This Is An Is Thing, Isn’t It?

The really great thing about being a bit crap at relationships is you get an awful lot of stuff to write about.

This Is An Is Thing, Isn’t It?


This is an is thing

This isn’t a once thing

Too late for once now anyway

This I hope is a future thing

And an odd thing this not once and future thing

An odd thing; time

Not just because it breaks the rhyme

It was getting close to needing to do that anyway

So where are we?

Where we were both before was

Nowhere much good; it was ok

But you know, not really

What we were looking for

And then; us. Somehow

It’s good.

We’re hoping it will stick

This time, this summer

These nights and days

The blossom time,

The blessed Chinese June bride time,

Something I saw

On the label of a T shirt in Hong Kong

Ten years from now;

We’re not that young.

We’ve both been places rich and poor

But fingers crossed and hoping

The pigs aren’t whistling;

It’s hard sometimes to make this right.

So let’s go slow this evening

And do no hurt tonight.


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I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife and a State Trooper knocking in the middle of the night..."
“I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife and a State Trooper knocking in the middle of the night…” Ok, so I didn’t write it. Want a fight about it?

I wrote this last winter. It was freezing and my car was telling me all kinds of bad things, none of which ever happened. The things that did my car had nothing to say about.



Strap in and turn the key

Check the warning lights,

Sale behind the side impact protection bars,

The crumple zone, the anti-dive seatbelt

The whiplash padding on the head-restraint,

The lights on the dashboard telling me my belt is unfastened,

But I’m reversing as it tells me too.

The mirror’s heating and the black ice warning snowflake

Not showing white on the glass somehow this cold morning

The clamour of the reversing sensor,

Another light to tell me the airbag will work

All of this telling me I won’t get hurt.

All of these coats and gloves and deadlocked doors,

The shatterproof glass, all of this protection

Around me and your empty seat

And still one word from you or

A single glance could rip my heart.

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All Of Your S**t

"MILF seeks studz #lolI"
“Foxy MILF 28 seeks studz #lols”

This tender, romantic little poem was inspired by an ad I once saw in the Personals, long before there were things like that nobody knows about anyway so I don’t know why I mentioned it really.

The ad went on and on and on, about how this poor woman loved her children more than life itself, how she’d been left on her own with them and how she’d never let anyone get between her and her most precious darlings. This was a Personals ad, don’t forget. Maybe not the best place to do all that. Right at the end after she’d bled all over the page, she cracked the best pay-off line I’ve ever heard:

“I’m looking for a man without any baggage.”

Without any sense of irony too, obviously. I hope she ended-up with the American she was looking for. It stuck in my head, the way things do, until I wrote her ad again.


All Of Your S**t

I’m looking for someone without any baggage

I’m a man/woman/couple looking for

A fun reliable person/partner/soulmate,

Someone tall/short and dark/light

Someone funny/serious and adventurous

Who likes staying at home and going out

Just chilling and doing the same things.

They say opposites attract. LOL.

I love my children, my family, my job, my home, my car

I’d lay down my life for them or never forgive them

Or someone for getting between me and them.

I love my pets and I don’t want any ties right now.

I like walking on beaches in the mountains.

I love going on Citybreaks in the countryside.

I want someone to be there for me when I need them

And I can’t handle anything heavy right now.

I want someone to build a future together.

I love having no responsibilities

And caring and going away whenever I like.

I love staying at home. I’m looking for a life partner,

A serious relationship, a one-night stand.

Who knows? Let’s see. Fun.

I’m married, single, divorced, separated,

Just looking and widowed;

It’s complicated. Delete as appropriate.

Or delete me as inappropriate.

Friend me. Chat. TXT. IM me.

Delete my posts on your timeline,

Block my profile and change your privacy settings

Even as you change mine, forever and ever

Until the next time.

Mark me as flagged until the Xs disappears from your MSGS

And quickly then the TXTS get shorter and less often

Until sooner than you thought

On the screen there’s no reply at all

And quite finally, without appeal and irrevocably

You just unfriend me.

So I’m looking for someone without any baggage.


October 2013
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This Motherhood Thing

This Motherhood Thing


I’ve known several mothers.

It’s never been my thing.

I don’t know why, other than being male.

You can’t, can you?

You can’t be someone’s mother if you’re not.

Any more than when you meet someone

With children however charming,

However old, however young

You can’t be their father.

You shouldn’t even try.

Some people talk about a sacred trust,

A spirit bond. Some people talk about

The power of pyramids too.

I don’t know how to do this stuff.

Really. I haven’t a clue how it goes.

It never happened for me.

Whether planned or maybe it’s just something

I can’t do. The children thing.

And maybe I shouldn’t.

I remember a woman I still know.

We talk on the phone.

We’ve got to that place where we can

Laugh again, and we do. It’s good.

I like to hear her voice. She has two children.

They did not approve when we met.

They said we’d destroyed their lives;

Both working, one post gap year,

One post grad, now post Phd.

Lives totally not ruined; it’s safe to say that now.

But it was difficult.

He came to visit and smoked (he doesn’t)

And played loud music (he doesn’t)

And stayed up late (that neither)

She ignored all of this. He’s only doing it

To get attention. So don’t, she said.

You don’t reward this behaviour.

I’ll deal with this tomorrow. When it suits me.

You choose your battles with this motherhood thing.

But the noise didn’t suit me then.

I told him something his mother never would

That his comfort and security and well-being,

How he thought about things,

All of this wasn’t actually that interesting,

That his mother’s well-being

And happiness were more important to me

Than him. That he wasn’t so much, in my scheme of things.

We got on after that. It was the first time

This had ever been mooted, that was plain.

