728 A drunk to my core… 12-10-17 (search the search box)

My Father died young,
85,
from complications after surgery-
on his
knee.

Wait!
What!!
His knee?
What’s up with that?

Oh,
don’t get me wrong!
He came through the operation
like a smooth torch song.
On his new knee,
if
he had been given
the opportunity,
he could have sprinted up the stairs
of the Empire State Building
and still have been ready
to climb Jacobs Ladder.

No.

What killed him was,
that
question.

You’ve been there.

You know the questionnaire
they give you at the
In-Patient admitting office:
Your medical history.
Name-Address-Age-…
previous operations…
Medications…
Race (optional)
Sex (optional)
(He’d written “occasionally”,
I mean, Hell! he was 85
but his third wife was only 62!)

and then,

“Do-you-use-alcohol?

Yeah.
That question.

To which he answered,
“once a day.”

What he didn’t say,
was
that-
that one-drink-a-day
was 18 hours long,
an ever flowing river of
Black Russians,
Rusty Nails, (Dewars, please).
Screw Drivers
and straight shots of Stoli.
(after all, his father was Ukrainian).

so,
he was doomed
before they wheeled him
into the operating room.

They didn’t
know
they
needed to know
how low
the necessary
dose of anesthesia was
for an 85 year old male
with more booze
in his body
than blood!

And when I took the Metro
from Poughkeepsie to the City
the afternoon, after,
and saw him
wobbling with a walker,
calling, “Hay! Kenneth!
I haven’t had a drink in five days!”
I thought,
“Oh, shit.
We’re in trouble.”
And then he fell.
And then the withdrawals came
and the DT’s
and his liver went
and his kidneys
and his memories
and his mind,

this,

to a man who swam beyond the breakers
at Robert Moses State Park,
who forced Nickolas Russilemo,
a Russian chess grand master,
into a draw in a game
on the tables at the
South-West corner of Washington Square Park
and lost count of his wives and lovers
and loved them all still,
in particular,
his last one
and who lived more lives than
any ten men…

but never left the hospital
alive

because he was a
walking alcoholic

who could drink the whole party
under the table,
who could nurse a tumbler
from morning to midnight
and still take
the 12 Steps,
tell 200 jokes from memory
at a New Years Eve bash
and laugh till
HIS
balls dropped
whether anyone else was laughing or not,
who could close a million dollar contract
with Con-Ed,
who could greet 100 door-men
in Manhattan
by their first names,
who, when he took a gang
of my college buddies and I
to Lu Chows before it went belly-up,
the Maitre d’ tore up the check
and whispered to him,
“Thank you. Just leave a big tip”
because of some past favor…

Who died,
incapable of remembering my name,
in the DNR ward on the 7th floor
of Saint Vincent’s in The Village,

watched over
by his loving wife and I,
neither of us able to do a damn thing
as he drifted
away.

So,

let me be

him,

for you,

(like they do
at the AA meetings):

“Hello.
My name is Kenneth.

I don’t drink

because I am an alcoholic,
from birth,
an abuser of the deadly drug
I can score
at your
friendly Food-Lion
grocery store
or
at your local ABC,
you know,
the one where
Addiction Becomes Convenient!
ABC!!!
What deadly, camouflaged lies
lurk behind those letters!

So, if I do,
slip,

sip,

even a little,

that damned inevitable dot
on the genetic double helix
of my genome chromosome
will
kill
me
dead,
just like dear old Dad,

(and his Dad, but that’s another poem)

So,
what do you think?

Go ahead.

Ask me if I
want
a
drink.

About Ken Greenman

Married and Happy. Retired and busy. Living in NC. 71 and counting. December 12, 2020 and it's 72! ... I would love some written comments, critiques, adulation or kind suggestions.... If you have the time and or inclination, please feel free! Not in fear but by faith. We will see. See you later! If you ever want to talk for real, email me and I will send you my cell number.... I am enjoying this!
This entry was posted in Poems. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 728 A drunk to my core… 12-10-17 (search the search box)

  1. Carol June Hooker says:

    Well wrought. Happy birthday on Tuesday.

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