Afternoons, to escape his four walls,
My friend meditates at the café on,
Say, the meaning of meaning, which
He may have found by now. In fact,
From the empyrean summit of his
Global entitlement, his dicta issue
Like oracles, worthy, if not of awed
Belief, at least of respectful attention.
He’ll inform an audience of one (me)
Or one hundred, with equal fervor,
On the fall of the Roman empire,
Or of our own. Nothing amazes him.
His shirts are imaginatively ironed.
He reads two books at a time, lines
Alternating. “Read that way”, he says,
“They invite your participation.” He’s kind
About my reading, my plain old ironing.
For the moment he is unemployed.
“My Friend” was first published in Salmagundi
, Nos. 162-163 (Spring-Summer 2009), p. 94. It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, Coming to That: Poems
, New York: Graywolf Press, 2011, p. 33, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.