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last, Last Drink

I remember to look up
into recycled air.
Slow gray waves weave around the curves and necks-
of liquor bottles.
Slabs of smoke drift across the blue light
like Wales rolling in the sea
and fall into my lungs,
un-asked, un-thanked, and are expelled out again.
The guy next to me takes a deep breath
leaning into the bar -
embracing it, like a child and its mother.
He tilts his glass on its coaster
and gazes into its eyes
falling helplessly into the same old stories-
things he’d rather forget.
I know it’s all a scam.
And a beam of dusty sunlight from
a dirty window pulls
me up by the collar towards
the door. Sunlight,
that knew me as a kid.
But I’m not a kid now
and I pull away, back to my stool.
Back to that warm cradle of space.
Sharp eyes turn sharply
and cut the strings.
I sit back down
listening to my voice order another.

My friends left hours ago
to girls with diner.
Something made from scratch
But I’ve got my love -
it trickles down towards the center
seeping into the cracks
dousing out the promises
settling like a lazy pond
for my collections to soak in
for those rusty old men, wandering, lost,
to dust off in.
All the village children splashing
getting along.
The tired weeds drowning.
This is all I need.
Why did I doubt it?
Tomorrow is a stranger’s responsibility,
this belongs to me.

I look at the girl next to me
for too long -
squeezing the cold dead handshake
of my understanding friend.
Without thinking, I drink it all,
and ease the glass back to the bar.
Tempted to sigh dramatically.
But that was years ago.
I can feel the tides
reaching in me -
pushing, pulling, forgiving,
falling back slow.
All the good stories have been told.
I don’t care if I win anymore.

I recognize a voice
and feel a soft hand on mine.
She’s never been too pretty, but
I don’t mind.
I turn to her eyes and watch them fall -
tracing me to the floor,
cracking me in half.
I chase the path with a drink -
driving in a warm steel wedge,
spreading me out like an ink blot
all over the room.
Until I’m too thin to hold
the needles and claws
and love,
breaking through my skin like its cheesecloth.

She talks too loud,
but only to me
of her day.
People, places, I don’t know how or why.
I offer broken pieces
of memories -
remains of thoughts I once had.
leftover ashes of burned out dream,
molded now into a mud ball.
Just hold it for awhile.
She’ll never know anyway.

Another shot.
She loses her balance and falls into me,
taking my hand and pulling me,
to the middle of the dance floor.
A trick.
She changes into a zombie -
worshiping the rhythm.
I’m faking it -
searching the files,
grasping for whatever she must know.
I’m too old for this.
But the radius of the world is closing,
breaking off in sheets.
And the knives are pulling out, one blade at a time.
I’m tired of being wrong. I want to be right.
It’s all boiling off.
I’m falling away,
off the bone,
Into soup…

There all with me,
alot like me - the same,
my friends and me.
I won’t let it go
it’s all for free.
The colors melt and I let them swallow me
pulling me under
the surface of the truth.
Into a world built of cards
where everything you can think of,
it’s all true
and I’m not just following you
with both hands
holding on
and on…

I see the floor
between the branches of my fingers
propping up this mutinied ship,
drifting along the windless seconds.
Red and white tiles
flash between scissor step legs.
My eyes squeeze them steady,
my only purpose now,
as the holes find their way home
and the air laughs on its way out,
dropping me down
one notch at a time
straight through my stool,
under the floor itself
back onto the bundled sticks and sharp edges.
Where I can look up and see
those old men whistling
pressing down on their shovels.
Where I can feel the air turn stale,
molding me still in its web, against my weight.
Strange bodies, distorted faces,
swirl around,
weaving me in a net,
dropping me in a tank,
tapping the glass for fun.
I’d pay anything to be in my bed

I watch my boots walking -
the boots I worked all day in
alien boots
feeling for the texture of the sidewalk
taking me on their own.
Strangers hammer the calm,
anyway they can
Insisting on their existence
over the echo of my half steps
that bounce of brick walls out into oblivion.
These are my knees.
This is my blood.
Their storefront windows, neon signs,
Their rain mixing in my eyes,
running down strange skin,
onto their sidewalks.
Their town, their weekend, their night.
Their fool, stumbling across their parking lot.
I want it to hurt.

My car door seems too complicated
but I won’t be denied
and I finally fall into my loyal friend: the seat
and seal the night behind me.
My hands fall to my lap
waiting for instruction.
But there’s nowhere to go.
No place to leave…
the silence,
squeezing me in its dark hand.
Pushing up my entire life
out the sides,
all over the floor.
I turn to my passenger
and pat the air…
A key chimes, the engine rumbles,
no one is there.

I can’t remember her eyes
my mother’s eyes.
And my father’s words
what did he say?
The only thing I can remember is:
keep looking up
Into a river of asphalt,
marching endlessly under me.
My hand reaches out the window
diverting the air;
Splitting the breath of a billion
nameless and forgotten-
into my lungs now.
I don’t care. No thanks.
I’ll run from the cops
I’ll turn away from those lines.
Take it all
Back to the dirt
I was never here.

But a sharp corner catches
the last of my kindness
as I breathe in for another day.
And that friendly gravel driveway
pats me on the back,
snapping out the song of home under my tires.
As I roll to a stop
And turn the off the key,
wishing I could follow the sound
of the humming engine
wherever it keeps going.
The silence stings, but
it’s replaced by the slow rise
of chirping crickets,
pouring out of the darkness.
I hear myself say hello
to crickets -
my God damn manners never fail
and turn to see defeat
waiting at the door with a warm blanket.
And further up…
the same old stars
that knew me as a kid, watching kindly.
Got to get back.
Back to where I could hear my own name
and never thought twice.
Back to where I could feel
my weight press against the world, so surely.
Got to get back there.

Last few words: 
this got a bit long. lol. thanks for reading.
Editing stage: 



author comment

I'm not like this anymore. Just wanted to write this down so I didn't forget.

author comment

A long journey in both poem and life. I never have drank much but I can imagine that anybody with a drinking problem must first admit they want to seek their former life before they can turn around......stan

thanks Stan! I sincerely appreciate it.

author comment

thanks Stan! I sincerely appreciate it.

author comment

I have seen in too many countries, have too many close friends and family whose lives were ruined or ended by booze. I used to drink socially, now I fucking hate it. I hate what it does to people, builds a wall of madness, self pity, violence, and it kills. So hard to control, but people do it. They are no stronger than you. Day by day. It ain't pot, it ain't poppies, it's booze. It's in its own category.

I didn't mind the length, but its more of a prose poem in the form of a poem. It's a story. It does well describe the emotions going through you.
But all I can say is you are a poet, and can write amazing poetry, like Sled Hill. You and all of us on the site are trying to find our ultimate true poetic voice. Most of us probably wont. But you do have this expression as part of you, it's more than most of the lost souls have on the planet.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

I'm so thankful that you have taking an interest and bothered to comment on my writing. It truly means a lot. Its embarrassing how much I appreciate it. My life is in a down phase this moment, I'm hanging on and ill get through, as always, but hearing a few kind words of encouragement is helpful. As people, we never know how a little, tiny bit, of effort can lead to massive compound positive consequences. Thanks again my friend!

author comment
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