Ashes to Ashes
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
I owe you that.
Go Your Way
For Annie Briggs
Hands on hips
Surveying the scene
Bearing in mugs of tea
Stepping to the microphone, grinning ear to ear
Wild child, lost child
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
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.