Thursday, December 3, 2020

THE DRINKING (or READING ROETHKE WHILE SHELTERED IN PLACE) by Dan O’Connell


after The Waking, a villanelle by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. 
I learn by going where I have to go. 

I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow.
I feel my fate with hands of Purell smear.
I learn by going where I should not go. 

We think by drinking. What is there to know? 
I hear my virus leap from beer to beer. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 

Of those so close beside me, how dare you!
God bless the Liquor Store! I walk softly there,
And learn where I am Ordered not to go. 

Virus takes the Lung; who can tell us how? 
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 

Great Nature has another thing to do 
To you and me; so take the masked air, 
And, lovely, learn there is nowhere to go.

This vodka keeps me steady. I should know. 
What wipes away is always. And is near. 
I wake to drink, and take my drinking slow. 
I learn by going where I do not want to go.





Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, and multiple finalist and honorable mention. His poems have appeared over seventy times, including in Mississippi Review, Homestead Review, San Francisco Reader, Parthenon West Review, RavensPerch and Ghost Town Review. A former Philosophy and Rhetoric professor, Dan has his own law practice with a focus on protecting renters and workers. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Different Coasts, and Theory of Salvation. Find Dan O. at www.danoconnellpoetry.com




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