That Kind of Friend

I have some great friends,

people I actually relate to.

They’re always available.

They never get possessive or jealous.


They are extraordinary people,

one-in-a-million kind of people.


My friend,

Carl Sandburg,

has been telling me all about Chicago

and making me fall in love with it.


My buddy,

John Reed,

has been telling me all about what he saw

during his days in Russia

when the workers and peasants

took power from the rich

and started forming their own government.


My new acquaintance,



you'd just have to meet him.


But as much as I love these friends,

these people I connect with,

they can’t help me

when I really need a hug,

when my skin needs to feel

someone else’s skin,

feeling mine,

feeling their’s.


They’re not that kind of friend.


That kind of friend

is so hard to find.

You can’t just pull them off a shelf

when you want them

and put them back

when you’re done.

They have feelings

and needs and desires.

They deserve accountability.

You have to earn their trust

over time

before they really let you see

what’s behind the cover.


Why do I have so few of these friends?

Do I lack patience?

Am I too quickly bored or disgusted

by the introductions?

Am I too suspicious

they will try to stitch me into their binding,

like others before have?


At the beginning of my life,

just after I learned to walk,

I learned how to read.


And yet after all these years

I still feel hopelessly bewildered

and ineffective

at finding and enjoying

human companionship.