Peter Cole Friedman


Josie wrote about riptides, how unassuming patches of experience can take over your life. Benji  wrote about collecting their dog’s hair. Ricardo wrote about when your train car is going the same  speed as a train car across the track. Ricardo is the same age as his sister, and they have the  same middle name. Lola wrote about Ricardo’s piece but it used boats. Lola has never been on  a boat. Artie wrote about his dead cousin. Nobody could really offer any meaningful criticism. Lulu  used apocalyptic imagery to describe her trip to the bodega: red moon eyes, Hostess aisle triage,  heat lightning. Mo used some things he heard Lulu say about cats in his poem about his lover.  Reggie wrote an obvious anti-poem, each line starting with the word lettuce, interrupted by random flourishes of code. Everyone agreed it occasionally flirted, however begrudgingly, with poetry. Blanche ended her poem abruptly after it mentioned her mother’s wigs. Her mother has  one wig, but she hasn’t worn it since 2008. Brie wrote about a movie no one had seen. In the  movie there were speech bubbles (or people living within speech bubbles?) and a large talking  flamingo (it’s not important to the poem). My poem is about names, and secrets, and barbershops,  and refrigerators, and old glasses prescriptions, and added flavors, and taking the wrong pill, and  something I watched about dolphins (they played catch with a plastic bag!). I wrote it because,  after staring at a wall for 12 minutes alone, the shadows of my cactuses began to resemble faces,  which in turn began to resemble memories. At least I think so. We’ll see what Josie, Benji,  Ricardo, Lola, Artie, Lulu, Mo, Reggie, Blanche, and Brie have to say about it when we meet up  later. Also, I almost forgot! My poem is about you, looking so serious in summer’s late light, a  silver sliver trying so hard to turn your eyes into song lyrics at my grandmother’s table, which we  got a few weeks after she left.


Cheesecake (the baby seal) knows he’s cute.

I think watching this disembodied hand 

de-shed this horse with this MIRACLE TOOL 

might save me today. Olofsu, the man with the crackly fireplace

voice on the meditation app, briefly disposes me

to want muscles. I’m getting a call from a 

made-up sounding place: Almond, NY. I already know 

I’ll Zillow houses there later, places I can’t afford

and which I’d complain about two days into living there.

Actually, I disagree, Cheesecake doesn’t know he’s cute

and, in fact, in the hangover of some manufactured outrage

(I don’t need to tell you), I now believe he lives a tragic life

squeezed and squeezed by human desire like the last pearl

of toothpaste in the tube, like love in a love song

ad for an empathy game ($2.99/month with promo code SELFLESS).

Peter Cole Friedman mostly just teaches pre-k in Queens. His micro-chap Animal Facts was part of Ghost City Press’s 2022 Summer Series. You can see more of his work at