Still Life with Buddy

Pride Publications, 1997

Still Life with BuddyBuy This Book

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A novel told in fifty poems about the passionate friendship between a lesbian and a gay man living with AIDS. Told with humor, anger, sadness and rage, this is a story of undying love. Poems in the collection earned author Lesléa Newman a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.


“One of the most unrelentingly honest excursions into this modern tragedy…. Newman is masterful at her craft…. you will never forget her lost friend or her anguish.”

“…a virtuoso performance of haiku, sonnets, odes, koans, epistles, epigraphs, list-poems, a pantoum, and more types of lyric poems than I recognized.”

“This incredibly unique book should be read by everyone. It is a book for all libraries, especially school and public libraries. It should be required reading for all high school teens who find themselves invincible and think they will never die.”

“Still Life with Buddy is a beautiful and loving story of friendship, one that I will never forget, nor I suspect will you.”

“One of the most extraordinary short works you will ever read. Newman manages to capture almost every emotion imaginable and through poems of varying lengths, she evokes laughter and amusement as often as a deep, still sadness and grief.”


Famous Last Words

In haiku class
Buddy and I learned
about a zen master

who gathered all his students
to hear his final words.
The students drew close

eager to partake
in the wisdom of the dying.
The master asked

for a cup of tea.
It was brought.
He took a sip.

“The tea is delicious,”
the zen master said
then he died.

Buddy loved that story.
“The tea is delicious,”
he said over and over,

“Remind me
when the time comes
the tea is delicious.”

The time came.
Buddy lay in a coma.
All his friends drew near

eager to partake
in the wisdom of the dying.
Buddy didn’t move

or speak for days.
Out of nowhere
I remembered, whispered

“The tea is delicious,”
into his sleeping ear.
Buddy’s eyes flew open.

He looked at me, said
“This sucks,”
and closed his mouth forever.

©1997 Lesléa Newman

Once Upon a Time

Buddy wore a watch
with no hour hand
no minute hand
just a second
hand that swept
round and round
his wrist endlessly.
When I said to Buddy,
“What time is it?”
he always answered, “Now.”
Once a beautiful stranger
stopped him on the street
and asked, “Do you
have the time?”
Buddy stretched his arms wide
smiled that smile
“I have all the time
in the world.”

I remember the day
Buddy’s arm shrank
for all time
and I watched
eternity slip from
his wrist forever