Thursday, November 7, 2013

poem of the day 11.07.13

ray ray is on facebook

ray ray is on facebook
i found him when i was snooping the other day

i found his sister too
she’s a writer now

of course my first thought was
great…another writer

but there was ray ray on facebook
living a life and hanging out with friends

going to heavy metal shows
taking road trips to visit civil war graves

he’s still playing his guitar
and it looks like he has a master’s degree in latin

it was good to see
that his old man hadn’t destroyed him
like i’d feared for years

because ray ray’s old man
was the scourge of the neighborhood

threatening to kill himself in public
and breaking into the black neighbor’s homes
to spray paint racial epitaphs on their walls

i thought for sure ray ray was in a mental institution
or held captive in his old man’s basement

i don’t know why i started snooping for him at all

usually when i snoop on facebook
it’s for old friends who’ve become religious nutters

or for girls who never gave me the time of day
in grade school or high school

i’m always happy when those women have gotten fat
divorced, work shit jobs, and have about four or five kids

but ray ray was different
he was my friend for a while

we used to play with star wars figures all of the time
we watched star trek
and pretended we were the monkees

he was mike nesmith and i was micky dolenz
my brother was davy jones

we had no peter tork
because ray ray’s sister wouldn’t play a boy

but i bet she can write a mean one now

we were friends until people started telling me
not to be his friend

that ray ray was weird and anti-social with the other kids

he couldn’t play sports
and you had to play sports in my neighborhood
if you wanted to survive

besides his old man was crazy
he chased ray ray’s mother with a butcher knife
and rumor had it that he’d killed a neighbor’s dog years ago

why would you want to spend any time over there?
people would ask me

of course i listened to them
because i was too young to understand
the bonds of friendship

i was too young to defy my parents
and hold back the sway of suggestion from my friends
or even bother to think for myself

i was too young to understand
that ray ray needed someone in his life


so i let him go

i sacrificed him to his crazy old man
to the ridicule of the kids on the street

i played baseball and football and basketball
until i couldn’t stand myself

i was the neighbor kid you could say hi too

while ray ray carried umbrellas on sunny days
and talked to himself to drown out the catcalls of the other kids
and whatever madness his family put in his head

i’ll even admit that i teased him too

but, christ, that was a long time ago
and ray ray is on facebook now

he’s living in memphis and just got a place of his own

he no longer lives with his sister
whose books are sci-fi and fantasy by the way

i wonder if he’s in a band

last night i told my wife
that i found him while snooping on facebook

i told her, ray ray is on facebook

she asked, are you going to email him?

and i just said no

it was enough to know that ray ray is out there
smiling for the camera


and without the need
to be visited by a ghost like me

some dumb neighborhood kid

another blank face full of vicious memories
who could never tear him down.


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