Sober

I found this poem washed out along the shorelines of a drunken stupor,
Drowning at the bottom of my heart and flushed out with my 4th shot of whiskey.
Those that know me, KNOW this minor, yet IMPORTANT, fact.
I am a lightweight; And I am pretty sure I told the bartender I loved him.
I always thought drinking poems cliché.
Hoping to find God shotgunned from a shot glass,
Messages at the bottom of the bottle, and all that;
But there is an honesty here that sometimes can’t be spoken in sobriety.
“Cancer” is a word that lives somewhere between,
Your world living under a collapsing bridge with only your hope holding it up;
And Monsters that only exist under your bed when you turn the lights out.
Neither realities are supposed to exist:
Like waking up into nightmares,
But you know they do;
And it comes at you on clear sunny days,
When you are planning your tomorrows,
Served straight no chaser.

I felt sick when Death walked right up to my dad in his white coat and college degrees.
Reeking of fermented dreams,
Place arms around his shoulders and ask him how he is doing.
You could smell him coming.
My dad says, “I feel just fine.”
What can you do when Death decides to take the ball and go home in the middle of the game? Play keep away?
I tell you what you can do:
Kick Death in the balls!
Punch him in the throat!
Take your DAMN ball back!

But what can you do when you are just a spectator,
When it is not your life on the line?
You pray.
You pull every lint ball washed wish and dream from the crevices of your pockets.
Spend them on every light you see in the night time sky.
You kiss and hug fiercely;
Show them how much it will hurt to let them go.
Convince them that you are willing to fight just as hard for their survival;
And when you both are physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted,
You get drunk.
Get drunk on everything:
From watered down apologies, to orange juiced and tangy I love you’s.

So, this is my liquid courage anthem.
Every lemon life throws is sliced, rum coated, and vodka injected.
Cause I don’t always drink in public,
But when I do:
I write poems on paper napkins;
Bathroom stalls become confessionals;
And prayers smell like poetry salted on the rim of a microphone;
I tell bartenders I love them;
I tell my friends, “Stay thirsty.”

My dad tells me not to worry.
He sees the sun shining over his tomorrows.
He’s sippin on water-turned wine and chemotherapy cocktails,
And He says he feels just fine.

I told my dad, “It is not your time, yet!”
I told him to kick Cancer in the balls!
Suckerpunch Death in the throat, and gouge his freakin’ eyes out!
I wish there was something more I could actually do,
Besides holding my father’s hand
As we hug life by the toilet bowl;
But all I have, are my prayers, wishes, and this poem that washed out along the shorelines of a drunken stupor.

I have never been this sober.

“Sober” by Mallary McHenry aka Poet Without Apology

Poet without Apology is part of the 2014 Hear Here National Slam Team. Make a donation to the Hear Here National slam team directly on their Paypal — wheretohear@gmail.com.