For Conlon and Others

He drinks bottles filled with lightning,
belching out the thunder,
it sounds like tank shells and gunshot prayers.
He has cherry blossom temples blooming on his cheeks,
his knuckles
when they break the skin he will let in whatever god he can find
but for now
He casts his fists over his children like they were braille
he reads about war, broken sparrows, shame loaded bottles fired once a generation
and he moves his knuckles through his family
like they were pillows filled with nightmares and he could punch his way to a peaceful nights sleep
in his dreams
he finds the answers carved in glass, shining gold
He dreams of white whales
bigger than planets
made of needle points and smoke
He cries
enough to fill a shot glass,
turn it into a moon,
let it wash away his waters
they taste too much like guilt for him to swallow
but they are the only waters he has been taught to sail.

Nowadays he smells like burnt coffee.
He no longer dreams of white whales
but now and then he imagines throwing harpoons at the stars
trying to catch the light
so he can find where he is going
what he should do.
His children
spit the names he gave them like curses
becoming overly familiar too fast so they don’t have to use the one thing left they have in common.
He has lost them
and he knows this.

And I know

I’ve never had to face this reality

But this story was never about me

I look at this through the periscope of casual cold ones with a father I hope to be like one day

This is for the ones who look at spirits and alcohol about as casually as seeing ghosts

Haunted by those demons that knocked off the angel and are weighing both shoulders down into the bottle

They drink in the hopes that they don’t drown

But no-one ever told them that this river is just too big

And they went under a long time ago.

It has been two years since he threw the storms back into the sky
broke his bottles on an anvil
they sounded like tank shells and gun shot prayers
but this time
there was no ocean
to drown his


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