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Stephen Roxborough

Drinking with the Ghost of Dylan Thomas

The night I went drinking with the ghost of Dylan Thomas I knew I was in trouble, but that night I must have needed some trouble so I braced my liver for the wild storm of swirling insight to come and stopped my mind chasing academic devils on the head of a pointless pin and started dancing with graceful angels on tops of round pub tables crashing down as we dashed over them away from bar bills large enough to sink Dow Jones yet lift our lightheaded spirits fearlessly traversing crooked cobbled streets diving in and out of raw thirst-quenching riotous dehydrating dives we stumbled like random plans over bleeding gums far down the throat to the underbelly as anyone could possibly pry and still be flying sideways

The night I went drinking with the thirsty ghost of Dylan Thomas we guzzled a damfull of strong dreams leading the blind to distilled visions lucid and numb enough to see a barfly reflection blissfully swimming in pints of bitter elixir mixed with the pure slurring liquid song of rambling language on a one-way mission to sky higher then fall far enough down to receive all it's sacred rejected stunted twisted forms of demented glory and become intoxicatingly one with our elevated soulful legless folly unstupefied by the senseless climbing circus of trashy high society as the ironic railings of two liquified men in one body shared a love of whiskey and women for their generous and warm wet acceptance

The night I went drinking with the mortal ghost of Dylan Thomas we weren't too proud to beg for frothy pints of plain or leftover change pretending to recite famous verse fractured into perverse strains of lewd low blue humor earning a free round of liquid assets or a crude round of insults (I think he preferred insults better) as we continued to insult the brain so round after round after round disappeared into the foggy inkblot night and deeper and deeper down we passed into a perfect paralytic world of the contradiction of knowing and not knowing and crystal insight and convoluted oversight and never-ending quest for naked truth and beauty sacrificing ourselves drowning in the wordless drink of understanding

The night I went drinking with the booze-soaked ghost of Dylan Thomas he warned me like a fallen angel of the dangers of passive acceptance and the pathetic sheeplike groveling for needless polite popular applause... "I'm not the fookin' pisshead they think!" he wailed, "I'm a timeless model of everlasting inebriated soul raging against the sober lickspittle masses! I'm a bloody portrait of the artist as a young dog Godlike and Godless and Godforsaken in all God's drunken glory!" Meaning Dylan meaning sea meaning we both attempted to suckle this submarine muse dry from inside out too expansive and ruinous and dark deep to be painted into a poet's corner frozen in cold abbey stones surrounded by the danceless dead of Westminster

The night I went drinking with the orgasmic ghost of Dylan Thomas we charmed the ladies like cobras with music from our higher minds until they aroused our lower souls and then our one-eyed trouser snakes tried to straighten themselves out for a singular moist moment that never came overcome by the dizzy focus of lust and tongue-tied pickled brain cells so we danced with them all in our heads and our heads in them all as the bar went spinning till we staggered stinking through gents doors and both embraced soiled thrones of public porcelain expressing dead remnants of early evening swill cursing into the toilet bowl of experience with an epic rush of gushing rejection making room for more room to make more imperfect holes in human time

Ahhhhhhh, that fateful moonless star-crossed eternal night I went drinking with the holy ghost of Dylan Thomas we passed out in a park over an argument about how to get home and he stopped mid-sentence to drink in the sound of some magical word inhaling all the ringing vibration and collective symbol that visits open listeners in the vacuum void of pre-dawn dream, "Fook gentle," he scolded before we snored, "what's gentle about an endless sleep that steals your heart and takes you down the long dark road to a sober sinless heaven?" And suddenly like a high prophet he bellowed his final words, "Free the song of young fornicating love high as fresh eagle wing air and full of mother's milk for the mad fathomless life-giving mystery sea of meaning itself! Make music!"

©2003 by Stephen Roxborough

Stephen Roxborough (aka "roxword") is an award-winning performance poet, illustrator, and author of two chapbooks Making Love in the War Zone and All the Very Important Subversive Mind-expanding Long Ones). His spoken word CD, "spiritual demons" is available at and

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