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).
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.
Fuck. Where’s the stupid “Like” button on this thing?
Hah, pal, your swearing means the same thing in my mind.