© 2018 THE LONG ISLAND LITERARY JOURNAL

How to Drink Yourself Sober

by Alex Stolis

 

 

How to drink yourself sober

The Promises; Pages 83-84

 

 

We will be amazed before we are halfway through. We will

be sharp bone. We will be painstaking. We angle into each

other and I name us for stars. We flower against a black sky

our only direction down. Like water, like plums, like sinners

trying to con themselves out of absolution. It’s getting dark

and step after step after step we go backwards. It’s the end,

time for a prayer. I mouth the words, candles flicker in, out

as the last amen drifts away. She squeezes my hand asks me

for a cigarette. She laughs, says she quit a few days ago too 

soon and it beats going back to the bottle. But I know better.

I know it’s all the same. I lie anyway. Promise it’s different. 

Promise I’ll keep her safe.

 

 

How to drink yourself sober

A Design for Living


 

When she’s five her mother spun a tale of an angel who dropped

to earth, landed in a quarry. She fell in love with a mortal, asked

him to bind her wings tight against her back, tried unsuccessfully

to fit into his world. Years later, when he died, she found herself

unable to fly back to heaven. In her grief she flung herself into a

marble slab where she waits, to this day, for god to split it in two

to be reunited with him.

 

 

How to drink yourself sober

Chapter Four: We Agnostics- God doesn’t never change

 

 

It’s the mythology he loves. Before he got laid he preferred

the nighttime. Easier to picture life in so many different ways.

If she could, she’d get inside his head, fill the darkness with

fire. You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed

with her. He is as ancient as dirt but she scares him to death  

says she's the only one that can keep him in line. She sings

stories to him until he falls asleep. Oftentimes she’ll perch on

the edge of his bed, legs crossed, an unlit cigarette between

her fingers. Nothing changes but time. Nothing is eternal but

silence.

 

 

 

How to drink yourself sober

The 12 steps & 12 Traditions as Directed by Leni Riefenstahl

 

(slow fade to desert)

 

Joseph and Matt tempt fate. Hitchhike to Bethlehem and try to get work. They drink Miller on tap 

at Bartholomew’s Place, watch the Eagles and listen to cracked bells chant the time as dollars fall 

into slots and men are twisted in their cups. Ramona and Emily, recent grads of Brown, stop in to 

sell flowers for a memorial service that takes place every Saturday afternoon in Loring Park.

 

(close up of Ramona)

 

Ramona has wild hair, short heels and a suede skirt that catches Joseph’s eye. He wants to linger at 

the pool table and talk her into his bed. He knows Emily runs the show, she reads her rosary to any 

one that listens, sells candles and blonde crucifixes from the back seat of her ’72 Nova. He asks 

Matt to distract her, buys half a dozen roses for her

 

(dream sequence)

 

wedding which is scheduled next Tuesday—a new Holy Day will be declared she says. She booked 

John Lee to sing the processional, hired Maya Angelou to write the vows, Emily’s going to marry 

the Son of God, that’s the plan and no one will dissuade her. Joseph and Matt long for the days 

when Mark and John fed them psalms and they all got together every five years after Golgotha, 

reminiscing of the days when

 

(fade back to desert)

 

rivers were filled with locusts and fire meant spring was coming, the only wine they ever drank 

then was tinged lightly with saltwater. They felt like brothers who lived in different cities each one 

carving their own territory to live, raise a family, start a business. It was a daily struggle to forget 

the clamor of swords bursting into plowshares, a struggle to remain silent when

 

(slow fade to black)

 

their wives stood as pillars of understanding and keepers of the faith because they were too tired 

to give a damn. Christ only knows when they will be allowed to walk across broken sand and see  

the green hills of the Promised Land.