Beer in Babylon

Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book A Single Throat Opens, a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction (with Michael Schmeltzer), we will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends. (Get the whole list here.)

When I say I was lonely, what I mean is that the cheap white plastic cooler of beers seemed to me a home. With its peaked roof with the handle and the ice making it sweat like rain.

This is history, not fact.

A can of beer is always a can of beer. And usually it is dented. Some of the earliest writing is about beer. This fact made me laugh like the click and hiss of a can opening. All those early years trying to gauge the mood by the concentration of hops in the summer air, feeling alone as I made rings from the pull-tabs and pools for bugs of the twist-off caps, only to find that people have written of these things since chisel hit stone in Babylon.

Now, I want to sit across from every whisper that smells of warm beer and salt. It is the most widely consumed alcohol in the world, so this isn’t hard to manage. Once something has made you feel lonely, it always will. And you will always try to find your way home to it.


*Art: Beer Tankards by Vincent Van Gogh, 1885.

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