Jon Barraclough, I Love You

John Barraclough I love you

You see

What you gifted me back then

Made me

Gave me the taste for the new

For Joy

Division and Dexy’s on

Vinyl

How could I resist your love?

Listen

You set something burning

Just like

A brother who passes on

Advice

You seemed so precise in your

World worn

Way beyond mere teenage dreams

Who needs

More fucking libretto shit

I thought

Now I know you were the real

Rebel

At John Taylor’s on Rusper Road

We shared

Poems and readings with

The group

You did not go to Luxford

Like us

But we danced to Funky Town

Just once

John Barraclough I love you

Because

The LPs you gave up I

Took on

Sounds that were the dog’s bollocks

A gift

To the interlocutor

Inside

Short back and sides, long coat and

One stud

In a small and perfect ear

In tune

To the piano you played

Before

Reading Fine Art at Goldsmiths

Before

We knew the YBAs, Blur

Et al

Before you made up your mind

That to

Honestly create is to

Devote

A life to selfish dogged

Pursuit

To dig down through the crust of

human

Toil alive happy to be

Searching

For the answers in image

And word

Antony Pickthall, 2019

Death of a DJ

A poem by Antony Pickthall

In memory of Chris Copsey

The Church is heaving
Screens! Screens in church!
Nice touch
Everyone else in a tie
Black
He is the first
The first of the cousins to die
Apart from suddenly sounding like
A song by Morrissey
There is a point here
32 are now 31

I look around the loved up beams
Windows twinkling in a stain of colours
Feel the crafted pews through soft trousers
No graffiti to rub against
Ushers in uniform
Faces rapt
A smiling sea of love for Chris

There was nowhere else to go
The moment when Yvonne
Read, strong, controlled, a player
Then stumbled over the date
He left
Capturing the fatal charm
Of being everything
Everyone wanted you
To be
And more

As if you reached perfection
As a son
A husband
A father
A friend
Leaving the rest of us in the starting gate
Chewing on our bits
Feeling a dig
From our jockeys
Not daring to move

You flew
You pushed on and through
We looked
After
Or in my case
Turned my back to
Look the other way
A different way
To stay in the gate
To pass on the cries of the crowd

Only five years behind you
Feels like five lifetimes
The frost
The fire
The piece of wood I sit down on
To listen to your life
The connections
The jokes
The easy tone of comfort
And presence

Not that I listened
To your shows ever
My loss, clearly
300 people here
30,000 outside
In the air
We smile
As a younger colleague
Tests the water with
A more risqué
Nod to your gift
For companionship
Your easy mastery
Of the art of being
There
For everyone

Now they can’t retune
To seek
Your voice
Except, in their heads
And that’s the point
You will always be there, with
A cheesy tune that somehow
Feeds the line
Everyone needs
From time to time
Listening,
Wherever you are
In a state of perfection
Seriously
Professional