PRATIE PLACE

Friday, January 13, 2006

We Who Are Your Closest Friends (Phillip Lopate)

I saw this quoted in an excellent book on writing, by Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, in a section about paranoia. I really recommend this book!

We Who Are Your Closest Friends
Phillip Lopate
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
frustration
discontent and
torture
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
association
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.


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8 Comments:

At 7:56 AM, Blogger kenju said...

That is both funny and sad at the same time; sad that there are people like that - but we all know some - don't we?

Michele sent me this morning, but you know I am here all the time.

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger MaryB said...

Terrific quote. Bird by Bird is one of my favorites. I quote from it all the time, especially when a task seems so overwhelming: Bird by bird, Mary, bird by bird.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Lizzie said...

I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 5:43 AM, Blogger Jozef Imrich, Esq. said...

Work like you don't need the money, Dance like no one is watching, And love like you've never been hurt.
-- Lao Tzu

There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. This poem does it in a reverse psychology way ;-P

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this book and I am going to print this poem up on poster board and hang it in my house on the landing on the steps for everyone to see. I love that book too!!! I can identify with it in so many ways. I read it crying and laughing until my sides felt like they were going to split. Hey Lizzie, I knew it too!!!!lol

 
At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really didn't understand this poem. It seemed ludicrous. Friends??? No. What are you trying to SAY? Someone explained. Closest friends? Yes. Because these moments when we feel like this, when circumstances really test us, these moments are our closest friends - they are ideal opportunities to get to know ourselves better, to practice being mindful/awake/aware, to learn to choose our responses rather than react in auto pilot, without awareness of what is going on for us. And these moments sneak into our thoughts every day. "My closest friends are conspiring against me!" Really? Is that a fact? Or just a thought passing through loaded with reactive emotion?

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger frankc said...

I just stumbled across your inspiring blog looking for the Phillip Lopate poem ...

the idea that there is an organized conspiracy of our closest friends to deny us the love we feel we deserve & frankly would perish without would explain a lot ... the fact that it isn't true is beside the point. we FEEL it's true ...yes, it's an 'imaginary garden' but it has a 'real' serpent in it ...

 
At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Ali Kashkooli said...

I read this quotation "There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up!"in the bottom of an email from a Professor of Mississippi State University. It shocked me because of the deep meaning of the word.
I wrote it on my computer desktop and on my hart for ever.

Ali Kashkooli

 

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