HERE’S TO THE WOMEN

Here’s to the women 

Who gave me nothin’

A peck on the cheek 

And a lifeless hug

Sayin’ “We must do this again”

Like I’m some brainless mug

Out on a limb

They know I can’t swim

And so I drift

And drift

Until the next one comes along

To give me nothin’

In exchange for a song

Leavin’ me to wonder 

Where I’m goin’ wrong

Here’s to the women

Who gave me nothin’

One hand in my pocket

And one on my heart

Promising this is goin’ somewhere 

But always playin’ a part

Out in the rain

I’m goin’ insane

Floatin’ downstream 

To who knows where

I might find somethin’

Or nothin’ at all

Or a wonderland of feelin’

Where tides rise and fall

Here’s to the women 

Who gave me nothin’

Who say they want love

But just crave attention

Sayin’ “Don’t call me, I’ll call you

One day when I’m on the pension”

(c) Frank Howson 2020

INFECTED


I’ve been poisoned 

By too many poisonous demons

Posing as friends

Posing as human beings

Lying about their past and their future intentions 

Stealing everything of mine

They thought I cared about

Money, trophies, and work

That I had paid for in blood, sweat and marriages 

But they got me wrong 

I couldn’t be found there 

For I was already somewhere else

Someone else 

Someone stronger

Someone colder

Their resentment actually empowering me

For all they did was prove 

That material things are just that

They don’t get you to sleep at night

They don’t buy you a genuine embrace

They don’t ease your mind or your load 

They don’t short cut you into heaven 

They don’t justify your rusted conscience 

For to lose it all

Is to finally be free

To shed every skin of protection

Until you are as liberated

As a new born naked baby

Free falling to a soft landing

And accepting it all 

Pining for nothing except this moment 

Where no memory exists

And there are no debts to be repaid

No one to breathe life into 

And no eyes that can make me flinch

For when I look at you now

I see into your very soul

(C) Frank Howson 2020

3am

Love requires patience 

Life takes time

But how long must I wait

Until the Gods make you mine?

Nothing makes sense

Until you don’t need it to anymore 

We miss our golden chances

We take the wrong door 

Wish I lived inside your heart

To know your joy and pain

To learn what makes you happy

And what brings you disdain 

I’ll love you till the end of time

And in that other life too

No matter what the ups and down

I’ll be true to you 

You were the people’s princess

And on every stage you starred 

I never deserted my mission

Although the nights were long and hard

So many have stood in our way

And ran our ship aground 

They put our hearts in chains

And sold our flesh by the pound

But you can’t put a price on magic

No assassin can freeze its breath

For love knows no seasons

And can not be stilled by death 

(C) Frank Howson. 2020

I SAW A FUTURE

I saw a future. Or perhaps just a dream. A city where rats the size of dogs scurried along streets, growing stronger feeding on toxic waste. Crowded sidewalks filled with beggars begging beggars for a crumb. Or some leftover soup. Or a new messiah.

The billionaires were safely living in their gated, climate controlled glass domes, inventing wars, viruses, and new political puppets.

I saw Satan on the news channels every night. He is a very eloquent speaker and seems like a cool guy to hang with. He has everyone conned and no doubt thinks we’re fools. But we don’t care anymore. And therein lies the problem. He hasn’t defeated us. We have. We are suffering from the deadliest virus of all – apathy.

I’ve sometimes wondered where my life will end? In the gutter, in a mansion, or on a plane suspended between two places? Between here and there. Near and far. 

At school we were brainwashed with our teachers’ political beliefs, assumptions, approved view of history, religion, regrets, and frustrations. They have groomed us to live the same disappointing life they’ve lived. Sing c’est la vie.

My heart is wearing out from the residue worry of things I don’t even clearly remember anymore.

I do believe that God sends us signs. And the other day I passed one that said, “Eat More Cake.” It spoke to me. Although I felt sad for Marie Antoinette who lost her head saying much the same thing.

My refrigerator has been talking to me about conspiracies. It told me it knew who killed the Kennedys, but said my life would be in danger if it informed me. I thanked it for caring about my welfare and turned in for the night. At the Godly hour of 3am I was awakened by the pillow whispering in my ear. It told me it knew who killed Anthony Bourdain. I told it to “Fuck off!”

 

(C) Frank Howson 2020

THERE’S A TRAIN A’COMIN’.

I think I was wounded a while ago. Around that time you said goodbye. I remember it rained as if on cue. But you hanged me on every word. I guess I had it comin’. You see, I believed in you.  And once a man opens his heart like that, the high noon train pulls into town. Someone must’ve telegraphed my vulnerability to near and far, and the resentful saddled up. I think I might get shot dead, right here on this street where we first kissed. Under that deceitful moon. Will you shed a tear for me? Will I even be missed? Was I ever noticed? Tell me it ain’t been for nothin’. Tell me I’ll leave a mark. I guess we should’ve had kids for that, but you were rarely allowed out after dark. How did I get cast as an outlaw? How come I’m always on the run? I remember being a sweet faced boy who only ever wanted to do right. I hope they don’t shoot me in the back. That’s a coward’s death. I want to stare them down. Way down to hell and back. Want ‘em to know what I’ve been livin’ with. Want ‘em to know I know who they are. Sorry, but time has hardened me. I told you I could change. But you wouldn’t commit, would you? I told you to jump and I’d catch you in my arms. But you didn’t trust me, did you? I guess you’d been wounded too. So here we are on Main Street of some dusty shithole backlot town. We both deserved more than this, ending up in a B grade cowboy movie. I could see you as Joan of Arc. And me as Mr. Chips. Ah, what a pair we’d have made. But Central Casting had no imagination and fucked us up. Y’know I’d have laid down my life for you, just so you could walk over me. How’s that for a loyalty not found in all those thieves who stalked your doorstep? I’m gonna have some words to say to God when I see him later today. Why did he torture me by sending an angel and then cutting off my arms? We were just two poor kids thrown together, and saw something of ourselves in each other’s eyes. Maybe I lost myself in you. That’s why you grew stronger at my expense. And if so, I don’t regret it. For I cared more about you than myself anyway. And as the clock strikes twelve, I’ve grown as wise as the servants, and as gentle as the doves. Having said that, there’s a train to meet, my love, so I’ll just leave it here and say farewell. 

