Night in a city that has licked its wounds Two thousand years. And curls around its kits Feeding and grooming heroes cowards wits Lovers and killers. Always quiet sounds As traffic purrs dim cat lights in the street. Windows are dark in darkness curtains drawn So many million. City I was born In your warm heart my first breath to its beat And hope to die according to your laws Breathing your scented passioned poison air Surrounds me chokes me black dust in my hair I drink dark milk protected by your claws Gog Magog Bran and dragons in the stone You gave me all the words I write breathe own.
Her breathing on that last day soft and slow A little troubled moments then to calm And back to sleep. I reached and stroked her arm. Was that we both were there something she'd know
Or had that passed ? Eyes flicked from side to side Hearing two voices. Did she recognize That I was there? She looks up and then tries To wake a little. On the train I cried.
And I had said goodbye and so had Jane. It was we did not know last of her days There is the last word that a person says They tire. Drugs sleep and death the end of pain. Last glimpse her sleeping face closed eyes her skin Against the bedding pale white paper thin.
Dance in the dark, green shimmer, outstretched leg Inspiring muse yet moll the toe tap beat Ragtime and rivets, burning torch to greet Strangers, dear tawdry land I will not beg
That you fulfil your promises, our dreams. The best of hopes most nightmare of despairs Shining and stained a fantasy of home Pancakes and bacon mirrorshading chrome Striped zootest suits that anybody wears
By of and for yet choking on bloodgold I could not breathe there where was near first free Twirled in your air you beat charmed ravished me. I heard the stories that your victims told
And yet your better angel at your ear To save, while it's your demons we all fear.
The gods so much our kin and so unkind Our snobbish cousins worse than we can dream Bitch at them even slightly we blaspheme And then are torn to bits or wake up blind. They rape us father us. Don’t criticise Your greatgrandchildren will meet awful fates Meet unknown mothers on the worst of dates Have siblingchildren cause plague pluck out eyes. Not just the Greeks. Job lost his sons and herd Over some stupid bet. And crucified To pay for fruit God's son poor Jesus died. Sure fine, in the beginning was the Word, Abstract incomprehensible and wholly writ. God that is not our flesh less of a shit.
Mum's cousin Jean had cheekbones like sharp knives, And eyes dark passion brown as the old song. We often get these speculations wrong But bits of us get passed down through their lives The ancestors of whom we hardly heard. He was a pedlar who got sick and died My great great grandma kneeling at his side Who nursed him. And we don't know what occurred. Nose aquiline and cheekbones in my blood Irish potato face grandfather's height My aunt's imagination these things might Explain me. We aren't made of sun-baked mud But generations handed flesh and bone Remembered family and those unknown.
We're made from ancestors. Also from friends. Jokes. Hugs. Rebukes. The books they made us read. They made us weep. Sometimes they made us bleed. Violent desires have sometimes violent ends Or wither. Friendship twines about the heart A subtle bindweed. Can't eradicate Mostly you don't remember place or date Acquaintance changes and new friendshps start Each way the fondness never quite the same Balance of power shifts and then moves around Differences gentle sometimes quite profound That make us bless curse half-forget their name Still written on our bones. A thing we find Most when they're dead and we are left behind.
Technically Mike Dickinson was my oldest friend because apparently we had play dates when we were very tiny.
We actually met in Leeds in the 70s when he was running, part-time, the sf shelves in the local Left bookstore, and stayed in touch when I moved to London. He dragged me into SF fandom by getting me to bring the Leeds group food supplies at the 75 Heathrow Eastercon. When he was doing fanzines and editing Vector, he chivvied me into writing my first reviews. As one of the organisers of various Yorcons, he helped create a space where I felt safe in fandom post-transition and where Geoff Ryman and I had our first LGBT fandom party. And it's through him and Jackie Gresham indirectly that I met my partner. He was a significant reader for Gollancz.
He was a beefy, funny, well-read, folk-singing...He was a talented teacher and a good man.
We saw less of each other in recent years. He and Jackie had elder care responsibilities and his health declined. He died after a short illness on Friday, suddenly, in his sleep.