Hard Days On In At The Rehab For Drunken Poets, An Opera Of Sorts, circa 1981
They can't all be like these, I guess.
The days are good, though, when they are.
The formula is simple really -
We take our ragged bones out of rented rooms for long walks.
You point out between bricks the rainbows in windows, the dirt
now become your dirt, your genius for transformations.
I ram my own by now trite and hackneyed points
home over and over, but it works on days like these.
Reprise. Then cold beer in the dying light of
a gray bar. The stage is set. Laughter over the
wear on those other faces as we shudder behind
our own, the usual exchange of wind.
Full darkness mutes the swarm and it begins.
Back inside our rooms, last castrati on the radio.
Enter winter under the door crack.
This becomes an event,
the retelling in high C;
'...I guess it's just as well we speak
this way in America and call it poetry.'
See. I'm ramming it again.
Cold breaks my concentration.
It's moving up my legs like hemlock.
Poetry should do the same.
OK. I'll get serious. A brief libretto: :
Today sweet Molly with the black eye
and the cut on her breast cried then
decided to return home to Bud who
beats her when she's drunk. I tried to
talk her out of going but she was going
and she went. Scherzo here. Interlude.
Johnny didn't come home but drank a beer
after court, walked down Highway 25 to see
his little girl, called to say he was sorry for
being late. 'You can't come back, Johnny.
You been drinking again.' Coloratura. And gravel.
Joe vomited honey and banana in bed, a real mess.
I caught most of it in a trash can held up to his head.
He roared when he wretched.
'I've vomited more years than I've lived them' he said, shaking.
'I'm a damned drunk and I'll die a damned drunk.'
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