Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just Like He Said

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billy told me
“poets lie too much”
and when i saw
him read
in the sweating basement
of a wooden box
on farringdon road
i tried to piece
what was real
and what was a lie

how different could he be
from sans serif print
on faded paper, brown?

i imagined him
to be cursing, kicking,
spilling fresh blood,
spewing rage
a drunken misogynist
a bastard
a fool

but listening to him sing
where did you sleep
last night?
and other forgotten diamonds
from the vaults
of son house
i saw what he really was.

in his watering eyes
a hundred cracked emotions
pain and hurt and love
splattered through his pupils
hurling colour and words
and music
onto vacant faces, rapt

he showed me his key ring
- a gift from dan fante
brass, pointed, like a star
11 years off the wagon
a medal from LA, AA

“i’m just a hippy”
he proclaimed
who hid from
legions of cruel
vicious women
retracting into
terraced houses of
chatham’s black
and bruised
warming arms
Adelle Stripe

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