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Kaveh Akbar reads PORTRAIT OF THE ALCOHOLIC FLOATING IN SPACE WITH SEVERED UMBILICUS



I caught Kaveh Akbar reading in Bryant Park last summer at an event for Sibling Rivalry Press and was enjoying the reading so much I took out my iPhone and recorded the last poem. I’d recorded him before at the Poetry Project, but not this poem. Enjoy.



PORTRAIT OF THE ALCOHOLIC FLOATING IN SPACE WITH SEVERED UMBILICUS

In Fort Wayne I drank the seniors Old Milwaukee
Old Crow in Indianapolis I stopped now I regret
every drink I never took all around coffee grounds
and eggshells this sweating a mouthful
of lime as a boy I stole a mint green bra
from a laundromat I took it home to try on
while my parents slept filled its cups with the smallest
turnips in our pantry the underwire grew
into me like a strangler fig my blood roiled then
as now back on earth frogspit is dripping
down wild aloe spikes salmon are bullying
their way upstream there is a pond I leapt into once
with a lonely blonde boy when we scampered out one of us
was in love I could not be held responsible
for desire he could not be held at all I wonder
where he is now if he looked up he might see
me a sparkling I always hoped that when I died
I would know why my brother will be so sad he will tell
his daughter I was better than I was he will leave out
my crueldrunk nights the wet mattresses my driving alone
into cornfields unsure whther I’d drive out I wish
he were here now he could be here this cave
is big enough for everyone look at all the diamonds


Portrait of the Alcoholic is published by Sibling Rivalry Press. Check them out:

https://siblingrivalrypress.com/




Kaveh Akbar


PORTRAIT OF THE ALCOHOLIC FLOATING IN SPACE WITH SEVERED UMBILICUS was previously published in Poetry

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