Hard to Swallow

A hopeless fixation with your cynical requiems
lamenting that poor bastard bleeding on the inside
praising the lifeblood ink, soaking the frayed page
just before he rasped
his last profundity:

cognac and syntax
are no substitute for living
and reality is a piss-poor second
to prosaic sobriety.


11 thoughts on “Hard to Swallow

    • Thank you sir 🙂 I chose ‘cognac’ not only because it rhymes vaguely with ‘syntax’, but because it was Kerouac’s beverage of choice in one chapter of his novel Satori in Paris…and then I remembered his untimely death at 47 due to alcoholism, and so it seemed the natural beverage of choice for this piece.


      • It was the natural choice. Have you, on the subject of the Beats, ever heard King Crimson’s album “Beat?” It draws a good deal of material and feel from that generation: “Neal and Jack and Me,” “Satori in Tangier,” “The Howler,” “Requiem.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have not, but will definitely listen after work. Groups that draw upon the style of Beats are almost invariably great.


  1. King Crimson have been so many things over the years (around since 1969, with guitarist Robert Fripp as the only constant). “Beat” is from an early 80s trilogy that saw them (in large part: “Requiem” is decidedly not so) influenced by dance and New Wave and Gamelan, but they have been everything from jazz-inflected prog to proto-metal to the kings of insane time signatures that still manage to groove somehow.

    I did a series of live paintings to the first album; someday, I’d like to get through the whole catalog. So … yes, favorites. I hope you enjoy them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is very nicely detailed. Concrete detail is crucial.
    You’re a great poet so I hope constructive criticism won’t go amiss…
    You may consider potentially cutting down some of the fantastic words you use – just because too much of a good thing tends to undermine the thing itself: this thing being the impact of the poem. If you were particularly partial to your words, perhaps you could even just break up your lines.
    Cognac and syntax
    no substitute for living

    or Reality, a piss-poor second.

    You really want to emphasise the important words, and word combinations here, so with my first example, the tangible/intangible of cognac and syntax
    are too good to dilute with ‘no substitute for living’.

    All in all, though, an evocative piece of writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to give such thorough and cogent feedback. I see what you mean about breaking the lines, as in this case I am a bit partial to the words since it is a relatively short piece.

      Again, thank you for the read and for offering your insight!


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