For Matthew Freeman
Julia Gordon-Bramer

What's it like, there in your You?
with the sad bathos and the orphaned
schizophrenic anti-sex appetites sated
with bitter coffee, Thorazine, and cancer smoke?
I said, If I could give you just
one gift… And you knew,
at the edge of the unsaid that
it was to be able to quit. You
laughed and said, "I'm not
ready yet," like I'd served suicide
in a pretty box tied up
with my long hair, like
the bewildered dog we found running
in traffic today; smiling Beagle
oblivious and fleeing from love. You
held him while I got the Starbucks
clan, got the water, got the longest chain
they could find, hoping for someone
to stroll past and love
one of you two even better
than me who can take neither
because I have cats and clean lungs.

I threw my baby out, kept the bathos
water just to be different, because
I like the dread of wet, and you
get that. You, Matthew, who knows
everybody, even the dog
catcher, leashing up our canine friend.
You, who runs in social traffic, sweating
from meds, proud of moderation, juggling
Christian guilt, antidepressants and the 12 Steps.
You who types on
a manual believing the pain
will make you great, wincing at ideas
of pleasure, cheating Diabetes, and friends
with the whacked-out, the forgotten,
the ones who make you  look
like King of the World. Brother
to a good sister, to poverty. Fearing
success and the feeling
of enough money and too many poems
surging from that shaky brain; a body
of work moving down Delmar,
comfortable in your clothes, and what
must be the taste of no
repeated apologies for nothing; to worry that
I might have come to
hate you when I'm ten minutes late;
to wonder about genitals, as if they're laid
on white Styrofoam plates
under sheets of cheap virgin
plastic wrap. To be able to say
of my health food marathon man
through smoke and yellowed
fingertips, laughing, "What if
I outlived him?" Fearing
it could happen, and then
the ugliness of love
wrapping its greedy life around you
demanding that you stop