It wasn’t something I ever want

To have to say again. It wasn’t motherhood.

But it was true. She mattered to me.

Him not so much. I didn’t see then

How much of a package

Children are. How they’re always there.

On both sides. They can’t stop

Being her children any more than she

Can stop being their mother.

So now when this international lawyer

Is bought fuzzy felt by his mum

And posts the picture on Facebook

I can see these photos and imagine his face

And his voice. It makes me smile,

Four hundred miles away.

I don’t understand how this all works,

This motherhood thing.

It was nice to see it for a while.

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Sunday, Sunday

Can’t trust that day, as the Mamas and Papas nearly sang. It’s a special day today, which makes me wish I’d had more than two and a half hours sleep and didn’t have to fix my freewheel on my bicycle, which seems to be all crudded up as it’s come out of winter storage. It runs, but if you stop peddling the chain threatens to come off because – oh it doesn’t really matter because. I’m going to have to take the stupid chain tensioner on the derailleur apart, thinking as I do every year that the complete evidence that my life has gone fundamentally totally wrong is that I can’t afford £900 for a 14-gear Rohloff gear hub for my bicycle. Res ipsa loquitur, as if I’d said for a living I’d have one by now. It speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Ha ha. And bitter tears.

If I hadn't thought about Wendy Sedgewick I'd have one of these by now.
If I hadn’t thought about Wendy Sedgewick I’d have one of these by now.

Oddly, I think of new things when I’m short of sleep. Two new poems, one of which I might try out at the soiree (I know, get me) this afternoon, and remembering I actually have not one but two short stories of a readable length I could do either there or at the pub open mic at The Anchor afterwards.

First I need to get some sleep and fix my bike, but I could get the train one stop instead and cadge a lift back, I suppose.

So would you like a story? Would you? Have you been good? Ok, what story would you like, because we only have time for one before bedtime? What’s it going to be? One about a ghost cat? Or about a teenaged Mexican prostitute I met once?

Sorry? I didn’t say these were children’s stories, did I?




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Being English

It isn’t easy being English. It’s not just the clothes you wear. Sorry, one wears.

Nor the things you think or the way you see things or the way you speak.

But when you hear it, especially when the English talk about relationships – sorry, not a very English word, I meant things like that – you know you really couldn’t be listening to any other people. Especially when you realise that when we say sorry we actually mean pay attention. I meant one means. Sorry.

I drove past someone’s house this morning and had a look to see if the garden furniture was still where I’d put it and the pergola was still there. And I thought of this. I don’t know whether to call it Being English or Things Like That. Or People Like Us, but I want to use that for something else and besides, not all of them do.

Claudia Myatt

Things Like That

It was all quite straightforward.

We both knew

Where we were.

We sort of got along.

Like that.

We liked each other.

Quite a lot rather soon.

That way too.

And then well.

You know.

All sorts of things happened.

And before we knew

Where we were at all

That was it really.

Now I just look

To see if her car’s there.

If you see what I mean.

Thinking back I’m not sure

Either of us did at the time.





(c) Carl Bennett

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These Are The Last Things

Another day, another cheery poem. I used this to close the night at the Wenhaston Star. It did the job well. Total silence, then clapping. Which was nice.

Then a bald-bloke barring my way out of the pub who wouldn’t let me go past until he’d said how much he liked it. It’s odd, I’m getting a lot of positive feedback (which I’m almost sure isn’t the kind of thing they’d say) from what look to me like the most unlikely people. Mostly with shaved heads. Mostly a lot bigger and tougher-looking than me. All of them visibly moved by my stuff, delivered by me. It’s been described rather flatteringly as raw and hypnotic. I think it’s something to do with telling honest stories about how people feel, in a way that men traditionally don’t tell them, or not in public, anyway.

That’s just my theory. I might be wrong. You could discuss it with my hard-looking fans if you like, out the back of the pub. Because they liked this one.

These Are The Last Things

This house is going now, 

Claudia Myatt
Claudia Myatt

Boxes packed, the vans booked,

Exchanging soon and these,

These are the last things

From my garden cooking.

Courgettes from the summer

That we shared sitting

Talking until late.

Until really it was much too late

For either of us to pretend,

Or for you to go home again.

This was my best Summer.

The summer of you and your dogs.

And your nose. And your voice.

And your hair. And your bent toes.

And just you, really. Just you.

And now I don’t have any of those things

With me almost every day.

Now I never know if, when I see you

In the street you’ll say hello or turn away;

It’s not just that it hurts me.

Not just that I don’t think

I deserved that. I make excuses for it

To my friends. It’s the way you are.

The way I was.

You’ve been through a lot, you know?

And yes, of course I talk about it.

It hurts so much too much not to

And I find that if I don’t then I cry.

But often, much more often than men are supposed to,

Alone in what will not be my house,

I cry anyway, for losing you.

In the kitchen, mostly.

Near the place between the oven and the fridge

Where you told me that you loved me.

So these, these are the last things.


 (c) Carl Bennett 2014



No, I’m fine, I’m fine. Honest.

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A Modern Valentine

Someone gave me a challenge the other day. Don’t write about love and romance. Show another side of you. But it was Saint Valentine’s Day. I failed.



A Modern Valentine


Roses are red

Like the blood of my heart

Like the lies on our lips

Like the stain of your kiss.


Violets are blue

Like the mould on spoiled food

Like the way we felt

When we knew it wasn’t true.


You held my heart

Like a hostage against the dark

Like a caged bird in the park

I was just a walk-on part.


Be my Valentine

And I’ll be yours

It could be worse

We’ve both been around for a while.




It’s not catchy. And you can’t dance to it.

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