Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whiskey River Take My Mind

This one just ain't making it to my public blog. It was a true sentiment at the time, but it doesn't feel true anymore. In fact, the last few times the "she" in this poem drank, it seemed to be in moderation. I was happy... but, no, I won't mention it to her yet.


She drinks a bottle of wine every third night.
If there’s no pinot grigio or chardonnay,
she hides Jim Beam or Bacardi
in her tea or Coke.

He doesn’t like it when she guzzles
the Maker’s Mark, but
it’s not like he’s gonna drink it.
He just knows that shit’s expensive.

I flinch and avert my eyes, listening only
to every third word when she gets like this.
For days I’ll avoid the house, fuming, sad,
wary about even sipping a beer in per presence.

Mama starts to slur; smoke clings to her clothes and hair.
She gets chatty: ebullient in her Gnosticism, vitriolic at the fundies
and their bullshit, or maudlin about how she’s slowly
turning into her father, hoarding books, boozing, misanthripoic.

Daddy turns up the television. Who knew he was such an enabler?
He’s not blind to it, he says. It’s just she’s always been like this.
Her babies’ childhoods were just a pause in the action,
and he finds himself complacent, resigned to her choices.

I watch the cycles.
My liberal education has equipped me
with pointing fingers. I am a mirror,
showing the world its problems
but offering no solutions.
Still I try to redeem myself,
redeem us all.

I hear her spirit underneath the ecstasies and sad ravings;
I share her books, take her out, share my friends.
Daddy joins us for politics or a game of rummy.
We cook and clean and laugh together. And I avoid the sherry.

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