13 February 2012

Tuesday Poem: Norah Jones Or System Of A Down

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 senjmito@gmail.com 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.


Meliors Simms said...

I love seeing this poem again.

AJ Ponder said...

Any poem starting with "I'm visiting Lemmy from Motorhead" is unmissable - and this one didn't disappoint :) Cheers.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Meliors and Alicia.

Meliors, at some point I'm going to run out of old poems and have to start posting new ones, but that point has not yet been reached. The vaults are not yet empty!

AJ, I think you're onto something here. Look out for my forthcoming poems "Lemmy in a Country Churchyard" and "I Wandered Lonely as a Lemmy".

Orchid said...

I agree with AJ and thanks for sharing this poem and your "who-to-read" suggestions! Men Briefly Explained is now on my list to have.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Orchid! If you have any difficulty getting hold of it, please let me know.

Helen Lowe said...

I like this one, Tim. An oldie but a goodie, tho' not so very old either!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Helen. 2003, when this was written, is beginning to feel quite a long time ago...

Isabel Doyle said...

A fine poem Tim, with fun and heartache in equal measure.

Thanks for coming to the party - it was great fun, even if we all did drink too much virtual (miniature) champagne.

Best wishes Isabel

Rachel Fenton said...

Laughing and crying so close, as so often in your poetry, Tim. Great control. I'm looking forward to "Where's Lemmy" the picture book...

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Isabel and Rachel. Lemmy apparently drinks (drank?) a bottle of Jack Daniels every day for 30 years. He didn't clarify whether it was the same bottle each day.

"Where's Lemmy", as in a red-and-white striped shirt? Not sure he'd go for that... your people should talk to his people...

Avril said...

Love the fingering on the zimmer frame - great image!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Avril!