Monday, September 16, 2019

On the Back Porch, Bacchus Retired by Clifford Brooks

Bacchus sits back with his dignity intact
and reminisces about bad luck:
“It isn’t romantic, or admirably tragic,
to waste one’s life as a drunk.”
He speaks without regret:
“Art isn’t reason for addiction.
Creativity isn’t a debt.”

“Barrooms breed a fool’s folklore.
Shotgun claimed Cobain; booze left Joplin floored.”
Bacchus alone endures,
“A family sees their tree
has another apple
watering itself into a stupor.
No good reason except bad timing,
the fate of a selfish torpor.”

“Apathy was my altar,
and Kerouac shared that fetid womb.”
Bacchus blows smoke,
“One thing coaxed me out of that tomb.”
His eyes hovered over his ocean view.
Peaceful, humble, healthy, subdued,
this respite enjoyed by too few.

The decommissioned deity is asked every day,
Do you miss it, the melee or the old crew?
 “No. Good company was overdue.”
Bacchus  breathes, then smiles,
“Good folks, the one thing:
I didn’t expire
in the addled by and by
because death-by-cliché
is the worst way to die.”

Clifford Brooks ( was born in Athens, Georgia His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published in 2017. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was re-issued in August 2018. Evergreens, his second chapbook, will be released by Lucid House Publishing in 2019. 

Clifford is the founder of The Southern Collective Experience (, a cooperative of writers, musicians and visual artists, which publishes the journal of culture The Blue Mountain Review and hosts the NPR show Dante’s Old South. He is on the faculty of The Company of Writers, and provides tutorials on poetry through the Noetic teaching application.  

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