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Sober Song

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Farewell to the starlight in whiskey,
So long to the sunshine in beer.
The booze made me cocky and frisky
But worried the man in the mirror.
Goodnight to the moonlight in brandy,
Adieu to the warmth of the wine.
I think I can finally stand me
Without a glass or a stein.
Bye-bye to the balm in the vodka,
Ta-ta to the menthol in gin.
I'm trying to do what I ought to,
Rejecting that snake medicine.
I won't miss the blackouts and vomit,
The accidents and regret.
If I can stay off the rotgut,
There might be a chance for me yet.
So so long to God in a bottle,
To the lies of rum and vermouth.
Let me slake my thirst with water
And the sweet, transparent truth.

Reprinted from Farewell to the Starlight in Whiskey, Rochester: BOA Editions, 2004, by permission of the author.
Source: Farewell to the Starlight in Whiskey (BOA Editions Ltd., 2004)
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Sober Song

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  • Barton Sutter was born and raised in small towns in the Upper Midwest. He earned degrees from Southwest Minnesota State University and Syracuse University, and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, the University of Minnesota, and other institutions. The only author to win the Minnesota Book Award in three separate categories, Sutter’s poetry, fiction, and essays depict the landscape and people of the Upper Midwest. His books of poetry include Cedarhome (1977), The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems (1993), winner of the Minnesota Book Award for poetry, and Farewell to Starlight in Whisky (2004). Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map (1998), a collection of broadcasts Sutter did for Minnesota Public Radio, won the Minnesota Book Award for creative non-fiction; My Father’s War and Other Stories (1991) won the same award for fiction. His plays include Small Town Triumphs (1991) and Bushed: A Poetical, Political, Partly...

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