AT THE FUNERAL OF AN ACTIVIST

 

for Mike Lesser
Michael John Lesser, September 28, 1943 – July 1, 2015

 

 

 

the person in the casket can no longer change things

and the casket is lowering through classical columns

disappearing into a chute

to burn 

to a Dylan dirge

                a hand grasps the casket from below

                the person is disappearing

                                        *

we’re sad       he fieldmarshalled 

                      a war on reality

                      but reality fought back

                      so he fought again

                      winning on a technicality

                      following Debord

                      to some Paris-en-ciel

hear ye!

                 a member of ‘The Committee of One Hundred’

                 and of ‘The Spies for Peace’

                                      is dead

                                     (this changes things for the worse)

                                        *

the crematorium is populated

with a few dozen activists

                            and a few dozen associates.

the ashes will be scattered on the scatter-lawn

and there is food and drink at the Spaniards Inn.

                            the activists agree on nothing

                            but lamenting their friend and comrade.

        his wild autism gone with him, 

                            things seem somehow almost polite

                                        *

        a strange rain falling for the first time in months

        and the tied tarpaulin like a membrane protecting us 

 

 

(Author’s note: having attended the funeral service for Mike Lesser

at which I read a seventeen syllable elegy ‘MIKE-U’, I had to leave

the gathering at Spaniard’s Inn to particpate in a poetry workshop 

by the Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah, which I had booked months 

earlier. Arriving somewhat inebriated at the workshop, I wrote and 

recited a version of the above poem during the hour – to a startled 

assembly – before returning to the anarchists on the hill for a last drink 

to the man whom Heathcote Williams dubbed ‘the Great Enabler’.)

 

 

 

Niall McDevitt
portrait of Mike Lesser by Nicola Lane
Photo of Mike as a boy Dan/Jane Johns

 

 

 

 

 


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