“Sometimes when you get hammered till the small hours you feel pretty good in the morning, but really it’s just because you’re still a bit drunk. That old hangover is just toying with you, working out when to bite.”
― Jojo Moyes,
“The first time I got drunk, I got married. The second time I bought a chimpanzee, after that I stayed sober.” — Arian Seid
“Death: “THERE ARE BETTER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN ALCOHOL, ALBERT.”
Albert: “Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.”
― Terry Pratchett
“in the cupboard sits my bottle
like a dwarf waiting to scratch out my prayers.
I drink and cough like some idiot at a symphony,
sunlight and maddened birds are everywhere,
the phone rings gamboling its sound
against the odds of the crooked sea;
I drink deeply and evenly now,
I drink to paradise
and the lie of love.”
—Charles Bukowski, “Soirée”
“After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I mean disassociated. Take a top hat. You think you see it as it really is. But you don’t because you associate it with other things and ideas.If you had never heard of one before, and suddenly saw it alone, you’d be frightened, or you’d laugh. That is the effect absinthe has, and that is why it drives men mad. Three nights I sat up all night drinking absinthe, and thinking that I was singularly clear-headed and sane. The waiter came in and began watering the sawdust.The most wonderful flowers, tulips, lilies and roses, sprang up, and made a garden in the cafe. “Don’t you see them?” I said to him. “Mais non, monsieur, il n’y a rien.”
I took a bottle of pills. I’d been in Europe and I had a lot of absinthe and I was just drinking and drinking, trying to, you know, just shut my body down.
“I remember one time, back in the day, I was at his [Bill Ward] house and he said, ‘Oh, ’ello Ozzy. You’ll never guess what? I’ve just come out of a coma.’
‘What d’you mean, a coma? That’s one stage removed from being dead. You know that, don’t you, Bill?’
‘All I know is I went to bed on Friday, and now it’s Tuesday, and I only just woke up. That’s a coma, isn’t it?’
‘No, that’s taking too many drugs and drinking too much cider and sleeping for three days in a row, you d**k.’”
~ Ozzy Osbourne, I am Ozzy
Jurgis, being a man, had troubles of his own. There was another specter following him. He had never spoken of it, nor would he allow any one else to speak of it–he had never acknowledged its existence to himself. Yet the battle with it took all the manhood that he had– and once or twice, alas, a little more. Jurgis had discovered drink.
He was working in the steaming pit of hell; day after day, week after week–until now, there was not an organ of his body that did its work without pain, until the sound of ocean breakers echoed in his head day and night, and the buildings swayed and danced before him as he went down the street. And from all the unending horror of this there was a respite, a deliverance–he could drink! He could forget the pain, he could slip off the burden; he would see clearly again, he would be master of his brain, of his thoughts, of his will. His dead self would stir in him, and he would find himself laughing and cracking jokes with his companions–he would be a man again, and master of his life.
It was not an easy thing for Jurgis to take more than two or three drinks. With the first drink he could eat a meal, and he could persuade himself that that was economy; with the second he could eat another meal–but there would come a time when he could eat no more, and then to pay for a drink was an unthinkable extravagance, a defiance of the agelong instincts of his hunger-haunted class. One day, however, he took the plunge, and drank up all that he had in his pockets, and went home half “piped,” as the men phrase it. He was happier than he had been in a year; and yet, because he knew that the happiness would not last, he was savage, too with those who would wreck it, and with the world, and with his life; and then again, beneath this, he was sick with the shame of himself. Afterward, when he saw the despair of his family, and reckoned up the money he had spent, the tears came into his eyes, and he began the long battle with the specter.
THE JUNGLE – Upton Sinclair
‘ on my honour.’
‘On your honour as a drunken rowdy thief?’ said Tiffany.
Rob Anybody beamed. ‘Aye!’ he said. ‘An’ I got a lot of good big reputation to protect there!’
Those dry Martinis were too much for me.
Last night I really felt immense,
To-day I feel like thirty cents;
It is no time for mirth and laughter
In the cold grey dawn of the morning after.
e. e. cummings:
humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn you
intelligence to buy a drink.
