i think of you often, jives each morning that i awake
after sucking and biting this tongue to raw during restless sleep..
you rail thin dressed in black you, tower’s
tape department queen another sf art institute refugee
with a rare true genius mind..
it was the rapier wit that slayed me every time, jives
the laugh, that incomparable. throaty ivey laugh
the words both spoken and written your art that shocked and awed most
taking out those who were never quite certain who the joke was really on..
you ruled the early days of punk
lived it dreamed it wrote about it created your own
fanzines and reviews gave birth to
your jokes for jerks calendar (that shoulda made you millions)
you explored the dark and dove right in
drew the mab crowd and the rest of
the north beach sinners into your world
feigned tough and edgy perfect for the times
staying true to that City by the Bay that had captured your heart long ago…
(but we saw you, tender, with the little kids, when you thought no one was looking)..
you kept a bottle next to the mattress on the floor of your room
wine, vodka whatever could do the trick
like an errant mother’s milk you slept/entertained and held court
from your mattress in that old north beach flat
beside the overflowing, filthy asthray your face
almost obscured through the constant smoke’s stream still blurs with memory..
later, your beloved City betrayed you
high rents moved you further up the hill
then a final plunge down into the Tenderloin
when rents got high and when times for you
i think of you often, jives each thanksgiving day you became smaller
pencil thin from lack of the food you couldn’t afford
in order to keep the bottle next to your latest bed
and in the end days, jives i still stay shocked at
the universe’s cruel joke for you
a direct hit meant for one whose voice words had always framed her life…
i think of you often, jives when my tongue swells for no reason irritated
will the docs want to slice out chunks of this tongue
as they did with yours when the cancer hit..
i think of you often, jives
and always, even now
its unbearable to think of you at the end
voiceless and mute