Sober Trees

Days I don’t drink I am aimless
in a crowded Sears in a small Iowa.

The lights are ridiculously bright
& frankly, I can’t get used to that.

I am mesmerized with the escalators
& not just the oblivious ups & downs

but by the illusion of not getting any-
where & continuously. I drink strategic-

ally half the time to be unsure of my natural
state of consciousness. It’s a pillow over

the face this sober thing. In its parking lot,
the vulture tow trucks look for souls

who left their headlights burning & charge
exorbitantly for a jump. I admit sympathy

for teen-age girls dropped off by their nervous
dads with baby sitting moola crammed in their

tiny pocketbooks. When I drink the stars appear
very impersonal so I know my twin exists

elsewhere & one of us knows the truth & has
conned the other into some sad isolation that

acts like a very loyal yo-yo. If I think about it,
the leaves cover trees less than half the year

but I think of the natural, sober state
of a tree as having leaves, not being bare.

—Bruce Cohen


Image by George Tooker
Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 1:09 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. qa strangely moving, sad poem from a poet I’d not heard of, though the tone and the observations remind me of Phillip Larkin, and the whole thing puts me in mind of Mary Gauthier’s song ‘I Drink’

  2. As depressing as he was, I’m a longtime fan of Phillip Larkin. Mary Gauthier is new to me so I checked out “I Drink” on Lala. I see your point.

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