POEM: “The Drinker #5” –I said to the Universe: ‘HVAC, engineer, truck’ as my list. / Kind of silly but I had no hope, couldn’t give a shit.

Loui Jover - Death of a Poet

The Drinker #5

It takes courage to know
You’re the one you defeat
And it takes courage to know
You’re the one that you seek.

~ Joseph Arthur, “It Takes Courage

This one hurts.

I’ve been single since 2011.
Never met someone in whom I was interested.
Beautiful diversion with the man who connected
to me via email in London, supporting in friendship.

But physically, sexually – at home: nope, dead horizon.
I vibe with a sweat smell I’d recognize when I met him.
And so it was – a match with a man who felt familiar,
And his touch the first night, kiss, was such pleasure.

I said to the Universe: ‘HVAC, engineer, truck’ as my list.
Kind of silly but I had no hope, couldn’t give a shit.
[Universe did you hear DRUNK instead of TRUCK
and PISSED instead of LIST?]

The first date he explained an HVAC job glitch,
He was an engineer, and he drove me home in, what? – imagine.

But this one hurts.

Three weeks in on our date, he stayed later
At the St-Henri bar for two pints, two shots then drove to the Arts Centre
I had to walk myself, but I’m a big girl, so chill, I tempered
But there he was: fucked-up, jovial, drunk, and buggered.

And so it is with men after a few weeks
They are honest – they tell you who they are in deets.
This one: I drink, I smoke pot, I’m a bit of a dick, and bipolar
I get angry, I cry sometimes, and it all goes in cycles on repeat.

Now I’ve written poems about my electric muse
Who turned me on like Irvine Welsh’s Filthy Bruce
But that’s in poetry, not in real life, to be sure
At least in proximity here in Montreal – it’s no use.

We made out and I quivered and I undulated in pleasure
And his skin and his fur and his cock hard after and again after.
And I pet his body, and I loved him, and kissed him better.
I probably knew after this – there’d be no return.

But this one hurts.

It takes courage to know I am my own worst enemy
It takes courage to articulate without retracting: result of my family
It takes courage to accept after 8 years single: fuck, AGAIN, REALLY???
It takes courage to believe Me deserves a better – me, eventually.

I’ve long stopped blaming these men for my misery.
It is me, I recall saying back in 2013
It is me who called them from bars, who ordered another round “on me”
It is me who is so emotionally detached that I float in their drinks.

So this one hurts.

When the touch is so good, but you know it’s empty
And you know he didn’t listen to a fucking thing I said/wrote anyway
And he’s not someone you can present to your work or friends-family
But you want so much to heal him with your sex, fun, and energy…

It hurts because where the hell is me in you?
And that’s been the story: there is no “me” in their booze.

And while my pints are two at most a month
And I’ve got a maybe-baby I could have had in a storybook from London
And there I’m talking of my not wanting children now
He does not know the story of that child/connection lost…

And this one hurts …

Because like Joseph Arthur says in his poem-refrain:

“It takes courage to utter your name
With a tone of real pride
In the absence of shame
(To not continue to hide)”

I am frightened after all these years
I continue to reverberate with men and their tears
Shameful that I am scared to face my fears –
To accept the love of a giving, stable man who holds my heart dear.

I’m scared to say: “My name is Sylvie, and I’m an alcoholic … lover”
Woman, is it a point of pride that you know how to heal the downtrodden?

Sylvie Hill, Montreal, June 9, 2019.