She listened to countless poems.
He called me when his dad died.
She called me when her mom died.
He called me when his baby was born.
He called me when his wife was sick.
She asked me to drive her to the airport.
She walked me home from school.
He told me his secrets.
She got me through college.
He visited me in the hospital.
She visited me in the hospital.

He drew a thousand pictures
And I kept asking him to draw
A thousand more.

She trusted me, and kissed me
on the cheek.
She went with me on a thousand rides.

I missed her surgery.
I missed his flight.
I missed his kid’s birthday.
I missed his dad’s funeral.
I pushed him too far.
I pushed her away.

I had a thousand friendships
A billion chances.
So many hands shakes, so many hugs.
So many “your funny man’s”
So many “Your talented dude’s”
So many “I believe in you’s ,
So many “You should be a teacher’s”
So many “Don’t waste your talents”
So many “I wish I could write like that’s”

I laid a dead ear to everyone.
I obsessed on my bleak world
I drove them all away.
Held on to my sadness/obsessions/tics

I was wrapped up in my own
Barbs and wire.

They have all gone on.
I am just

To all those friends who have gone on:

I understand now.

You listened to your friends.
You earned their trust.
Showed you cared.
Truth is you really did.
Truth is you are a good person.
Your shoulder dried tears.
They grew to count on you
You never missed a birthday
And always sent a Christmas Card
You went to all their
big events,
kids birthdays/ recitals

You fixed things for them
Never let them know you were broken.

In turn they made you feel
Take-charge/sexy/ stacked/
Together you could do anything
You stood with them and
They stood by you.
First in line to stand at their alter.

You gained more.
Confidence/Muscles/ Money
Spirit/ Balls/ Respect/
You left your devil status at the door.
You grabbed success.

You drank/You stopped/You prayed.
You drank/You stole/
You fought/you grew/ you changed.
You sobered up and spread your light

And all along I have been writing
all these poems.
All these poems.
When really I should have
Listened to you/earned your trust
Shouldered your tears.
Never missed your birthday
Always sent a Christmas Card
Went to all your
big events,
Your kids birthdays/ recitals

Truth is though, I was so broken.
I was in a web. Still am.

One friend away from none.

I wish you all the best.
Every friend I buried under my own weight.

I wish you all the best.
Every tired ear who kept listening to every fucking word.

I wish you all the best.
Every friend who ever heard a thought.
and still stayed on as long as they could.

Thanks for understanding
That I had to go home.
That I had to retreat back to myself.
That I had to take my meds/get drunk/
Sleep/oversleep/miss your big events.

I thank you all.
And I am sorry.
Thanks for holding on
As long as you could

And thanks for still sending me those Christmas cards.
Your family is beautiful.


Jason Wright is the founder and Editor of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly.