Ringing on a Sunday your
London doorbell holding the book
our friend Max insists

you must have by hand
I find you like Everyman rumpled
between one week′s end and

the start of the next, forgetting
yesterday was Paris and tomorrow
your flight

to Sydney. So while Lizzie
(whose beauty Time won′t lay
a hand on) cooks lunch, you tell

of Boxing Day in
Melbourne stuck in a lift
while peritonitis did its worst;

and of your friend Dutton
whose suitcase-size memoir made
none of the cuts you′d told him

were needed, but recommended
itself as recommended
by Barry Humphries –

and how he died on the
doorstep (more or less) of the Ex
he′d treated so badly.

Teller of tales you are, with
sharp eye, quick tongue, and such
a sense of pace and timing

one is held at the crossroads,
and the end when it comes is
worth the wait. Finding you

in this gap between
appearances I see that nothing
is not an appearance –

you have become your Art.
We hug at the door because
men our age are prone to deaths

on doorsteps, and who can say
when the lift will stick again and
the last curtain come down.

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