It’s true he was born near a beach in Mozambique.
It’s true his parents were Lebanese and Greek.
It’s true his parents met on the way to Australia.
It’s true his parents then moved to South Africa.
It’s true he was in a band in Indonesia.
It’s true he died in his flat in England.
He had a bone in his throat and he later lost his voice. “Recording more than 1,000 songs,” the doctor scoffed, “will do to a man such a thing.” The doctor called it a wart. He borrowed money for surgery, knew what it meant to be a barber, a jockey, a street showman busking for coin.
It’s true his wife was with someone else on their wedding night.
It’s true he saw it all.
It’s true they divorced two weeks later.
It’s true she died that same year.
He said no to an overnight stay in the town where he played. His voice so ancient that, at the time, men wept from bereft nostalgia, past longing, casually weeping, crying freely, seeing his words as an urn, each hum as a spirit, a concoction, a potion, a dose.
It’s true he took the last train home.
It’s true he slept in his bed.
It’s true a parachute mine blew his bedroom door off its hinges.
It’s true the door impacted his head.
It’s true he was dead.
They bombed and they bombed and they bombed him some more. He, the king of the voice, how they wrung his trumpet. This world of man. This sadness, goddamnit, even to this day.