Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An open letter to a friend

I am sorry it took me three days to text.

You probably thought I ran, like the rest,
seeing the front page of the paper & all the inglorious
mess you made---

It’s what people do.
Afraid of being caught in the shit storm,
pretending they don’t step in their own daily.
I can’t say I condone what you did,

but I won’t leave you alone.
It feels like shit doesn’t it? Knowing everyone
knows your darkest secrets,

because they look away,
stare, point, talk ---
make jokes,                   laugh ---
assuming guilt, without
ever even asking.

My excuses are no better than your own.
I won’t pretend I wasn’t tempted to let you slip
back into my past.

But it felt too much like leaving the lame 
to be devoured by the lions, knowing the herd is safe.
That is the easy way out. That is the shallowness
of too many relationships,

and the press, camped on your street.
It’s fucked up. You fucked up. I can’t imagine
how cold the coffee is on your lips, as you look
across the breakfast nook & lock eyes
with your wife, how your kids
are dealing with this.

With all of this
and what people do.

So text me back, man.


  1. you know i'm glad you're not drawing back as others did but signalized that you want to talk - it's a difficult situation and it must be terrible for his family as well - he def. needs a good friend to talk to - hope he texts back...

    1. Still waiting.

      Been checking on him, through others - but hopefully soon.

  2. it's good he has a friend like you. knowing that someone cares means a lot in such situations.
    i do not know what he has done, but let the court and the law judge him. not the press, they are there to sell pages and eyeballs.
    yeah, those cold coffee, they would taste like shit. :(

  3. How important it is not to be judgmental when a friend is going through difficulties. They need help not criticism.

  4. Gasp!

    You left me speechless.
    But now let me say this poem is for the ages.
    Here is the other side of running: Instead of running for life, running away from it.
    "Afraid of being caught in the shit storm,
    pretending they don’t step in their own daily." But the lame--you know I've read that herds leave them deliberately--and it is not a far step from there to the concept of "scapegoat"--healing society by casting all its sins onto one sacrifice--which makes me think of Jesus--and even Peter denied him 3x before the sun rose. But back to the human plain! We are not gods. Sticking around may be healing for the friend, but it is infinitely more healing for the spirit of the one who stays. And the progression from this poem from human to mythic to the technological means is brilliant.

  5. We all have to live with the messes we make, and they are worse when everyone we know has to live with them too, even if they're only sideliners. Not knowing the crime, I only see the forgiveness in this; I can't judge the actual size of the grace you extend, but I can see its bravery and compassion.I'm not much of a forgiver, myself, but I can respect it in those who have it to draw on.

  6. Great direct poem. I hope your friend feels the support. We all have to step through shit. Im always amazed that people can turn their noses up at other's while they have their own stuck to their shoes.

  7. I hope your friend experiences the healing he needs. Sounds like he got himself into some kind of messy situation, and I hope he finds the stepping stones to get out of it rather than encountering only judgment!

  8. Now THAT is healing!

    I remember a time .... long time ago now. He wasn't a friend, but a fellow-parent at my boys' school. He was also a pubic figure who did something illegal (which I totally disapproved of) and a big scandal blew up in the papers. Next day, when I took my kids to their basketball match, he and his wife were there too with theirs, which was pretty brave under the circumstances. So I wandered over and made a bit of idle conversation, just like normal. Maybe they thought I didn't read the papers, or maybe they understood the gesture; I'll never know. But I sort of had to do it. I didn't think he was an evil person or anything, just one who got desperate and made a bad mistake. It wasn't up to me to punish him (the law eventually did) let alone punish his wife and kids. And I could demonstrate that not everyone would turn their backs, and maybe make that first public appearance after the scandal a mite easier. I've always been glad I had that little bit of moral courage. If yours is a true story, I think you'll be glad too.

    1. Good on you. Ostracizing those in trouble can only lead to more trouble. It is in our darkest days we need people and they keep us from tipping over.
      Sadly it is true. It is something that happened 4 years ago, but the leak just happened the last couple weeks.

