Thus the cup is to Dionysus as the shield to Ares. The cup may, therefore, be called 'the shield of Dionysus,' and the shield 'the cup of Ares.' (Aristotle, trans. S. H. Butcher)


"It is for this reason that an intoxicated man can produce so comical an impression, because he expresses a contradiction in his movements. The eye requires steadiness of gait; the more there still remains some sort of  reason to require it, the more comical is the contradiction (a completely intoxicated man is therefore less comical). Now if a purposeful man, for example, comes by, and the intoxicated individual, his attention drawn to him, gathers himself together and tries to steady his gait, then the comical becomes more evident; because the contradiction is clearer. He succeeds for a couple of steps, until the spirit of contradiction again runs away with him. If he succeeds entirely while passing the purposeful man, the first contradiction becomes another: that we know him to be intoxicated, and that this is, nevertheless, not apparent. In the one case we laugh at him while he sways, because the eye requires steadiness of him; in the second case we laugh at him because he holds himself steady when our knowledge of his condition requires that we should see him sway. So it also produces a comic effect when a sober man engages in sympathetic and confidential conversation with one whom he does not know is intoxicated, while the observer knows of the condition. The contradiction lies in the mutuality presupposed by the conversation, that it is not there, and that the sober man has not noticed its absence."

Kierkeegard, Soren. Concluding Unscientific Script. Trans. by David F. Swenson & Walter Lowrie. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968. (461)


Salud, maestro


“The first place we stopped at with our knapsacks  contained one Richard Bradshaw a notorious tippler—He stood in the shape of a and balanced himself as well as he could saying with his nose right in Mr. Brown’s face ‘Do—yo u sell Spect—ta—cles?’”

Keats, John. Selected Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. (104).


In my first workshop as an undergraduate at the University of Houston, I wrote  a poem in the tradition of the drinking song. I was taking Latin Classics in Translation, so I was probably thinking of Horace's several drinking songs and Catullus 27.  I no longer have the poem, but I do remember the title was "Hymn to Old No. 7." You have to understand I had just left the Navy. I believe the poem ended something like "Come down from Lynchburg, Tennessee and keep me company." This post is to commemorate my two months of sobriety.


Alkoholilks Anonymous


Bar Napkin Sonnet #11

by Moira Egan

Things happen when you drink too much mescal.
One night, with not enough food in my belly,
he kept on buying.   I’m a girl who’ll fall
damn near in love with gratitude and, well, he
was hot and generous and so the least
that I could do was let him kiss me, hard
and soft and any way you want it, beast
and beauty, lime and salt—sweet Bacchus’ pards—
and when his friend showed up I felt so warm
and generous I let him kiss me too.
His buddy asked me if it was the worm
inside that makes me do the things I do.
I wasn’t sure which worm he meant, the one
I ate?   The one that eats at me alone?
Originally Published: April 12th, 2010

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...