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Working Habits

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Federico Garcia Lorca
used to uncork a
bottle or two of wine
whenever the duende dwindled for a line.

James Joyce
would have preferred a choice
of brandies in decanters made by Tiffany’s,   
but rotgut was the shortcut to epiphanies.

The Later Henry James
bet shots of rum against himself in games   
of how much can we pyramid upon a   
given donné.

Little Dylan Thomas
didn’t keep his promise
to stay out of Milk Wood.
He tried to drown the fact as best he could.

Anna Akhmatova
Eyed the last shot of a
Pre-war cognac de champagne.
“So much for you, little brandy. Do svidanya.

T. S. Eliot
used to belly it
up to the nearest bar,
then make for a correlative objective in his car.


George Starbuck, “Working Habits” from The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. Copyright © 2003 by University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Reprinted with the permission of The University of Alabama Press.
Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003)
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Working Habits

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