Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Poem

A poem by Phillip Lopate that I read in a book by Anne Lamott:

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you 
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.

Anne Lamott read this to one of her writing classes.  She then wrote, "They stare at me like the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Only about three think this poem is funny, or even a good example of someone taking his own paranoia and shaping it into something artistic and true. A few people look haunted.  The ones who most want to be published just think I'm an extremely angry person.Some of them look emotionally broken, some look at me with actual disgust, as if I am standing there naked under fluorescent lights."*

What do you think?

*Lamott, Anne
Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life
Originally published by Pantheon Books, New York, 1994

I'm listening to it on streaming audio from OverDrive provided to me by my public library and also reading it in e-book form.  It's so good that I need to be able to highlight things. I plan on buying a hard copy (traditional book) so I can read it again and mark up the book for reference. 

Do I even need to say that I recommend this book to anyone interested in writing?