“R.I.P. Hubbard (Larry) LaFarge”
Just a new performance piece. Since few of my subjects survive my stuff I’ve inserted an alternative ending
A giant he was of girth and growling
We admired and envied his national standing
Shrugged at his red-blooded man-spreading
Flashing on podia and once drunk on t.v.
Where my girlfriend swore she saw his love stick
“It just popped out – made me feel sick!”
– when a string was undone
On his Balinese beach wear sarong.
We aped his style in hats and suits
hand made leather cowboy boots –
Necks draped with ostrich boas
Or capes right out of Transylvania.
A tap from his goat horn stick
ensured rapt attention
As devotees plied him
whiskey, cider and ales
To ramble apocryphal tales of
Drinking bouts with Dylan Thomas, et al.
His yellowing memoirs,
“RIP OFF THIS BOOK”
Filled ranks of shelves
In Hay on Wye and Wigtown, Galloway.
Where I nicked a copy, autographed,
“Best wishes, Deirdre, on your birthday.
Hubbard, smiley face, X X X”
From a soggy box outside a shop.
I sighted him in Basil Blackwell’s
Bulging his pockets furtively
As he browsed the non fiction section,
I sidled behind ‘His Enormity’
Noting the spartan emptiness
Where ‘Hubbards’ ought to be.
Over a rabbit room pint in the “Bird and Baby”
I asked after his work
In the light of his recent debility.
“Brilliant, dear boy, burgeoning.
Even though I have been unwell
My reputation’s flourishing
My memoir’s flying off the shelves.”
He took out a cutting, sighed and drawled
“I’m slated as next year’s new big thing … again…”
Then stood and tapped his watch,
“ My round next time – I must be off.”
Through a wiped circle in a steamed up window
I watched him limp St Giles
Swaying a little, cursing a lot
Waving his fist and stick
Careless of hurtling traffic
And wondered if any hooting Jehu
Knew the faded greatness they cursed
Or read of his verse…
…He used to be famous.
(former fatal ending) :
“He slipped as he limped St Giles
A rush hour bastard to cross.
Looters scooped ‘personals’ from the gutter
An empty wallet, a broken cane
“RIP OFF THIS BOOK!!” times four
Not much more.
No one pursued his fedora.”