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.