rod mckuen: looking for a friend

Shared with me in 1989 by sportswriter Joel Atencio.

looking for a friend


if one thousand men

walking through this world

room to room to room

then home again

ask the favor of your friendship

know that i am one

within the thousand.

if one hundred men

making do within this world

in city places or the kindest country

fall down fighting for your friendship

know that i am on the battlefield

amid the hundred.

if twenty men

who know and knew this world

from crested hills to uncrowned valley

send letters breathing friendship

expect my letter soon

among the twenty.

Photo taken in Los Angeles, 11 July 2009.

if one man living in this too-grey world

running crooked paths or pacing pavements

comes in need of friendship

be not amazed or disbelieve,

i am that one man.

if no one comes to you

carrying a new world in his arms

or at his back in a rolling wagon

offering to you out of friendship

know that I have been detained

but even now am on my way

still no one comes to you

within this world

when two dozen years or half of that has passed

come and seek me out

for i’ll be lifeless in a grave and gone.

perhaps you were hiding

or concerned with other things

but know that while I lived

i went on looking.

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1 Comment on rod mckuen: looking for a friend

  1. ozymandiaz
    27 March 2008 at 2:40 am (4487 days ago)

    What a beautiful poem. I love the motion of the sentiment. There is a wonderful transformation to make it so very peronal at the end.

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