Jeremy - Poem by Max Reif
I wonder if he's even
alive today, the poet
a crazy megalomaniac I knew
introduced me to back in the late '80s,
Jeremy, the poet
who in the two years I knew him
was in more mental institutions
than anyone I'd ever met.
On the phone he was a gentle,
sensitive soul, a little younger than me
and with a spiritual curiousity
he needed to be a little careful about,
but nonetheless genuine.
He'd call at two in the morning sometimes —
I'd hear from him every month or two —
and after awhile I wouldn't mind,
as he'd read a poem he'd written,
or make childlike observations
about things he'd seen or done.
Why do they keep locking up
this gifted, sensitive soul,
I'd wonder after hanging up,
and after a year or so, I decided
to meet him in New York City.
We went to a cafe and he talked,
about the way he had on the phone.
I liked the way he seemed to look
up to me, it made me feel
like an elder poet, who wouldn't
like to feel like someone's mentor?
Then we went outside
and walked down 3rd Avenue,
and I saw: he was like a child
who wanted to touch
everything he saw. He talked to
drunks and bums and prostitutes,
rich people and middle-class
mothers pushing strollers,
he couldn't keep his mind off anyone.
It was way beyond 'childlike innocence',
it was a disease, he'd never be able to live,
some guy could kill him,
he had no discrimination whatever,
and that was the day l learned why
the 'magical child' within us all
needs a grown-up around sometimes.
Comments about Jeremy by Max Reif
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