:: Article

How To Call Your Folks

By Matthew Schmidt.

How To Call Your Folks

As you see ‘em
in photographs,
slapped under
album flaps.
From downstairs
into the maw
of the stairwell.
Pops, Momma,
Mother, Chief.
Robin Williams
calls Matt Damon
Chief, says
Your move.
From the road,
smoking in a rental
car, rain, windows
down. Whatever,
long as you call.
Birthdays, Holidays.
Tell ‘em you’re great,
good, miss them.
That you have some purpose.
Are close to marriage.
At least dating. Like girls.
Really. When you need
advice. To vent. Health
issues. Need money.
Drunk. In the evening.
With news. Belatedly.
After awards. Children.
Accidents. Jokingly,
on April first.
From jail. The church
parking lot. For lunch.
On Mondays. Until
there isn’t a number.

*

Lines: 36
Words: 111 (not including title)
Letters: 517 (not including title)
Breakdown:

a: 46
b: 5
c: 13
d: 20
e: 53
f: 10
g: 11
h: 25
i: 34
j: 2
k: 5
l: 32
m: 23
n: 35
o: 40
p: 11
q: 0
r: 35
s: 34
t: 36
u: 15
v: 6
w: 12
x: 0
y: 14
z: 0

Most populous letters: e, a, o, t, r
Least populous letters: q/x/z, j, b/k
e: 10% of total letters

Punctuation Characters: 47
Breakdown:

Apostrophe: 4
Comma: 13
Period: 30
Period: 64% of total punctuation marks

*
Letters Per Line (in order): 10, 13, 12, 10, 14, 10, 14, 9, 11, 13, 14, 9, 8, 11, 16, 14, 12, 13, 17, 16, 12, 22, 18, 22, 17, 18, 15, 17, 17, 19, 17, 12, 17, 18, 14, 16.

Mean: 14.36
Median: 14
Mode: 17
Range: 14

*

If numbers are assigned to each letter of the alphabet so that each successive letter is one number higher than the previous, we arrive at:

a: 1
b: 2
c: 3
d: 4
e: 5
f: 6
g: 7
h: 8
i: 9
j: 10
k: 11
l: 12
m: 13
n: 14
o: 15
p: 16
q: 17
r: 18
s: 19
t: 20
u: 21
v: 22
w: 23
x: 24
y: 25
z: 26

Using this codex the poem becomes:

1/19 25/15/21 19/5/5 ‘5/13
9/14 16/8/15/20/15/7/18/1/16/8/19,
19/12/1/16/16/5/4 21/14/4/5/18
1/12/2/21/13 6/12/1/16/19.
6/18/15/13 4/15/23/14/19/20/1/9/18/19
9/14/20/15 20/8/5 13/1/23
15/6 20/8/5 19/20/1/9/18/23/5/12/12.
16/15/16/19, 13/15/13/13/1,
13/15/20/8/5/18, 3/8/9/5/6.
18/15/2/9/14 23/9/12/12/9/1/13/19
3/1/12/12/19 13/1/20/20 4/1/13/15/14
3/8/9/5/6, 19/1/25/19
25/15/21/18 13/15/22/5.
6/18/15/13 20/8/5 18/15/1/4,
19/13/15/11/9/14/7 9/14 1 18/5/14/20/1/12
3/1/18, 18/1/9/14, 23/9/14/4/15/23/19
4/15/23/14. 23/8/1/20/5/22/5/18,
12/15/14/7 1/19 25/15/21 3/1/12/12.
2/9/18/20/8/4/1/25/19, 8/15/12/9/4/1/25/19.
20/5/12/12 ‘5/13 25/15/21’18/5 7/18/5/1/20,
7/15/15/4, 13/9/19/19 20/8/5/13.
20/8/1/20 25/15/21 8/1/22/5 19/15/13/5 16/21/18/16/15/19/5.
1/18/5 3/12/15/19/5 20/15 13/1/18/18/9/1/7/5.
1/20 12/5/1/19/20 4/1/20/9/14/7. 12/9/11/5 7/9/18/12/19.
18/5/1/12/12/25. 23/8/5/14 25/15/21 14/5/5/4
1/4/22/9/3/5. 20/15 22/5/14/20. 8/5/1/12/20/8
9/19/19/21/5/19. 14/5/5/4 13/15/14/5/25.
4/18/21/14/11. 9/14 20/8/5 5/22/5/14/9/14/7.
23/9/20/8 14/5/23/19. 2/5/12/1/20/5/4/12/25.
1/6/20/5/18 1/23/1/18/4/19. 3/8/9/12/4/18/5/14.
1/3/3/9/4/5/14/20/19. 10/15/11/9/14/7/12/25,
15/14 1/16/18/9/12 6/9/18/19/20.
6/18/15/13 10/1/9/12. 20/8/5 3/8/21/18/3/8
16/1/18/11/9/14/7 12/15/20. 6/15/18 12/21/14/3/8.
15/14 13/15/14/4/1/25/19. 21/14/20/9/12
20/8/5/18/5 9/19/14’20 1 14/21/13/2/5/18.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew Schmidt is working on a PhD in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in CALAMITY, Hobart, ‘Pider, Territory, and elsewhere. He is an associate poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, September 5th, 2017.