Oh, Man

I don’t need you to kill any spiders.
I can buy my own flowers.
I prefer to sleep alone.
I have books for company.
No, you can’t read my poetry.
No, I don’t write about you.

I am hard work and the end result may or may not be worth the effort but that’s down to your inflated expectations, not mine (I have enough of my own to deal with, thanks) / Rather than my favourite yellow roses, that I sit and watch die over a period of less than 72 hours, The One For Me would buy me a cactus: indestructible, quiet, steadfast, pretty ugly, unkillable / The only thing that takes my breath away is a panic attack / I cry over spilt milk and have a phobia of tomato seeds: concluding that I have issues with my mother, shoving coke up your nose and trying to get me to lie down on your sofa does not make you Freud.

I can’t afford to cook for two.
I will never be eating for two.
You will never know who I really am or what I really do.
I only bother to shave my legs for you.

I will break one or more of the following: Your…
a) heart
b) nose
c) bank
d) spirit

I wear my father’s old clothes: it’s too easy to conjure up his ghost, because I am him and he is me: I am dead to me: I refuse to live for you / The Man of My Dreams is a man who reads: books, not The Racing Post / I don’t agree when you call me pretty – luckily you say that rarely / If you’re going to catcall, do it properly: your weak whistle succeeds only in eliciting further pity from me / I can play Wonderwall on the guitar better than you can, even with my impractically long, elaborately decorated false nails / Fancy cars will never impress me: walking is free.

I am wasting your time, just as you are wasting mine.
All these years and you still don’t know how I take my tea.
I dread every aspect of sex, though I talk about it frankly and frequently.
I never actually gave you permission to touch me.
Stop pestering me – needy isn’t sexy.
If you cared about me, you’d leave me be.

I’ve smoked JPS Silver for a decade / John Player Special: John = what I call every man because a lot of the time, that’s his name, and because they always respond, because they’re all the same: Player, Special = what every man thinks he is: Jean-Paul Sartre = the man, the thinker, who I actually think about / Silver, because it’s the only time a man ever comes second.

You think, by meeting me, you’ve won the lottery
but soon, all you’ll have left are rusty pennies (…you’ll see).
I am happier by the sea but you won’t take me.
I will always have Bukowski.
I don’t want your money.
I didn’t ask you to love me.
You are not a necessity:
I can turn you into a memory.

Originally published in ‘Bukowski 100’ (Newington Press, 2020)


  1. Knowing what we women want, what we are, made of, more than whatever the heck that men thinks, we are, made of, is way more important, than, fulfilling the, expectations of ehat men, interpret us as.

  2. This is splendid and I love this:

    “Stop pestering me – needy isn’t sexy. If you cared about me, you’d leave me be.”

    An incredibly sound write!

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