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Archive for the tag “poetry”



I’m not a reader.

Now let me explain.

I’m a damn good reader.  No disorders that I know of, comprehension through the roof, the ability to cold read, out loud, in public, strong as it gets.  I’ve been reading since I was a little over a year old, or so they said when I was growing up.

No, I’m just not a reader.

I grew up reading every day.  Prose, mostly, and that, contained in the sports section of the LA Times.  I never read comics, except for the papers on Sunday, and I was never encouraged to pick up a book during my childhood, except by command of teachers, and then, not until high school.  Along the way, I read some things, mostly by accident.  Some Peter Benchley… sharks fascinated me… and some pulp journalism style stuff you could find on the book rack at the grocery store while my mom stood in line to pay.  Besides that, the only two things I read like they meant something were Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the World Book Encyclopedia, and the 1973 Baseball Encyclopedia.

But none of that is reading.

In the years that I should have been indulging my creative consciousness on everything from Swift to Burroughs and Dickens to Baum, I was memorizing batting averages, the etymology of 19th century English words, and the names the crew gave the mechanical shark in the movie Jaws.  I wasn’t reading, I was collecting… nonsense, mostly.  I read quickly.  I read to absorb, to obtain, and to satisfy curiosity, not for the love of the words themselves.

At least that’s the way reading was explained to me.  That it was a love affair with words, and with the stories that the words would unfold for me, if I would only let it be so.  As you might imagine, school was a nightmare for me.  I got by, barely.  Not by reading, but by listening.  I listened to every word the teachers said, and made copious notes.  Page after page of classroom notes, writing down every meaningless detail of these frustrated storytellers, never once looking inside the textbooks they ordered us to read.  Because of this, obviously, math was a killer.  English was hard because all the questions on tests were neatly tucked away inside the books I didn’t read.  History worked for me, because teachers of history fancy themselves “historians”, and would rather act out the full contents of the books themselves, than leave the interpretation of history to the transcribers of history.  I took notes, and answered the questions from them. 

That didn’t work out so well, in high school, or in college, after.

I gave reading one more shot in my 20s.

The girl I was seeing was a reader of book club selections, and I would read books over her shoulder, at night.  For a while, I became a reader like she was a reader.  Picking novels that sounded interesting based on my already-cultivated curiosities.  Bad sports stories, the occasional adventure, and spooky stuff.  Spooky stuff that would have caused childhood me to keep both hands and both feet inside the covers at night.  Blatty’s Exorcist.  King’s Stand.  A bunch of other crap I barely remember.

In this time, I realized that I read the way a cow eats, deliberately, and not in any hurry.  Not the way a predator hurriedly consumes its prey, but slowly, chewing on words and phrases, taking them all in, and then barfing them back up in the form of re-reading without actually finishing the book first.  It took me forever to read a book this way, but when I was done, I maybe knew the stories better than the authors.  

Then the girl became wife.  The wife stopped reading.  I stopped reading.

Because I’m not a reader.

At this point in this story, I’ll save you the exposition of the next 30-something years.  I’ll just tell you that, while I am not a reader, I am reading again.  I have to.  Something I discovered about the silence that only reading brings.  The silence that, I didn’t know until now, brings healing to a soul that fed on only noise, and a mind that, for most of a lifetime, knew only confusion and pain.  Words and stories that should bring healing, and a minimum of confusion and pain.  From Murakami to Bradbury, Goldman to Gibran.  I will read these, soon.

I’m not a reader, yet.

But I’m going to be.      


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Nothing Ever Spoken

nothing ever spoken

I offended someone today. 

Not you,

because you weren’t there. 

And not the person who,


let me know of my offense. 

The person who told me that I had offended someone. 


I’m insensitive. 


more than sometimes,

I just cover it well with most people. 


I let it slip. 

And this time,

I almost let it slip to cause someone to fall. 

I didn’t want to. 

I spoke,


or so I thought. 

But nothing ever spoken is truly random,

is it?

I offended someone today. 

They just didn’t know it,

but I do,


Not you,

because they weren’t there. 

