Vodka wants me awake, google-eyed,
ranting. Tonight’s hyacinth presses
into the furrowed New Testament pages
of my arms, thin and dry. It’s only the
inebriation of taste and smell for me.
Loneliness dovetails into bottles
in bars, lacquered eyes confessing
to abandoned priesthoods, while
missionary hands burn against glass.
We speak in tongues. We are somber,
not sober, because tomorrow we’ll be
adrift, floating on desks and trains,
leather belts holding us together.
I wore a coat here, turned its collar
against moon-street winds. My barstool
flower folds over me, braced for
an ice storm. Vodka and juke blues want
me to pluck, nose into whorl, close
the book on her sultry, broken stem.
Michael Dwayne Smith proudly owns and operates one of the English-speaking world’s most unusual names. His apparitions can be seen at Word Riot, >kill author, The Cortland Review, Monkeybicycle, Blue Fifth Review, BLIP, The Northville Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Orion headless, Quantum Poetry Magazine, Short, Fast, and Deadly, Phantom Kangaroo, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, and other haunts. A recipient of both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction, he currently lives in a desert town along with his wife, son, and rescued animals—all of whom talk in their sleep. Conjure him on Twitter with the spell @michaelthebear or on the interwebs at http://michaeldwaynesmith.tumblr.com