I'm visiting Lemmy from Motorhead.
"Lemmy," I say, "how did you get that
bass sound in 'The Watcher'?"
He shows me the fingering on his Zimmer frame.
He's forgotten most of Motorhead
but he's frighteningly lucid on Hawkwind.
Unasked questions throng my head.
Lemmy, who was your favourite band?
Lemmy, what drugs do they still let you take?
Lemmy, when did you start growing old?
"Lemmy," I say, "are you cold?"
He is. I wrap him in my coat.
Visiting hours are over.
I shake the maestro's hand.
The warts on Lemmy's ravaged face
stand out like sentinels
defeated by the beat of time.
There's music piped into the rooms.
It's Norah Jones or System of a Down.
I take my leave.
I brace myself against the cold.
I embody the presence of silence.
Credit note: "Norah Jones or System of a Down" was first published in papertigermedia 04 (October 2004) and included in my second poetry collection, All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens (HeadworX, 2007) - signed copies still available from me for $10 (plus p&p) - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like one.
Tim says: Another of my little run of poems about music and musicians from All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens. Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister is, as far as I know, still alive and kicking up merry hell, and not in an old people's home. The last line of the poem is adapted from a remark by Lemmy's near-contemporary, but complete opposite in temperament, the guitarist Robert Fripp.
I first posted this poem on my blog in 2008, but as the Tuesday Poem wasn't going then, I have given myself free rein to repost it here.
You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.