Hemlock – by PW Covington

Hemlock

This evening,
I am ordering hemlock
Over ice
In a rocks glass
From the bar at the hotel
Compromising with the barman,
Agave will do

Poisoning myself with south Texas
With denial
With faith and flags and family
I am poisoning myself with poetry
Poisoning myself with the cheap highway stuff
93 octane
Poisoning myself with the company of women
That I will never fuck

I’m not even sure what mirrors are for
Anymore
Poisoning myself with vanity
Sweet, sweet pride in mid-Spring swelter
This is not New England
Poisoning myself on promises made decades ago
On other continents

I am poisoning myself with the patience
Of a snake tail rattling
Poisoning myself with cheap, counter-top, condiments
With vending machine ice
At the Echo Hotel
I am poisoning myself with walls
And rifles…And checkpoints

Surveillance blimps tethered with
Long
White
Cords

I am poisoning myself like a peacock,
Shooting the Rio Grande River
Into rolling, shy, veins
A bump of smack backstage
Then on with the show
Tonight, I am feeling familiar, forgotten
Untrusted

I am poisoning myself with embossed credit cards
Transfixed by my name pressed on plastic
Poisoning myself on the streets of Austin
Somewhere south of the river
And north of Ben White
I am poisoning myself on Craigslist
Sucking cocks in a Zilker Park mens’ room

I am poisoning myself, looking for Venus
Through Army-surplus binoculars
In an era of
Don’t ask
Don’t tell
Don’t share
I don’t know

I am poisoning myself with muddy
Houston steam
And in smoky backrooms in Dallas
Poisoning myself with passions and dreams
Lessons and schemes
With poems written on napkins
Like plea-bargains

Trees shed leaves and serpents
Slough skin
It’s in places like this, I poison myself
Kill off
What does not belong
Gun stores and tequila
Offend me
But, I’ll drink with you
All
Night
Long.

pwcovingtonPW Covington’s writing is inspired and fueled by the Beat tradition of the American highway. He has been invited to read his work on both coasts and from the Mexican border to the Dakotas.
Covington’s short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his latest collection of poetry, titled “Sacred Wounds”, was published by Slough Press. More information about the writer can be found at www.PWCovington.com.

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