The Cost of #Sobriety

I was chatting on line with a man who was ‘interested’ in meeting up. He wanted go for drinks to get acquainted & suggested some bar in the Village. I suggested a coffee shop. He wrote something to the effect – ‘Oh! You’re one of those guys.’ Needless to say we never met. Once again I’ve been spared some asshole who isn’t going to get close to my asshole.


the fog I used to live in 🙂

This isn’t the only time that this ‘hidden’ cost of sobriety has appeared. When guys realize when I say things like no p’n’p, no thanks to toking up, to poppers, I mean no & they are discouraged. I am not a real queer, or real fun guy. I’m certainly no longer the target demographic for the GNE – Pride has become more like the Gay National Exhibition (for my non-Canadian readers CNE


I don’t need to see to drive

In DC I was offered some complimentary ‘drinks’ if I signed on for certain tours & much like those inclusive travel packages – the drinks were all alcohol – if you wanted soft drinks or coffee or even fruit juice there was an additional charge.


I can see clearly now

But the main hidden cost is the lack of bonding opportunities – there are many who can’t relate to someone who doesn’t want to have a beer to two, a toke or two, with them. Much like the society of smokers who bond smoking in the designated area – outcasts develop a closeness that non-outcasts never get. So I often find myself a non-conformist in a group of non-conformists. At one time I drank to fit in, or to hide by not standing out. Now I don’t really give a shit. I’m pretty much myself in all areas of my life – I say ‘pretty much’ – because I certainly don’t talk much about recovery at poetry readings or talk about being a queer poet when I’m at a recovery meeting (unless it is relevant at the moment). Considering how permeated our social culture is with booze & various drugs not to be involved in those habits puts me into the counter-culture – the rebel without a substance – but certainly not a rebel without substance.


this really rough draft is from my rewriting of Dante’s Inferno – here we are in Purgatory – my guide is Verlaine – we meet some who are drinking to avoid dreaming greater dreams of glory.

canto 5

we mounted a steep flight of steps

that took us

to the next terrace of the cafe

fewer people where there

but those who were

were sipping their drinks

with little satisfaction –


‘the first cup was so good full bodied’

and flavourful

but we have been unable

to find another to equal it.

we have had our great dreams realized

and now cannot find a second dream

to equal that first one

we have fulfilled so much promise

only to find ourselves

unable to fulfill that promise

any farther that it took us

our first and abrupt plunge

into the accomplishment

didn’t leave us time

to figure out what to do with it

once we had it

like the dog chasing the car[

once its caught then what

then what


another took up the lament –

‘yes I won the prize’

found myself facing

the unclimbable mountain

of the shadow it cast

never in my career did I find again

that initial brilliant flash

that took me to the prize

it was glorious

free brilliant and terrifying

I saw in a chilly clear light

the reality of so much

the interconnectedness of it all

and then when that was recognized

I lost my sight

I became blind to all

and only saw things

as extensions of

my personal wants needs fears


‘I was plunged into the fame

and left there

to spin and coil in the arid wind

lost to all

especially to myself

I never found that spark again

no matter

how hard I fanned it

no matter

how much I drugged drank sexed

it eluded me

and I knew

that if I didn’t rediscover it

all would be lost

my first flash

would remain nothing more than

an unsubstantial parlour trick

so you see we are here

waiting that next flash

we have proved the gift

but now need to prove

we can wield it

without losing control of

rampaging egos

rampaging publicity machines

to the expectations of

a hungry and envious public

we know it is possible

we wait for the moment’

when we can once again ignite

the night sky with our impossible words.’


I turned to Verlaine

‘what is the point of

overcoming the fear to do

as those on the lower cafe are stuck in

if one finds themselves

stranded like these poor souls’

‘you see the solution so clearly

yet when the time comes

I hope you can apply it yourself’


‘I see the solution?’


‘Yes not to be trammelled by fear

for fear takes many shapes and forms

it comes at different times

these lost their belief in themselves

in the glare of success

they had one great dream

but forgot to dream another

they had expected each step

to be a repeat of that first

and when it wasn’t as glorious


they lost hope and retreated

into bitter recrimination

of those about them’

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


ego in the mist

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