“Drink of me dear lover”
Drink of me my dear lover
I loved the Austin Texas nights. Alive and vibrant with people and good sound. I roamed to her every weekend for five years. The old city was my mistress and the good drink was my elixir to make me feel alive and write. I carried my Dryden and Hemingway books to read in the day. I wrote notes and poetry near the Austin city river all day.
I went to the Austin Poetry reading near the downtown area in the Summer of 1996. I was told no open spots to read. I could be a back-up. Many forget and when there are up and we need a person to stand in. I told the pretty blond hair Texas girl. This would be fine. My name is Johnnie. She smiled and turned to me, told me to sit near the reader’s stand, so we can call you if you are needed. She gave me a smile and a waved goodbye.
I read three poem this day. I met many writers and poets. We made plans to drink coffee and discuss the word. The last Poet to read was a red haired beauty. She was tall and slim. Wearing her cotton blouse loosely and jean tight. She didn’t look up till she was on the stage. She told the audience. “My name is Katie. Just a working lady who loves the poetry and story. She smiled and began to read.
” Wine and vinegar
You told be love is just another four letter. I didn’t know the once sweet word could turn vulgar. You whispered sweet words to make me strip down and I allowed you to use my body like a cheap hooker. Your words were like sweet Summer red wine. Making me drown in want and believe love was alive. You left me alone before the morning sunrise on a cold and lonely bed. The sweet wine taste on my breathe had turned to vinegar. Your memory to regret. I looked at the sun rising and asked her. Dear Sun. Why is love just another vulgar four letter word.”
I clapped my hands joining the other appreciating poets and writers. I saw tears in her clear blue eyes as she wandered away. I remembered she watched me with great detail. I have read poetry at reading for six years now in Austin. I had confident and didn’t try to impress. I read to share my words and my poetry today was of regret and sadness.
I wandered to the 6th street. Till 9 pm at my favorite hangout, Long Islands were $3.00. I sat alone waiting and drinking for the night to fall. The bartender kept busy, asked few questions as I wrote down some notes. I raised my face from my journal and a painted beauty appeared looking for someone at the entrance. Long legs, flowing red hair and blue eyes. She had her war-paint on and she was looking for a lucky person. She saw me and she walked directly to me and she sat in the next seat.
I knew by her veil of falseness. She wanted to be someone else and be in a better place. I saw emptiness in her eyes. I knew she wanted solitude and she wanted to recede to some kind of happiness. I said hello and I offered her a drink. She surveyed my G.I Joe haircut and Michigan smile. She asked me. “Are you safe? I smiled and I told her. No warrants out for my arrest. She smiled and told me. The same drink you are enjoying and light on the coke.” I ordered two flesh Long Island ice teas, light on the coke. I told her. You are mighty pretty tonight. I like your black dress and red hair.
She looked at me and she told me. “Soldier, no saints or angels here. Just us waiting for something that is pure and sweet. Don’t allow the package to tempt you. Flattering words are meaningless in the night shadows of the Austin nights. I like the Austin nights. I’m allowed to be free to think. I do appreciate the kind words, but I’m not interested in a one night stand or a walk away love.” I remembered her blue eyes now. This was the young Poet transformed and sitting with me. I loved her flowing read hair and honest words. I told her. I use to pray for the perfect love. A love that would never die. Tonight I drink to remember and forget the regret. Can’t dance alone and take no chances. We won’t know what we missed and the possibilities that are near.
She smiled at laughed at my words. She asked. “Dear Poet, is every sentence a poem or a story to you? Be careful what you wish for. When you undress the fake-ness of false smile and shallow heart. You will gain false rapture and dead-end fulfillment. Love can’t live in the valley of sadness and disappointment.” I told her my name is Johnnie. She told me her name was Katie. I told her. Dear Katie. Real love must know blood. True love makes you bleed and cry. Make you want life and death in the same second. Passion can be satin and lace, sweet wine and long embrace. We need the taste of warm sweet kiss to keep us hopeful. Dear Katie, we won’t have endings, if we do not have beginnings.
Katie smiled and asked. “Can you Texas two-step? Show a girl a good time Soldier? I told her. I’m an expert at the Texas two-step. One of my many skills. Maybe we can go dancing and later I can buy you a good meal? I have time and no place to go and I need some good company. She was thinking. Trying to find reasons to escape. She turned to me and kissed my cheeks and lips. She told me. “Please be kind. I need a friend and kind voice. Please help me find the well of hope and to forget the things I have done.”
I told her I wrote a poem for her today and I read the poem to her.
“Drink of me my dear lover
Lovely woman sat alone in deadly silence. She wished for things missing in the lost and find. She remembered when love was life. Life was love. She wished for true love and kind words whispered to dear lovers in the cold of the Texas nights. Please drink of me dear lover. Never let me go.”
Katie smiled and she told me. “Drink your long Island tea and we shall go dancing. I want you to show me. Love can be sweet and I want to laugh.” Two new friends wandered into the Austin nights. The dance clubs alive and well at 10 pm. Katie wrapped her arm around me and she whispered. Thank you for being a needed friend.