Invitation

Original Text: 
David McGimpsey, Sitcom (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2007): 12-15.
1Please join me on the occasion of my
2thirty-ninth birthday. Drinks will be served,
3esp. the mixed ones that announce
4lounge-weary sophistication: old-fashioned,
5lime rickey, chocolate dancer --though I only
7but should you be strolling downtown and see
8some nicely framed limited-edition print
9of a sad battlefield where a general's
10caprice cost thousands of lives, or a pair
11of antique binoculars, or a vintage
13have to rush Fonzie to the hospital,
14knock yourself out. Even a mail-order
15certificate that allows me to perform
16wedding services in the Philippines
17would be a nice touch; but no funny cards
18about aging, please, no To My Friend
19on His One Hundredth Birthday, No You're Not
20Just Getting Older.Àæ You're Losing Hair Too!
21And even if you have bought me a ticket
22overseas and secured a seat for me
24don't even think of saying, 'Welcome
25to the Netherlands.' There will be hors d'oeuvres,
26the tiniest of tiny foods, tasty
27miniatures of already miniature snacks,
28baby corn so small it'll look like Niblets,
30they will be called taquitoitos and
31they will look like the bits at the bottom
32of a bag of corn chips. I also have hot salsa
33I once bought in South Texas, on a dare,
34which claims to use pepper-spray extracts
35squeezed from the used big-nozzle canisters
36of riot squads that have subdued the world's
37most determined hippies--drink up, my friends!
39like an old college professor who once
40predicted I'd go far, his hands in his pockets,
41the pink-tissued face making him look like
42a cartoon pig who sells insurance.
43I can hardly wait to give that thing a whack.
44Conversation's the most important thing
45to me, you know, and I want to hear all
46about your trips to Barcelona, your
47remodelled homes 'not far from the city,'
48the radio quizzes that you gamely won,
49and all about the tipsy, week-long
50adventures that involve the bronzed thighs
51of lovers old and new. You need not censor
52yourself from questionable phrases
55I have instructed many friends to steer
56away from the following potentially
57harassing topics: old hairstyles, jokes picked
59and inflammable meant different things,
60the summer I said I would 'concentrate
61on my portfolio' and ended up
62taking extra shifts at a frozen-yogurt stand,
63enduring a long season of conversations
65Let's not talk about those heartfelt novels
66that try to adduce the spirit of a dead
67father, novels period, pyramid schemes
68and most things that stink of the eighties.
69So, the music will be lighter on eighties
70nostalgia than many of these gatherings
71tend to be, but my mixed tapes will astonish
72you with their blend of intemperate jug
73bands, wounded young princes on their brand new
75flowing trip-hop bright beat jungle, Hawaiian
76slack-key guitarists who are so laid-back
78instructors. There'll be celebrations of
79Gabrielle Destroismaisons, who's known as
80'the French Britney Spears,' and Lorie,
82Don't worry, if you get a strong desire
84we'll see what we can do. It's all going
85to go smoothly, there should be enough space
86for your coats and shoes in my little room,
87and I hired a Portuguese interpreter
88just so I could tell the person who lives
89below me there'll be no need this time to call
91will have to be done in your stocking feet
92as the linoleum in my place scuffs
93quite easily. If it gets late and I start
94singing along to Mariah Carey's
96just let me go for the high notes and, as
97a rule, assume all sexual confusions
98are your own. Do not be surprised if, by
99sheer miracle, my beloved should accept
100my invitation and show up at my door;
101you will no doubt be awed by her fine glow,
102by a bone structure that is right now
104you will stop to listen to, as if it were
105about to reveal a secret you've been searching
106for since you turned thirteen. My beloved
107will then lead us all in a heartfelt round
108of 'Happy Birthday,' and we'll share cake!--
109coconut pillow divine--and stories
110of past anniversaries where we'd turn out
111the lights, dabble with the leftovers in
112the medicine cabinet, lie on the sofa
113and play a whole year's tape of phone messages.
114If, unexpectedly, I excuse myself
115from the party and walk into the cold air,
116even forgetting a jacket, you can
117rest assured I will not be gone for long,
118no matter how tempting it would be
119to go see a movie uptown, alone.
120I would never think of abandoning

Notes

6] Schlitz Light: a once-best-selling classic light beer from Wisconsin, but hard-to-find before being reintroduced in 2008. Back to Line
12] Happy Days: American TV sitcom on ABC (1974-84), set in Wilwaukee, Wisconsin, and about the Cunningham family and their friends, including Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, a cool biker, the show's main figure. Back to Line
23] hash bar: a marijauna outlet. Back to Line
29] taquitos: crisp-fried rolled-up tortillas with a meat filling. Back to Line
38] piñata: decorated paper-mâché container filled with treats, hung from a ceiling, and intended to be struck repeatedly until it broke open. Back to Line
53] 'bony pony': lean, thin-to-bony but very satisfying lover.
'nipple burn': friction irritation by repeated rubbing against a hard place. Back to Line
54] FYI: "for your information." Back to Line
58] Dave or Jay; David Letterman, Jay Leno, late-night talk-show hosts. Back to Line
64] fro-yo: "frozen-yohurt." Back to Line
74] Stratocasters: a classic electric guitar, dominating rock music, made by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation with a double cutaway and a lengthened top horn for balance when the player stands.
DJS: disk-jockeys. Back to Line
77] Rastafarians: followers of a Jamaican Afrocentric movement that celebrates marijauna use and the rejection of the capitalist west. Back to Line
81] Gabrielle Destroismaisons: French-Canadian pop-dance-techno singer who won a Félix award in 2001.
Lorie: name of best-selling French popular singer, Laure Pester. Back to Line
83] Jack and Diane: 1982 hit pop song by John Mellencamp, no. 1 in both Canada and the United States. Back to Line
90] muito pesaroso: "so sorry" (Portuguese). Back to Line
95] Mariah Carey: American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress (1970-), whose not-especially-successful "Never Too Far" (2001) begins "You're with me / Till the bitter end." Back to Line
103] Rodin: Auguste Rodin (1840.-1917), French sculptor. Back to Line
121] Répondez: RSVP, say that whether you're coming or not. Back to Line
122] BYOB: Bring Your Own Bottle (wine, beer, liquor ... to the party). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: