Monday, March 26, 2012

"drinking in the catskills"

"drinking in the catskills"
finally, by jake kilroy.

darling, i built you a fire
with hands that do shadow puppets too.
the dog kept me company
while you were out of town.
but the rain came
and i cleaned the house,
and everything felt new.

it was the week i couldn't sleep,
accidentally meditating in the kitchen.
i slurred my words as i cooked,
and the wine was soon gone.
everything in me was rotten,
yet cheerful and warm.
before i burned my meal,
i slumped against the fridge
and let out a sly cough and a grin
before asking myself questions.
where do the best drinkers die?
do they make it home from the bar
where everybody knows their name?
or do they tumble into the sea,
waiting for their ship to come in?
i draw a blank,
and then i draw something prettier 
something made from the earth,
of wood, of clay, of emeralds!

so like a pioneer lost to land,
i inhale sunsets and sniff snuff
until i come up with an answer:
i want to get drunk in the catskills.

i suppose i've always wanted to get drunk in the catskills.
but i had to look up where they were once.
can you believe they left those mountains
untouched in new york?
have you ever seen a green so honest,
so flawless, so goddamn close to home?
i just want a cabin and a bottle
and an idea for the great american novel.
i just want a summer where i find sand in my hair
on christmas day, barely cleaning up
for a party where i knock out the piano player.
that's the life.
i don't know what the hell this is,
but that's the life.

i want
smoke signals to the prettiest girl on either side of the mississippi,
morse code to the smartest gal on either coast,
handwritten letters to the one who'd write back.

i told a poet friend once that all we wrote about was
leavin' home and lovin' women.
what else is good to read?
i wondered in a moving car.
i've got books on my shelf to explain america,
anthologies on opera, and comics about heroes
who can't afford to leave home.
but i'm the one swaying in a drug store,
trying to decide between sleeping pills or rye,
flipping a scratched coin to call out
which girl i'll take home next.

and even that ain't the truth.
but who wants to read about a poet
that spends fifteen minutes reading the labels
of carpet cleaners on a grocery store shelf?
who wants to read about him
pumping gas, paying bills, and commuting to work?
nobody that's got something to say, that's who.

so give me the car that'll speed,
the lady that'll miss me,
and one hell of a summer,
writing the great american novel
and drinking myself to death,
somewhere out in the catskills.

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