But someone was,

who cared.


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

I’m Guessing

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This much I know. 

You’re not that into me. 

I think I’d know it if you were. 

Here’s what I don’t know. 

Why it is you keep me around. 

Maybe you’re just undecided. 

This is all brand new to me. 

And so are you. 

I’m a lousy guesser. 

I’m guessing you are too.


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

How I Accept the Unacceptable

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When they say that we can

leave it all behind,

we still

take it with us when we go.   


And nothing is forgotten

that’s forgiven in my mind, 


creation and us with it cease to know.


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Until Forever Will I

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Never have I ever taken in

more than

one breath at a time,

like all of the rest

of breathing creation. 

One breath

at a time,

for a lifetime.  

Never more,

and seldom less.


Always have I ever taken in

more than

one worry at a time,

like most of the rest

of breathing creation.

Every breath

all the time,

for a lifetime.

Always more,

and never less.


And now until forever will I take in

no more than

one worry at a time,

like the bless’ed best

of breathing creation. 

My next breath

and for all time,

in this lifetime. 


until my rest. 


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

For as Long as I Remember

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I got burned

for getting

too close to fires,

but I won’t end up

one of those

sad-ass liars. 


I’ve been a sucker

for as long

as I remember,

I’ll be a motherfucker

before the

first of December. 


Because only

two things happen

when you’re unguarded. 

You’re either loved

or you’re



© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

This is Really My Life


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Saturday 11/18/17


On the day someone takes my truck off my hands…

…some Pablo Neruda.

“That’s how I am,” I’ll say, leaving this pretext in writing: “This is really my life.”

-From “Those Lives”                                                     
 (Five Decades. P. 287)

Let’s get the best offer, by day’s end, and take it. In trucks for sale, as in everything else, this is existence.  Choices and choosing.  “Make me an offer, already!  I got shit to do, what with the living and the dying and all that.”

What with the living and the dying.

This is really my life.



© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday


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It’s not

a matter of

how little

or how much,

but only

of how well

we touch.


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

It’s Not About You

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I don’t stockpile blog posts.  I’m not in any way a prolific blogger.  I used to wish I was like that; the Stephen King of blogging, grinding out page after page on any subject that popped into, or fell out of, my head.  And for a short time, about ten years ago, I was heading in that direction, writing online. 

Until a nasty bout of what I thought was writer’s block overtook me, and for the next few months I went from writing a feature column for a website to being an itinerant poet. 

I’ve told the story before, so that’s why the short version this time.  But there is a part I’ve never told, in print or in person, to anyone.

I started writing poetry for the same reason people vaguebook, or subtweet, before there were such things as vaguebooking and subtweeting.  I started writing poetry because all the things I ever wanted to say to others required honesty.  Feature-length, name the names, feel the feels, full disclosure honesty.  And I wasn’t ready for that kind of honesty ten years ago.  Just like I wasn’t ready for it five years ago, or two, or even more recently than that.

Poetry, and I just figured this out last week… I know, late to my own party, again… became a way of purging shit, real, honest shit, without ever having to confront another human being over that shit.  See, I hate confrontation. 


Of course I know what some of you are thinking, “How can a guy who writes the things you write NOT be confrontational?”  And my marginally confrontational answer is, “Have you not read my writing?”  See, I’m both blessed and cursed with a soul.  Not the half-in/half-out, maybe I care/maybe I don’t kind of a soul.  But the all-in/all-out/all-the-time kind of soul.  The soul that can either love you, or burn the bridge you stand on while we’re talking.  So because of that, and because this 100/100 soul can’t hold everything in ALL the time, I started purging all of it through the power of poetry. No names, vague scenarios, love you or burn the bridge you stand on, poetry.

And I am a saner man for it.

So if in the future, before you ask me, “Was that poem about me?” remember to look down and see if you’re standing on a bridge ready to be burned, and know that I probably love you, or I wouldn’t have written the poem in the first place.

And just believe me when I say,

“It’s not about you.”


© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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