Friday, November 02, 2007

Philip Lopate was one of my professors as an undergrad. He was a terrific teacher. I always read at least some of the writings of my professors before a class, to try and get a sense of who they were -- pre-Google, this was a bit of work, people, and I demand you admire my pluck!

Anywho, I knew I was lucky to have Lopate at the time, but I didn't know just how lucky. Youth and youth's parent's money wasted on the young, and all that. Here's a poem of his that speaks to me, which was happily remembered when I had a paranoid pang today.

We Who Are Your Closest Friends
By 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
discontent and
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
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.