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Mid Pennine Arts
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jeffnuttalltop1
Jeff Nuttall
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parkinpicMOLLY PARKIN writes in THE POT! ANTHOLOGY 2005, New Departures 36-37

Me And Jeff

The generous imprint of Jeff's final embrace lasted the afternoon and is with me still and shall be always. I saw it then as I see it now as the profound embodiment of everything that he and I had ever felt for each other.

We loved each other but were never lovers, we by-passed the exchange of bodily fluids, of saliva-strung kisses and passionate marathons. Strange to explain, but there seemed no need for all that.  We were linked more powerfully, we sprang from the same soil and the recognition of that was there from the very start. To have made love to each other would have seemed uncannily incestuous.

But only we two fully understood the sublime pleasure we shared in each other's company every time we met.  We quite literally fell upon each other, the reunion of twin-souls. Wherever it took place, in Soho or the Chelsea Arts Club, or down in my Welsh valley, the place of my birth. The joy was as pure and unadulterated as it had been the first time we ever met.

THAT FIRST TIME

MY HEART LEAPT
MY CHEEKS BURNED

MY MOUTH DRIED
MY THROAT CLOSED

MY KNEES BUCKLED
MY EYES SPARKLED

MY LIPS SMILED
MY SPIRIT SOARED

WE BURST INTO LAUGHTER
WHICH NEVER STOPPED

WHEN ME AND JEFF
MET THAT FIRST TIME.

I always took such relish from the look of him. Those rumpled curls and the roly-poly belly, reminders of Swansea's son, Dylan. The eyes of the artist. The gait of the jazzman. The tongue of the poet. The voice of the preacher. The chuckle of a cherub. All the elements were in place to create the captivating essence of the inimitable man/child.

I didn't fully comprehend when they told me Jeff had died. The blood drained out of my very bones. There was a sudden space in the world and I was feeling the draught. I didn't want to attend his Memorial Service in the church *, I would have preferred to grieve the sense of loss on my own. But I did go and was re-united with Jeff, all over again. Nobody had said that he would be there. He has been with me ever since and my life is immeasurably enhanced because of it.

"MOLL! Get off your fucking arse!" That's what he said to me there in the hallowed confines of the church, even whilst everyone was singing his praises. "Where are the WORDS? Write the BOOKS.  Paint the PICTURES.  Dance the DANCE. Listen to the JAZZ, girl!"

Yes, the imprint of Jeff’s final embrace is still with me, alright. But the grasp and the grip of him is stronger than ever. I went to Mexico for the first time, a place we had spoken of together. And whilst I was there, in Mexico City this Spring, I wrote my first book in a decade and completed it in six weeks. Since my return, the paintings of Mexico have been pouring out of me. I renewed my membership at Ronnie Scott's, and every week I go to Paul Pace's basement jazz club at the Spice of Life in Soho. In Mexico I learnt the Salsa dance.

My gratitude knows no limits. The bond is deeper than it ever was. I now await further directions from the ether. The trust in my twin-soul has always been unwavering.

"My life is putty in your hands. I'll always love you, Jeff. But you know that, don't you, boyo,"

 (* - i.e, the Wake for Jeff Nuttall in St John's Church, Waterloo on Mayday 2004)

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