Friend

This poem was written when I was playing around with the idea of Jack Kerouac’s stream of consciousness style and is really about the representation of deities and how every culture I know of has at least one “god”. In a way it is a discussion about the theme of wandering in the metaphorical wilderness and emerging.

Friend
This is the spirit of Kerouac. Hotel Chelsea spirit,
English-style.

I mean it though. To you: I want to call you friend.

I cried and you listened to my sobbing.
I laughed and the laughter bounced back.

And we lied about understanding.
It was the easy thing to do.
It wrestled with my rational side.

You were my morning friend. My good-time
friend. My comfort.

I want to call you friend.

Do you remember the songs?

Happy, clappy songs.
It wrestled with my rational side.

We were wreathed in sweet-smelling smoke
and chimes. A childhood duty,
kissing feet, wiping cloth, reading
what we couldn’t do and never what we could.

Authorised words. Approved and translated.

Then songs about being happy to die because
there would be something there. A song relying
on trust. A tussle with my rational side.

You were never my rock standing in a sand-filled
desert, filled with emptiness. You were never
the hand that guided the art.

White man. White woman. Nails in the wrong places.

Olive in the skin. Oil on the hair. Painted
by the unbelievers.

Words that banned things. Stipulations,
prostrations by action and abstention,
by observance in reverence. Until the difference
between the free and those who still listened
grew greater in my mind.

And the difference between the free and me
became so paper-thin you could rub your
fingers through it and they would touch.

Such a fine gap. It wrestled with my
rational side.

Move on move on. More wraiths of smoke.
Breathe in for peace, hold and release.
Breathe in for solace, for solace, for solace.

Mind walks, takes a run up and jumps into the
dream sky of possibilities.

Made our friendship look very different.
Less rules, more creativity. More of
everything: colours, creeds, good and bad.

I want to call you my friend.

Breathed in, moved to the jungle beat.
Made our friendship look very very very different.
Gave you a new face, a new size.

I danced in the warehouse. I danced in the street.
Everybody was there but I was on my own.

Then I hugged the trees. I squeezed their bark
and ran my hands up and down them; my connectors
to the Earth, a divination of you. Stroking them
with my palms and hugging the hard woody trunk like
a lover come back from a long journey and you don’t
want to let them go.

Your face looked so very very different and you
lived everywhere and you were truly beautiful.

It wrestled with my rational side.

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