Tag Archives: friends

Ground Zero

What conversation would you like rejoined,
pretending that no years have intervened
and that the cares we once thought so immense
still weigh in at their same old magnitude,
when those long idle hours spent in talk
with no intent except to measure time
with Prufrock’s gilded set of coffee spoons,
pretending some profundity in words
that seemed so easy then, rolled off the clock
like AWOL soldiers beyond duty’s fence?

What alternate reality would seem
the right place, now, to take up where we left,
imagining somehow the world had stopped
at just that precise moment when we two
in some ungainly ballet both were cast,
commanding neither balance or much grace,
and fumbled blindly at each other’s steps?
The music for that dance has long since stopped.
An awkward silence echoes from the stage
that swallows whole all kinds of might-have-beens.

What conversation that we never had
(at least, aloud in words, in the same room)
needs finishing at this point in our lives?
There is more water underneath that bridge
than fills the seven oceans of the world.
No, if we speak again, let’s talk as friends
who simply compare mileage and confess
no secrets, or regret for past mistakes;
what participles dangle in the mist
are sentences we’ve both served long enough. 

17 SEP 2009

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Face to Face

We reconnect through wireless means –
no strings attached, just memories
like wisps of smoke we can’t inhale
without a self-accusing stare.

Like ghosts, we shuffle wall to wall
and watch as life unfolds somewhere,
where we could be, on different paths,
some roads less traveled, others not.

We fondly look in retrospect
at days long gone, and former lives;
our innocence, perhaps, our joy –
some part of us we think now lost.

It’s just illusion that we weave,
this semblance of the village square
that in an instant may be gone.
It’s really just us, standing there.

And what do we have left say?
Not much. We share our politics,
or random thoughts about the world
that make us feel as if we care

beyond this circle in the dust
of wild electrons spinning ’round
that gives us substance in this mist
and makes us seem alive again.

26 AUG 2009

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Redefining My Peer Group

When you think about it, what does a jury of one’s peers really mean? Legally, I suppose it means that because all individuals are theoretically equal under the law, one’s peers in a litigious sense means other equally theoretical equals.

A peer might be anyone who shares with me age, gender, ethnicity, race, education, geography, nationality or religion, in some combination. But considering any of these factors in isolation does not make sense to me. This does not seem to be the basis by which I identify my peers on a daily basis. For example I do not consider all men to be my peers, nor all southerners, nor all people who did not quite graduate from college? Not on a typical day.

For me, a peer is a fellow traveler. Not someone on the same path as I am, nor someone who has been where I’ve been, but someone who has been faced with the same kinds of dilemmas, made similar choices, and lived with the consequences of those choices in order to a achieve a similar goal. That means that in order to decide who my peer group is, I have got to get the order of the questions right. Often, we ask “who is going with me?” before we ask “where am I going?” As a result, whether or not the traveling companion is suitable, advantageous or even compatible for the journey cannot be in any way intelligently determined.

Who are my peers, then?

People who have lived in more than one state. People who have been divorced. People who read books daily. Curious people. People who vote their conscience and intelligence and not the party line. People who believe that life and death can be defined as energy borrowed, energy returned. People who feel that art, beauty, kindness, compassion and doubt are essential elements of human existence. People willing to get their hands dirty. People who recognize that all ethical systems are based on the principle Thou Before I and actually, where possible, live according to that standard. People who believe that love is not ownership. People who seek commonalities, rather than differences. People who seek beyond institutionalized anything (schools, churches, governments) in order to discover how Universal Truth becomes Personal Truth. People who see beyond all of these Aristotaliarian compartmentalizations. People who know there is no such thing as prehistory, who draw outside the lines, who accept personal responsibility for who they are, where they are, and how they got there, who believe that a meritocritous egalitarian society is not only possible, but achievable, one person at a time.

If my life were on trial, I would insist that 12 such individuals be found to weigh my fate.

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On Adding New Friends

Sometimes I feel there’s not enough ink,
and spare electrons can’t be found
to pull out from the ether what I think,
so I pull in all the excess wood around
and burn away the wheatless chaff
in giant billowed clouds of smoke.

Sometimes I’m trying hard to laugh
so the whole world doesn’t seem a joke.

And other times I feel the need
to just devour the world outside;
so I look for endless things to read
that tease me, soothe me, or provide
a viewpoint quite unlike my own.

If I add you to my friends list,
which today has greatly grown,
it’s because I can’t resist
the urge to share part of your view,
without intruding, just because
I find pleasure in reading you
and knowing of your joys, the flaws
you find in worldly things,
the ups and downs that each day brings,
the songs you sing that I too know
(and strange new ones, that even though
are not my cup of tea (or gin)
may find me humming right along).

Each day’s new entries help begin
the chords that make up my own song.

And if you find what I may say
from time to time worth reading, too,
though where the path leads, none can say,
I’m glad to share a mile or two.

22 JAN 2005

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A Call Out of the Blue

Out of the clear blue, a telephone call
sent my mind wandering off in free fall;
an old friend, from high school, a long time gone,
whose voice I had oft reflected upon

got my number, it seems; called to say hi,
and connect with old mem’ries and things gone by.
It was strange, and my words awkward and spare,
for it seemed like another world from there.

I’d like to imagine there is some link –
that we could meet for lunch and just one drink,
but the universe shifts, and moves its pawns
in diff’rent directions to sing new songs.

When the sep’rate pieces then meet by chance,
There’s not much to do, save falter and dance.

16 DEC 2002

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