The Chimaera: Issue 6, August 2009

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Tad Richards


My Imaginary Friend

I couldn’t do much worse with a real friend.
Like now — he’s just stopped in to say he’s gay.
Tells me he’s decided to come out.
He figures I should be the first to know,
Assures me he’s not hustling me for sex,
Just wants advice on how to tell his parents —

So what do I suggest? I’m thinking... parents?
Where’d parents come from? I made up this friend.
How’s an imaginary guy get sex?
Could be he’s just imagining he’s gay?
He needs advice. I tell him I don’t know,
Would love to help, but I’m just heading out.

And then I’m thinking...what if this gets out?
What happens if his parents tell my parents?
But was it I didn’t know
What you could do with imaginary friends?
Look, I was younger then. Who knew from gay,
Who knew from closet gay — who knew from sex?

The last thing I was looking for was sex.
I wanted a pal for football, camping out,
Making a model of Enola Gay,
Coming up with excuses so my parents
Maybe wouldn’t spank me, making friends,
Daring to talk to kids we didn’t know,

Maybe even girls. I didn’t know
He’d be here long enough to look for sex,
Go through my Palm Pilot and cruise my friends,
Abuse my credit cards to order out —
Call prostitutes, hit up my parents
For loans he won’t pay back, hire a gay

Decorator; sign up with a gay
Dating service; put up slogans: No
Shirt, no shoes, we’ll service you; put Parents
Of Gays on my speed dial, wash his sex
Organs in my sink, and hang them out
To dry across my coffee table. Friend?

Yeah, he’s my friend. I made him gay,
I guess, I turned him out. I know,
And sex, they tell me, has a thousand parents.

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Tad Richards most recent poetry collection is Take 5: Poems in 5/4 Time from Ye Olde Font Shop Press. He is president and artistic director of Opus 40 (, the monumental environmental sculpture in Saugerties, NY. His novel, Nick and Jake (co-written with Jonathan Richards) will be presented on the Internet this fall in serial form and as a podcast featuring Alan Arkin, Tom Conti, former ambassador Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. He writes a regular column on writing at
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