When I realized I could write a poem about topic embodying what picks me up when I’m feeling down, I chose to write a sestina about my favorite show, Friends. A sestina is “a poem with six stanzas of six lines… all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing [line]” (Meriam-Webster Online). A sestina is typically a narrative poem about an important event, flashback, or obsession. I wrote my sestina with according to the theme of “obsession.”
I tried to create a nostalgic, yet obsessive tone to poke fun at what some might call my “unhealthy obsession” with the sitcom. My word choice and storyline I think best represents a tone of nostalgia, while the lack of syntax, run on sentences, and an anaphoric repetition of the word “and” throughout the sestina help create the obsessive tone. My 6 concrete words at the end of each line consist of each of the characters names, which are only ever mentioned at the end of each line, thus further emphasizing their importance. I broke the form of the sestina in the end of the poem when instead of using a tercet to conclude, I used the one-line form of conclusion, which I thought better reiterated the six end words and further emphasized the obsessive tone. The development of the poem also corresponds with the development of the show, according to each season. I also used many allusions to the show’s plot and events which, I think, interestingly elevates the poem to a level where only one familiar with the topic could truly understand it. Enjoy!
Season one. It all started with heartbreak, first with Carol and Ross,
And marriages ending, and weddings called off, like Barry and Rachel,
And Moving in and out of Grandma’s rent-controlled apartments, and Monica
Living across from the boys, and them constantly bickering, and Chandler,
Messing around with his partner-in-crime, his best friend, his roommate, Joey,
And always in the background, singing and strumming her guitar, Phoebe.
And then relationships budding and buzzing, friendships and loves, and Phoebe
Gets pregnant, has triplets, for Frank Jr. Jr. and speaking of three, Ross,
And his three divorces, forever yearning for his soulmate, his lobster, and Joey
And his lovers, because he can’t seem to commit to just one until Rachel,
Oh Rach, The One Where they all want Rach, she’s dated all boys except Chandler,
Who managed to find his soulmate in his best friend, the girl next door, Monica.
Season five. More than halfway through and the wedding and planning and Monica
Marries The One, and the dress and the cake, and the future coming fast and Phoebe,
Still strumming her guitar, playing at the wedding to sound like a star and Chandler
Jokes and laughs and good times all around, but then later we find out that Ross
Is the father, the red sweater, the phone call, another baby with his true love. Rachel
Expecting, scared out of her mind, living with the playboy, the anti-family man, Joey.
Then confusion and chaos and preparation with laughter and joy while Joey
Prepares for a baby to live in his home, and the married couple moves in, and Monica
Prepares the Thanksgiving feast, the signature classic, her perfect meal, while Rachel,
With bun already in oven, wondering who could help her when Emma arrives. Phoebe,
Finds Mike, gets married, Princess Consuela etc. and Crap Bag united at last. Ross
Preps for the baby, and unintentionally inspires the inner dad in his best friend, Chandler.
And suddenly everything changes, settling down, children and houses and Chandler
Grew up, wants a baby, buys a house in the suburbs and plans to move in while Joey
And the gang fear the change that comes with the two parents-to-be settling down. Ross
Welcomes two new guests at his place, his baby and his baby’s momma, then Monica
Can’t have kids and is so disappointed and then gets consoled by her best friend Phoebe.
All the while, one Friend is leaving, a job offer in Paris, a dream come true, Rachel.
Season ten. It’s all made right. All the chaos straightened out, all problems solved, Rachel
Doesn’t take the job, she loves someone too much to let go, stays in NYC while Chandler
Wants an adoption brought by what may have been a mistake but feels like destiny, Phoebe
Finally married to the one she loves, settles down, blossoms. While the lone wolf, Joey
Gets over his puppy dog crushes, grows up, and learns to move on. Then, by fate, Monica
Becomes a mom, adopts twins, Jack and Erica, and joins her brother in parenthood, Ross.
Ross. Rachel. Monica. Chandler. Joey. Phoebe. Friends ‘till the end.