Tip The Writer

Keegan Roembke

Letter from Hostel Room to Fiona

Fiona from Portland who flew to Bangkok

after a short spell in gray Scotland:

Are you back in the velvet stained smoke-

adorned throes of forgettable faces

Sitting on the cracked leather sagging

black couch in the Castle Rock lobby?

Did your lungs give out to Golden Virginia?

Was that truly your last tobacco pouch?

Why were you coughing back

in January? If I knew then what I

know now would I have stayed

In the debunked bedroom bedbug frays

With the other Verlorene Geister,

lost spirits prancing about in our

Underpants getting blasted on

whiskey and red wine staining

our translucent teeth and clothes

Looking at each other in the

morning with grins of regret leaning

on elbows / praying / the sun / doesn’t shine?

Truth is, Fiona, you’re not special –

You’re just one of many faces in a crowd –

You’re lucky I remember your name

Or was it Phoebe –

The noise those months created

Is getting far too loud.

Write back soon, Fiona.

I want to hear from you.

Are you still cooking?

I sure hope you are.

That was your passion,

Right? Aside from drinking?

I’m dancing on a slick black

Floor coated in beer, sweat,

And apricot marmalade. The marmalade

Gives the dance floor traction, surprise.

Didn’t I put that on my toast

on both sides? I don’t mean to boast

but I did live in Budapest

for 2 months without remembering

anything of substance other

Than making [blank] friends and learning

57 Hungarian words, my 3 favorites

being mi vagyok, Dohanybolt?

Which means what am I,

A tobacco shop? Which should be

said when someone asks you

for a ciggy because it will get a laugh,

so remember that

If you find yourself in Hungary,

Fiona. These things are important.

Just like saving your mental portraits.

I recollect the night you asked

for thirty euros in Toledo so you could

sleep in a bed for two more nights

But what is a bed really

sure I gave you thirty euros

But here are all the things that are beds:

            A park bench.

            An uncrowded bus (a crowded bus

is just a shelter).

            Grass, in general.

            An underpass, preferably with

a stream’s ebb of traffic.

            Anywhere that is not too immersed

in sediment and concrete.

            A train, but that one’s expensive.

            Any type of bag or backpack.

Wait, no, those are pillows.

            I think that’s the end of the list.

Fiona, write back and tell me

if there’re any I could've missed.

I almost forgot that you had blue hair.

That must have been why you were somewhat attractive.

Your name is what’s like grasping air.

Marie? I think that must have been it.

Sorry, Fiona, I was talking to myself.

Then again, writing you is talking to myself.

Fiona, I’m going nuts.

With all the made-up sounds in this house

And cigarette butts. With the lilacs

In the windowsill, swelling my

Nose with snot and tickling

my throat with mucus. I must need to be somewhere

At the bottom. Sitting at the top

By the ocean doesn’t do any good.

This is my third pack of Muratti Ambassadors

In two days.

Who am I, Andy Warhol?

I don’t even smoke, do I?

Fiona, last night I talked to a cat.

Nice fellow. Black, had one of those sexy

Military berets. Yes, that’s right,

A cat in a hat. That’s when I knew

I’d gone mad. That plus

the other night

When I listened to three hours of serbian comedy

at a bar,

Laughed hysterically thru the show

scribbling black lines on notebook paper.

They weren’t letters, I can tell

You that much. Walked four miles back to the

Empty house because my phone didn’t work.

Didn’t have money to call a car.

Left all my money at that translucent bar.

Fiona, I hope this letter finds you well.

Fiona, are you me? Answer in next letter please.

Phoebe, I hope this letter finds me well.

Names, faces. Who could tell, who could tell.