Those Quote Marks

⠀⠀⠀⠀So pointed, so direct, so emphatic
⠀⠀⠀⠀you get over how a friend stands up
⠀⠀⠀⠀for a friend, that I’m truly sorry
⠀⠀⠀⠀it took me so long to see
⠀⠀⠀⠀those quote marks
⠀⠀⠀⠀you used around the position title
⠀⠀⠀⠀shown on my name tag.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Once I realized whom I had most
⠀⠀⠀⠀for standing up against,
⠀⠀⠀⠀it was all too clear
⠀⠀⠀⠀why you just
⠀⠀⠀⠀do it
⠀⠀⠀⠀for me.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”As easy as breathing,” you always said.
⠀⠀⠀⠀I kept forgetting you suffer from asthma.
⠀⠀⠀⠀So open, so blunt, so crude
⠀⠀⠀⠀you get about your loss of those
⠀⠀⠀⠀who still do truly care about you
⠀⠀⠀⠀with selfless kindness, that it takes
⠀⠀⠀⠀a man who doesn’t really know you
⠀⠀⠀⠀all that well to shrug off the knives in all their backs
⠀⠀⠀⠀and not to notice how often you’ve already used
⠀⠀⠀⠀those quote marks
⠀⠀⠀⠀in speaking of him the same behind his.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Once I knew I’d heard too many
⠀⠀⠀⠀different versions of the truth,
⠀⠀⠀⠀it was all too clear
⠀⠀⠀⠀not one of those
⠀⠀⠀⠀made it free
⠀⠀⠀⠀and clear
⠀⠀⠀⠀of lies.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”Never quit,” you always preached.
⠀⠀⠀⠀I kept overlooking you hadn’t started.
⠀⠀⠀⠀So sure, so righteous, so perfect
⠀⠀⠀⠀you get being the model of friendship,
⠀⠀⠀⠀you’re vain enough to think this lament
⠀⠀⠀⠀to be about you, to be mourning those you’ve killed off.
⠀⠀⠀⠀You’re not the only one to have found
⠀⠀⠀⠀those quote marks
⠀⠀⠀⠀so expeditiously convenient
⠀⠀⠀⠀to excuse your condemnation of victims
⠀⠀⠀⠀you abused for having the bad grace
⠀⠀⠀⠀to have been hurt.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Once I’ve told myself enough times
⠀⠀⠀⠀how it’s not about him either,
⠀⠀⠀⠀maybe it will stop
⠀⠀⠀⠀that it
⠀⠀⠀⠀still is.

prompted by Daily Prompt: A Friend in Need at the Daily Post

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7 Responses to Those Quote Marks

  1. Deftly formed.
    Such sharp witted knives.

    • Thanks for the grace and kindness in your comment.

      I hadn’t wanted this open to comment or “like.” Had even considered making it one of the half I still keep private. I don’t applaud my muse on ones like this the way some delight in doing.

      And I won’t even blame him whom I could finger as the specific mug shot in real life either. Because as is intended on every one of mine, I hold the mirror up to myself before I write, especially when I write with a knife.

      So I need to keep reminding myself that when I am so brutal with how I say “get lost,” often even the best of friends do. And that when I am so malicious in how I say “leave me alone,” often even the most sincere friends will. Friends aren’t beyond giving us exactly what we ask for. Quote marks or no quote marks.

      Now I’ve gone and killed it. I need to go write a happy friendship poem if only to fix my face.

      • A face that reflects its own truth does not need ‘fixing’
        at least not in my ‘view’
        I’m glad you left this open so that I could leave a comment.
        All too often the ‘likes’ are simply the result of someone smacking the keyboard as they scan through the wp-reader. What would ‘lurkers’ say if they had to comment in order to move on after viewing?
        I daresay–the blog world would be much diferent. I knew another form of all this years ago under a very different format. Oh my, there were ‘dances’ all around the world–and not all of them were pretty–but we DID connect and learn from each other’s poems and prose as much as we did from our conversations with each other. A gifted mediator can create a lot of meaningful space –here as well as on the ground.
        -Do no harm—what more can we ‘do’?

  2. Meka says:

    And this is me telling you that this is brilliant because it is. Thank you for opening up this way. All is right with a world that still knows how to reveal this kind of truth

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