TO THE PERSON WHO STOLE MY BAG FULL OF MY STUFF FROM THE BACKSEAT OF A CAR WHILE I WAS UNLOADING IT AROUND 6PM LAST NIGHT NEAR 58TH/NE HANCOCK IN THE HOLLYWOOD DISTRICT,
There is a decent chance if you looked in that orange notebook of mine, you found my name and my basic contact information which includes this tumblr site. If so, maybe there’s a chance you were interested enough in the stuff you stole to look me up. This gives me a chance to at least tell you about some of the things that are now in your possession. (1) That Black Star bag you stole was custom made for me and was a gift from my mom. Black Star is one of my favorite bag makers in town in part because they believe in supporting small business and locally made goods just like I do. Black Star is a part of the Portland Made Local Goods Collective. When I went to Black Star to pick up my bag last winter, I met one of the bag makers there, Dave. He let me sit next to him while he made that bag. He took a little time out to teach me something about bag-making and allowed me to help design some of that bag’s features. Anyway, I hope you’ll read more about the PMC and Black Star from my (2) Macbook Air. I bought that computer in January because I was computer-less for a while since my last one broke down. I saved up for most of the year for it. I was going to be traveling in order to, in part, work on a book of poems and I wanted a computer that was a little lighter (to fit in that bag). I wrote much of a book called Agnes the Elephant on that computer, some of which has been backed up. The most recent month or two of writing though has not been backed up. You can hear me read one of those poems at Pen America, and you can read some of those poems that I wrote on that computer in the new issue of Interrupture among a few other places. I also revised a lot of a book called The Book of Joshua that is coming out in May from a small poetry press called Black Ocean. Those changes have not been backed up. So, you’re the only person on the planet, if you’re interested enough, to ever read that version of that book. By stealing that computer you’ve pretty significantly altered two of my books of poems. You also took a few other technology items that I hope you’ll be able to make a few bucks off: (3) my iPod touch which I just recently learned I could use with my (4) 3m projector to watch movies on my own bedroom ceiling. I was pretty excited to get to do that this winter. In fact, I was thinking about starting a little movie club in my living room. I also was going to use that projector and iPod to display moving images behind me when I read poems in public. Those things are pretty replaceable though, maybe after I get my next couple of paychecks. One of the things you stole from me that is not replaceable is (5) that big yellow notebook of portraiture drawings that was tucked into the inside pouch. It has about 70 portraits of all the faces of my friends and family in it. I’ve been teaching myself how to draw since May and had plans to draw the faces of 100 people in my life. As you can see, I’ve drawn about 70 so far. I was working toward having a gallery show of all those drawings and then giving the portraits away to all the people I drew them for. I was also planning on making a book of them with little poems I wrote for each person, and then giving that away too. Because you stole that notebook, I can’t do that anymore without starting over. You also took my (5) glasses. Those are pretty cool, huh? I bought them at one of my favorite local vintage shops called Hollywood Vintage. They weren’t cheap, but I felt good about spending that kind of hard-earned money on a small local business. Also, that (6) orange notebook has a lot of important things in it, including a lot of poem drafts and ideas. It also has a stash of vintage postcards in the back that I bought from Smut. It would be a shame if those got thrown out in your garbage for being worthless. Maybe you could at least use them to send to a few people you love? That’s what I was going to do. That book of poems called (7) After You Dearest Language by Marisol Limon Martinez. You won’t get much for it probably if you resell it at Powells, but it is one of my favorite books of the past 10 years. In fact, I relied on its language and ideas pretty heavily when I was writing my first book, The Man Suit. All of those marginalia notes you see in that book if you opened it were helpful to me in thinking about the poems in my own first book. What else, what else…a nice pair of (8) rain pants I just bought last week and the (9) rain jacket my sister gave me for Christmas. I don’t have my own car—only a fender-less bike, so that rain gear came in handy. And some clothes: (10) A Typhoon tshirt, (11) a nice jacket, (12) my grey sweater. If you’re a size large, I hope you think you look good in that stuff. Oh, yeah, and my (13) house keys and locked-up (14) bike keys.
I’m sure you’ve had things stolen from you before too. So, I know you know how it must feel. I only want you to know a little more about what you’ve taken in hope you’ll be at all interested in me, and how you’ve affected me. If there is any chance you read this and give a shit, maybe you can figure out a way to anonymously contact me to at least give me those drawings back. Maybe you could leave that notebook somewhere and I could pick it up. That would mean so much to me. And I wouldn’t ask any questions. Just that yellow notebook. That yellow notebook, well, and maybe my glasses.
Ps. If you’re interested in that photograph I used above for this post, It was taken by Vivian Maier. I used it because its subject is demonstrating an emotion similar to how you’ve made me feel. Maier has a fascinating story that I hope you’ll read about, and a documentary about her called Finding Vivian Maier is coming out very soon.