Five-oclock smile

(Just another 3-chord song. I woke up with the idea in my head after listening to the Pogues)

I’m workin’ all day and I’m earnin’ my money
cos that’s what you do when there’s landlords to pay
But just after midday my mobile is beeping
A message from Teddy: meet u @ Ray’s?
I message back ‘K’, check my clothes in the mirror
even though Teddy don’t care about style
and neither do I between knockoff and dinner
when Teddy will give me his five-oclock smile

Oh Teddy Oh Teddy your five-oclock smile
Oh Teddy I’ve walked for so many a mile
Sure you’re just a rogue and I’m just a sinner
but nothin’ compares to your five oclock smile

The afternoon’s slow and I dream of four-thirty
I’ll take off my headset and stroll down to Ray’s
where Tony the barman will pull me a beer
and I’ll give him a generous tip with my eyes
I’ll chat to the people who prop up the bar
and bask in the noise until Teddy arrives
He’ll never be early but I won’t be angry
for Teddy will give me his five-oclock smile

Oh Teddy Oh Teddy your five-oclock smile
Oh Teddy I’ve walked for so many a mile
I sold my possessions, abandoned my family
to get within range of your five-oclock smile

The rest of the world can go rev up its engines
The rest of the world can go make up its lies
Ray’s is a place where nobody stares
if you’re silent or loud or weird or on fire
We hang up our coats on a hook in the corner
Peel off our layers, relax for a while
If life is a lottery I am a winner
for Teddy will give me his five-oclock smile

Oh Teddy Oh Teddy your five-oclock smile
Oh Teddy I’ve walked for so many a mile
I pawned my last vestige of glamour and glitter
to get within range of your five-oclock smile

Oh Teddy Oh Teddy your five-oclock smile
Oh Teddy I’ve walked for so many a mile
Sure you’re just a rogue and I’m just a sinner
but nothin’ compares to your five oclock smile

like rhymes, tings, heartdrums

Scared

It is dark.
I am lost.
It is horrible.
I mean it is really really scary.
When it is light I am found.
     — Callan (aged about 10)

He hugs his teddy-bear and says
Sing a happy song.
He wants a happy song, lilting along,
to distract him from the toxic growl
of his voice-destroying
fear. For eleven years
we’ve smoothed his hair,
stroked his skin, listened, talked,
kissed him —
yet the softly growling menace stalks and paces.
Sing a happy song. Let me fall
asleep by the fire, by you,
your heat, your heartbeat.
Sing a happy song.

I don’t have many happy songs.
It isn’t that sort of guitar.
It isn’t that sort of mind. It’s
really a bit Nick Cave in here.
I, too, hear the dark.

But I try. I sing my best
for him, sitting on the floor
by him. Shut your eyes, I say,
but he keeps them open
for a while.
His ritual bedside candles
sing along — their little flames like rhymes,
tings, heartdrums,
like the birdy bling and glisten
of the dawn.