Send me down the road my dear, with nought but gin in hand,
And I will find a new life dear, leave the life I’d planned.
I’d walk, happy with my choices, not doing as I was told,
Making friends along the way, I’d walk happy down the road.
Though that road it may be dangerous & underfoot may crack,
My spirit will pick me up again, for I won’t be coming back.
And walk I shall. Never stopping to settle or stay,
I’ll simply pack my things with a “I must be on my way”,
When I’ve walked it all, till I’m grey & old,
Take my dusty bones and toss them on the road.
- Thomas McNeeney
There’s a moment when I’m woken, by a ringing in my ear,
And a taste I can’t identify, somewhere between an ashtray & the fear.
There’s a moment of hesitation, is this the fault of mine or of the beer?
And at this painful moment, a sound from someone near,
Says ‘I didn’t think you’d still be here’.
- Thomas McNeeney
My feelings are so very far away from yours.
Not by distance but by time.
I’m still living in a past where nothing went wrong.
And we were happy.
You moved on.
Though you’re not happy.
So we’re quite close in that respect.
- Thomas McNeeney
She smiles. I melt.
She laughs. It’s music
She bites her bottom lip. Heart racing
She looks into my eyes. I’m home
She leaves. I should have said something.
- Thomas McNeeney
My hand shakes, from deep within.
Like the earth shakes. Earthquakes.
Forces controlling nerves, connected to bones,
running like rivers down to fingertips.
Shaking because of the drink. The Drugs. The endless late nights. The Fear.
Yet here I am again, drink in shaking hand.
Forcing through smiles & false pleasantries.
You look great, we should catch up. I miss you.
I love you.
Lies. Twisted lies from a twisted mind.
Bent beyond repair but carefully held together
with a dangerously strong drink.
- Thomas McNeeney
She’s sitting on the sofa now,
Lighting cigarettes with matches,
Singing to some man’s guitar,
So I start to doubt my chances.
And sneaking to the bedroom now,
She’s leaving me behind,
In a kitchen full of strangers,
With disappointment on my mind.
- Thomas McNeeney
Hopefully there will come a time in life,
When I’ve settled down & have a wife.
When the memories of my youth are sewn,
I’ll start a family of my own.
After my adventures have long since past,
My memories of these days will last.
All those people I had the pleasure to meet,
Remembered in the stories I repeat.
The ones who changed this life of mine,
Immortalised when it comes to bedtime.
For McNeeney children, tucked in bed,
Will have the most amazing stories read.
Of places traveled & cities seen,
The locations that will fill their dreams.
And populate each & every night,
With tales of ones who changed my life.
And those who’s bodies long since gone,
Through bedtimes stories will live on.
But I’ll stress to them in tender voices,
"Take care not to make the same bad choices,
Don’t let your passions be subsided,
Or let yourself be narrow minded”
I will kiss them gently on the head,
And say now, may darlings time for bed.
There’ll be no princes or witches in this cast,
Just people from their parent’s past.
No made up kingdoms in far off lands,
But places they can see first hand.
I’ll tell them “Now children please take care,
The real villains are out there,
But the good folk are all around,
And so much adventure to be found”
They will meet all the stars of these great tales,
Who’ll fill them in on more details.
Sit them on their knee & whisper “By the way,
I know your Dad gets carried away,
But listen to what he has to say,
And you can have tales of your own one day”
Out into the world they will go,
To see things only they will know.
Until when I am old & grey,
Which comes to us all some day,
And the roles we, years ago rehearsed,
Find themselves reversed.
Son’s & daughters tell their dad,
Of the adventures they have had.
Of all the places they all have seen,
Of distant places they have been.
Reminding me of stories I have said,
But in my age I now forget.
Bringing me back for just a while,
To my brilliant friends & days of style.
Letting me relive, just once more,
The wonderful things I’ve done before.
Then they’ll kiss me gently on the head,
And whisper “Dad, now it’s time for bed”
A while ago I decided to live out one of my life long ambitions of spending an entire week sat writing in various bars drinking myself into submission throwing all my remaining money on whiskey & cigars feverishly scrawling page after page of self inflicted passion over notebooks with stolen pens in the hope of finally penning that piece of brilliance that would whisk me off my drunken feet & onto the shoulders of giants. I spent an entire week drinking from the moment I woke fully dressed with a head feeling like it was playing host to the homecoming show of the River dance…and it’s sold out, until the moment I threw myself into bed again some nineteen hours later. For one whole week I was an unshaven, intoxicated, fantastically overdressed failing writer chasing my own take on the American Dream. I was Hemingway. I was Thompson. I was Joyce. I loved every minute of it.
