Thanks for your letter. Sounds like you’re living the way you wanted, and that makes me smile. No I hadn’t heard Bjorn Borg retired – thank God one of us has a finger on an sporting pulse! No records left to collect you complain? Well… Borg, Brolin and an unknown tennis trainer released something recently. No doubt your contacts in the Stockholm underworld can source that gem!
Got back the other day to find the pub on the corner had been burnt down (a dark London street story that I won’t burden you with now – determined as I am to write you some life affirming shit and not drag you an a regular trawl through the night seas to find what crawls). And Yet, I know they’re casting their lots to see who can get the old pubs lease and turn it into more luxury flats. Brick by brick the infiltration has begun. I feel moved enough to take a spray can to the boarding – but can’t think of anything witty or on point enough to be up there…
And yet the drunkards still own the park. D’s still there in your old flat making beats and still owns the night. While this street can still shape shift and make you quicken your pace on a late night return so… I suppose we still have time.
But make no mistake my friend I’m sure some barricade somewhere has started calling.
I’m so sorry we missed each other when you last came to town. I heard from Ndeye you sat with her telling stories for three hours as she put some extensions in a client’s hair. She told me about Cuba, cigars and sacred drums; of arguments in bars, Dante, the color of christ and the only true poet. The south China seas; we remembered Fa Yung the Buddhist master – ‘how can we obtain truth through words?’ When she quoted your – ‘immature writer’s plagiarise, mature writers steal’ – I was back in a bar in New York lower east side when you shouted that at… maybe it was yourself, maybe I wasn’t there, maybe it’s slipped down between the years. My memory isn’t exactly all that now. But my friend, you definitely have a convert there, and if you ever need your hair braiding (and I know that’s a long shot) then she’s your girl. As my man Scratch or maybe Rakim or maybe Monk… more probably all of them at some stage said: You gotta check the new style! I’m assuming you are still running an Old Testament blades to hair ratio, and it hasn’t fallen rudely out on you. If that’s the scenario ‘ then my sincerest apologies.
Saw Mr. Brennan in the Holloway road yesterday. Walked past with a bag of potatoes on his shoulders. I didn’t stop him – he wouldn’t have a clue who I was. He didn’t back then, even when we’d spent month’s sleeping on his sofa explaining which one of his son’s friends we were. Well that’s the price you pay for any more than six children in the Holloway road area!
I think of you often, and hope we see each other again as soon as is possible. Until such time: may the winds be at your back, the dice be kind, and the Gods turn the occasional blind eye.
beyond the clouds,
beyond the sun.
The rebel without a cause.