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The Poem You Need Right Now

1992-04-23 10.33.47-1

My Raft of High School Superfriends, Lakeside, California, 1992.

My dear friend and mentor Rinnie recently shared this timely, much-needed poem. The poet is her colleague at Environmental Defense Fund, Jen Coleman, author of the book We Denizens. Though this particular poem, “Raft of Superfriends,” was published four years ago in the online magazine Across the Margin, it suits the global mood right now. What I love about this poem is the clarity with which I can see the people on this raft, smell the rice and dog fur, and taste the spices of life. Jen’s work reminds me that no matter what maelstrom of swirling pain is all around us, I am grateful for my kindred spirits with whom I am lucky to share the raft. I hope you enjoy Jen’s clever, humane words today, and any day you need them. ~Kristine, Owens River Girl

The Raft of Superfriends

On the raft of superfriends there is chatter.
On the raft of superfriends there is infinite quiet.
On the raft there is poker, dominoes, table tennis,
shuffleboard, and everyone is asleep on the game tables
and dreaming of poker, dominoes, table tennis and shuffleboard.

On the raft of superfriends there is survival.
On the raft there is a supply of savory spices and rice to everyone’s liking.
On the raft of superfriends there is enough rice to grow an island of rice,
to shore up the raft. On the raft of superfriends there is a little bit
of tenderness for the sores we nurse.

On the raft of superfriends there are very good ideas
and very bad ideas. There are good ideas, bad ideas,
and ideas that blossom if you give them
enough attention from all of the superfriends.

There are hammocks, too, and saunas, and sunshine
and wind to carry the raft. There are wild moments of laughter
followed by a few tears on the raft of superfriends. On the raft
there are in-jokes that every superfriend is in on.

On the raft of superfriends there is much talk of dogs,
and there are dogs that come and go, and there is love
for dogs that is sprinkled like spices in the bountiful rice.

On the raft of superfriends there is a surprise.
On the raft there are no surprises to find a surprise.
What is absurd on the raft of superfriends is that absurdity
is not absurd to a superfriend.

What’s great about the raft of superfriends is the friends
themselves and the fact of the raft. The fact of the raft is that it is
plenty long and steady on calm water, on rough water, in the wind
and in the air and even on land.

The raft of superfriends is built solid. The raft of superfriends
is tethered together with a crazy amount of love.

The raft of superfriends can be thrown into the rapids with a string
tied to the finger of a little boy, and find its way through.
And the string, let go, will trail the raft until it finds its way into an eddy
and then assist in lifting the raft back into the hands of the boy.

-Jen Coleman

 

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