Friday, January 31, 2020


Sick of adolescence, legal at last,
you head to the nearest bar, 
waving your ID like a flag. 
Beer...forget it. 
You're from a long line of under-age keg parties. 
You want whiskey and you want it now.

Three glasses later
and you're slurring speech,
acting crazy,
feeling adult and debauched.
It's better than pot,
better than glue,
now if only your stomach
would agree.

Bar-tender says,
"That's enough."
What's he talking about?
Your watch may be blurry
but time can't retreat.
You're not twenty all of a sudden.
You're twenty-one
and you're staying that way.

One more half-drunk, half spilled
down your shirt,
and two of your drinking buddies
grab you by the shoulders,
stumble you out the door
and then the three blocks to your dorm.

Sick at last,
you crawl to the nearest bathroom, 
head deep in toilet bowl, 
vomit for what seems an age.
Twenty-one by my reckoning.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
That, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline,
Hawaii Pacific Review and Clade Song.

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