Worth The Fire ~ Bob Kesh


bound to the city
and the slums
and the five-dollar rooms on
skid row, grinning directly into
the pot-bellied sun laughing;

‘you think this is suffering!?
you tired old worms!
even your flowers need manure!’

it’s been some
sixty years
listening to the symphonies,
sat at the typer,
and watching the cockroaches,
over good drinks.

but to the gods
we’re still fools.
fools to money,
fools to freedom,
fools to love,
fools to drink,
fools to life.
full of
dumb hunger.
and the gods sent women
to this old bar fool,
that was their final trick.

from then on
the days were wound
with spider-like threads
for some woman to take you,
to love you,
make love to you,
and finally
destroy you.
and like flies in winter
we fly against the wind.
as good as dead.

while it still had that spark
it was good.
she’d sway that ass,
her legs taught you
all about fire,
and her heels decorated your room
like so many roman candles.
you’d open a beer
and drink it like the sun.
and that’s how it went
all ass and legs and high heels.
one after the other.
then came the misery,
it came as inevitably
as the night.
the dollars were too short
and affection
grew on credit.

‘the horses didn’t come in today, baby.’

‘your horse never comes in!
you’re a lousy gambler
and you’re
a lousy drunk!’

‘so are you, baby.’

‘you devil!
i can do better than you!’

‘i know, baby.’

‘i’ll find a real man.
a man with money,
and class,
and who can fuck me
as if
he’d die if he didn’t.’

‘alright.’ you’ll say,
and pour another drink,
like a freshly picked snail
in the bottom of a
pail of beer.

‘all you do is drink,
you devil!
and play the horses
with the rest of the fools!
you come home
with no money,
no job,
and drink
and write your silly poems
and stories
about being poor
and booze
and women.
you wake up
you should be dead already!’

and there it was,
the years go on,
the women come
and go,
and people die,
and the lights
get dimmer,
the gods,
they play their tricks,
and the drinks
go down
through some
immortal liver.
but through it all,
it’s still
worth the fire.


A writer and musician from London currently studying at the Faber Academy. Generally nocturnal, he can be found indulging in all the pleasures and pains of the night.

Contact him at bobkesh @ hotmail . co .uk (with no spaces)

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