    2. And btw I did mean to say the poor man was a public figure (not pubic, lol).

    3. I cant believe I missed that. Ha.

  9. This is close to many ways...true friends accept...can see what it's like when all coffee is cold and bitter on the the absence of any communication between the person in the kitchen and the other there is a connection - a deep communication which probably doesn't matter how long it takes to reply..knowing is knowing..

  10. Great line breaks here:
    "It feels like shit doesn’t it? Knowing everyone"
    "assuming guilt, without"

    Like I said before, it's stuff like this that causes people to withdraw into themselves and then commit suicide. I hope you can get through to him. Go to his house, his job, whatever you have to do to reach him and let him know you're not judging ... that he is loved, unconditionally. These are the times when reflecting the heart of Christ really matters. I told you the other day that there's only one sin I consider unforgivable. But in God's eyes, no sin is unforgivable. This is your chance to demonstrate that love. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend.

  11. there's a healing touch in the voice of the speaker...hope it touches the soul it's meant for....

  12. Thank God for supportive friends like you! Empathy, is truly the emotional glue that holds all close relationships together..Fantastic writing, x.

  13. I have certainly made my share of mistakes and I wish I had had a supportive friend, it really goes a long way. I think we all lose our way at times.


  14. I remember when something similar happened to a friend of mine when his past caught up to him. I love the honesty in your poem - and the strength, that you wanted to turn away, but are strong enough to stay. That is a true friend.

  15. Prison..iNsane asYlums.. cultUrE aLL tHe sAMe
    culture is the misTake.. the virus
    that leads to what
    is nAMed
    foot steps
    in the sand
    are the best
    way out..
    but sadly
    most often
    does not allow
    tHiS.. THoSe WitH
    FooTpRints sANDy
    eveR let
    of SanD
    as fEat
    of saND
    are diRt

  16. Intense writing my friend.

    Everyone here is right, your friend needs you now more than ever. Whatever he has done, its all up to the people or law to make such judgements.

    Friends needs friends to be there in any odd or heavy situations.

  17. I would probably slip back like all the rest, but hey we should not really. I think trying to connect back is all we can do, and if nothing else, there is a family involved as well, even if he deserves it... hope it's worth it, and that he dares to accept that outstretched hand.

  18. Yes, knowing that you are there for me, whatever that means....we know our own faults, probably wouldn't want to see them posted on a billboard, but just knowing you are there, means a lot. I am in your debt.xoxoxo

  19. I hope he does text you back. You mean well. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  20. I feel so much for your friend. i, myself have been advertising my dilemmas on here and yet my family and friends are still understanding and supportive. may your friend find all the comfort and recovery he needs to once again come out with happiness and freedom from guilt. keep reaching out, he may respond eventually.

  21. A difficult situation, it's so easy for people to judge others.

  22. Oh how achingly raw this felt...and the further I read on, the more I felt.
    We all make mistakes, but most of us are fortunate enough to make them in private. I can only imagine how awful it must be to have them paraded publicly. Doesn't bear thinking about.
    Yes, your friend is indeed lucky to have a friend like you...who is there for him.
    Bravo! A brilliant write...:)

  23. Having someone stand by us when things need to be put back together is a great thing.

  24. Good to have such a friend who the hand, the shoulder to support in the hard moment ~ the same happened if the person stepping out of 'herd' and doing something novell, unaccepted by others, not necessarily negative, just out of 'ethics' of group....

  25. Wow, raw pain for your friend and his family. So sorry x. The lesson I've learnt is not to judge. None of us is perfect. We all have secrets. I have to remind myself daily not to judge others. Sometimes I still fail. Nice write. Liked the honesty especially.

  26. Well penned... Made me think of the E.M. Forster quote: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”

  27. Your third stanza is so telling, raw, real. I am sure not a reader one failed to connect the reality of this piece to their own life.

  28. Your writing is looser, freer, the same and changed. I like this. I write letters like this in my head nowadays. But these are the kinds of words we should send.