why because

Ian lived over the road
I used to go
over there a lot
not
because we were friends
– that would bend
the definition
out of all recognition
no, it was because he had a lot of stuff
and my jealousy was just enough
motivation
to overcome my hesitation
and keep me knocking
(which I freely admit was pretty shocking)

what Ian had that I didn’t:

  1. Ian’s dad worked in a canning factory
    (not in the warehouse: something managery)
    he’d struggle backwards through the door with boxes of stuff
    many times more than enough
    for a tidy family of two
    not like us, the kind of sprawling, brawling clan who’d
    segment an orange and fight to the death
    over who took the flesh and who took the pith
    no – this was food of a higher dimension
    Planter’s Peanuts in a can, not to mention
    all the pears and apricots and peaches
    each
    in enormous catering sizes
    and my eyes
    would widen
    as Ian’s dad struggled to hide ‘em
    in a blanketed stack in the hall
    and I knew they’d never get through it all
    so it teetered there taunting me
    totally haunting me
    but if I put out a hand
    Ian would stand
    and say no
    and I’d say why
    and he’d say because
    and I’d get a can and throw it at his face
    and I’d be ordered out post haste
    and we didn’t speak
    and that was our friendship for ANOTHER week

  2. Ian had a Hot Wheels Triple Loop kit
    and I totally lusted after it
    far and away the most amazing thing yet
    Ian let me set
    the track up
    but he’d put my back up
    when he launched the cars and I had to catch em
    bring them back so he could despatch em
    over and over and over
    like I was the crew but he was the owner
    which in a way you’d have to say he was
    and I’d say can I have a go
    and he’d say no
    and I’d say why
    and he’d say because
    and I’d get a car and throw it at his face
    and I’d be ordered out post haste
    and we didn’t speak
    and that was our friendship for ANOTHER week

  3. Ian had a mechanical horse
    A MECHANICAL FUCKING HORSE!
    with the kind of stirrups
    when Ian worked them moved him forwards
    rattling along the pavement
    me standing by in amazement
    and I’d say can I have a go
    and he’d say no
    and I’d say why
    and he’d say because
    and I’d push him out of the saddle
    and straddle
    him on the floor
    and his mum would hurry outdoors
    in her slippers
    saying I was a disgrace
    and pack me off post haste
    and we didn’t speak
    and that was our friendship for ANOTHER week

then one day they moved
(I think it was me but it can’t be proved)

I wonder what Ian’s doing now?
I imagine him in politics somehow
WE NEED INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SERVICES
so Ian surfaces
on the evening news
to vocalise the government’s views
which is essentially no
and the interview says Oh?
Why?
and he says because
and the interviewer starts thrashing him with her questionnaire
and the news gets taken off the air

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