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 petercolefriedman.com.