A glorious wreck,
you deep dove head-first into the solitude of legend.
A rowdy paradox of nature:
shy in your profanity
you sang wisdom and denial at once
Soft as a rock
Hard as a smile
You walked on ropes of steel and nickel close to snapping,
dragging your feet behind the beat
that sailed through your congested bloodstream.
Your pen, sharpened into a knife,
carved out delicate fragments of a brassy existence.
Fingers on your heartstrings,
you wrote a lullaby for the damned and the beautiful.
You lived in a minor key and wore your pain as a badge of honour.
Your voice belonged in a stone chapel
Your voice belonged in an empty field
Your voice belonged in the windowless basement of a jazz bar,
on a Glastonbury stage,
in half-full beer cans and empty record sleeves.
Your voice belonged in a broken heart.
You looked into the eagle’s mouth and fed it fervent melodies.
Let it empty out your insides in more ways than one.
Ribcage full of shatter,
you laid your wounds bare
and handed us the salt.
You bled alcohol and song,
sweat ink and betrayal.
Your voice belonged in the streets of Camden.
Your voice belonged in a car, promising the sassiest of road trips.
It belonged in the silences between sensual whispers,
in unmade beds and tear-filled shot glasses.
Your voice belonged in the silence
not in a graveyard.
When all the roads were cordoned off, you escaped inwards.
Blank and spent,
hunted by the hounds,
you built a cage for your nightingale
but locked yourself in it.
You sang the past as if you knew you’d have no future
Fate had you in a chokehold,
so you waltzed with death donning your finest bubble dress,
smudged his face using your blackest eyeliner,
and then, you took him home.
It seems your soul could only rest in restless music.
I wish someone had pulled you back from his black embrace.
Cause your voice belonged in smoky alleys and dingy Soho stages
It belonged in the crib of the baby you never got to have
Your voice belonged in the ears of those you loved
And the mouths of those it touched
Your voice did not belong to the heavens, but they took it anyway.