 

(C) Frank Howson 2020

HOW THE BIRD SINGS

I remember a place
Not far from here
In a small town
I held someone dear
In a strange time
My favourite year
Now I can’t think of it
Without shedding a tear
Some people change
Some people rust
Some people betray you
And piss on your trust
I’m running out of time
To do the things I must
I once drank a toast
To Hollywood or bust
I see children holding children
On this broken highway
I see men hurtin’ people
If they don’t get their way
I see women too scared
To go out after day
I was beaten to a pulp
When I tried to have my say
So sit down beside me
And remind me of things
Tell me all your hopes
That you pray tomorrow brings
How you dream of blue skies
And golden rings
Here I’ll wait out the storm
To hear how the bird sings…
May it tell me the news
That you’re happy and well
And that you rose
While your demons fell
And that you kept your pride
When you were told to sell
May that bird bring me the news
Be I in heaven or hell…

 

(C) Frank Howson 2020

I LOOKED AT THE SKY

Today

I looked at the sky

And wondered why

Nothing makes sense down here

We judge people on shades

And not substance

We fall over ourselves

To worship idiots

We stay too long at parties

For fear of going home with ourselves

To the same room

Tomb

We live and die in

We put on a happy face to answer the door

But can’t sustain it

It’s easier to go out

Than let anyone in

I used to be a fast runner in my youth

Because there was always a clear finishing line

Now

I run from things

And just keep going

I miss getting a tin medal

Though

And applause

And hugs

It’s lonely running from something

You don’t understand

To somewhere you may never belong

So I prefer to run in circles

Some tell me that’s a waste of time

But isn’t that life?

Today

I looked at the sky

And wondered why

 

(c) Frank Howson 2020

A BRAND NEW YOU

I was too wise to see

What everybody else knew

To spite you I outsmarted me

I fell in love with a brand new you

She talks like you

Walks like you

Does everything except

Think like you

Everything you’ve been hearing

Is true

I fell in love with a brand new you

Now what do I do?

Let’s wait and see

Will the same ending be true?

Leave it up to me…

 

(C) Frank Howson 2020

THE DAY GEORGE ROMERO MET BOOM BOOM GECKO

It was a normal day

Like any other

Knee deep in chaos

And calls from his mother

George Romero had just flown back

A big game hunter who’d gone off-track

With a reputation of some renown

He caught a taxi into town

He’d come a long way on a wing and a song

The driver took a right but something was wrong

But George was dreaming with

His eyes wide open

Without the knowledge

Of what he needed then

George Romero’s destination

A pressing office obligation

Now just a shadow of his former self

Employees worried for his health

But neither George or friends

Knew what laid in store

Within the waiting room

Just behind the door

 

The day George Romero met Boom Boom Gecko

Is still talked about in hushed tones

The gossip mongers picked the bones

Of every sincere act

The first thing that dies is fact

Hounded when push comes to shove

Hypocrites wiped their feet on their love

 

Now Boom Boom Gecko

Was a Sydney beauty

A former door girl from

The Club Tutti Fruitti

George fell headfirst for Boom Boom’s charms

Some say he landed safe in her arms

Others snigger about the lonely wife

Who George fled from to save his life

Now he has found what he’d been looking for

With a girl like Boom Boom who could want for more

 

There’s a poet spewin’ up words

He can’t pronounce

And a sweet young chicken

Hawkin’ her ass for an ounce

A religious prisoner

Gets a knife in the back

And free falls as slowly

As Jack Kerouac

 

The day George Romero met Boom Boom Gecko

Is still talked about in hushed tones

The gossip mongers picked the bones

Of every sincere act

The first thing that dies is fact

Hounded when push comes to shove

Hypocrites wiped their feet on their love

 

 

(C) Frank Howson 2020

 

YOU LOOKED AT ME

There was a window

In the chaos

When you looked at me

Confirming my existence

And it all seemed right

Across a semi-crowded room

Of nothingness

And recycled opinions

Based upon acceptable misinformation

And yet

I saw something real

And in that brief moment

We beheld truth

Sometimes it’s the words

That get in our way

And cloud what’s true

Always keeping us at a safe distance

With a funny line

A trivial story about something

That means nothing anymore

A recalled memory of a time

Now lost

And misremembered like a scene

From a movie

The further we drift from it

The more romantic it becomes

In our mental scrapbook of lies

Rewritten so many times

That  it becomes easier to live with

These are the things we do

For self-preservation

If the world disappoints

We create another

And then another

Until we find ourselves

So far from home

We can never navigate our way back

Alone

In the dark

Eventually someone will come along

To smash all our delusions

And we will hate them for it

But they are in fact our saviour

Humbling us

Relieving us of our baggage

So that we can travel light

Into the pure existence

Of our eternal soul

Where words are no longer necessary

 

(C) Frank Howson. 2020

 

photograph by Vanessa Allan.