Open letter: in memory of Janet Fisher

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And though I only met you once, your influence on me is massive, or should
that be was

I don’t want to talk about you in the past
tense
I’m not ready for that

Dear Janet


In the very early nineties it must have been
still the eighties really
when I think of it
the excitement of the North
trembling in my hands

January           I guess

you called out of the blue to talk about a poem
in the days before email

when we called each other

everyone called

but somehow a poet

and you were so kind

Dear Janet

I wanted to say

I wanted to say

I never said

I never told you

I never told you how much you, your poems,         I mean you

I mean you

meant

and by the time
we had emailed a few times
it suddenly hit me you were ill
I mean you had told me so I knew
but the way you sounded
the way you sounded a bit tired
really if I’m honest

and I said I would look out for your book

and I didn’t

Dear Janet

and you were so kind.
You shook my hand
and said your name
and said things
no one had said to me before
and I should have written them down
that line
about teachers
you never forget how they made you feel

you made me feel

you were so kind

and then Naomi brought us drinks

and it is such a great book
a really great book
Peter on the back saying no one wrote
-he says writes-
like you
and that is true
that is true

but I did not buy it before you

I did not buy it and now you’re

and I thought you sounded tired in the poems as well
I could hear your tiredness

and I love those poems

you carried on praising to the end
but like a naughty child
sticking two fingers as well
where no one can see

Life and Other Terms

What a brilliant title

and Ann was there and Peter
summer               under a thatched roof
and we read Women Who Dye Their Hair
and Ann said this is it this is the best this is what you need to measure up against
look
it is just two sentences, hidden in plain view
with the Pill in it and orgasms and money and bones and class and culture and

we howled and then drew breath and realised          in the

silence

you had made that


Dear Janet
I never wrote to say
and I should have

I never wrote to say


the more of me
the more of us
because of what you wrote
because of what you saw

noticing in making
making in noticing

who we are all of us

all of us

more because of you

Dear Janet-


Goodbye

Women Who Dye Their Hair

Life and Other Terms, by Janet Fisher

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