on a windy night, storm a-brewing,
cold bottle of white wine on the desk,
stale tobacco in the pouch,
and Alan Jackson and Hank Williams
(father and son) speaking to me.
staring outside, remembering lost
friends, loves, embraces, life.
the dives of another country, the
endless rows of drunks and junkies
populating parks and dark alleys.
the fancy establishments of this town, the razed hometown of dead
long gulps from the bottle that freezes
my hand, sheaths of blue smoke rising
from the filled ashtray. too long since
the last true alcoholic night,
a night of truth and cruel nightmares
drowning in infernal pits.
the bottom reached too soon, another
bottle cracked open,
cork thrown away, its purpose
cigarettes, white wine, and good music,
teleporting me back to simpler times,
when nirvana and the great blue dragon
were all I chased, all
I gave a damn about. when Emily would
sit next to me,
smile, and say “let’s have another,”
meaning the fourth
bottle of drugstore wine or second
bottle of Kentucky rotgut.
each sip longer, more refreshing;
hitting the aching heart,
kindling the perishing soul. Emily, her
lips on mine, as we
dance under the Purple Rain. now, all alone,
the storm my only friend. another
Hank, I too am so lonesome I could cry. it’s all right.
you made it; perhaps, I’ll make it.
only a year younger than you were
when you left the world.
plenty of time for the last chapter.
a dash to the liquor store. a visit
to the nearby bar. somewhere where
Emily’s spirit’s still alive and kicking.
somewhere. far far fucking away.
jumping off the wagon; it comes back
and drives over me.
again and again. I ain’t climbing back up!
it’s over. bottle number four, sun’s
coming up, a deluge comes and people
go to work under pink umbrellas.
I go to bed, finally free. Emily’s at
the Bar, taking odds for my arrival.
Moments of Perfect Sanity
after a few (six-packs of) beers, the
races; countless thoughts, memories
thought lost in the abyss,
faces and words barely recalled.
they all come back, the mind becomes
and the demons are allowed some time in
for a smoke, or ten.
those moments matter the most; the
you’re yourself. perhaps, encouraging
people to get drunk
is frowned upon today. looking back
at the great drunken figures of
how can anyone advise against alcohol?
all the brilliant minds sought the
liberation booze proffers,
the magic ability to see things
clearly, and differently.
sure, there are negatives; you might
say things you come
you’d never admit sober.
the thoughts are already there; the
madness is already there.
the drink unlocks the cages in the
freeing the prisoners: monsters, cruel
demons, repressed memories,
suppressed thoughts and opinions.
you view the world under new,
different, crystal-clear lenses
(even if at first they appear blurry)
and that’s what we should
all seek out.
always lit, a simple reminder of better
times—though cruel and
stained by rock, smack, and glass, it
magnificent mornings, when you held my
as I was about to pour it all in my
body and let my soul
fly high up at the Bar, that kept me
now, I’ve got nothing; could only utter
the dreaded “I love you”
to cheap replacements I thought would
the gargantuan hole in my psyche and
I stare at the dancing flames of
the flickering candle struggling in the
nothing left to live for, only the
still come in the middle of heartless
nights to remind me
of what could have been.
in moments like these, these dry nights
of pure nothingness,
I reach out, hoping to feel your hand
catch nothing but
frigid air, soulless ghouls haunt the
streets and I stay
locked inside; I hear “Purple Rain”
how we silently danced that very first
how it felt it was something fairy tales are made of.
it had the opportunity, only (like me)
our romance writer
was a fucking realist. only fitting,
keep on writing, too, still fighting to
earn my stool at the Bar.
I still (it’s been eight long dark
years) seek for
your hand, your soft whisper in my ear,
your fiery kiss.
the streets, the dives, the hour-rate
nothing to show for. nothing even
resembling our late nights of
staring at the heavy snowfall while
burning an 8ball.
the candle still flickers despite the
storms, despite the deluge,
the snowstorm, the menacing monsters
blowing at it.
still flickering, struggling, fighting
for every second of life.
in the withering flame I see your eyes;
finally crack up a quavering smile.
a sixty-year tenure on one barstool,
eligible for retirement if boozing was
a respected profession,
every order of Jim neat and PBR back
treated with reverence
just in case it’s the very last. all
at the crack of dawn, even in the midst
of heavy drunken sleep,
the opening of the bar calls upon them
like a doped rooster,
plodding through alleyways to make it
for first call,
first order of the day—for some, it
might be the last—
sixty years on a barstool, making it to
seventy, living longer
than gym rats, sometimes,
seeing through pandemics, wars,
terrorist attacks, neoprohibitionism;
always there, Jim and PBR offering
warmth and safety
against viruses, landlords, police
officers, nagging spouses.
if only boozing and day labouring could
offer a decent retirement plan;
if the doctors in the charity ward did
not prioritize dries; if only…
the third round murders the what-ifs;
the fifth allows the sun to shine.
reaching the tenth means seeing yet
another day through to last call.
nothing’s changing for years—I still
see your eyes in
dreams that turn into nightmares,
because you OD in them like
you did on my foldout couch—staring at
pictures of some that came after
you—their eyes never emitting
the same glow, that glint that, even
after a fifth of bad gin, never
failed to rejuvenate me—I sit here with
some Plymouth gin,
staring at the photograph of someone
else, thinking of you
the night shall soon end, fuck it, I’ll
drink the morning
away, like we did many times—remember
binge-watched MASH while swilling box
I can’t rewatch the show without
your kisses wet my arid lips and the
gin only briefly
washes away the taste of ghost
strawberry—are things better
over there? are you drinking Dionysus
under the table?
tell the Devil I’m coming—make him
quaver in his fancy tux.
our nights ended so long ago, I often
think they occurred
in another lifetime—music fills the
room, songs from the days
we drank everyone under rusty
tables—come back, just for a night,
let us show the world how it’s
done—back then we’d make Buk proud,
you were my Jane, and hotter than
Faye—I pour me another drink, killing
another night just because
I can’t bear living with your thoughts.
residing in Greece, George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy
of Science and supports his writing by doing freelance jobs whenever he can get
them. Has published a novella, Letters to S. (Storylandia) and a poetry
collection, Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds (Adelaide Books). His
drunken words have appeared in various literary magazines and outlets, such as
Spillwords Press, Ariel Chart, Fixator Press, Piker’s Press, The Edge of
Humanity Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Modern Drunkard Magazine.