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April is the Coolest Month – Just Poets Favorite Poem for April 2

As part of National Poetry Month, Just Poets members will share their favorite poems along with a brief note about why the poem is their favorite poem. Today’s poem is selected by Larry Berger.


Jack Shafer

Can Anyone Out There Hear Me?

I like to go around to all the open mics and read my poetry
and watch the other poets read their’s. 

I was at a reading in Pasadena, CA, where I heard
my good friend Gabriel Alvarado read his poem,
and as he was reading, he began to stroke the mic
as though it were a part of him.
But if you look deep enough into Gabe's eyes
you'll see that's not what he was saying at all. 

I went over to the reading at Fattlands
where I saw my good friend Ken Scott
reading a poem to his girlfriend Linda Larose
who was seated in the front row.
All of us faded into flat black and white
as they stood out in vivid color,
but if you look deep enough into Ken’s
eyes, you see that's not what he's really saying at all.

When I was thirteen
I saw a train wreck for the first time.
There were cars strewn everywhere
and piles of rubble all over the place.
A crowd began to gather, and as it did, I heard a voice
from the pile in front of me call out,
There was a man next to me in a three-piece suit
who, when no one else said anything, responded
“I hear you.” The voice in the rubble said,
The man got down on his hands and knees and crawled over the ruble
to where the voice originated. We all watched as a bloody hand and arm
that was shaking uncontrollably came out of the rubble and the voice said,
The man in the suit grabbed the hand in both of his. The shaking
soon calmed and a much calmer voice simply said,  “Thank you!” and died.

Now I go around to all these open mics,
and I look deep into the poets eyes and I hear,
"Please hold my hand. It is so hard to live alone."
And if you look deep enough into my eyes
right now, you'll hear the same thing,
and all I do with any of my poetry is simply share.
We hold each others hands. And we are not alone!


Just Poets Member Statement:

We lost Jack to Diabetes in 2003. Out of all the poets I’ve encountered in my travels, Jack Shafer was the one who was really in it for the love.

– Larry Berger



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