for Katey K
Nights in the towerblocks of South London,
a late moon horning over Camberwell,
Nevio dropping track-after-track from heaven,
Stockwell rumblings blocked by The Source
(Ali Farka Toure always flowing
like The Old River of Wells in every line)
you got my attention carrying the goddess
obviously, innocently, kindly, fiercely,
Katherine of the fairy-hills, intense
with oblique cosmic perspectives,
funky axioms, vibrational theories,
the big ring of your words still there at dawn
when Youssou N’Dour of Senegal was keening,
Metheny diving like a sun-drunk dolphin
through monoxide waves of dark morning.
I heard ‘American Kate’ first in Sutherland Square,
someone from The Pullens had met a wisewoman
over at St Agnes Place or up in North Brixton
living with a Triestine world-music wiseman,
hereafter legendary shamanic redhead
Texan Kate from opposite the Swan of Stockwell.
The mission-field you considered with interest,
mythological treasure-house of Britain in The Cross.
(I sang you the future waterzone of the sunchild.)
While your detachment of the new fatalism
proclaimed with ironic smile, street-sister,
the black gospel of the Shift at the end-times,
told me the rebellion was sanctified, blessed
because of the refinement of the apocalypse,
opportunity completely surrounded by death;
reminded when vision-flame was wavering
after the conspiracy of Hawksmoor gathered force
hittting the outer walls of lightning-struck Camelot
(seige-towers up against the lice-ridden derelicts)
slowing down the mule-trains in Kennington,
(backing the band’s VW bus into a lamp-post)
demons pissing all over the Pancross,
world-music drowned by heavy-metal, Hendrix
completely misunderstood, lyrical chordmaster,
his searing leadlines and polyphonic genius
Bach-like making the architecture of pure beauty:
Little Wing, love-song of the twentieth century,
up there almost with No Woman, No Cry.
Aquarius, hallucination of those saints
who see the heavenly lathe of the galaxy
turning the light which is endless into time,
you come around again in the faith of seers:
idea of a macrocosmic dawn.
They pulled your papers in the end,
dropped your passport in the abyss
because you did greater things than Him,
getting the children back with kinesiology,
now Colorado has the advantage of your presence.
(I re-dedicate that poem of the same name.)
Here eviction-orders triggered heart-attacks,
peeps went mental, non compos mentis, bananas
just on the strength of the idea of homelessness
contained in a brown letter lying on the doormat,
small rectangle of terror on the bare floorboards.
Yes, my friend, you were frequently on my mind
as we went sailing suicidally into the nineties.
(A seven-year-old angel fallen from a window
speaking her first for a long time in your presence,
the telling of that story often down the years.)
Bless all my tribes of the urban resistance
who shall be aldermen and alderwomen of Jerusalem
‘in England’s green and pleasant land’
glowing and radiant in retrospect each of you,
enlightened in the face of Armageddon,
remembering that the flight from mortality
is the flight from love, letting be, letting go.
Katey K, Quiller, the man with the mean D50,
Nevio, stratocaster master-blaster,
Spikey, Seaweed and all a ‘dem man ‘dere,
Gabi, Prunch, Ravi Holy, Generator John
(and behind the yellow door) Nice, skull-goddess:
big up in the Church of the Sunchild, yuh know.