Bellingen Poets in Nimbin 2010

Bellingen Poets in Nimbin 2010
Taking Home The World Cup!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letter to Death

© Copyright, Pip Wilson, 2010

Dear Death,

Please don't take any more of my friends. Cunt.

Death, please, please don't take Gobbo.
Illustrated man Gobbo, with scars across his chest, uninterrupted tattoos adorning his mystical face, and neck and legs and arms -- and, I'm told, also his man-chop. Gobbo, who has an astonishingly beautiful new wife (named after a daughter of Poseidon, but possibly her parents got the name from 'Wonder Woman', a TV show I’ve yet to see), who I'm pretty sure one day will have had enough of Gobbo and do a midnight flit. He also has: a darling baby daughter, loved by him, and who his goddess will take on her midnight flit; in Grafton Prison, a teenage son, who he misses and wept about to me; and a problem with anger. Gobbo, who understands old Fords and break-and-enter, but not as much as he thinks he does about the Illuminati, and paganism, and Egyptian "herio-glyphics" that supposedly foretold antigravity machines. He's one of those kinds of blokes you don't see much, and hardly know, but you sort of … love. Our vibes are always deliciously sweet -- me, his wife, their baby, and him. I fed them a grand meal at my place and I tried very hard not to look at his missus, not just because of my love for Gobbo, but also because, some time before the time I loved and lusted for them both, I'd properly started to learn to respect Honour. And Gobbo's wife and Gobbo each have some (incoherent) human kind of Honour, I can tell. So …
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, please don't take my friend Gobbo.

Death, please, please don't take Asya.
Asya, who cried on my breast in the dark, around the Kings Cross corner where others couldn't observe, so people wouldn't gossip that this little girl was giving her body to me. I wasn’t after it anyway – although I suppose that’s not entirely true. Asya: middle class, Russian Jewish and smart, 19 years old, silly, as lonely as a wet Woolloomooloo rat. Asya, who people tend not to like; who I find annoying but can't ignore or turn my back on, and not because of sex. I think that so far I'm the only human being she could ever really talk to, but that will improve for her in time. She phones me too much. I hate phones; she doesn't get it. I can only take her in small doses. I care for her right to the marrow of my ridiculous bones.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Asya.

Death, please, please don't take Ronald Lawyer.
Ronald Lawyer, who nearly got disbarred by the Law Society because of using cocaine and crystal meth, and whose placidity soothes me; who sometimes snaps at me and seems not to notice his transgressions -- not enough ever to apologise. Coke and ice ten times a day would do that even to Gandhi, so give Ronald a break, you unfeeling cur. Ronald's eyes, when he shares his truth, are beyond my present capabilities, and make me ashamed. His courage is unadvertised and unnoticed behind his meekness and slight stature. Even his peers don't realise he has suffered like Prometheus. Unlike me, I think he might be constitutionally incapable of the slightest resentment. If you absolutely must take him, please don't call him Ron. He prefers Ronald.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Ronald Lawyer.

Death, please, please don't take Deanne.
I know she likes a fight over "issues", and I think she applies street bullshit to beliefs, and she really gave me the shits one night over coffee (she paid for hers -- I was impressed). But she says "I love you" to me, not that either of us wants to root the other at all, and "I love you" is a phrase few men have told her, and fewer have told her with sincerity. She lived in Hell for 19 years. She was probably pretty when she started on the street, when she was just 14. She's buried three husbands who had this disease. She deserves a chance at a man who doesn't grunt and smell like you, Death, and chuck cash on the bed. She's using again, and hawking the fork on Macleay Street again. Struck by Compassion and Panic, I went looking for her and found her. Bought her coffee and cake. It was really nice.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Deanne.

Death, please, please don't take Chee.
He nearly always smiles when he sees me and we sit awkwardly in the Tropicana. His skin is like porcelain; his silence is excruciating. With people pressed fearsomely around him in a language not his own, he sloughed off the Dragon, but some of Chee's meat and skin and spirit were left behind. Like most of us. He is always alone. People don't notice him. He has a mother and sisters in Shanghai, but you took his brother because of this sickness we share. Chee lives near Gobbo. That's about all I know. Except that he's tired of wearing other people's pyjamas in detox wards, and that he's very gentle.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Chee.

Death, please, please don't take Maori Woman.
She could smash the bridge of a nose with that look, and there's probably no denying she's cracked a few noses with her fist. I told her I don't approve, and she forgave me. Spare her, you bastard. She's tall and straight, not that I care, and has long blonde plaits because her grandfather or some ancestor was a Norwegian merchant sailor or something. She lets me tell her I love her, and maybe no one else may do that but me, or her lover, The Yellow Rose of Texas -- who is always depressed, calls herself "as ugly as a mud fence", and is obviously a bit jealous of me (but I still like her a lot). I like to think that Maori Woman and I keep each other in a little special secret hiding place. She told me she's only a dyke when she sleeps with women, and I learned a real lot from that. Men more handsome and charismatic than I might get to be with her. We hold hands a lot. Sometimes, without a word, she suddenly love-hugs me really slow and long, and when she does, we are returned to the poison decades we shared before we met. When we hug those hugs, we are still Hansel and Gretel quivering in the Wicked Witch's oven. She has some kind of heart condition. When she was very ill, it was me she phoned for help, and I felt so honoured. So I rushed her to hospital, and that night I wept; I wept all alone for hours. The tears fell in big drops on my keyboard. She stayed at my house for a few days to recuperate and I cooked for her -- I gave her my bed and I slept on the couch in the living room. And I didn't try anything on her, because of Dignity, Respect and True Love. Only those. Sometimes I'd give anything to fuck with her; sometimes the very thought of it makes me feel creepy, despite her beauty inside and out. Too incestuous, maybe. She restored my Faith in Woman, which took some doing, you mongrel. She doesn't understand why, nor particularly want to know. She's funny that way. She is brave and remarkable. I will love her, sort of, all my life. And vice versa, I get the impression.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Maori Woman.

