Drunk Judgment

By Steven Heighton Steven Heighton

A night address

The world is wasted on you. Show us one clear time
beyond childhood (or the bottle) you spent your whole
self—hoarding no blood-bank back-up, some future aim
to fuel—or let yourself look foolish in reckless style
on barstool, backstreet or dancefloor, without a dim
image of your hamming hobbling you the whole while.
Voyeur to your own couplings, you never did come
with them, did you, even when you did? You said Hell
is details, when Hell was just the cave, the concave-
mirrored skull you dwelt inside, your left hand
polishing while the other shook to clinch a deal—
Provide, provide! Sure, in the end, like any soul
you were endless and yets—brave, deft with phrases, kind—
three cheers for you. Too closed to want what others love
you vetoed life—
                                                 were there other worlds to crave?

Source: Poetry (February 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2007


Steven Heighton's novel Afterlands (Knopf Canada, 2005) was a New York Times Book Review editors' choice. His poetry appears widely.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Horror, Relationships, Mythology & Folklore


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