Dear Oskar McTrippin’ Veloz,
I have recently been made aware by my associates Mssrs. Crumb and Bumblewicz that you have turned — of all things! — nineteen years old. I am not too proud to admit my first reaction was to give Crumb & Bum a cup of my patented boiling hot scold: how dare they interrupt my ablutions with pernicious gossip; didn’t they know my wee McTrippin’ was born only a few years ago? …
In the hottest bar in Wisconsin
the singer sings about blind white panic
and crystalline faces coming in from the cold.
The dying singer sings about love,
and I hear the band behind her
heaving quiet sighs into the lights.
In the morning, the red crows bang
into high-water pylons and fold back into the sky.
The pines are deep in snow, but they don’t know it yet.
The mild sounds: a moist wing, a finger in a trout,
the girl with the hissing lantern
comes down stairs like water under ice.
This is my worst season, because I’ll follow anybody.
This morning I chose YouTube over poetry —
cooking videos mostly, and specifically
the folded Japanese omelette called tamagoyaki.
Not because I was hungry, though I am —
I’m trying to lose weight
and fasting is part of my plan —
but because I could relate
to the aesthetics: thin layers
of eggs, dashi, sweet mirin wine,
daikon garnish, soy for flavor,
served like nori sushi in a line.
I’m drawn to cooking because my life lacks a plan.
Every day is a creation; I never know if I can
get it together, so it’s easier to watch Jacques Pepin.
I came here for a reckoning, so I took a seat by the window. At the counter, two women were sharing a bowl of beef bourguignon. They looked like nuns or nurses. My father told me to meet him here since he had an appointment down the block. He didn’t say who told him about me or how he found out. Maybe he was bluffing. I hadn’t seen him in six years.
One of the women said Ya no lo se! and put her face in her hands. The other one put an arm around her and whispered. Did her…
At twelve he was already taller than some boys in high school, with his stringy arms and long hair that made him look older until you saw his freckles and his bangs. He was so thin his shoulder blades poked under his t-shirt like dinosaur wings. He usually walked home with his friends, but this morning he was jumped in the bathroom by some kids who kicked him in the balls, repeatedly, until he puked. …
Instead of candles, cake, and paper hats
(which, let’s be real, would have been better)
I thought I’d walk you down a funny path,
(also: much easier than writing a letter)
But sitting here, too much time has passed
And now I’ve found all this regret:
birthdays missed, others dimmed, plans
Changed, parties rushed, and I forget:
Did I hug you on your seventh? Kiss
you on your eighth? I remember chasing
You across a playground on your fifth.
Or maybe number four. Cameras flashing,
And a little gift I knew you’d like. I
Was bad at surprises and you
Tom and Nessa came to my place not last night but a few nights before and right off the bat Nessa got under my skin acting like it was the first time she’d been over which everybody even Tom knows isn’t true. Nice she said re some books. Corny she said re the doily on the couch which she had put there to cover her mascara stains re my being an asshole one of the times. I understood though. Tom was her one and only and she was worried something might scare him back to the woods where he came…
I would never name a dog Buddy. It plays against all my instincts. It’s too friendly — like an open-palm wave or a toothy smile — and it’s too soft on the tongue; there’s no music in it. I would have to play it for laughs every time I said it, like Pauly Shore, or like a trucker from Smokey and the Bandit. So when my friend Julia called and asked if I would foster a rescue dog named Buddy for a couple weeks until she could place him in a permanent home, my first thought was, “What a dumb…