Tag Archives: Hangover

Sake Sunrise

Bloated udon in a pool of anesthesia:
my first image of 5 a.m.
Then the couch it stained, next the crusted
sleeve, nowhere a trace of light.  Too early
to be hungover, too late to just say no,
I change my shirt and sludge downstairs
to the cab.  Soggy tempura in the gutter,
a gruff yet hesitant driver, swallowed
streets and empty vomit blur
into SFO.  I make it through security
dry.  The final ounce of miso acid
spills in a public bin—the toilet
was too far.  Last night seeps into
medicated waiting rooms, a few
slurred frames, but mostly
blanks I’m not eager to fill.

Throw Up

Part I of something larger.

There’s vomit on the windshield. It’s also all over the back of Margie’s seat, and on Nick’s sleeve where only I can’t see it. I don’t want to see where Philip’s bile has landed on me. Philip can’t believe what he’s just done. He won’t stop telling his hands that he isn’t drunk.

“Oh my god,” he says again. “I can’t believe that just happened.”

“Should I pull over?” Nick asks. He holds the wheel as if he might make a sharp turn at any moment.

“Yes, pull over, hon’,” Margie says from the passenger seat. She touches her hand to his arm, and he noticeably relaxes as he eases off the highway into the next rest stop. He pulls into a spot between a minivan and a Prius, both with barking dogs in the back. It feels like we’ve stepped in the middle of a conversation.

I’m glad to climb out of the car when Nick steps out and lets his seat jerk forward with the push of a button. Margie lets Phil out on her side. He stumbles out, still apologizing. I catch Marg and Nick exchange a glance, similar to the one they exchanged when Phil arrived smelling like weed and speaking with the familiar inflection associated with his intoxication.

I walk quickly toward the concrete building where the men’s and women’s bathrooms stare at one another. The gaping doors yell obscenities in the form of powerful flushing toilets and hand dryers that blast long after the room has emptied. The smell of Philip’s vomit has me nauseated, and I stand in the stall, bracing myself against the wall, making a note to scrub the side of my arm in addition to my hands when I leave.

I hear Margie cough in the stall next to me.

“You all right, hon?” she says. Her feet shuffle against one another.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine, thanks.”

She’s quiet and is no longer peeing, so I know she’s debating whether to say something else to me.

“Is he drunk?” she asks.

“I guess.” I lean my head against the wall. “I could smell it on him when he got in the car.”

“Yeah,” she says. She sighs as though she’s been hiding her own observation since she made it.

I don’t say anything else to her, just sit there waiting for her to pull her jeans up and leave the bathroom. I want to ask her if we can turn the car around, if she’ll drop us off at the nearest bus station where we can take the next bus back to Boston. But we’re in the middle of Connecticut, exactly where, I’m not sure, on our way to her sister’s wedding. The last thing she wants to do – perhaps after cleaning up Philip’s vomit from the backseat of her boyfriend’s car – is drive the other direction from where her little sister is getting ready for one of the biggest days of her life.

“I’m going to go wait at the car,” Marg says. “Take your time.”

I’m glad to be left alone, but when I step out of the stall, Marg is still standing in the bathroom, staring at herself in the mirror.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asks. We make eye contact in the mirror.

“Well, aside from not wanting to climb back into that car with my own husband and being embarrassed beyond what I’d thought possible,” I say, breaking eye contact, “I think I’ll be all right.”

“There’s nothing for you to be embarrassed about,” she says. She feels for her words, trying to be polite without relieving me of responsibility at the same time. “Is he getting help?”

“Well, if he was, it wouldn’t appear to be working.”

She nods and pulls a piece of paper towel from the dispenser. “I’m going to wait in the car.”

Life Support System : : Please Reboot

She jabs a thumb drive to her neck, feels the motherboard whir and warm as the OS takes control.


//INSERT: libation = drive-D

160,000 nanobots in every ounce of syrup. Consistency like motor oil; never quite as sweet but she drinks it all the same. Oozing over tongues, the nanobots release a shock at the back of the throat, electrical impulses cued when the horizontal journey comes to an end, jolting user


before the vertical descent into Central Processing Unit. When it hits, they release inhibitors inside her, consuming RAM, slowing syntax functions as they integrate her motherboard and stimulate her light-emitting diodes, obstructing image render full pixel view. Corrupting, arousing them just enough to crash.

Runtime error: motor function impaired.

Force Quit?// yes : : no

System reboot imminent.


// systemcheck = please press C//

12% . . . 34% . . . 67% . . . 84% . . . 90% . . . 97% . . .

Data loss :: 16%. Processing image — input :: pupil. Render:

Everything is pixelated, unclear. Oversaturated, or at least too much to process.

This system was not properly shut down. Run Diagnostic check?

Warning: spinning disks. Do not move

and the system struggles like a chain ungreased. Oxidized, slow and clumsy, a rocky ride with quick fumbles forward, tripping over stubborn links and failing again.

Warning: Too many connections. Audio input: none.

Warning Not enough space on hard disk. Unable to complete function.

Additional 3 GB required.

function :: MOVE files=ALL -> f::// toilet

Are you sure you wish to delete all items in folder?// yes :: no

//Eject: liquid//drive-D

Recalibrating balance . . .

Calculating gravity . . .

