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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Sam Sax - On Alcohol

my first drink was in my mother

my next, my bris. doctor spread red

wine across my lips. took my foreskin



every time i drink i lose something



no one knows the origins of alcohol. tho surely an accident

before sacrament. agricultural apocrypha. enough grain stored up

for it to get weird in the cistern. rot gospel. god water



brandy was used to treat everything

from colds to pneumonia

frostbite to snake bites


tb patients were placed on ethanol drips

tonics & cough medicines

spooned into the crying mouths of children



each friday in synagogue a prayer for red

at dinner, the cemetery, the kitchen




how many times have i woke

strange in an unfamiliar bed?

my head neolithic



my grandfather died with a bottle in one hand

& flowers in the other. he called his drink his medicine

he called his woman

she locked the door



i can only half blame alcohol for my overdose

the other half is my own hand

that poured the codeine that lifted the red plastic again & again &



i’m trying to understand pleasure it comes back

in flashes every jean button thumbed open to reveal

a different man every slurred & furious permission



i was sober a year before [ ] died



every time i drink i lose someone



if you look close at the process of fermentation

you’ll see tiny animals destroying the living body

until it’s transformed into something more volatile



the wino outside the liquor store

mistakes me for his son


Sam Sax - On PrEP or on Prayer [“when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis”]

when i say pre-exposure prophylaxis


you think


easy fix. greek in origin. an act of guarding.

east of here a small temple.

inside parishioners strip nude

as armless statues, their stone

genitals hardening under a chemist’s glare.

the garden out front fecund & tended.

the garden inside bare.


when i say tenofovir disoproxil


you think


chemical names. saint names. names without origin.

an unpronounceable string of letters. the generic names

of petty angels. the drug’s molecular makeup applied in

& around the eyes & lips. the names of viruses & blind trials.

the kept-vial of love. the unknowable side effects of blood.


when i say oral emtricitabine


you think


once a day swallow a small sun

& all hymn in you comes undone


the way a lit match deads the smell

of a public bathroom


when i say nucleotide analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor


you think


thirsty epidemic

you push the blue pill through its foil


you know each new medicine trails

our dead behind it like wedding cans



you can hear them now can’t you?


Sam Sax - On PrEP or on Prayer [“spare us your burial rites”]

spare us your burial rites


spare us the first rib

the flood, the resurrection


spare us your dairy & meats

your belief in a life after this one


heaven’s a city

we’ve been priced out of


our mothers fled

for more affordable children

for the price of liver


heaven wants nothing

to do with pleasure

on earth


on this

the occasion of my brother’s wedding

i need something awful

done to my body


heaven’s a boy

who wants me to crawl

through his mother’s midnight-window


heaven’s the condom splitting into light


heaven’s not a place

more a wound i make & pass through


when we’re done

he asks how many men


i’ve fucked this month

& not loved


spare me the quilt & blankets


spare me the look

in his eyes when he takes me

careful as a poison inside him


spare me the lecture

on the survival

of my body

& i will spare you

my body