Five years sober and
I’m loving every minute of it and
I’m hating every minute of it and
I’m indifferent to every minute of it.
Humans are complex, you know?
I mean, it’s not an excuse,
but it is a reason.
When I decided to stop,
to decline my animal vice,
I started building a new type of animal.
An animal that’s neurotic,
and happy to be dying at a slower rate.
These things were always there,
but are now enhanced, intensified,
because there’s no monkey-time booze
within my grimacing veins to suppress them.
The depression is so intensified it could drive you to drink,
which is an irony I hold close
so it can warm my aging heart.
I’m more dependable than I used to be,
I can come pick you up at
the Kaiser ER or the police station
at three o’clock in the morning.
I won’t be passed out
under beer sweat-soaked sheets
next to a box of old family photos on my cold basement floor.
So keep that in mind,
I might come in handy.
I mean, someone’s got to have a use for me, right?
Because some days
I find it hard
to even find a use for myself.
There’s so much shit
swimming around in my head
even though the beer filters are five years gone.
Five years gone and still no love for Jesus.
I’m actually rather proud of that.
I’d rather spend the rest of my life
Struggling like Sisyphus
to find solace in myself
than to look to some spook in the sky
and try to give his ass all the credit.
I’m the one doing the fucking work, for chrissakes.
If I’m to suffer or sparkle, I’ll take all the blame.
I’ll get more of the royalties that way.
There’s no shame in suffering,
and no suffering in shame.
And when I get to that place,
if I get to that place,
where I never think about booze at all,
how much of my life I wasted with it,
it will be, I think it will be,
a notable, happy day.
I could use a notably happy day, let me tell ya.
And I will give you a call, and
offer to take you out for a drink.
You can pick the bar.
I’m pretty sure they’ll have club soda.
(Photographed from my front porch one sunny day in October, 2022. See my other work on Flickr and Instagram.)
The first Sunday in April, I went to a memorial at an Eagles hall for a man a I never knew.
My wife and I went together. She had known the man, and so had my brother-in-law who was also at the memorial.
My brother-in-law actually served as the quote-unquote minister for the event, and he said some kind words of remembrance for a man who was universally liked by everyone in the room.
I did what I always do at the many memorials I’ve attended at the Eagles hall for people I didn’t know or barely knew.
I wandered around and shot photos.
I’m not an Eagles member, but I have friends who are. And I know other members on a social basis. And, like my wife, I knew some of the folks who knew the deceased, the man we were there to honor.
It was a somber event, but it wasn’t entirely dour and funereal. I talked to a lot of people, and photographed them, and that was fun for me.
But as I was leaving after an hour and a half I remember hoping that when I’m dead there’s 55 or 60 people who remember me fondly enough to gather together at an Eagles hall on a Sunday afternoon and talk about what a good man I was.
Photographed at the Eagles hall, FOE Aerie #3255, in Brisbane, California on April 3rd, 2022.
See the entire collection of 33 photographs on Flickr.