Dear Joe

Dear Joe
This is not a newsletter.
This is not a call for submissions.
This is not an advertisement for flights or medications.
This is not an ancient joke,
or an exhortation
to live each day
as if it’s your last. I don’t want you
to pass this on
to ten other people
to make them feel special.
This is not an invitation
to an open house or a protest rally
or a gig.
This is a letter. Dear Joe.
A computer didn’t fill in your name. I did.
It is addressed specifically to you
and has not been sent
to anyone else.

It’s not fan mail, either,
although I did like that note
you published last week.
I’m not after your advice
or your help
or your money.
There is absolutely no reason
for this message.

I’m sorry if it’s boring, but
there are no attachments,
not even a photo of my cat,
and no links I want you to click on,
although I’ve read a book
that you might enjoy
and my guitar has written
another song
and there’s a new cafe
just down the road
that’d you’d like.

It’s just that
I’m thinking of you.
I want to know how you are,
how your family are,
whether you’re OK,
what you’ve been doing lately that isn’t on Facebook
and I thought you might enjoy reading
a bit of my news.
As I typed this, I imagined you
sitting in your room, at your computer,
or on a bus, reading this message on your phone —
do you have one of those phones yet?
I don’t.
Maybe I should.

I don’t like to say this —
it sounds so needy
and I know you’re busy,
and part of me says I should be dignified, self-contained,
maybe even aloof
but if I don’t take the risk and make it explicit
you might not know.
I miss you.
So would you please take a moment
to send a few lines
and say hi?