Night Thoughts


No plans for tonight but to snare a poem,
to set a breadcrumb trail of booze
and catch a little buzz myself. No big deal.
The kids are sleeping, and I’m straight enough
to hear the phone or get us out in case
of fire. I’m starting off the Li Po way —
wine and the wide world — though my wine’s
in a box and my world is more a snarl
of rusted bikes than moonlit wanderings.
I hear he’d brush a poem in crazy strokes
then toss it and start another, all night
racing no one or his drinking friend Tu Fu.
An August rain tiptoes through the pines,
but I won’t write on that. Give me duende.
Give me life-or-death. I want a poem
to hack into your unsolved heart, a poem
so good you’ll think I’m lying, you’ll think
I stole it from a book and changed the name.

Alison Pelegrin’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, River Styx, and Black Warrior Review. She is the author of The Zydeco Tablets, as well as three award-winning chapbooks, the most recent of which is Squeezers (Frost Heaves, 2005).

First published in Measure, Volume 1 (2006)