1. Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump

    Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride
    to the dump in carloads
    to turn our headlights across the wasted field,
    freeze the startled eyes of rats against mounds of rubbish.

    Shot in the head, they jump only once, lie still
    like dead beer cans.
    Shot in the gut or rump, they writhe and try to burrow
    into garbage, hide in old truck tires,
    rusty oil drums, cardboard boxes scattered across the mounds,
    or else drag themselves on forelegs across our beams of light
    toward the darkness at the edge of the dump.

    It’s the light they believe kills.
    We drink and load again, let them crawl
    for all they’re worth into the darkness we’re headed for.


    By David Bottoms

     
  2. Nights

    Drunk and weeping. It’s another night
    at the live-in opera, and I figure
    it’s going to turn out badly for me.
    The dead next door accept their salutations,
    their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.
    It’s we the living who must run for cover,
    meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,
    and after that comes lechery and lying.
    And, oh, how to piece together a life
    from this scandal and confusion, as if
    the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting
    with us, just for the music’s sake.


    By Harvey Shapiro

     
  3. Men and Their Boring Arguments

    One man on his own can be quite good fun
    But don’t go drinking with two -
    They’ll probably have an argument
    And take no notice of you.

    What makes men so tedious
    Is the need to show off and compete.
    They’ll bore you to death for hours and hours
    Before they’ll admit defeat.

    It often happens at dinner-parties
    Where brother disputes with brother
    And we can’t even talk among ourselves
    Because we’re not next to each other.

    Some men like to argue with women -
    Don’t give them a chance to begin.
    You won’t be allowed to change the subject
    Until you have given in.

    A man with the bit between his teeth
    Will keep you up half the night
    And the only way to get some sleep
    Is to say, ‘I expect you’re right.’

    I expect you’re right, my dearest love.
    I expect you’re right, my friend.
    These boring arguments make no difference
    To anything in the end.


    By Wendy Cope

     
  4. As Planned

    After the first glass of vodka
    you can accept just about anything
    of life even your own mysteriousness
    you think it is nice that a box
    of matches is purple and brown and is called
    La Petite and comes from Sweden
    for they are words that you know and that
    is all you know words not their feelings
    or what they mean and you write because
    you know them not because you understand them
    because you don’t you are stupid and lazy
    and will never be great but you do
    what you know because what else is there?


    By Frank O’Hara

     
  5. the suicide kid

    I went to the worst of bars
    hoping to get
    killed.
    but all I could do was to
    get drunk
    again.
    worse, the bar patrons even
    ended up
    liking me.
    there I was trying to get
    pushed over the dark
    edge
    and I ended up with
    free drinks
    while somewhere else
    some poor
    son-of-a-bitch was in a hospital
    bed,
    tubes sticking out all over
    him
    as he fought like hell
    to live.
    nobody would help me
    die as
    the drinks kept
    coming,
    as the next day
    waited for me
    with its steel clamps,
    its stinking
    anonymity,
    its incogitant
    attitude.
    death doesn’t always
    come running
    when you call
    it,
    not even if you
    call it
    from a shining
    castle
    or from an ocean liner
    or from the best bar
    on earth (or the
    worst).
    such impertinence
    only makes the gods
    hesitate and
    delay.
    ask me: I’m
    72.


    By Charles Bukowski

     
  6. Dostoevsky

    against the wall, the firing squad ready.
    then he got a reprieve.
    suppose they had shot Dostoevsky?
    before he wrote all that?
    I suppose it wouldn’t have
    mattered
    not directly.
    there are billions of people who have
    never read him and never
    will.
    but as a young man I know that he
    got me through the factories,
    past the whores,
    lifted me high through the night
    and put me down
    in a better
    place.
    even while in the bar
    drinking with the other
    derelicts,
    I was glad they gave Dostoevsky a
    reprieve,
    it gave me one,
    allowed me to look directly at those
    rancid faces
    in my world,
    death pointing its finger,
    I held fast,
    an immaculate drunk
    sharing the stinking dark with
    my
    brothers.


    By Charles Bukowski

     
  7. A Drinking Song

    Wine comes in at the mouth
    And love comes in at the eye;
    That’s all we shall know for truth
    Before we grow old and die.
    I lift the glass to my mouth,
    I look at you, and I sigh.


    By W. B. Yeats

     
  8. The Only Bar in Dixon

    Home. Home. I knew it entering.
    Green cheap plaster and the stores
    across the street toward the river
    failed. One Indian depressed
    on Thunderbird. Another buying
    Thunderbird to go. This air
    is fat with gangsters I imagine
    on the run. If they ran here
    they would be running from
    imaginary cars. No one cares
    about the wanted posters
    in the brand new concrete block P.O.

    This is home because some people
    go to Perma and come back
    from Perma saying Perma
    is no fun. To revive, you take 382
    to Hot Springs, your life savings
    ready for a choice of bars, your hotel
    glamorous with neon up the hill.
    Is home because the Jocko
    dies into the Flathead. Home because
    the Flathead goes home north northwest.

    I want home full of grim permission.
    You can go as out of business here
    as rivers or the railroad station.
    I knew it entering.
    Five bourbons
    and I’m in some other home.

    by Richard Hugo

     
  9. Get Drunk

    One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters; that’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without cease.

    But with what? With wine, poetry, or virtue as you choose. But get drunk.

    And if, at some time, on steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated, ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock, all that which flees, all that which groans, all that which rolls, all that which sings, all that which speaks, ask them, what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock, they will all reply:

    "It is time to get drunk!

    So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk, get drunk, and never pause for rest! With wine, poetry, or virtue, as you choose!”

    By Charles “Continually Shitfaced” Baudelaire