when you meet a bear
If it’s a grizzly bear you
may also climb a tree
because they do not climb
due to their anatomy
but they have a long reach so you
must climb up high,
higher than you would think
and quickly, probably.
raise your arms up
make yourself bigger
or is that mountain lions
if you have bear spray
maybe play dead
then give them a squirt when they get close
others say wear bells on your
clothes so you don’t surprise them
don’t feed them
don’t pet them
and whatever you do don’t piss on their tree
I have never seen a bear in the wild
although once i thought i did
in the fog
but it was just tree stumps
but i was still real scared
and once, and my little sister will confirm this,
when we were picking huckleberries in the hills,
it got foggy, and i told her to walk
on the logic that should we
encounter a bear,
she was quicker than i and
could elude it better.
Bears are on my mind because
they have bears in Sweden,
i have been told,
and my daughter Beta and I are
flying there tomorrow
to spend a week in a dinky
in the woods
by a lake
and i for one am really
looking forward to picking
berries in the woods.
and hiking with my kid.
i joked that we were concerned about
spending a week together in a tiny
cabin, but she reminded me
that i had helped her learn
and we still get along.
and i will walk in front this time
Tag Archives: father
I was picking out clothes.
I had this medium-length tan coat, similar to what Steve McQueen wore in a movie. Bullit I think.
And this knit cap, like what Daniel Craig wears in a scene or two of that remake of that brutal Swedish movie about the reporter and the hacker, which I happen to like (the cap. And the movie, as it so happens, despite the brutality).
It was kind of a strange combination, and wouldn’t look good on me, I don’t think, but this was a dream.
I was going to see my dad. I was real happy about that in the dream.
I was still happy when I woke up; then I remembered that my father passed away years ago.
Suddenly, the dream was disturbing.
My wife says I was moaning and groaning in my sleep.
Remember the old days of blogging, when we wrote about our dreams all the time?
The wind is loud in the chestnut tree outside the window.
Disaster has not struck. The sidewalk is covered in leaves. They are wet, so they do not kick up so well when you walk through them, and many are still mostly green, because it was so rainy and windy last night, so they are not as blindingly gold as they often are, but they are still really super pretty, green with gold edges, and it is still nice to walk through them.
Rounding the bend in the freeway, a wall of low cloud rolls over Vienna like a white catastrophe, pushed by another wall of grey cloud shaped like a snowplow blade, or the walls of dirty snow beside the road at the end of winter in cold places.
Traffic is pretty light.
The kittens are cuddly, and the woman is in a good mood.
He doesn’t realize until he’s already feeding the cats that it’s only 4.30 in the morning. He thought it was later.
He’s pretty hungry when he gets home from the city. He eats and reads and talks and goes to bed.
The rain gradually stops.
He makes a little effort and shakes off the tunnel vision. No cars in front of him and none behind him. Things are mostly black, with a little brown, and the road is silver, slick with rain and stretches out in front of him until it disappears. He wonders how low the coefficient of friction is. Pretty low. No way could he stop quickly, at this speed. No choice but to keep going. He checks the rear-view mirror. Some cars way back there, headlights in the dark. He takes his foot off the gas and the car gradually slows. This would work, as a way to stop, taking his foot off the gas.
His daughter’s dorm is across the street from Vienna’s best single-malt shop! Why didn’t anyone tell him? And over there? she says, over there is another dorm where they have better parties. She gets out of the car and runs into her dorm. He lifts his hand to give a little wave but she doesn’t look back.
Driving in Vienna in the pouring rain at night is quite disorienting, but he pretends to know what he is doing and see where he is going, and nothing bad happens.
The rain is pouring down when they leave Starbucks, so they stand under an awning and finish their chai and share the sandwich. Despite the awning it rains into his shoes, the backs of his legs get wet somehow, it’s raining so hard. She talks to a friend on her phone, the same friend. The rain doesn’t slow down, so she packs his camera and he puts her new dress under his coat and they run for the parking garage. The parking ticket thing is soaking wet by the time they get to the machine, but it still works.
She decides to get the white dress with black dots. He pays for it and they leave the store. She says she’ll get him something at Starbucks. It’s starting to sprinkle.
She tries on several more dresses. At one point she starts talking, and he assumes she’s talking to him, and answers, but it turns out she’s talking to someone else on her phone, a friend she is meeting later. He’s glad she sees her friends, and makes new ones. Another guy waiting for another woman trying on dresses too gives him a funny look because he was talking to someone who was talking on a phone, not to him. He looks back at the guy like, did someone say they were interested in what you think?
She comes out of the dressing room and shows him the first dress she’d tried on, cocktail dress, white with black polka dots. She looks beautiful, and happy. She has a big grin and her pale skin and dark hair, all that, look beautiful. Young and happy. He’s glad they finally got to do this. She goes back into the dressing room to try on a few more dresses. He looks at himself in the giant mirror at the end of the corridor. He is a sad-looking cunt, he tells himself. Jesus. That hair. Suit’s okay, but work on the posture. Get some sleep. And some exercise. He hates surprising himself in mirrors like that.
After work, he drives to the parking garage by Schwedenplatz. It is drizzly so traffic is slower than usual and it takes him nearly half an hour to get there and he starts getting antsy and thinks, no wonder I’m always rushing my kids, I’ve done it to myself all my life. He resolves to stop. Walking to the store, he calls her and she is already trying stuff on, she says.
So when are we going to buy that dress, she says. And he says, after my next paycheck. Two weeks from now, how about that? He’s been waiting to do this forever. What evening is best for you? Email me, or I’ll call you.
There’s this hotel on the Ring in Vienna somewhere, paneled and stuff, not far with the opera, and this guy was in it, years ago, with some guy from work, at happy hour, for a drink and at the time he thought he’d like to take his kid there for a cocktail when she started going to college, and he could even get her a cocktail dress or something. She’d probably like that, he thinks.