functioning (falling)

I’ve been tapping the table
I’ve been hoping to drink
“Empire Line,” The National

Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight
Serve me the sky with a big slice of lemon
“The Geese of Beverly Road,” The National

i drank enough to be okay but not so much
that you would notice i drank enough to be okay

“Brick” rhymes with “click”
but “Tennessee” doesn’t rhyme with “Williams”

“sometimes you have to step off the ledge
before you realize you have always been falling”

i say to you when you tell me
you cannot do this any longer

this sitting for hours and hours
at bars taphouses and breweries

this kindness of waitstaff on autopilot
bringing seemingly endless pints of beer

“Brick” rhymes with “click”
but “Tennessee” doesn’t rhyme with “Williams”

“falling in love is like being in love
like catching your breath is breathing”

but i have never been swayed by the testaments
of sober people teetotalers and the converted

do you hear it do you hear it do you hear it
i think but never say aloud with you near

“Brick” rhymes with “click”
but “Tennessee” doesn’t rhyme with “Williams”

i am falling i have fallen and i will hit the ground
relaxed as a drunk man on his favorite barstool

as long as i am somewhere i am not just there
everything is about this sanctuary you

but habits die hard even when drowning
like sitting here forever or slipping quietly out the door

“Brick” rhymes with “click”
but “Tennessee” doesn’t rhyme with “Williams”

you knew some things when you pulled up a chair to my table
but you didn’t know everything you couldn’t know everything

don’t play Rummy Scrabble ® or Monopoly ® with a drinker
because your eyes remain focused on the game

and before you know it you have been sitting there for hours
lubricated by the kindness of waitstaff on autopilot

and the background music softly lulling you
into singing the refrain to yourself with a smile

“Brick” rhymes with “click”
but “Tennessee” doesn’t rhyme with “Williams”

—P.L. Thomas

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