Poem from a Friend

John Nyman
Senior staff writer

John, you poor, stingy person

who wears genius like a glaze.

I’ve not once seen your poems. Instead,

you paint yourself in intellect with long words

and I, who learned English in a German high school

with people who cared more about sex

and smoking, rarely understand

what you’re saying. But I get it.

I don’t introduce you as my smart friend.

I say, “He is probably right.”


John, you have an imagination.

Imagine if I’d become a lesbian

and Steph and I hooked up each night

I said I had homework. Your face

would be the same flat square from my memory,

lines like cracks in a pie crust.

Imagine if you’d met my parents

and I could not say anything but

“He designed the feminist club’s logo

and is a poet.” Or imagine

we eloped, saying fuck you to America

and life. I’d take you home

and you would be fascinated by everything,

telling stories forever about trees and roads,

me on the couch watching TV:

What is there to do here?


What really happened was the best.

We stood in line for food whining

about prices. I took pride

in being cheap, and you, too.

I asked you, “In English,

what sound does a fish make?”

and you took paragraphs, spools of words

explaining why fish don’t make a sound and,

in English, how we only have the noise

for bubbles. A four letter word.


We said goodbye once,

when I wouldn’t see you for so long

it was just funny.

I guess you didn’t seem sad;

you were about to get drunk, and then go home.

Meanwhile, I was standing in the black night

beside our boring friends’ car.

But hey, I will visit you, right?

If I do, we can do everything again.

About the Author

By Excalibur Publications



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