Nights of Alcohol and Cigarettes

After eight months of drafting and revising a poem I finally finished the last stanzas— and revised the title from "A Dream-Poem to a Former Lover in Minneapolis." I have mentioned in the past how the work often faltered, stalled out without warning. The title itself changed three times. The phrases kept meandering without an sense of closure, no ending nor grand emphasis or moral to wrap up my point. Currently it sits with seven distinct sections— the only commonality between them all is the fact they are composed in tercet stanzas, and a loose chain of a story-line. Overall it sums up my understanding of a failed relationship during my college years— a brief five year span which left me wounded.

Even now a large sense of regret lingers. A sense of waste: R. often fell into a series of weeks filled with drunken binges, angry nights of alcohol and cigarettes. Material for poetry he would claim during calm sober afternoons. Before the binges began again.

The catalyst for the poem of course is R.'s early death last November, his sudden leap into finality.

A portion of Section 3 reads:
I never understood
why you wanted Death to rise
within your life, personified

as a trick in his late twenties.
Glassy-eyed. Coked up.
His right arm flicking ashes indifferently

as he lay next to you
in the dark. Without emotion,
as he breathed in smoke,

considering the hairline cracks
running along the ceiling—
considering your t-cells spinning languidly

in thin-walled veins. Sometimes while you slept,
he would curl beside you, caress your forearm,
and tap inside the elbow to raise

the lines of green-blue channels,
to loosen out a casual
bruise for a matter of days.

He would watch it fade
from a dark violet to a sickly green...
At least now he has the closure he always sought— leaving me with many unanswered questions and speculations of my acceptance to the news.


  1. You have a such a sensitive but peculiarly muscular touch. The words spun and woven into subtle but lustrous, sensuous textured cloth.
    How I identify with the theme. I have known many - loved some - with the same inherent melancholy and hedonistic death-wish. The most creative of them almost seeming to believe that the love affair with death would open doors of enhanced perception.
    I envied some at the time. But have since learned. As you will have.
    Your ex-lover is not to be defined nor captured in ordinary prose. That makes poetry essential. The poetic whole - holistically - in word-cadence and ambiguity is the best bet, isn't it. I have often thought that poetry is the essence of being human.

  2. -- or to explain the what it means to be human.


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