handed around the room

like a pot of coffee after church

add sugar to make it sweeter

cream to smooth over the bitter

drink it until you feel better

then pour what’s left down the sink

But my friends

aren’t the kind you find in the after church coffee hour.

Though some do go

not because they are holy or righteous,

but because they know

they are not.

Drug dealers and addicts

homeless and rank

they are gritty, mean, arrogant

hungry, bitter motherfuckers

who carry guns, smoke crack

and speak exactly what is on their mind.

They are tattooed, pierced

overweight, gangly

convicted felons, former murderers

and celibate pedophiles who do

the right thing only because it is the right

thing to do and don’t give a fuck about society

and its goddamn rules and I think Jesus

would have broken bread

with me and my friends.

And my friends

love me

because I am like them

and I love them

because they are like me

And somedays

they are all I have

and somedays

I am all they’ve got

And together

we are a family

and together

we can hold on

to the tiny thread

that keeps us sane as we watch

the people around us pour their friendship down the drain like so much cold 

shitty coffee at the after church social hour.

© Michael Barry 2013