Are those hints of lemon I detect?
Look, I'm just here to get wasted, don't try
to make it more than that.
I'd drink motor oil if I thought
it could get me high; chase it with a shot
you can keep your survival instincts,
in that pretty velvet box (along with all
those other things
you thought you could convince yourself
you lived for). Instincts are the bare
bones of the impossibilities we wanted
to believe in,
those times you tried to tell me that
adrenaline was God's way
we were His chosen ones, we were
special, we were free.
I tried to tell you that instincts and God
can't exist side by side, but I was already
far gone, cornea constellations
spiraling and you looked at me with such pitiful
I just gave up the fight.
I told you once that my goal in life
is to kill myself slowly, immerse my organs
of whiskey and scotch
over a fifty-years-or-so period. "Just think,"
"it will be like an ocean, waves of grain
alcohol lapping gently at the lining
of my large intestine, my liver, my useless
You looked up from your magazine for a moment,
glasses slipping down your nose.
Once you find yourself an ocean of whiskey,
you let me know.
We could make a fortune off that.
I remember turning
away to wince in private. You've never really listened
to me, just the prerecorded tapes
you have on repeat in your head.
I told you once that if I had any sort of survival
instinct, I'd have run away long ago.
You didn't say anything
that time, just stopped your skimming and smiled,
and I knew that I had found it, the secret
to staying young
forever. In that moment,
I almost ran, could almost hear the hills
calling to me and God didn't have anything
to do with it,
it was just power, pure power of nature
I could have been glorious. You would have let
me go; that's what's so
infuriating, that's what gets me every time.
You would have let me go, but the wine cabinet
it was calling, too. Where is the voice of God now,
child? you asked, already knowing the answer. You asked,
I don't give a shit about God, or survival,
or any other instinct
thrown at me
from these pamphlets or shrinks.
All I know is
this, my life here, with you. My life here, unsafely
You refill my glass and adjust the cross
around my neck. I touch it and it feels heavier now,
like where the spaces in my lungs
used to be. The liquid is thick, black,
unshifting. "Is it safe?" I ask, already knowing
the answer. I ask,
already knowing the price.
Hints of lemon, just like I said, dear. But you don't care
about that, now, do you?
That didn't answer my question, but it answered it
well enough. "Okay. This one last time, then."
It touches my lips, warm
with a trace of rubber tire spice. You look at me, smiling
Of course. One last time. Just this one
Cornea constellations spiraling, I become
a new rebirth. Far away, a different voice whispers,
Can't you feel it now,
you crazy fool, can't you feel
buzzing at your fingertips? Smiling cracks my face.
I put a finger to my lips, shushing
as I laugh, as I
gasp, as my heart beats a million times in a single
spiraling. Shush. It pleases me to spin
in silence here.