It’s amazing how birthdays bring out the bitter ‘n’ twisted in us all. I didn’t even realise how pissed off I still am about this.
Today would have been Sandie’s fiftieth birthday, had she lived.
When you don’t see someone for a while before they die (and the funeral’s an invite-only affair exes aren’t invited to) closure’s like hen’s teeth scattered over rocking-horse shit. Eight years since she died and I’ve never stopped thinking I see her, only to realise it’s a stranger.
Her poem, ‘mother’ dealt with the same thing:
‘My own reflection,
blind and frightened.
And so I look for her,
In other women.
Eight-and-a-bit years on and she’s still the only poet whose work has made me cry.
In 2006, eighteen months after her death, I met steve (networm) jones, the bloke she dumped me for. Things were terse at first, but soon degenerated into weeping and hugging, both of us surprised to learn that the other hadn’t been permitted to attend the funeral we’d been kept from.
I was there when they cremated her shell, at mortonhall. A few dozen of us, defying the orders to stay away, the crematorium staff, (who’d been told no-one would attend) embarrassed by the crowd.
We filed into the wee chapel, no god-botherer there to mouth platitudes. The box carried in. We stood. Silence. The box went down into the flames. We left.
Outside, floods of tears and a trip to the cauldron, a boozer she’d frequented in life. Me telling the bar staff that if they turned the jukebox up, we’d cry more and buy further drink to replenish the liquid we were weeping out of our bodies. Nick Cave, the Cramps, loads of Bowie – (and yeah, the bar staff did as they were instructed.)
When I wrote ‘at home at work at play’ a few years ago, the funeral-party scene was based on that afternoon. Yep, even the bared breasts and the drug-fucked pensioners.