Gritty Details

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tonight's Poet Corner: A Toast To The Troublemakers

A Toast To The Troublemakers
by Belinda Roddie

Sometimes, she can't decide: Is she an alcoholic
homosexual, or a homosexual alcoholic? Both
are pretty equal elements of her life, sharing
the same living space, drinking the same wine,
kissing the same girls after getting liquored up
just perfectly after six o'clock in the evening. They

tell her she needs to get help, and she knows it;
she knows it every morning when she wakes up
with someone new. She knows it when the pancakes
and the waffles at the local diner don't taste as good
as they used to, and they won't serve her mimosas
anymore. She knows it from the bewildered expression
on her latest lover's face, one that wonders how
in the holy Hell she's still not sober. How she never
seems to be sober. Or maybe she is, but there's really
no difference anymore. And she'd love to cut

the booze intake, let's be real, but as soon as the honey
wheat stops flowing and the Cabernet gets corked, she
feels an itching and tingling in her arms and legs that
she's tried not to notice for over ten years now. It's from
a little vacation to the north of Indiana, where men
and women with "degrees in science" and the wrath
of God on their hot breath literally tried to zap
the gay out of her, prodding her pubescent body
with both words and sharp instruments, and somehow,
the former seemed to hurt more. Current after current,
wave after wave, she felt like she was being drained
of her individuality. Now, she drinks to numb
the never ending aftershocks. When

she was younger, she had always been mischievous.
Her parents thought that maybe this was all just a new
chapter in her acting out, as if the feelings she had for
females were synonymous with her smoking a cigarette
with a former teacher, or equivalent to when
she punched the school mascot in the throat after
he hit on her crush. "A toast to the troublemakers!"
she says these days to each feisty firefly
that flutters her way, and as they clink glasses,
they both light up with a warmer electricity
than she has ever been accustomed to
outside of therapy.

She'd like to be just a homosexual, or specifically
a homosexual cocktail connoisseur. But not
an alcoholic. She can hardly even taste the stuff
anymore, and once she's burying her face between
the legs of a lady who doesn't know better, she stops
herself from crying because she's aware that her tears
would bubble just like beer and burn just as badly
as the vodka shot she threw back to stifle the newest
recurring phrase in her brain: You can change.

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