Lean On Me

Posted: September 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hey, poetry on my poetry blog!


Context: March, 2013


I used to sing. I actually used to do musical theatre with the PACE program. I was never a lead-type (not even close), but I was one of Joseph’s (he of the many-coloured coat) brothers, a townie in Anne’s (she of the green gables) PEI, an the Kansas farmer version of the Scarecrow (he of the Trump-like brain).

I was once asked to sing for a ‘better’ part (Gilbert Blythe) only to discover that my upper range was not all that ‘upper’.

Am I claiming to be a good singer? Not in the least. I wasn’t that good then (I was adequate to the task), and my talents have only diminished.

But I LIKE to sing.

I wrote this poem to tell a story… a series of stories, really… with a sung chorus.

I slammed it on CapSlam Finals in 2013. I think I have only performed once since then (at a fundraiser for DMP’s play).

I get the impression that this is a poem that I like more than anyone else does. 🙂


Lean On Me

He tapped his fingers
On his desk,
Nervous energy flowing through him,
Vibrating up his legs
Like he was tap dancing
Past an earthquake.
The girl in the next row
Looked over, and he stopped,
Completely afraid of drawing
Attention to himself.
None of them knew him.
A hurricane trapped in a
Teenaged body, shaking as if
He was ready to explode
At any moment –
And he was.
The pills he had siphoned off
From his mother’s supply
Were his safety valve –
Counting them out, over an dover
Because if he didn’t have enough
He would keep living,
Trapped in a shell that was
Trapped in this world that was
Trapped in this life.
He looked at the girl in the next row.
She smiled.
Maybe those pills could wait
Another day.

That young girl said,
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
Because everyone
Needs someone to lean on.

She pushed her hands
Deeper in her pockets.
It was sold outside and
She had no gloves – just a
Heavy coat that once was as white
As the snow around her.
As the snow that used to
Make her eyes sparkle
As it fell outside her
Bedroom window.
Now it stings like the spot on
Her arm where he pushed his
It stung like the rumble
Of an empty stomach
That remembered her last meal
That came from
What we leave behind
And the one she did’ teat
Because the cost was too high.
She looked up at the poster
On the bus shelter wall
The cried Kid’s Help Phone.
She didn’t trust the word help
After every offer
Came attached to think strings.
She rejected offers of aid
Saying, “I already have enough.”
But there was a phone up the block
And it couldn’t hurt to call.

The voice on the phone said
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
Because everyone
Needs someone to lean on.

Each call hurt her a little more.
There was so much pain
And she sat as receptacle –
A misery sponge to soak it in
To ease another’s burden.
It was important work
And she knew she helped –
But not enough and not
Everyone. The weight pulled
Her down until all she
Could see in the world was dark.
She sat in her therapist’s
Waiting room until her name was called,
Grateful that the lister also
Had someone to talk to.

The therapist said,
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
Because everyone
Needs someone to lean on.

We are not islands –
Scattered across the sea –
Forced to bear the assault of
The environment with no support.
We are people surrounded by
Brothers an sisters who
Sometimes slip and fall,
But the greatest thing of all
Is the helping hand.
Never be afraid to ask for help
And never be afraid to give it.
The world seems heavy
But every load is lighter
When shared –
Even if in front of a
Crowd & microphone.
So ask if there is anything
You can do for each other
And say,
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
Because everyone
Needs someone to lean on.


  1. Christopher says:

    you may to your impression; This is a poem that I like (maybe) more than you do 😉

  2. This poem is beautiful, Rusty. Thank you for sharing it 🙂

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