The haze of the drink

By Jon Hillenbrand In Poetry

You have to lean your head against something with your eyes closed and the closest thing is the cold beer in your right hand.  So you lean into its curve, your face falling into the slope of its neck, and sleep flows like the liquid in the bottle as the music is swallowed by your ears and down into your chest.  Your left hand looks for a place to fall between the greasy shot glasses.  Your eyes open and she’s still across the room with another man curling her hips to the beat like a tributary across the African plains, her sweat falling like distant white birds.  She laughs up into the air and spins her back against him, leaning in and bending at the waist, her body arched.  Her blond curls are a perfect frame to her eyes locked and waiting for the kill to register in yours.  You take another drink as you look back into her dark eyes and push past your friends’ legs, their hands stretching for your shoulders and scratching at your clothes, distant protests falling weakly behind you like thrown tissues.  Your target is her but you settle for the witless victim of her vengeance, your hands at his throat, elbows into his chest pushing him back until gravity or a wall stops your tandem fall into violence.  His surprise is irrelevant as is yours when you’re pulled away arm-in-arm by the neckless bouncers who silently and quickly carry you out.  You’re horizontal to the sidewalk as you leave their grasp and fall as you should, missing the couple who mock your drunkeness and receive your curses.  You scramble away blind, the couple in tow bent on your destruction for their unwelcome insult.  Destination unknown, you walk away from their shoves and goading, the memory and their blows close behind.  They follow you down the block and around the corner where your back receives a heavy impact, a thrown kick.  You stop and wait for the next and when it comes you kick at the girl’s knee, her boyfriend now pounding on your muscled back, as you curl away from his fists caromming harmlessly into the black sky.  They leave in victory or shame as the tears from the memory of those dark eyes and her arched back milk your vision of the gray curb you sit down upon, her lips and tongue into the man’s mouth.  Girls cross the street and sit down next to you, the defocused blue and green lights of the clubs illuminating her arms around your trembling shoulders, pleading for you to stop shaking, other fish and a wide sea and all that.  They scatter and you are alone for how long you don’t know.  Your face is on fire as a distant friend wisks you into a cab as the police enter the crowded area, questioning your driver as you silently sit in traffic and the soupy details of the event stain the tapestry of your life, the love evaporating into the ether.

What do you think?