Alcohol has played a big part in my life – sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. All too often negatively! For a long time I spent life in a kind of Dylan Thomas haze of self destruction. The killing factor for me is that I’m a bit of a control freak, or at least I like to be control, and my problem is that my physical tolerance is far greater than my mental tolerance. So I can down a bottle of bourbon, still walk around and appear fairly sober – but inside my brain and my mind are totally gone. Completely. The amount of blackouts is frightening (and the worst thing is, I go walkies on the internet and post on forums, and it all appears perfectly rational at the time, then I get up and can’t even remember what I posted, and most of the time it’s drivel. Even when it still makes sense, I still shudder at it because I don’t remember posting it… And this wet stuff that sends you insane is legal and sponsors sports events, while other stuff, that doesn’t do half this, well it’s illegal. Anyway, I gave up for 6 months at a time in recent years, then get curious. At first the drinking is OK – but very soon the blackouts are back, the dread is back, the “wtf did I do last night?” feeling is back. I wrote this poem years ago – should have learned my lesson then. This is a reminder to myself that alcohol and me should not be put together – too volatile a reaction, that’s all 🙁


Deeper than a lover’s kiss,
Fire-belly dragon breathing backwards,
Spreads its galaxy of warmth
Through twists of veins
To starburst eyes.

Lights up the void,
Sprouts craters on the moon of mind,
Licks at wounds
The day leaves like sparkles
Scattered on a sea of skin.

Quilts guilt like cloud on sky,
Letting memories go like birds,
Oils the gabbling tongue
In dry-iced, cocktail-hour
Hiatus of thought.

Burns at heart like coal,
Now black, now red, and beating
Its SOS: signalling
Blood-sack filled with fumes
And the clot of knowing.

This is
The crucifixion in amber,
The kamikaze into darkfall,
The abused and abuser,
The wasp-in-a-jamjar desperation.

And over and over and over again,
Rising into spikes of light,
The cat-got-your-tongue-and-killed-it,
Flailing, threshing, fretful,
Never-again morning.

6 thoughts on “Alcohol

  1. This poem is good. Your images are fast and furious and the images envelop. I like the This is stanza. I like Dylan Thomas as well – I know this vicious minutes hour that like a tree has roots in you and buds in you. ….and I caught in mid-air perhaps her and am still the little bird. My husband is a recovered alchi so I understand a lot about your fire belly dragon! I liked this poem

  2. Funny you should mention that Thomas poem, it was, among others, one of the first poems that “hit” me and started me off…

  3. oh wow, this is a powderkeg of a poem! some of the images are genius and i’d think about putting them together, see what they get up to …

    through twist of vein
    to starburst eye
    day leaves sparkles
    scattered on a sea of skin.

    sorry, sometimes i have a big mouth and can’t resist … displacement due to my own muse absence, perhaps? *wry grin

  4. Hi Rob.
    We lost our son. He was thirty five. He was also alcoholic. I have no idea how you are now but I just want to offer encouragement. There is life after spirits.

    in a bed
    on a ward
    our son
    curtained off.

    Regards Michael

  5. Like your poetry! Have you performed public readings alot? I”ve never done this and it scares me to death. Not sure I can do this. Any suggestions?


  6. Experience with this subject:

    Watching Her Die

    I watched her die.
    No, it wasn’t some violent scene

    of gushing blood and torn inners,

    But it was death the same.

    Watching her walk to her mail

    staggering at 9am,

    hiding her bottles

    under couches, in her

    kitchen shelves.

    at 37,

    she was gone.

    we saw the other side

    (After we found her,

    stiff as old cardboard

    in the rain.)

    God, what a shadow,

    what she was

    what she could do.

    And we hated ourselves

    for not trying


    12 Oct 08


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