In high school I got sick off gin and swore it off forever.
Except I developed a taste for it in my thirties. The myth of drink for writers is intense. I am not immune to it, but it’s got less to do with my writing than with my psyche. But I can’t write when I’m shitfaced anyways.
I admire Bukowski and can concede that his affinity for drink may have had an effect on his work. Yes, drinking changes us, probably changed him––maybe he allowed it to became his companion. But certainly the core of Bukowski as a writer and poet was himself, his life experience, his childhood, his memories, etc.
My dad kept a bottle of Johnnie Walker under his chair for many years. I think he knew we knew, but did he care? I don’t care if you know about my bottles, I kinda wear them on my sleeve.
Maybe the bliss
that came with drinking came
only after a certain period
of apprenticeship. Eddie likened
it to the holy man’s self-flagellation
to experience the fullness of faith.
––excerpted from “Gin” by Philip Levine
I had a family in Korea. I had roots.
I wasn’t always alone as I am now.
I had a family
My parents left Korea in the early seventies and I am sorry for that. I wish I could have grown up with my big extended family and lived an uncomplicated life as a regular Korean person.
And then there was two
As a displaced person, I worked to extend my dysfunctional nuclear family to include the friends I managed to keep. And it was a smart thing to do because life is a better time when you are connected to good people.
But I’ll always have my Old Ladies.
it was still
where it had all begun.
––excerpted from “A Feeling” by Robert Creeley
My parents were seriously ill-matched.
Is this all there is?
Neither ready to live grown up lives, but rushing to marry because that’s what was expected.
Til death do us part
In their wedding pic, I swear my mom is bending a bit so she won’t tower over my father. I wonder how much she cared about. I was reading in Louise Bogan’s bio about how her mother shot up four inches past her father after they got married, and how her mother never forgave him for that.
They try to tell us we’re too young
In elementary school, a friend’s family invited me to be in her first communion ceremony and it looks like my mom thought it was a good idea. Crazy though because I don’t think my friend was old enough to marry God. Is anyone, really?
It’s a holy mystery
But look at my super-cute dress.
Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
–– excerpted from “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime” by William Carlos Williams