2003-02-08 / Columnists

From the G-Man

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

A Tribute To 'Lady Dee'

Hey people! I had originally planned to proceed with my weekly rant on a number of things that are happening in the world, but something happened earlier in the week that made me change course. Death came to claim someone that I have come to love, respect and admire. That person was Dee Dickason.

When I learned of her death, all I could do was stand in place for a minute or two. It felt as though someone had punched me square in the stomach, and it was not long before my eyes began to fill with tears. I did not want any of the staff at The Wave to see me, so I went into the men's room and allowed my face to become filled with "emotional rain."

Afterward, I went back to my desk, sat down, and stared at my computer terminal for the next three or four minutes. I remembered how I had dubbed her "Lady Dee" some time ago, and she was fond of the name. She had a profound impact on my life because we seemed to have so much in common. She spent many years as a struggling writer, and so did I. She believed in fighting for the rights of the poor and downtrodden, and so did I. She hated anyone with racist or bigoted views, and so did I. She believed that writing, and sharing the craft of writing with inner-city children, was extremely important, and so did I. She remained faithful to these views and ideals right up until the time of her death, and I know that I will as well.

Lady Dee, even when she was ill, would come into the office to encourage me. I never had to call her and say I needed to talk to someone about all the bull---- I was going through. She ALWAYS knew what I was feeling without me ever opening my mouth.

This is what she said to me nearly seven months ago.

"You're a warrior, and the words you write are your spear! Never stray from that. It's your power, your strength. You have an amazing gift, and you will go on to a greater role than the one you have at The Wave. You will know when the time is right to move on."

Dear God, how prophetic those words sound right about now.

In the midst of my "battles," and without warning, Lady Dee sent me many cards and letters of support. It was not long before I regarded this lovable, compassionate, little Jewish woman as my adopted mother. That is why The G-man has tears for her now.

I am a writer, as ordained by The Creator. I have been blessed with a talent that can serve as a tremendous instrument for change. I belong to a group that is as closely knit as artists, doctors, and police officers. With that said, I will now "look out" for one of my own by sharing one of the final works of Dee Dickason. She struggled for years to have her writings published, but she won't have to struggle now.

The following is from "Rockaway Haiku," a tiny book of Haikus (poems written in unrhymed Japanese verse form) that she personally gave me. It is my hope that they will be published in their entirety, as I can think of no better way to honor the life and talent of this remarkable woman.

Each of you can be comforted in the thought that as you read one of her final works, Lady Dee will be smiling from the clouds. So find a quiet place, one that will not allow for interruption, and enjoy the writings of a woman who believed in her work and in humanity. You are gone, but your words will live forever through this issue Lady Dee. I miss you so much. Now, sleep mama.... sleep.

The Boardwalk street lights
Compete with the rising sun
In the dawn and lose.

The early morning
A-train rocks away groaning
From Rockaway Park.

In the silence of
The snow I hear symphonic
Joy in Rockaway.

A laughing gull flies west, pulls
The dawn with her.

Magnolia Blossoms
Pink and white in the rainy
Sleet, give us all hope.

Hot day, cold ocean
Not coming or going, a
Bubble floats along.

Six a.m. I stand
Between the rising sun and
The setting full moon.

Floating in the ocean
Listening for the whale's song
Knowing it all along.

In the parking lot
Peninsula Hospital
A wounded seagull.

After Labor Day
More seagulls are on the beach
Than there are people.

The Fifty Three bus
Takes citified folk to work
Returns with beach bums.

Rockaway ocean
Primal sense of returning
Again to my source.

Home is where I am
Perfect just the way I am.
Home in Rockaway.

Yes, Lady Dee... you are finally home.

See you next week.

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