(after Sharon Olds)
Fully informed about the vintage
of my parents and how they failed
to be even that, I decided, as a teen,
to never follow in their footsteps,
never recreate their mistakes. Meaning
I wasn't going to drink. College soon
put paid to that, (the best camouflage
is fitting in). So, I learned a great deal
about the glories of excess, and how to
make any tick o' the clock happy
hour. In fact, it wouldn't be for years
to come that I would fall into the deep
end of the glass and not be smart enough
to know when to stop sinking myself.
Three decades decayed away my hope
of ever feeling normal around alcohol.
I try to forgive the dumb kid now. Pride
in my sobriety is tsk-tsk-ing a beer radio
commercial at 8 a.m., while humility is
admitting that's not the earliest I ever drank.
If I were to blame it all on the missteps
of that self-made stupid student, I would
also have to admit he never set a foot
to print that wouldn't lead straight here
to the shoes I put on, one at a time, today.