Please quit all other applications during this process

ERROR::drive override//ignore

//Re-routing RAM to CPU//

disk check complete


The Truth is In The Bottle

Alan shifted groggily as the first ray of sunlight slipped through the cracks in his blinds, its luminescence clawing at his eyes. A threat to face the day. As with any afternoon like this, he thought he would roll from his left side to his right, his body a sodden, rotting log, curved like an “S” that somehow insinuates cutlery, but when his left arm tried to lead him there and shield him from the sun, it was faced with some resistance. Not much, but still enough to startle his body to a slightly higher form of consciousness than that booze-induced coma he was in. He aware of his flesh, and his flesh now aware of its surroundings, Alan felt something sleek and smooth, cold and curved, held tightly against his body like that terrifying clown he used to cuddle with as a child. What was his mother thinking when she gave that to him, anyway?

The crack of dried saline and gunk compounded with the thudding in his head as he peeled his eyelids up, opened just enough for him to make out the shape of things beside him: an empty handle of Evan Williams bourbon. He’d crammed enough forensics knowledge into his head during that semester that even despite the horrific hangover he was still able to deduce that said hangover was likely due to the presence of said bourbon absent from said bottle and even more likely being processed somewhere between his liver and soul. Content with solving the mystery of the missing bourbon, and discovering the identity of the mysterious shape asleep beside him, Alan felt accomplished enough to complete his turn away from the window and fall back to sleep.

He closed his eyes before his bourbon-slowed mind could fully comprehend the significance—or even the presence—of the used condom sprawled on his hardwood floor like the sad and lonely shreds of the balloon that Jesse Hird popped at his 6th birthday party. Not that Alan was bitter or anything. The thought of this childhood trauma was finally enough to shake him from his slumber, and Alan sat up more abruptly than he likely should have. Blood rushed to his head with the thud of an angry fist against an oak door. Or maybe a baseball bat.

Once he was able to think again, Alan realized that perhaps the night’s conspiracy reached deeper than he previously thought. Especially since he was still wearing pants. Was he living in an episode of Californication? Alan had always idolized David Duchovny, but more for Fox Mulder than Hank Moody. The X-Files was his inspiration for moving to Washington, D.C., and pursuing a Forensics degree, in hopes of one day becoming an FBI Agent, and discovering for himself if the true was really out there after all. But if life should imitate art, he wondered, then perhaps his life was changing along with the career of the artist whom he imitated.

This threw him into a panic. A crisis of faith. What had he been doing with his life? He had only ever seen the Series Premiere. He would have to catch up on all the seasons on DVD. How many seasons had there been so far? The X-Files had nine! How many more would they have by the time he caught up? And when would he find the time, now that he had to leave George Washington and transfer to some school in California to pursue an English degree. What the hell was he going to do with an English degree?

For a moment, he wished there was still bourbon to drink, but the mere thought of it made his stomach churn and sent him hurtling towards the bathroom. Perhaps Californication would have to wait.

The Morning After

When the daggers stabbed my eyes, I knew
the blinds had all concaved, allowing light to roll
around their curves and permeate
through the smallest cracks, dragging me
to consciousness. My dry lips
parted, peeled off duct tape
and breathed that putrid air,
thick with sweat and some other
taste that burned the whole way down,

Down the hatch.

My natural response was to lick the outside
edges of my mouth, moisturize the desert skin around
it like I’d been told so many times
not to do. As my tongue drew circles
all within its reach, my eyes fell
towards the ground; my muscles weren’t
in shape to hold them up. I made a mental note
of all the labels, clothes that littered
the hardwood floor like debris from
a plane crash, still smoking, left for dead.

I tried to sit up and give
my spinning head perspective,
but my arm was pinned down
by the weight of the porcelain,
glass, smooth and hard, that screeched
like nails on chalkboards every time
I wrapped my arms around her curves.
I conceded, I exhaled a stale breathe,

held within my steaming cheeks so long
that it fermented, stained with the sweetness
of artificial fruits like chapstick smacked,
smeared, and shared from one mouth to
another. The shock hit me hard
once it reached my head, but
it was my gut that churned first.

My head spun quickly around the room
once I gave in to momentum, kept vertigo.


I mumbled some excuse below
my breathe, found my underwear,
and limped to the bathroom to survey the marks
and battle wounds that I’d received the night before,
cleansed my palette, and finally crawled
back into that strange bed. Hard and small
though it may have been, it wasn’t
a couch, and I wasn’t alone.

Hot Rats – Frank Zappa

I woke up hungover. Saturday night spilled into Sunday morning with no sign of the snow that had been previously predicted. My apartment was so empty it echoed; boxes were still packed and I probably would have been lonely if it wasn’t for the security of youth and the constant inner dialogue. “It didn’t snow, weather said it won’t until tomorrow, I guess I have to drive to the island.” I usually try to make nights out of my trips–6 hours of visiting barely makes three hours of driving enticing–but it was my father’s birthday and I had already told him I wasn’t coming because of the weather. I woke up, showered and decided to head to Rhode Island.

I walked up to the front stairs and saw a familiar sight: my father sitting on the couch watching TV, tapping his fingers and occasionally taking a drag on his cigarette. After casual conversation my father got off the couch, walked into the dining room and returned with a worn crumpled paper bag. He pulled out a Portable CD player, a pair of large studio headphones and a Frank Zappa album, Hot Rats. We had a sound system, but he wanted me to listen to the guitar solo the way he did in the Army. No, not on drugs, but with headphones. We bought a microwave for my new apartment and ate cake to celebrate his birthday, but really we spent most of the day listening to music. I drove back to Boston right around the time it started snowing. I saw three accidents on the expressway and got drunk to celebrate the snowstorm that was going to allow me to sleep in Monday.


The phone woke me up that morning. I shoveled through a foot of snow and followed plows like a funeral procession down Route 24.

A week later I was at a bar my parents frequented and one of the patrons walked up to me and said, “You know, the last time I saw your father he had a crumpled paper-bag full of music he was showing everyone”

I thought for a second, and said “Me too.”