Death, please, please don't take Morgana.
I know she's skinny and has a whine where a voice should be, but she rode in my car whenever I needed to do someone a good turn -- someone who, like me, has vomited in gutters and alleys far too much for one lifetime. She shot up in the same McDonald's toilets as me in Port Macquarie, but different years, and she thinks I have interesting hands. Do you remember her? When she beat you last time, all she had was a green garbage bag of clothes stolen from washing lines. She can't read much, but she knows almost every lyric penned by Jim Morrison, who I can't stand. She once nodded off on a gas heater and burnt off her entire front and tits. Once, the ambulance blokes said that, according to official records, they had brought her back from overdose 82 times. She reckons I could be David Bowie's brother, "No fuckin' shit". Regardless of all that, I like the woman.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Morgana.

Death, please, please don't take Murray the Moocher.
Remember him? You had him by the throat in the red-and-blue flashing Newtown night, but you left him because you were interrupted by a shouting crowd. Remember, please remember! He was too sad and fat and alone, and you thought he was not worth the effort. He's happier and even fatter now, since he put down the spoon and picked up the fork, and never forgets the name of any brother or sister plucked from your fangs. Murray phones me way too much as well. He grows pretty good roses and spends too long on Foxtel, and no one comes to his house unless they're punted out of rehab. He always has a spare bed, even though he gets ripped off time and time and time again. He spoke kindly to me when I was too buggered to go with you. He's a good man at heart, not that I can make you care, I guess. And he helps other people, you bastard.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Murray the Moocher.

Death, please, please don't take Sexy Sara.
She can't go back to her parents' commune in the hills of northern New South Wales, and her pretty face and enormous jugs won't survive Sydney's streets, so please let her be. She said if she has just one shot for relief, within two days she'll be in Kings Cross with some ugly, smelly guy's cock up her arse (she quite enjoys selling pussy, but she hates doing anal except with a lover, and loathes men who stink). Don't be that guy. Find some old woman instead. She's scarcely lived more than two decades, and if you spared an old boiler like me, you can spare Sara. She's been kind to me, and I've been kind to her, even when I wasn’t foolishly hoping to bang her.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Sexy Sara.

Death, please, please don't take Mister Blister.
In recent years he learned how to stop stuttering, and how never to hit a man or woman again. He looks strange; pretty weird, actually. We all know it. He knows it. He's hopelessly trying to learn Spanish because day and night he dreams of getting a Filipina mail-order bride. He once got fitted up by a crooked copper and was sentenced to four years in Long Bay – 30 months' non-parole. It was a set-up and everyone knew it, probably even the judge. Later he got stabbed by two real crims in the yard just for reading poetry by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. But he says he got away with more than he paid for, so he considers, all being told, that the tally is square. As far as I can tell, he harbours grudges against no one in the entire world, except maybe his mother, and from what he's told me, she deserves it. Sure, sure, he's a dreadful bore, but Jerry the Nose reckons he once saved a kid from drowning, and we both love Robert Crumb comix. We hug each other slow and long, a bit embarrassed.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend Mister Blister.

Death, please, please don't take the Flower Girl.
Sometimes we also do the Hansel and Gretel quiver thing. Not her -- please don't take her. She lost 29 teeth, and, for a while, her mind. She's been in 42 detoxes and seven rathouses. She hawked it on filthy Macleay Street for 16 years, but never, ever pinched a drunk john's wallet. She never cut the gear with sugar, and she never, ever taxed a deal, whether selling to friend or stranger. She lives for her niece. Do you even understand that? She lives for her niece! Half the time she wants to go with you … but fuck you, fuck you, FUCK YOU!!!
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, don't take my friend the Flower Girl.

Death, please, please don't take Crazy Bo.
He's not even crazy any more -- it was just him coming off the methadone, cheap rotgut vodka and tablets. He used to rave about trains and big-arsed women and some pawnbroker who stole his watch, and he interrupted me all the time till I thought I'd walk away from him, but I'm usually not that sort of man. I think he might get a woman one day, which is all that he wants. Sometimes he still blanks out. He doesn't smell as bad as he used to, and now he can breathe between sentences. Even when he was mental, he wouldn't hurt a fly. Once, when he was tripping in Sydney, he woke up six days later hugging a telegraph pole in Brisbane. When he was only eight his uncle fucked him up the arse. One day, maybe, he won't be so down on himself. He has the saddest, saddest eyes, and I have cried for him heaps of times too. Well, only about three times, maybe four.
Oh Death, please, please, I beg of you, please don't take my friend Crazy Bo.

You always spat them back before, many times each, as you did me. You don't want them now. You certainly don't need them now. Take really old people, or really bad people. I can give you 25 names and addresses off the top of my head.

Who will be here in ten years? Why did you let me loose from all those close calls?

I won't say, "Take me instead”, because I hate your guts so badly, after all that I’ve seen you do, and I'm not that good a person. Never pretended to be. Just, please, please, please ... pass my friends by.

Fuck ... fuck ... FUCK!!!!!! DON'T YOU HAVE ENOUGH OF THEM ALREADY??!!!

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