The results of this week of hedonism & excess were varied, some days I would wake to find page after page of literary gold, ripe with wit & subtle undertones of peril, other days I’d discover the fruits of my labour to be utter drivel not fit to see the light of day. I’d review my previous day’s work sitting in the doorway to my garden smoking pathetically cheap cigars but still big enough to warrant gripping them fiercely between my teeth as I helped myself to another red wine whilst pouring myself over the work of the day before, sometimes ripping great chapters of drunken rambling up there and then, others taking the burning end of my budget cigar to & watching it smoulder in the harsh April morning air before the wind would carry it away forever. The parts I enjoyed, work that past my mid-morning scrutiny I’d start to compile upon returning back inside the house well into my third glass of wine before even Parisians would consider acceptable, I would organise my previous days ramblings into vague chapters, tear out pages I wanted to build on, tore out pages I knew a sober mind would not have let me put to paper & co-ordinated a rough plan for the days writing ahead. I’d shower away what was left of the hangover, dress myself in something off the floor & light another shockingly bad cigar as I left the house, leather bag slung over my shoulder packed with notes, notebooks, books for inspiration; Kerouac, Kafka, Floyd, handfuls of stationary & week old newspapers with half finished crosswords teamed with an obligatory hip flask. Wandering about the City centre until I’d find somewhere that took my fancy, busy with the lunchtime crowd order myself a fitting drink for the day, large scotch to mull over or a bottle of rioja; “how many glasses” followed by stern looks or even just a pint before finding a decent sized table in some quiet corner to sit & work at. Always face the room. There will always be more inspiration to be drawn from the public than there will from the wall.
Here I’d stay for hour after hour, until that dark, glass stained chipped table was covered in moleskine notebooks & piles of loose pages, the pencil behind my ear resting for a moment while I sink another drink before shaking my head as if to loosen the inspiration before plunging back into another chapter…I am Hemingway…drink, write, repeat. It’s long since gone dark outside & the after work crowd is replaced by the couples, the first daters, the single men sat at the bar. All would make for fine observations but by now the booze has taken over & I’m writing at breakneck speed, flying through pages with a flurry of paper, pencil tearing into clean white sheets like a demon, I’ll keep up this pace for about an hour, pausing for more drink or to occasionally rest my frustrated hand. This moment is like love making, it’s entirely in the heat of the moment as I write I’m following only the flow of the previous sentence not how or what it has to to do with my work, only now vaguely aware that most of what I’m now writing will make it past my hungover cigar & breakfast drink tomorrow. Currently I’m impressionable, the motion has me, I let it carry me like this until the end of a chapter or two when I come back to my senses, numbed & embarrassed by my sudden attack of gonzo escapism. I fire back another drink and start to pack away my things, fumbling with drunken hands as I plunge great stacks of handwritten notes into to my bag, I’ll sit there for another half hour or so nursing one last large whiskey, that is unless last orders overtakes me. I step out of the bar, long shadows under the streetlights & light rain are my escorts home, I set off walking. The sudden freshness of the air rushes to my head, I rummage in the depths of my bag for a last cigar, lighting it as I fall into a wall before producing the hip flask. I stumble home, the short walk amassing to almost an hour as I stop a handful of times to frantically pull a notebook from my bag & scrawl disjointed sentences over blank pages which will serve no better purpose than to confuse me in the morning. I arrive home with heavy eyes, cursing my way up the stairs. Throwing my bag & wet coat off only in the vague direction of the floor as I enter my room before collapsing onto the unmade bed, limbs like lead weights fight with shoes & my watch before giving up for the night.
I lie there in the dark room, watching the lights of passing cars in the night causing waves of orange light to arc across the ceiling like glowing sheep gliding over a dreamy fence as I drift into a broken sleep. I’ll wake tomorrow coughing & feeling ready for death before doing it all again. For this week. This blink of an eye in terms of my life. I am Hemingway. I am Thompson & I am going to do it properly.