Jessica Goodfellow: Poem for my Friends

Jessica Goodfellow is an award-winning poet and essayist living in Japan. She has a full-length collection called “The Insomniac’s Weather Report” and a and a chapbook* entitled  A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland”. Jessica currently lives in Japan with her husband and sons. She’s received numerous awards and serious critical acclaim.

That’s more or less what it says on her bio page.

She’s also one hell of an amazing writer.

And this poem – “Poem for my Friends” – is right up there in that small list of poems that I love, and read again and again.

Here it is –


I have no friends.
My friends have no friends.
On the way to a wedding
I don’t want to attend
I pass a homeless person
scuffing along
and I think,
I could do that.
I need never go
to a wedding again.
My solutions are more drastic
than my problems.
All my friends are friendless.
They cannot be counted on.
I cannot be counted on.
Whatever it is I count,
there is always one missing.
Or two. Or more.
Or else there’s an extra.
I cannot concentrate.
My friends cannot concentrate.
There is an underlying noise,
a whirring sound in this world,
a waterless sound.
It catches me off-guard,
though when I strain to hear it,
as I do now,
I cannot hear it.
My friends cannot hear it.
I have no friends.

Jessica Goodfellow


* What is a chapbook?  Good question, especially for those of us who were not Lit majors.  ‘Chap-book’ came into being in the 19th Century, among bibliophiles and book lovers. It is a small pocket-sized booklet, originally used for pamphlets, religious tracts, nursery rhymes, folk tales, poetry, what have you.  Today, in our 21st Century New Millenium epoch, it is often used for and applied to poetry.

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