13 Things to Tell a Friend Who is Hurting

  1. Come in, I’ll put the kettle on.
  2. No, sod it, I’ll find a corkscrew.
  3. I love you and it is OK to cry. 
  4. If you cannot sleep in your dark 
    Turn the radio down low 
    And let other people’s stories wash 
    you away from you own, 
    just for a night. 
    I self medicate in fiction 
    Make elastoplasts of poetry, so 
  5. Here is one from 600 years ago by 
    a Persian named Hafez, who says:
    “If only I could show you,
    when you are lonely or in darkness,
    the astonishing light of your own being.”
    Pin it on your wall
    It will not heal you
    But it might hold the edges together
    When you are frightened you will crack
  6. Know that people like arrowheads are barbed 
    They do more damage coming out of your life
    than they did going in 

    Because our flesh tries so hard to cling to them 
    No matter the damage done, but 
  7. Know also that no time spent having faith
    in another person is ever wasted 

    Because faith requires hope 
    And remembering the taste of hope 
    Is what will get you out of bed tomorrow 
    When you do not believe in dawn. 
  8. When Prometheus lay 
    Missing parts of himself in the dark 
    Punished for committing arson with ideas,
    Learning through re-growing pains
    That what he thought the worst
    was only the beginning
    The mortals in the valley below
    who had seen his light, astonished,
    Lit tiny-fire candles to remind him, so
  1. Do not talk about ending up here 
    Or where you should be by now
    it is not a race but a wheel
    And it like the world is turning
    Once I was at your feet
    Broken by centrifugal forces
    Crying so hard I pulled a muscle
    In my face.
    That shit hurts.
    Remind me, when I am there again
  1. Take it from me, 
    If you pin your mistakes to the mirror 
    So they are the first thing you see in the morning, 
    You will lose your face in the cracks. 
    Lay them all out,  
    Take a good look at them and then 
    Fold them away
    And forgive yourself, 
    The way you forgive your reflection 
    It’s dark-shadowed eyes. 
  2. Know that when they build bridges, 
    They lay stone by stone 
    Side by side around a central support 
    Wedge a keystone in place at the top 
    And remove the support 
    So the force of the bricks themselves keeps the bridge standing 
    So know that, 
    Whatever you have built you life around 
    You, standing tall with your chest puffed out 
    Have the strength to cross chasms alone 
  3. I am sorry if I cannot always be 
    The friend you need 
    If my tired bones sodden
    in other people’s pain 
    Are too sorrow-logged to take on more 
    Forgive me, 
    I will wring out these soggy bones 
    And dry your eyes
    And listen because
  1. The truth is that the words 
    to take this pain from you 
    Do not exist 
    All I can offer, you have, 
    but these words are bridges 
    And elastoplasts. 
    cold comfort wine in too shallow glasses 
    And distraction noise 
    But know this: 
    I see nothing but your astonishing light 
    And when you are spread and eagled on a rock, 
    You can be damn sure

    I will light a candle for you. 



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