Julian George ~ Three Poems

Ashes to Ashes

                     For AJY

I want you.

I want you
In your hip­pie vibe
In your mar­i­jua­na haze
In your tie-dye flat
Shimmying like my sis­ter Kate
(I wish I could shim­my like my sis­ter Kate)
Begging at your door
Calling at all hours
Moon mad

I owe you that.


Go Your Way

                  For Annie Briggs

Hands on hips
Surveying the scene
Folkies, Trotskyites
Bearing in mugs of tea
Stepping to the micro­phone, grin­ning ear to ear
Wild child, lost child
Siren, balladeer

Willie O’Winsbury
Polly Vaughan
The tan­gled man, the maid on the shore, the tear-away heroes and hon­est rogues of yore
Live and mouth-breathe through your pure, unadorned voice, ele­men­tal, unforced

Sod this’ you thought and moved through the fair, stink­ing of fags and gin, going who knows where


Where are you these days?

Where are you these days?
Where are you keep­ing yourself?
Every time I come around you’re not there
They tell me you’ve moved
That you’ve left no for­ward­ing address
(Though I have my doubts on this account)
Your name’s still taped to the mail­box in case the mail­man comes around with your tick­et to par­adise, a brand-new Panamanian passport,

If you have moved
If you have skipped with­out trace
If you’ve high­tailed it for good
If you’ve dis­ap­peared off the face of the earth
You should’ve kept me informed
You should’ve dropped me a line
Just to tell me you’re feel­ing fine
Just to let me know
Just to keep me abreast of the lat­est developments
Lucky we ran into each oth­er this way
I’m sor­ry, am I step­ping on your foot?

You’re a real ner­vous nel­ly these days
You must have jumped a mile, as if you’d seen a ghost or a creditor

Do you remem­ber the good old days?
All the good times we had together?
When we’d go to the café
Just you and me
(For want of bet­ter company)
For cof­fee, tea and pastry?
And we’d talk all morn­ing about my problems
About my inabil­i­ty to find gain­ful employment
It’s amaz­ing I was even able to get out of bed in those days, so bone idle, such a lazy, good for noth­ing you said in so many words, an echo of my dear old dad’s very words, that Polonius, that Palooka, that pill…

(How I loved that stu­pid old man!)

You said (when you got a word in edge­ways) that my inabil­i­ty to get out of bed might have some­thing to do with my inabil­i­ty to find gain­ful employ­ment but I didn’t believe you — look at me now, rise and shine!
A right muckety-muck
(With me you don’t fuck)
Something in some­thing, don’t ask what

Do you remember?
Sure you do
(I sure do)
I’d talk and you’d listen
That’s what I liked about you
You were a good listener

Then we’d split the check
Or you’d pick it up because you had gain­ful employ­ment then,
The ‘Great Pyramid’ scheme I believe,
And we’d go our sep­a­rate ways…
You nev­er came home with me, I don’t know why

Those were the good old days…weren’t they?

Where the hell are you these days?
I nev­er see you
I nev­er see any of the old faces
Once so famil­iar to me
I nev­er see your old face
All too famil­iar to me
Has your phone been disconnected?
Information has no list­ing for you
Is your num­ber unlisted?
I nev­er hear from you
I nev­er hear a peep
You could call
You could look me up
I have a name
(I’m in the book)
You could use a payphone
If any still exist that don’t spell of piss
You could pur­chase a call­ing card
Since I don’t have your number
Temporary, presumably
This time if you give it to me I promise not to hand it out to any ol’ Tom, Dick or Harry with a sum­mons like I did the last time

It’s good to see you again
After so many years
Seven, eleven, whatever
You can’t pos­si­bly expect me to remember
Every fleet­ing moment, every mun­dane epiphany
All those greet­ing card greet­ings in the flesh, all those times I ‘bored’ you to death…

Let’s keep in touch


One way or anoth­er, Julian George’s writ­ing has appeared in The Tablet, Slag Glass City, McSweeney’s, Panoplyzine, Ambit, The Journal of Music, Film Comment, Cineaste, The London Magazine and Salon. He gives Zoom talks on jazz for the Carers Network, writes book reviews (which he hates doing) and is work­ing on a novel.