“Tom and Rikki Lee”
They had a wildness that I couldn’t get to in the same way anymore, if I ever knew it.
They had gypsy clothes on, no matter what they wore,
it was how they moved,
how to wear a hat,
and you can’t teach natural cool like that.
They sat with their legs tangled up, their hands were each other’s and his on her foot,
so intimate alone together in a crowd. What are you people doing here anyway?
Waiting on the poetry?
TS, April 2018
I wrote this poem about Tom Waits and Rikki Lee Jones after seeing a photo of them tangled up together backstage in London in 1979. It’s an intimate photograph, the two of them seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world. The photo was on Pinterest at the time. A little digging and I found it credited to Adrian Boot.
Author Joan Didion, who is a huge fan of The Doors and of Jim Morrison in particular, said, paraphrasing, that in many ways rockstars and music people are the perfect subjects to write about because they’re so used to being in front of an audience they just “live their lives” regardless of whoever is present at any given time. I thought it was an interesting observation, one that I don’t know would hold as true today in the world of twenty-four-seven internet.
If you take the time to look through the gallery of Adrian Boot photographs at Urban Image, you will find some astonishingly candid pictures, in addition to some that are wonderfully theatrical and self-aware.