Who knew that when the fickle finger of love
finally poked through my ribs, it would choose you,
a 30-year-old man who willingly calls himself Shappy,
a panda-shaped poet so absurd and funny
that when I met you I thought you were part cartoon,
a fella for which “excess kitsch” was the definition of “home.”

The summer I met you, I was making Astoria my home.
Four months out of college, and I had no job, no love,
no prospects, no optimism. My life was a sad cartoon:
Me, a lonely alley cat waiting for the Pepé Le Pew which was you.
Before, I assumed I’d be with a scientist, more logical than funny.
It was ridiculous to think I’d date a guy named Shappy.

But that’s how you were introduced me, as Shappy.
No one knew your real name, not even in Chicago, your home.
Earliest impressions: you were drunk and you were funny.
That was your plan, to make me laugh until I fell in love.
You just hoped I wouldn’t fall into the pattern familiar with you.
Women grew up and left: who wanted to marry a cartoon?

And, hey, even I was a little afraid: Could I be with a cartoon?
I mean, nonscientist? A non-office worker? A … Shappy?
But we all know the ending here, and, in the end, I ended up with you.
You left freezing Chicago to make New York City your home
and we ignored all the critics of our dizzying brand of love,
cuz aren’t we all at our most beautiful when we’re just being funny.

In fact, isn’t life at its most beautiful when it’s just being funny?
Who cares if our apartment looks like the set of a cartoon?
And it’s not as if we don’t make money as well as love:
me as serious writer and you as the poet named Shappy.
Together we cram dollars into savings so we can buy a home
big enough for all your stuff, the things you love and you.

But right now I’m enjoying life as it is for me and you:
the way everything, even the tragedies, can be funny;
the dachshund- and pop-culture-filled hovel called home;
the way every day is a new episode of our life’s silly cartoon.
This life we live just amazes me, Shappy.
Who thought this would be my definition of love?

I would have never picked you, my beautiful cartoon,
but ain’t life funny? After all, it made you, Shappy,
the perfect home for all my heart’s dumb, dumb love.