The World of Whiskey

Al Maginnes Click to

al reading againAl Maginnes is the author of ten full length collections and chapbooks of poetry, most recently Inventing Constellations (Cherry Grove Editions, 2012).  He lives in Raleigh, N. C. and teaches at Wake Technical Community College.

The World of Whiskey

“If the river was whiskey and I was a duck
Might swim to the bottom, never come up”

Traditional blues lyric

Understand. The world was
whiskey once, and dive we did,
seeking the shifting bottom
of dreams we believed were ours
to offer anyone with
an ear or a need to listen.
Mired in sand and duck weed,
we stared up through ambered
layers, through the floating
of broken chairs, undreamed lines,
searching the ice-melted
memory of sun. We were
a long time drifting to shore,
not sure we could stand
when we got there. But deep
in the old woods, voices sang
and we learned we could hear
enough to know what they said.
And as we slipped into
the first fringes of tree-shade,
we found ourselves wanting
to sing for the first time
in a long while, all fear
of drowning shaken from us
as long as we could follow
those songs to the unbottled
waters of their birth.



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2 Responses to The World of Whiskey

  1. Al – I love the feel of this poem. The dark humor from the blues lyrics plays beautifully with the primordial imagery.

  2. Pingback: Out from the Swamp: Al Maginnes’ “The World of Whiskey” | Why The Writing Works

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