Instruction on Driving with an Orgasm
after Ignatow’s “The Driver”
Look both ways before going out for a spin. And ease onto the road. Take careful note of the speed limit and oncoming traffic. Focus. In other words, don’t fiddle with my buttons or try tuning me like a radio. Ignore the steady stream of thoughts and trees and taxis passing by. And please don’t talk. Or, if you must, don’t mention Helga, your ex. Even when you feel stranded. Even if you see her disappearing down a side street. And me with her . . .
What? You thought you were the one driving?
after James Tate’s “The List of Famous Hats”
When courting a man with a tiny head, simply say, Why, what a pinhead you are! Say it as if you’re admiring him. Don’t ever lie or give him a line like, You’re not so small. Or: I’ve seen heads much tinier than that. Don’t suggest he cover it up by asking, Why, shouldn’t we find you a suitable hat? There’s no need to flatter him the way women do (you know the type), comparing him to a king or an emperor. After all, everyone knows the story of Napoleon. How his head was so small, hats were forever slipping from his head. That’s why he wore another hat beneath his hat. And another hat beneath his other hat, each more snug than the one before. His first wife, Josephine had to peel his head like an onion, one tight woolly hat after another, the poor thing. No wonder they had no heirs! But it was his second wife, Marie Louise, who removed his final chapeau. What a struggle it was! A little Vaseline might have helped, but it was fifty years before the birth of Vaseline. Scholars make a big deal out of this. They say that the essence of Napoleon had slept under his cap for so long, it no longer dwelt in his wee head alone. Of course, any woman would have known that.