...After 8 years of just being dapperly drunk all the time writer David Von Behren endeavors to go 40 days without slurping an alcoholic libation, living to tell the tale by blogging about his daily snorkel into sobriety one day at a time, airing out his liver like fresh spring linen, forgoing the substance that has been his creative rod and staff in order to chronicle the dreams of all mankind...
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Day 17: perspicuity (part b)
Status: It is May and it is four years ago and you
have just slammed 25 beers in about five hours
Physiology: You are perspicuous and you are just
You continue to scuttle around your apartment
listening to music on full blast while poetically pounding beers. You swivel
around. You switch albums. You ogle the college girls floating by your
apartment window like tissues toting backpacks, headed to the library to cram
for finals. The music can never get loud enough. You can never get drink
enough. You are furiously chain smoking the hell out of anything you can find
that looks like it once possessed a filter. You put on a Peter Gabriel Album
and yearn for dollops of red rain. You have one beer left. A Sam Smith Oatmeal
stout which pours like horse grits in a lava lamp and reminds you of England.
You fish around your kitchen for a clean pint glass. You clang the countertop
drawers open and fish around for a bottle opener. When you strike out on both you
open the Sam Smith using your lighter in the fashion your cousin Larry taught
you when you were thirteen. You take a swig and pull up too fast and a mushroom
spume of foam shoots out from the top of the amber nozzle like you just gave it
head. On the record player Peter Gabriel is tithing a confessional of Mercy
Street, singing about Anne Sexton. In high school you had a picture of Anne
Sexton above your writing desk along with a picture of Walt Whitman and a
picture of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac and you would look at them and then look
out the window after school every day while listening to the Writers’ Almanac.
Sometimes when you are giving a poetry reading you will spontaneously break
into Sexton’s Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator. Peter Gabriel is singing a
swan-song soliloquy about Anne Sexton which crackles like a bonfire because it
is vinyl and for a moment, you feel you can dive through the molecular curtain
of time and save her, stop her as she is headed to her self-inflicted gas
chamber in her car with a kiss, her lips vodka chilled, tasting like a grade
school valentine with little white bumps due to the cocktails of
anti-depressants she is taking to curtail her depression. You think about
kissing her lips and perhaps instead of saving her, you would find yourself in
the backseat of the vehicle, her thighs flapping around the albino longitude of
your bare waistline like a butterfly, kneecaps transitioning into bony-pistons,
her to bedlam and part way back fingers clutching a scrap of your hair as if
trying to detasselyour scalp, wildly
fucking between sips of vodka and gaseous fumes until you scream each other’s
name and look into the cue ball of each others eyes and cough and then are collectively
You are seeking transformation. You want to turn
into something different from what you already are.
You want to sprout wings.
When the red-headed girl surprised you two years ago
you took her to an area in Bradley park not far from the graffiti’d vaginal
entrance to the Flumes that you used to call your clubhouse growing up. It is a
random sewer opening that is wide enough to walk in to.
“We used to hang out here after school. Sometimes we
would smoke but mainly we would just kick it here. It’s really nice especially
in the autumn.”
She is smiling. You want to show her everything that
is dear to you even though most girls would think it petty. Next to the sewer
opening there is a picture of a marijuana leaf with the words CHRONIC scripted
below.On the other entrance is a Jewish
star with hieroglyphic cuneiform stitched above followed by the words VICE and
“Thing is, it goes back for at least 600 meters. If
you keep walking straight back after about thirty feet in you can’t see shit.
It’s just dark and tenebrous. It’s like being back in the womb.”
You met the red headed girl after watching her give a
lecture on mysticism on-line and you sent her what constitutes a fan letter.
Some how you started writing each other long letters and somehow you started
having eight hour I.M. sessions where every time you touched the keyboard it
was like you were brushing against her cheekbones trying to make her laugh,
using language to make her smile, using words to make her cum.
Somehow you continued to write even though she was
involved with this film maker who had a pubic haired beard and was always
traveling to China and Nepal to shoot documentaries and somehow you both found
yourself together, six months before she surprised you in Peoria, enjoined on a
park bench in San Francisco, on the perfect autumnal day holding her for six hours straight. You didn’t
kiss and somehow it was perfect. You shared a hotel room that night and she
slept in your lucky White Sox t-shirt and panties and you simply held her close
and all was right in the world and you even accepted that she went back to her
pubic-bearded wanna-be-filmmaker after the perfect day.
She arrived spontaneously in Peoria to surprise you
six months later.
You talk about Mysticism and Persian poets. You
quote her Rumi, you tell her to come to the garden in spring, there is light
and wine and sweetheart in the pomegranate flowers. If you do not come. These
do not matter. If you do come. These do not matter.
