ON ALCOHOL


by Jack Sullivan


After Sam Sax

 

[my first drink:][corona]
[my first fear:][myself]

 

Hiding in Kevin’s bushes,
I begin to deny
What I already know.

 

*

 

[every time I drink:][fantasy]                        but
[whose fantasy?:][which?]

 

*

 

The origins of alcohol do not concern me. By which I mean
I could really care less. Grain fermented somewhere
Long before I was born.

Sold in bottles, drank at weddings
Sometimes the color
Of poisoned blood.

 

 *

 

Or the sky, I realize                             sitting outside
My parent’s house.                              MC’s just asked
Whether I’m happy,                              and I can’t respond,
The future stretching out                            Before me —
Endless days,                                Fruitless grain

 

*

 

[when should I drink?]                            [birthdays]
                                                                                      [weddings]
                                            [funerals]
                                        [happy hour]
                                         [with friends]
                                        [without]

[when should I not drink?]                          [N/A]

 

*

 

The few times
I’ve woke in a stranger’s bed,
I was apologetic.

        Not
        For what I did,
        But for what I didn’t.

                    For who I was,
                       Because…?
                          Because.

 

*

 

No one in my family has died from it. But I can admit
None have really lived either.

 

*

 

[my last drink:][bloody mary]
[my last headache:][yesterday afternoon]
[my next panic attack:][TBD]

 

I can’t tell
Where my wonder begins
And anxiety ends

 

*

 

I’m trying to understand
Whether I understand pleasure
As pleasure itself.

 

Just the other day
You overwhelmed me
And the buzz I felt

 

Was a feature // not a bug.

 

*

 

Sometimes I dream of getting sober.

 

*

 

And then I think: naaaaaaaah

 

*

 

How many great conversations
Screamed at each other
Over the brim of a negroni?

 

*

 

Fermentation, noun:
the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.

 

So
Is that all
Getting drunk is?

Flying too close
To the sun?

*

 

The liquor man laughs
As I put my purchase on the table.

Rough day?, he asks.
And I answer

 

   What day isn’t?

 

 

 


 

 

Jack Sullivan is a writer and visual artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Some of his work can be found in Yes, Poetry, Ghost City Review, and Thimble Lit