everyone Or is it a displacement onto the smoker As I ecstasise the red and yellow splendour of the red hot poker Defiantly erect among the flowering robes of magnolia? Here we reminisce of long ago days when our children Blossomed with talent and showed no signs Of the unending torment of their adult years, Depot injections, Red clouds which whirl as in end-on sections, absconding, Liasing, losing and finding…

Poem by Barry Tebb
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