April 16, 2010

To Gin (Yes, You Get to Read a Poem)

This was originally published in the Spring 2010 Issue of the Khaos Apocrypher (a magazine you can sign up to receive, if you’re interested. Just email Dr. Gonzo, who I’m hoping doesn’t care that I’m putting this poem up here. But if he does, I’ll just buy him some gin. And, speaking of, I suggest sipping a gin cocktail while reading this. So, go shake or stir one up. Okay, you back? Let’s continue).


To Gin


It’s 10 am, and the word gin spills

out accompanied by a gentle twitch, Junipers communis

and I’m stuck in office chairs and prickly socks

distilled to only a toast: here’s to brisk bottles


and hosts, a soldiery row at ease waiting

for another vested soul  to pull them down,

to start gin’s accented engine. Where to begin,

in my dream of gin? I’ll open with noon’s


luncheon sin, a Martini made on dry’s couth

side, winnowed twist, skip the olive, its briny mistake

like the sobering taste in your mouth

from a long-forgotten  first date,


then I say amble into another kick in short pants,

a opaque smile designed for those desiring  lack,

gin’s pocket compass, the Gimlet camped

in cocktail glass freshly limed, please, or take


it back and listen to me swear, thirsty.

And then there’s the way I lisp, like a trout,

after three Bronx in row, orange blessing

and fraternal vermouths, gin within and without


while I’ve lost another hour, now, absent gin’s zoo,

gin’s mill, gin’s soak, boots, piano, truth,

gin burn and gin singe, tingle and curaçao

blossoming into caraway and angelica root.


Give me the Rickey’s twentieth century sass,

bubble my black suspenders with Vespers nightly

losing sleep with Lillet before breakfast,

get me a big tray made from lime’s core, a White Lady


up on the chaise, Cointreau cornered

by gin and it’s 2 pm, somewhere eyeballs eye

 Italians, gin’s Florentine mourner

wreathed in orange oil, bitter and red. But I


almost left the Campari out of the stanza

during my reverie of Negronis. I like mine up

but won’t turn gin away, even if tepid

I’ll take any highball, rocked and passed abruptly


across the room, a dimly lit gin sashay,

where the Last Word slips beneath sheets,

gin cuddling Marschino, Chartreuse, and lime swaying

into another ménage, making  gray sky incomplete


unless someone, me, you, drinks them penitent 

for what we will now receive: pass the gin, please,

echoes over cubes or neat, penitentiary

pleats or double strained, petticoated , and greased


with Angostura. The preference of ladies, Pink.

The gin, after three straight rounds, speaks:

Old Tom, London Dry, Hollands, Genever, Plymouth.

Thinking Englishly, I’ll be round in an hour, work


winks at shaker boys, undress cocktail waitresses

of cocktail napkins, blame gin, naturally,

and gin will soak it all in, knows it takes us places

we long to live within, from the Cornwall’s


coast to the furnace room under my Pierre St.

pied-à-terre where I tipped a bottle with soda

and a sliver of scotch (gin’s not afraid to meet

another as it turns the dark to stars), a comma


to New Orleans, Henry C. Ramos, and gin’s comfortable

motion, full conjunction between juices lime and lemon,

sugar, cream, egg, divine orange flower water,

an afternoon’s worth in one glass and time,


time, time, there’s never enough gin

or enough balance on my credit card, it’s not even

the end of the day, but I won’t delay gin’s hard choices

longer, a sip here and there like a bartender’s grin,


I’ve finally reached the bar and the words I’ve lingered

until five to hear–what’ll it be friend

come without stopping. I breathe, unbend,

and say, finally, for me, make it gin.

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