She serves the warmest smile, and pulls a perfect pint, her eyes like a goddess.

Like Dionysus.

Red wine in abundance, warm in texture and plentiful by the glass. In my mind, the most beautiful shapes enhanced by the toxins racing through my bloodstream, the vividness of my childhood, like the Creation, space and time alluding normality, easy breathing now.

And then it comes on hard, my old friend, the aura migraine, the lights, the metal taste – sweet Jesus – how it surges through my veins like marching feet along the skin of a dry bass drum.

Into my eyes, teeth and cheeks before, it pitches on relentless, with each new throbbing beat around my temples, with no time to pause, not even a lull, so that I can think about the madness of the session, a recipe for pain and inspiration, downhill from here.

And then, the final tranche, the perspiration in my eyes, stinging, my head low to slow, the hard endless beat, no spit in my mouth, the immaculate descent.

I will remember nothing in the morning.

damaged, no control,
and life’s grim misconceptions,
plague me endlessly.