Please Stop, Mom.
And you beg for me to put your temper to the test.
You slap me around, and call me names.
Mom, I’m sick of playing these games.
Alcohol is perfectly consistent in its effects upon man. Drunkenness is merely an exaggeration. A foolish man drunk becomes maudlin; a bloody man, vicious; a coarse man, vulgar.
WILLA CATHER, “On the Divide,” The Troll Garden
Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), Saturday 13 May 1893
In the UK we used to have ‘jug and bottle’ which was (usually) a hatch
from a corridor in a pub through which off-sales (into jugs and bottles,
unsurprisingly) were made, the customer not needing to go into the bar,
lounge, snug or smoke-room. Now very rare, alas.
As others have said, places with an off-licence only (no on-licence to
drink on the premises) are affectionately known as ‘offies‘
Then someone else was interested to know just what he got,
And, as this polite rejoinder seemed to satisfy the mob,
John Patrick O’Grady 9.10.1907 – 1981 (aka Nino Culotta)
Landlord fill the flowing bowl,
until it doth run over.
For tonight we’ll merry, merry be.
Tomorrow we’re Hungover.
Old English folk song
The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), Friday 14 October 1938
sisters taken away.
No hand to cling to,
Ward number 77318
another number, another mouth,
another body, another untouched soul,
another heart to be healed,
another shadow in the dark of night.
She is two years old.
From one dwelling to another she is sent.
Disconnected, her child’s heart broken, the need for love
A vacuum for her confidence and sense of self;
anxiety and anger her constant companions
she struggles to belong, she doesn’t belong.
Hands shake, body trembles,
cries unheard, muffled under bed covers.
She is ten years old.
She thinks of death to escape the anguish.
She believes she has no right to take up space,
to breathe air.
She believes there will be rejoicing at her passing,
a problem solved.
She releases the genie in the bottle,
life goes on about her,
she closes her eyes and waits.
She is marked. She is spared.
Like the first born of the Israelites, the Angel of Death passes her by.
She is twelve years old.
Tormented by anger, a prisoner of rage.
Her cries for justice, she fights to be heard.
They say, ‘she’s a psychiatric case’
and needs to be medicated.
Silence her voice, dull her mind, and inhibit her strong emotions.
She must endure the rash, the itch, the weight gain, the hand tremors, and the sluggish thoughts.
Now they say ‘she’s boring with no powers of conversation’.
In school she sits, eyes heavy; she drops her head – just for a moment.
She sleeps her days away.
She is fourteen years old
She hears the call of the warrior soul.
She resists sedation; the murder of her spirit.
Pills hurtle across the fence, a cry goes out
‘I won’t do what you want any more!’
Strong male hands force her down, inject her into submission.
They say ‘it’s for her own good and for the good of others’.
She is ‘disturbed’, ‘mad’, emotionally retarded’.
She is fifteen years old.
She is released, pushed out into a world of strangers.
They don’t understand or care about her sorrow.
She must find work, forge relationships, and build a life. There is no help, there is no social net to catch her, and there is no family to
give her connection.
She must find her own way.
She is lost, jobs are transient, and relationships unravel.
Booze is her solace, drugs her respite, madness her rescuer.
The streets her home.
She is seventeen years old.
She is a mother;
how can she care for the infant in her arms?
She needs help, she reaches out,
her children are removed.
She can’t be trusted, she can’t trust herself.
It’s for her own good ‘in the best interest of the children’.
She seeks the comfort of death,
but death rejects her plea.
The ‘Warrior Soul’ calls her to life.
She yearns to be a mother, she craves to do it right,
Her children are ‘restored’,
She is twenty-four years old.
A single mother, living in poverty.
She hears the call of her warrior soul
She needs to dream, she needs to believe,
She needs to hope.
However, she is mad.
Her mind has betrayed her,
what can she anticipate?
The pills, the booze, the violence.
How can she break the will to self-annihilate?
She is determined.
She must find a way.
She is twenty-seven years old.
She treads the road of trials,
She cries out ‘there is no God!’
Lost within her madness,
admitted to the Clinic.
‘What is wrong with me?’ she pleads.