You quote her Shams of Tabriz, the poem with all the
cluttered pronouns that was found when they unearthed Shams grave. The poem
about mystic plurality and metaphysical oneness with the globe. The poem that
begins, “I, you , he, she we/In the garden of Mystic Lover’s/These are not true
You look at the nautical suds accumulating in the
bottom ofyour Sam Smith and hold it up
to your visage in the fashion of telescope seeking land.
You are thinking about the red headed girl. You are
quoting pomes out loud. You are hungry. You want meat.
You want more beer.
Inside St. Mary’s the officer is standing next to
you in almost groomsmen-like fashion. You are talking to the EMT’ers trying to
tell them that you are okay.
For some reason you keep on using the word
perspicuous even though you know that no one else knows what that word means.
How human beings can have viable careers and
materialistic lives and not know what the word perspicuous means is beyond you.
“I was in the Owl’s nest and had a couple of beers
and I was sitting next to this seedy girl and I think she spiked my drink.”
When the EMT’ers inquire how much you had to drink
you say a couple. When they ask you how much constitutes a couple you lie and
say I don’t, maybe six.
The officer seems to be on your side. You point and
tell them that you live less than 800 meters away and you can just walk home
and sleep it off. One of the EMT’ers says that if you really think your drinks
were doctored you should go to the hospital and get checked out. He pulls out a
cell phone. The officer asks for your i.d. and peruses it like an item in a
check-out lane and then says okay.
“I just talked to the doctor,” he said “She wants
you to come in just you can get checked out. Just in case something is slipped
in your system that is toxic. It’s just for the best. It’s just procedure.”
You refrain from using the word perspicuous because
you are pissed. The officer leading you into the back of the ambulance. The
EMT’ers are forcing you to lie down so that your vision is confined solely to
the ceiling in the ambulance. From behind you can hear the officer telling the
flock of humans who have gathered near the cemetery gates that he is okay. That
he is oaky, folks. That he is just having a bad day.
a step back. Cross one leg behind
other. With your right foot, stomp
hard on the heel of your left shoe.
the same with the opposite foot.
peel off each sock one at a time.
them up like a limp torch.
handing the serpent back her garter.
your way down from neck to
remove each button from its
slit, dab your right index
on the tip of your tongue.
a fingertip inside your belly-button
a little squeak with your lips.
Release the metallic knot near your waist.
how your central helix splits your body
half as you unzip yourself from your shadow.
out of yourself for a moment.
how each layer of cloth
into a scattered heap.
remove your undergarments
hissing over milkweeds
a step forward.
yourself in the mirror.
the appendages, the swerves,
tattoo your mother doesn’t know about yet.
the nodules. The constellation of moles
dip where your body becomes your body
place where you become you
above a puddle of sloughed raiment,
both of your hands as hard as you can
top of your head and look into the mirror
that you are capitulating to something
that you are leaving yourself
that you will never come back
the place where your body was yours
you forgot the color of your name.
You find yourself at Mcdonald’s on Western which you
refer to as McShit. You fucking despise Mickie-dees but the only other outlets
within drunken ambling distance from your apartment is Bacci’s pizza and that
noxious Burrito place in campus town. When you were seven you had your birthday
party in this same building and they gave you a purple shirt with Grimace on it
proclaiming I HAD MY BIRTHDAY AT MCDONALDS. You are standing in line when you
hear voice in front of you.
You look. It your Godmother. Joanne Wreight.
Miss Wreight was in your mother’s wedding and was
your first grade teacher. She adopted several Vietnamese refugees. She
volunteers at the hospital and works with retarded people in her spare time and
is one of the most benevolent straight-laced souls you have ever met. When you
got fired from Bradley oer some bullshit last December she called you out of
the blue and told you just how proud she was of you that you were able to find
another job that pays more so quickly.
She arrived at your thirtieth birthday party a year
okay although she left early when everyone started to get drunk, not judging
anyone for drinking in the slightest.
Every time you have a conversation with Joanne
Wreight she always ends by saying that she prays for you every day.
“Are you okay? You look like you just got run over.”
You tell her you are fine. You tell her that you
aren’t sleeping much since you are working third shifts and lie and say when
you go home all you do is write.
You change topics. You ask her if she is still
volunteering at PARC. You ask her how things are at good ol’ Christ Lutheran.
She nods very simply and says fine.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” She inquires again
stating that if you like she can give you a lift back home after you get your
“I’m fine,” You say, stepping up, prostituting the
dollar menu. Your food arrives scrunches in a brown paper bag.
“Okay,” Your godmother says, telling you to go home.
Telling you that she hopes you can get some rest before work.
You give her a quick hug and tell her it was nice
“I still pray for you every day, David.” She says as
your godmother tells you goodbye.