In the fall of 1992 I’d just declared my major in English and was taking a few literature classes as well as a 200 level poetry writing class. I wrote the following poem about my grandfather and his battle with the bottle. Little did I know that 20 years on, I’d be struggling with the same problem.
Hunched over the typewriter,
I speak to those after me
On the paper.
The breeze blows
Through the window,
Cooling the sparse room,
With its pair of beds
And that junk in the corner.
I recall the image
Of the old man over his machine
In the dining room of the old house
Where mom grew up.
A gray cardigan sweater
Draped over his body
Nearly touches the Camel, unfiltered
Cigarette burning in his ashtray.
Hints of bad whisky,
Whatever was cheep at the “sto’e”,
Mingle with the smell of smoke.
Only a drop of the poison remains
In the bottom of the shot glass
No matter how hard he tries
That final drop always dries
In the glass when the pint is empty.
In this house there’s not a sound,
Save the clunking of the keys,
Invading the silence.
— DED 1992