She is thirty-three years old.
The warrior soul is stronger
than the darkness, that binds her.
She heeds its call.
Is there a God? She prays to believe.
She dares for more than mere survival,
she crawls out from within the sewage of her life.
She is thirty-six years old.
Her untaught soul greets the morning.
She discovers she is far more than all her experiences.
More than her illness.
She knows now, in each one of us
there is a gold of great worth.
There is a warrior soul of strength and courage.
Compelled to transform her suffering.
she studies, she learns, she grows,
finds enduring love, personal value.
Passes on her hope,
helps others finds their way.
Sometimes death still whispers her name,
however, she grips the hand of the warrior within,
she has learnt to trust.
She has found power and strength within,
She is forty-five years old.
copyright Margaret Spivey 2003
Am fear dan dàn a’chroich, cha tèid gu bràth a bhàthadh.
Who is born to be hanged will never be drowned.
You cannot loosen a man’s tongue with root beer.
Original Klingon: Worf
Coming Home Jan Oskar Hansen
My flat was in mourning, layers of dust were veils
of sorrow, I had been away for weeks leaving
it in darkness and in the melancholy of confusing
half light, not nothing whether it was dawn or
evening. I switched on the table lamp opened
a widow and the room breathed in relief, it was
built to house humanity, had felt rejected and
was beginning to take on the lifeless coldness
museums and art galleries have after closing time.
Opened the fridge two tins of tuna fish, wasn’t
hungry, but to the gladness of my heart a bottle
of red wine; uncorked it, lovely aroma, filled it
to the brim and drank. Shrugged of the nonsense
said at the clinic, where ex drunks who had never
enjoyed wine, tried to convert me to a sullen
existence of meekly accepting the arid life. Took
the bottle into the living room switched on the telly
and we, the room and I, were great friends again.
foto of izzy foreal at the pub with no beer in taylor’s arm nsw australia
A Pub With No Beer
Oh it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer
Now the publican’s anxious for the quota to come
And there’s a far away look on the face of the bum
The maid’s gone all cranky and the cook’s acting queer
Oh what a terrible place is a pub with no beer
Then the stockman rides up with his dry dusty throat
He breasts up to the bar and pulls a wad from his coat
But the smile on his face quickly turns to a sneer
As the barman says sadly the pub’s got no beer
Then the swaggie comes in smothered in dust and flies
He throws down his roll and rubs the sweat from his eyes
But when he is told, he says what’s this I hear
I’ve trudged fifty flamin’ miles to a pub with no beer
Now there’s a dog on the v’randa, for his master he waits
But the boss is inside drinking wine with his mates
He hurries for cover and he cringes in fear
It’s no place for a dog ’round a pub with no beer
And old Billy the blacksmith, the first time in his life
Why he’s gone home cold sober to his darling wife
He walks in the kitchen, she says you’re early Bill dear
But then he breaks down and tells her the pub’s got no beer
Oh it’s hard to believe that there’s customers still
But the money’s still tinkling in the old ancient till
The wine buffs are happy and I know they’re sincere
When they say they don’t care if the pub’s got no beer
So it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear-a.
Than to stand in the bar of that pub with no beer.
Many a time a man’s mouth broke his nose.
foto ulmarra pub near grafton nsw australia
Up in old Port Wyndham
back in the early days
at tale is told about two men
who wouldn’t mend their ways
Adams hated Flinders
they were the town’s JPs
They’d love to lock each other up
then throw away the keys
One hot and dusty afternoon
while drinking in the pub
insults turned to punches
over some imagined snub
Out in to the street they went
with flailing legs and arms
The cops came down and locked them up
before they came to harm
Then in the morning sobered up
there was one fact to face
Each would sit in judgment
upon the others case
Well Adams was the first to sit
upon the others crime
The gavel fell, the judgment was
a mere five shilling fine
Then Flinders turn to sit arrived
He donned his wig and frowned
‘There’s too much of this thing about
the fine will be ten pounds’
We don’t how it went from there
or how the story ends
but one thing we can bet for sure
they’d never be good friends
Aug 2000 Brisbane