The Drunk and the Wavering by John H Huey

He appeared short of breath though
normal of stature,
Gasping it seemed though his labored
speech struggled to make sense,
Halting to put the words together without
the sound of death,
Absent the refrain that led him to see that
all that was there was a corruption so deep
that self-love itself had been assassinated,
Somehow cut out in the deep and the longing.

His willing friends not the keepers of destruction or
the means of it but complicit,
Noted in the sun as his bleached face
showed bone,
rot made palpable,
organs failing,
poison rising,
Overawed by the nature of undoing.

And we wished for a laying on of hands,
For contrition,
For redemption,
For there is not but human agency here
And without self-regard nothing is certain.

Mirrors of consumption reflecting down
endless corridors led him through the
oaths and affirmations others expected.
But not once, not one time did he stand
upright in the passage of his own
dissolutions to break the stream and
breach the rapids carrying him down
the falls to the turbulence below.

John H Huey
John Huey’s student work of the 60’s-70’s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf. After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. Recently he has had poems presented by Poetry Quarterly and in the “Temptation” anthology published in London by Lost Tower Publications. Work has also appeared online in South Africa in Leannan Magazine. His poems will soon be in an anthology entitled “Shattered” to be issued by Kind of a Hurricane Press
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