1841 c/o Jemima Foxtrot

Tucked up all dingy in a rabbit-warren tavern:
dark wood, dust and a jukebox.
Came straight here at 4pm.  

Rye whiskey and maple and citrus.
The tall barman, like a totem pole, tells me it’s a filibuster.
True, it sets me prattling like banjo strings.      I’m garrulous.
“And democracy never wins” I say,
he rolls his eyes.
                                                I’m drunk already. Size him up.

I welcome El Salvador with hazelnut liqueur, grenadine
            and good, dark rum.

It is my mission undo me with a reason for each drink.

I am an alcoholic history class but stuck, sad and sobering fast,
            on the 9th president of the USA.

Harrison, Harrison what can I do?  You’d have me have an orange juice.
But I hate God and I Love Booze. Oh Harrison, Harrison what should I do?

Totem pole winks and fixes me a sweet vermouth.
It trickles through cold rocks, he slyly adds a twist.
He grandstands with anecdotes of Rome, I know he’s seen my type before.
It’s a Groundhog Day reference.        Since I told him my mission
            he’s been fingering his phone and picking bits of 1841 from it,
                        mixing special drinks for me.

“Oh crashing shame of colonies!” he says
on his way back from some other customers       sucked into their
            own blotto project
            everybody’s got one nowadays.
            I started it though and my mission is solo.

The British got New Zealand: I get a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc and feel
            guilty about it.

I will wake up later with spittle on my cuff, the barman polishing glasses
            and a headache.
            Then I’ll drink to 1842 to take the edge off.