Epistle of the Inebriate
I went to the worst of bars
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto drink with the other animals,
xxxxlifted the glass to my mouth
and I drank deeply, I drank so deeply.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMy head neolithic,
river of speechless current,
listening to the in-between despite the abyss at the edge of the table.
xxxxxxxxxxxxAs the empty cans dropped out of our paws
something caught inside our throats was released—some old grief,
xxxxxxxxxxxxsprung from the head of a thousand-fisted wretch.
Vomiting it all up on Pearse Street,
xxxxxxxxxxxxtossing off expletives into the sea of cab lights,
xxxxxxxxleaning on one another, too tired to go home.
Source & Method
This is a cento, a poetic mash-up. Each verse line is taken from a line of a particular poet. These are the source poets in order of appearance: Charles Bukowski, Laura Cronk, W.B. Yeats, Jerry Williams, sam sax, Jenny Xie, Pablo Medina, Tony Hoagland, Lee Upton, Safiya Sinclair, Lani O’Hanlon, Wendy Xu, and Hayden Carruth.
Aidan Chafe is the author of the poetry collection Short Histories of Light (McGill-Queen’s University Press). His work has appeared in numerous literary journals in both Canada and the U.S. He lives on unceded Musqueam Territory (Vancouver, BC).
Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash
windowless room to perform a stack
of tasks that never goes down
nail a clock to the wall
numbers that connect to nothing
imagining different high places to jump off
despite prayers and effort
dusted the desk with his cuff
think beach when he starts to get antsy
with enough practice and concentration
you could stop your heart at will
the same way you hold your breath
impossibly slow the sound
of ripping paper again and again
Source: Wiggle Room by David Foster Wallace
Aidan Chafe is the author of the chapbooks Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press, 2016) and Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, Cordite Poetry Review, Oolichan Books, The Paragon Journal, Scrivener Creative Review and Sulphur. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.