You can see the river
from the place where he drowned
whisky after whisky until dry land
was just a wistful dream
proud and plowed under.
He felt like seaweed
trapped in a current
ever farther to sea.
There’s something reassuring and familiar and — get this — liberating — in a hangover.
That’s the way I used to feel.
Sometimes, even a decade and a half later, waking up sluggish (musta fell asleep with my face in the pillow again) I’ll grasp my coffee mug with the sort of grimly firm grip of someone who thinks the still liquid morning might somehow melt through his fingers and end up a puddle on the kitchen floor.
A hangover, I found, was a great excuse. Not for bosses, maybe. And not always for girlfriends.
But when you stumbled out of bed, carefully putting one foot flatly in front of the other in that gravity-must-be-crazy-today walk of the seasoned, habitual drunk… you knew you were doing the best you could… just stumbling into the blinding morning light.
I‘m not the first drunk to suggest that he drank not to forget but to not care. I found that the latter state was typically arrived at just before the former.
I also found that, if you were careful, you could get into that state early in the evening and stay in it until, oh, sometime… sometime when it just didn’t matter, anymore.
I found myself stymied by this song over the last few days. I’d recorded a version of it and started to put it up on the web… but as I listened to it, I realized it simply wasn’t up to the high standards of…
OK, no, seriously, even I couldn’t browbeat myself into putting that version up. The next day, as much because I’d written down the song title in a draft of the day’s AYoS blog entry, I found myself both compelled and unable to finish the song. And move on.
But the song defied me. Hell, it laughed in my face. Late each night I tried again to get an acceptable version. It became, you know, a thing.
I finally turned the song inside out and stripped out the familiar blues elements and repetitions.
I suppose I ought to have a periodic disclaimer that stipulates that I’m painfully aware of how far from pitch my singing typically is. I like to think of it as… uh… expressive.