DAEDALUS AFRAID TO FLY; Illustration by Mal Earl
David, you bastard, you’ve left me
Understanding here alone,
With only these words falling out of my hands
When it is yours I want to hear again.
Words of your mastery, not mine.
So what was all the swearing about then, David?
What were all those Northern fumes really burning from?
I told you the songs of Yorkshire would never play in LA,
or London for that matter:
Two cities equidistant from your Yorkshire mother.
Tell me David, why didn’t you just sell out?
You could have bought yourself a much better pint of beer
With all that money for old knotted ropes and
Still have coughed up the phlegm to laugh at us all.
Is death some kind of joke?
Did you finally track down the film rights to Malcolm, David
And cash them in?
Are you really, secretly living in Barbados,
Making beautiful women miserable?
To think of all this wasted sorrow and
Empty glasses of beer.
You did say that you always wanted to visit other places.
But Daedalus, you were afraid to fly.
If you had been born upside down in America
You would have been a southern writer living in some Northern town.
Spilling your southern drawl over a rum and coke in a New York City bar.
Sitting elbow to arm with Williams, O’Neill, Baldwin and them all.
Your America was always an America of the mind.
So why fear the flight?
Your America David, was where Charlie Parker was forever sharp shooting pool with Humphrey Bogart in some room behind a neon-splattered bar
Where Chet Baker never jumped or fell but flew, man!
He just flew away.
So you’re off then, David?
Back up the bumpy road,
Turning the corner round the Little Egyptian cottage
Navigating the reeds of Isis, Long past the close of time.
A brown duffle coat ship, bobbing on an unpaved surface,
Weaving a few thoughts into your
Can you tell me David :
Were you X-Centric, or
Merely Eggs Essential?
How about this time I tell you, David:
The spark was always there.
But not like Daedalus, like Prometheus.
The living punishment of Truth,
Chained to your bar stool,
That eternal pint of Carlsberg lager gnawing at your liver.
The spark is always there.
For the late David Halliwell, Poet, Dramatist, author of Malcolm’s Struggle Against the Eunuchs.
The only man I knew who could drink Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter under the same table.
I can only miss you when you’re gone.