POEM IN PROGRESS: ‘WHEN WE DRINK’

An early draft of a new piece:

WHEN WE DRINK

bravado, be damned. the gut knows.

every pull at each chin-slugged bottle

betrays one cold fact: this – each – florid

new drunkenness just half-gessoed

shame, memory’s transverse fracture all

quick-set and sloppily primed. denial

a sour liquid – the sweaty rivulets tracking

some prize-fighter’s poor browridge

down through the hardscrabble scruff

struggling for purchase on the sudden

delta of what once was a jawline.

the beers’ hand-mottled transluscence

rhetorical gauze wound loosely round

some untoward episode’s slick, feral

injury: one nipple’s incisor-drawn blood,

the  hot meaty brushstroke a tongue

tide-lines on thigh, your cock’s general

thrumming at all the dark newness ripe

to be plumbed.    

drink up, say the boys –

forearms tacky with a splay-spilled

interest in just what you’ve been up to,

all damming machismo; each leaning

lurid, cementing the act of convincing

themselves it’s half utter bullshit, half

not nearly the truth. no matter, it seems.

everything’s cresting the lock of your throat.

and spilt beer’s surely a close cousin

to bile, you try not to think; the thick,

wet scent of it rising to breach the unsteady

wake of your damned conscience. tomorrow?

two more, you well know, on the way. two

too many.

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