Sugarpants: the Scrawl Blogazine   Leave a comment

http://www.stwa.net/blog/2010/08/13/drunk-poems-series-helen-peterson/

In my post about Poetic Diversity, I mentioned that I belonged to an online writers’ workshop. That forum, called Scrawl:The Writers’ Asylum, also runs a blog that showcases some of the work of the members.  Last month they posted a poem of mine called “When He is Drunk on Me” in a series of drunk poems by various poets.

Like most creative people when they get together, writers like to riff on one another’s work. Someone writes something, someone else draws on similar experiences, and writes something new. This can continue on with someone else, or the first person can build again on the second person’s work. You see this a lot with musicians, the guitar player puts some chords together, the drummer builds a back beat to carry it, the pianist weaves her own notes in and out. We do the same, just with words.

In this case, it started in a topical thread about what people do when they are drunk, mostly humorous anecdotes came out, but then one brilliant poet and all around wonderful person named Sue Miller posted that when she is drunk she thinks about Wyoming. Then she wrote a poem with a similar title, and posted it in the poetry workshop. From there others posted Drunk poems thinking about other places, and sometimes, like me, about other people.

For me, the word drunk is heavy with the regret of a failed marriage. Being the wife of a full-blown alcoholic meant that moments that should have been beautiful were tinged with ugliness.  It is not a happy poem, it is not a pretty poem. It rips off the scab, hard, and I almost didn’t want it to be posted in a public forum. I was afraid to allow a peek under the covers, so to speak, how people might change their perception of me, of him. But then I thought of the other women out there in the world who might have gone through similar experiences, of wanting to make love, hold their husbands close, feel loved. Instead, they gag on the fumes coming from his mouth, the dirty sweat, the blacking out. I thought, perhaps, it might help them if they come across this poem to know they aren’t alone, that it’s ok to feel disappointed with the way things have turned out.

I hope, as you read this poem, you don’t think less of me. I hope you can fall back on your own good experiences in love and romance, enjoy them, and never take them for granted.

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