Drinking And Writing

Drinking and Writing

The slurred myth of poet-drunks
being superior to sober poets
is only bar-talk between bullshitters
after two in the morning.
I mashed that self-destruct button
for a whole decade and got no gut-feeling
other than a sick one.
I lost valuables and fell in the streets,
racked up regrets and grievances, woke up
on the bottom half
of a wheeling depression
after nights of bad sleep in a backwards dream.
Dionysus never imbued me with the wisdom
of the vine. I never
saw the point of the moon
after a jug of wine.
What I gained in courage
I lost in dependency:
Booze only inspired
poor spelling
and a trip to the pisser
every three lines.

by Ryan Dowling

Practice Verse

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Here are some excerpts of the scrap verse I produced in iambic pentameter. It’s just practice, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

A murk-doomed day, its fleet of astral smog,
its subterranean earthworm exposed.
The cigarette, unashed, burnt to her lips,
and lit the fuse that burst within her breast.
The void was such a gentle place to be
in harsher times, the rose had three regrets.
All smothered in a business suit, the boy
outbet the men, like stars outburn the sun.
I’m seeing where I don’t belong, and why.
Behold the hour, no sweeter than its year,
at which we trash our calendars and clocks.

He holds his fate between his lips and smiles.
She fought a bird beneath a broken sky.
The wheel of doubt has struck me down again.
I turned the wheels inside her circus mind.
Those wheels burned against the painted clowns.
Sunk in a doom of birds, who won’t rejoice?
Tonight the stars say grace, and fall to snow.

We wore our hoods and slipped beneath the stars.
All sex is measured by its eloquence.
Made in the dark, what do decisions do?
Be serious, the song of you begins.
Be mad as ducks, shred rivers with your wings.
Be someone else, be anyone but me.
Believe in beauty, be the femme fatale.
Be death, transfigured, ghost of the ocean,
the fiery reef of the chief’s sea-tossed wife,
One bullet’s in the barrel of the gun.
The cabin slanted in the winter storm.
The tree picked at its bark with jagged sticks.
The guillotine is strung by tiny thread;
a cat plays with the knot beside the head.
Those eyes of easel grease and glassy ice.
A glistening of thorns broke from those eyes.
I’m melted in a maelstrom of selves,
Make the muck hum, toad of a tickled throat.
The royal skeleton upon his bone.

by Ryan Dowling

The Dark Side Of Dawn

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The Dark Side Of Dawn

I saw the stars expire in light of dawn.
Each bulb plucked from the sky as if by thieves.
I sought my lover’s eyes, but they were gone.

We drew a fleece over the dew-faced lawn
and laid until the sun had blazed the leaves.
I saw the stars expire in light of dawn.

A beacon forms the far east horizon
to prove the evening sly: The view deceives.
I sought my lover’s eyes, but they were gone.

We’d traced the constellation of a swan
and trimmed it out, and swung it from the eaves.
I saw the stars expire in light of dawn.

The widow wakes her bones without a yawn,
then steals into the grave in which she grieves.
I sought my lover’s eyes, but they were gone.

We dreamt in peace, like prophylactic pawns
the king has killed. One does what one believes.
I saw the stars expire in light of dawn.

The morning’s queen of all the land whereon
night set to fleeing Satan’s feet, not Eve’s.
I saw the stars expire in light of dawn.
I sought my lover’s eyes, but they were gone.

by Ryan Dowling

The Constraints of Time

The Constraints of Time

At birth, I clocked in with your heart.
I wound you up and let your cymbals bang.
Little monkey, run! off! Your ticker
isn’t long. Be sure to take your
time. Be sure you’re never
late! You have a meeting at six
and a mission at eight—lunch at eleven
at Ellen Estates. By noon,
may I remind you, the day
isn’t halfway behind you.
At two is the dentist, at three the repair man,
at four is that agent from Central L.A.
The dog wants to be walked, the kids
want to be played with. But the post offices,
the banks: they close by five
and you have nine month’s worth
of overdue fines. I’m telling you,
I am waving my three hands
from the walls, from the towers,
from your cell phone and computer;
I’m with you everywhere you go,
eating up pasts and spitting out futures.
I’m even strapped to your wrist,
always crying, “It’s time, it’s time!”
If you could just manage
a little nap, you could stop this
madness. As sure as tock follows
tick, you could forget I exist,
if only for a little while.

by Ryan Dowling