Your dear mother’s ‘follow-me-fuck-me’ shoes Perched up on the coffin — mocking the stage, And the dog-collared gifts of long dead Jews, Which I wished I believed — we turned the page To murder a hymn, but the scarlet heels, Stilettos and straps were louder than sin And funny as hell. We are imbeciles In the presence of death. I caught Mark’s grin, And the smiles of others — and no offence, But if she had been there and me in the box. . . My sad little Lucy, in self-defence I tell you — love envies the emblems it mocks. They have blazed a path for her friends to use, Maria’s red ‘follow-me-fuck-me’ shoes.
I met Maria Lexton in the late Sixties in London. She had escaped from Wales with her daughter, Lucy, in her arms. Raven haired, long of leg and acerbic of wit, Maria worked for the Poetry Society and then at the magazine Time Out as a literary and poetry editor for many years. A collector of the most outrageous high-heeled shoes, she was fiercely loyal to an extraordinary range of friends — especially writers. Her daughter, now married with two children, had the wit to exhibit a pair of those shoes on top of the coffin at Maria’s funeral. In his Time Out obituary, her old co-worker, Steven Proctor, remarked: ‘I am not certain old age would have suited Maria. Now, we’ll never know’. I pinched his ‘follow-me-fuck-me’ description of her favourite footwear from that obituary for these lines.
Poem Published in the following books: Lone Wolf