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2 poems by Bill Friend

New Year’s Eve

Five friends, a handful of acquaintances, eight or nine people I can nod at and a guy monologuing

about the Korean War. 38 degrees on the porch. Jackie drops another fireball sour and

mumbleshouts at some newcountry tune. Inside, the kids gape at explosions on TV. Erica doesn’t

want to talk about her ex who’s driving a U-Haul since he totalled his car. She passes me a phone, I

get to Spotify the next song, consider some Martyrdöd then opt for the Supremes. I’m not checking

the phone that’s blowing up in my pocket. Halfway through the second verse, the dog gets loose, a

bottlerocket hits the awning. Waving affably, the cops circle the block in reverse. Someone’s kid

crashes his Christmas drone into a power line.


I couldn’t name the bird on the fence so I thought

“jackdaw,” then read that jackdaws aren’t native

to the US but some appeared in the 1980s, possibly

resting on ships to cross the North Atlantic.

Dan told me the bird I called jackdaw

was a northern mockingbird. This poem’s

name is Song, just like every other poem.


Bill Freind is the author of American Field Couches (BlazeVOX books, 2008). His poems have appeared in Jacket2 and Combo. Most recently, he edited the collection Scubadivers and Chrysanthemums: Essays on the poetry of Araki Yasusada (Shearsman Books, 2011).


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