Oct 112014

by John Grey


You’re always seeking out new places to be sick in.

You celebrate not being like us in any way.

The other night you awoke a sleeping house.

More than just the noise you made,

it was yourself that startled us out of sleep ~

your heft, your obsessions, your addictions.

You threw up in the parlor, all over the rug.

You collapsed on the couch, vomited a red and yellow cushion.

Then you awoke at ten and screamed.

The day had already been up for hours

but it faked rising at ten just for you,

and it screamed along with the wretchedness of your throat.


You reckon your body is your enemy.

It can’t handle the good you wish for it.

It belongs to a Quaker, you say, or a goddam teetotaler,

or some fool with his head in a book.

It needs to toughen up, trust its aching thirst

to the one who pays its bar bills.


We complain and we curse but we still want what’s good for you.

Our badgering is tempered. Our advice comes with a check.

But you won’t go anywhere near a sanitarium,

wouldn’t dry out if we were desert suns.

Your credo is not to change but perfect your vices,

drink and drink until you’ve finally recruited alcohol to your side.

So how many months, how many years, will it be

until you’re capable of holding your liquor?

Is there a night in our future when the storms subside

and you burst through the door like a double rainbow?

But we’ve never been impressed with rainbows.

They’re just the dregs of clouds unable to hold their rain.