13 Ways Of Looking At Bourbon

As a short life
that bites and quickens the blood
before swirling the drain,
he downed the shot in one go.

The bottle of bourbon
was his djinni demon,
granting his most beloved dream
in the black-out oblivion
of inebriation.
Silence.

So much that was hard to swallow
in life
he washed down
with firewater burning
at 180 proof.

He cut his worries
like he cut his bourbon—
with chunks of ice-cold indifference.

The angels drank their
inspiriting share
and in return
blackened the world
with their drunken hymns.

Sour mash teemed,
life becoming death
as bacteria ate themselves
toward extinction—
Man likewise.

The golden amber liquid
sloshed inside the glittering glass,
a magical potion dispelling illusions
and opening portals
toward the truer realms of
personality.

The bottle,
like his patience,
had been depleted,
shattering over the
skull
of the belligerent country bumpkin.

They lubed the wheels
of their lovemaking
with bourbon foreplay,
only for the wheels to slide
right off the tracks.

Barrel-chested
and full of himself,
his blood burned hot as bourbon
until the day
a bullet
un-bunged his heart.

They distilled their culture
using corn, rye, malt,
limestone springwater,
coal, lime, salt,
and plenty of caustic.

White Dog so pure
it brought tears to their eyes,
and helped them breathe fire
to burn crosses.

The rackhouse collapsed,
spilling its barrels outward
like a dying sow
birthing a fat farrow of piglets.

Thirteen Ways Of Looking At Tobacco

The chew slowly liquefied
like dead vegetation
into the black bog
of his mouth.

Spat out in contempt,
the chewing tobacco
struck the floor
she mopped clean
only yesterday;
her head bowed
and her face flinching.

The tobacco was cut down,
tied tightly,
and hoisted up
to hang upon a rope
in the forgetful rafters
of the lynch mob’s barn.

The tobacco leaves shivered nervously
as the farmer passed by,
his machete winking
in the light of dawn
and whispering
sibilant promises
as the blade dangled overhead.

Rolled up snugly
in a white cigarette sheet,
like his wife in their honeymoon bed—
the tobacco, also, was not as pure as he had thought.

He stripped tobacco as a child,
learning quickly
how his hardwork
would be blown up in smoke
by the wealthy
in their easy leisure.

The cure for his anxiety
was the chew in his teeth,
and the anxiety itself
was the need to chew—
Ouroboros thus chewed itself.

His jaw muscles were as taut
as banjo strings,
and the twang of his
tuneless tongue
set her into a jig of rage.

The black ichor of his tobacco
oozed slowly down his broken jaw;
a swollen leech glutting in blood.

The stained tobacco jar sat
shamelessly
in the middle of the living room
like the sins of that household
visible for all to see.

They gathered the plants onto the wagon
like the strewn dead of the Civil War.

The little tin of Skoal
left behind by his coworker
on his desk, in his office,
was the same petty grudge
canned and distributed
to all of their coworkers.

He snapped the peace pipe
in two
because the flavor of their people’s
offering
repulsed him so.

Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Cigarette

The cigarette between her teeth
flared
like the nostril of a dragon
while she glowered
silently
across the table.

The cigarettes gleamed
in the smoke shack
like the eyes of
headlight-hypnotized deer
gathered in the dark
of their nicotine addiction.

The cigarette butt scattered
as sparks across the highway,
a phoenix run aground
and burning itself out
one final time.

As a nova
too far away to be of consequence,
the cigarette extinguished
upon Brahma’s breath.

The word seared and scarred
as a hot cigarette
pressed hard upon the flesh.

Fading in luminosity
as a beatnik on stage
running low
on mojo,
the cigarette butt sputtered out.

Unlit, the cigarette was as an
unborn infant
awaiting the burning away
of innocence.

She took his meaning
the wrong way
as a tongue takes a lit cigarette
backwards.

The ash tray welcomed the cigarette
as a grave the gravedigger.

She signed the divorce papers
by the light of
the lipstick-stained cigarette
she found by the nightstand
of their marriage bed.

The cigarettes were shuffled
in their pack
by a careless hand, all conscripted
into a unit of soldiers
soon to be burned away
by the whim of idle lips.

Stoked kindling
to start the wildfire
consuming the black forest
of the lungs,
the cigarettes burned.

Under her smoldering heart
his manhood burned itself out
as a cigarette
lost in her brassiere.