The Golden Barista by A.E. Weisgerber
after Meg Pokrass and Terrance Hayes
I’m always thinking how to escape death. Somehow, like that Mesopotamian maniac, the mythic prince who asked for tips from his barista before his story was written in clay; we’ve heard the screech and the scrim of the snakes shedding skin that proves it’s not simple to grant a desire. Yet, one who is writing new stories, with the sharpie of fate, is Japanese. Memories trail behind us like silk flags rippling above our clock’s crossroads (was not some archaic word like carrefour going extinct right now, but for the likes of dear Lutz to stare in her buttermoth net of pretty words?) Before our 3-hots-and-a-cot begins, who’s released?
A barista blind once there was who said, “I am betting on Emmas and Noahs.” Have you ever been slow-burned like that? And to think that maybe, just maybe before you die you had better publish something here on earth in six-point font, print, just for the young to read, not for old-time “everyone,”like John and Mary there, those stacked up dust-decks. He handed me my coffee cold. “Tick tick,” he said.
I love poetic forms, Oulipian games, and so “The Golden Barista” follows the Golden Shovel poetic form, pioneered by Terrance Hayes. It is a reverse acrostic. The word or partial word at the end of each line in each stanza adds up to a sentence from her beautiful story, “The Barista,” which appears in Issue 22 of The Del Sol Review. Weirdly, as I was writing this I was also reading Worsted, a new collection by Garielle Lutz, who makes a brief appearance in this tribute as well. I only just realized, Lutz is a contributing editor to TDSR. It’s amazing what you see when you open your eyes, but Meg? She opens her heart. I hope you enjoy this tribute, and I urge you all to follow that link to “The Barista.” That story is, shoot, it’s so good. I hope my riff captures something of the love Meg has for her characters. Meg is a flash fiction institution, and I thank the editors for an invitation to contribute. <3 – AEW
A.E. Weisgerber is from Orange, NJ. She is a 2018 Chesapeake Writer, 2017 Frost Place Scholar, 2014 Reynolds Fellow, and Assistant Series Editor for Wigleaf’s Top 50. Work in DIAGRAM, 3:AM Magazine, and The Alaska Star. On Twitter @aeweisgerber or visit neutralspaces.co/aeweisgerber