Friday, November 6, 2015

Poems for a Narrative Non-fiction Book?

I am playing with the idea of a longer narrative nonfiction piece, memoir or autoethnography about a group of friends that I have loved for nearly thirty years. One has been dead for a decade, one is still close, one lost to me, and one only a casual contact. I still love them all.

I thought I would share, for fun and perhaps inspiration, a couple from my book of prose poems, Companero. I may explore some of my ideas publicly for a new book idea at some point, but am just working it through now. For now, enjoy. These two are about my dear friend who I have been disconnected from for about 6 years. If you read this, Will, I am here, and will always be here.

My Friend Will

The night she left I took the train under the bay to drink with my friend Will. Throwing down bottles of amnesia, stopped crying long enough to hold his convulsing head vomiting into the toilet, one of those porcelain, bobbing headed Jesus dolls. I held my feelings like he held his booze: both suffocating us, the stench of something buried, needing to be forgotten. Cleaned his face with a wet salmon rag, took an hour to take off his slumping mad laughing clothes, tucked him in bed. Decided not to sob without audience. Out the beige, oval framed Berkeley window, my finger tracing each plane dissecting the blackest sky, wondering which one she was on.


Penniless, he flew out for my wedding. He asked, do you really want a fat old Jew boy so close to your bride? May wilt the flowers in her hand, the wild daisies on the hill below your mountain alter. Scare off the gods, demoralize the armies. Do you remember, Will, years ago, when another had also left? We drank sour mash and watched her plane dissect the sky in a miserable geometry. You said, do you really want to mourn with a fat old Jew boy? Sicken your heart, already battered, contracting barnacles? Held your head as you heaved that fowl, cheap whisky. Tucked you into bed. I found a good spot of the floor, somehow she had disappeared.

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