A CAP FULL OF WHISKEY

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A CAP FULL OF WHISKEY
by Nicole Kuwik
A cap full of whiskey
and melted Post-it glue in a
South Floridian October.
The days begin
after tolerated
wetnose snuggling and
pineneedle hair-in-your-eye
mirror sessions
Put on your makeup.
Your father’s handwriting has been
honored with visits to the Psychologist
at the most inconvenient time of day,
Staring at a person
sitting in front of vertical blinds
is an eye-slicing nightmare
like playing
one of those “hidden image” games on a
fucking lite-brite.
“So, Tell me,
What do you like to do?”

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  1. These six stanzas are related. How? Hmm.
    I didn’t know that Post-it glue could melt, but it’s hot in South Florida in October, so. Scary to think the glue and whiskey might have been mixed together. Maybe a Post-it note was on the bottle, and it came off. Anyway, not much whiskey, not much glue. Transience.
    Not just the day begins, but “the days begin”–many of them, possibly all of them. Is “wetnose snuggling” love or just getting too close to the upcoming mirror? The “mirror sessions” are self encounters of some sort, “pineneedle hair-in-your-eye” seems too close for comfort but can be “tolerated” like the “wetnose snuggling.” Commitment anxiety? Even to oneself?
    “Put on your makeup” is done in a mirror, at the beginning of a day. Coverup. Presenting yourself to the world in the way you think you should be seen.
    “Your father’s…visits to the Psychologist at the most inconvenient time of day.” Inconvenient for whom? Presumably the poet’s persona. Skewed parental relationships.
    The fifth stanza has the most shocking imagery, which describes just “staring at a person.” Relations with anyone a nightmare.
    The last stanza turns it back on us: the poet’s persona confronting the reader, perhaps a mirror of herself, in an off-handed, not serious, seemingly cynical (in light of the rest of the poem) invitation to a relationship; having said what she’s said, enough to cut it off at the start. She doesn’t “like to do” any of the above, much or at all.
    I would say what relates these different snapshots is relationships: their transience, tolerableness or discomfort, anxiety, coverup, pain, terror, involuntary inconsequential recurrence.
    I liked this poem just from the look of it, its incoherence, pared-down language, off-the-wall yet striking imagery, and dig at the end at our self-understanding. Despite keeping its distance, it invites us in for a closer look.

  2. The provocative photo and title guided my mouse. It was interesting reading the poem, not really relating to it or getting too much out of it, and then reading Randall’s closer look afterwards. I definitely appreciate it when very personal poems like these are published and shared regardless of how removed they might be from what the general public (or the readers) might relate to and appreciate. Its also very nice to see people like Randall go into in-depth analysis of work like this. Randall, I’d love to send some of my work your way for dissection sometime.

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