Youth Is the Only Covenant We Can Never Keep – Paulie Lipman

History is never clean

“You’re doing sobriety
It has been 20 years
free from meth
never perfect

This is for…
I can’t say who
“this” is for
because I
have no idea
what “this” is
An ode
a recollection
It can’t be a
how-to, as
I don’t know
how I did it
I just
decided to

Even if
my sobriety/your addiction
share the same faults
defects/slash tags
I don’t know
what will get you
through yours and
if I were you
I would find that
more reassuring:

“Thank God.
He don’t know either.”

All I can say
definitively is
what worked
for me:
I moved/packed
what little I
and kept moving

I can’t remember
half the miles/steps
that got me here, some
are just better lit
Try it
Find your own

Try staying
Try the Program
list those harmed
make amends
Try abstinence
memes/crystals, hell
if Tony Robbins
works for you
hop on that bulbous chin
and ride that awkward
llama all the way
to Valhalla

Same goes
for anger
be fist
live middle finger
manifest venom
live for spite/to spite
the fates/family/
Fuck ‘em
Don’t let them
be right/assume
they know best
for you
Don’t go out
the way they want
like a bastard
Sobriety as

The future is
never perfect
Time is vindictive
Death is the only
dance we will ever
perform immaculate

is a stutter step
dictated by Life’s
mothercallous rhythm but
can look like ballet
to a spun wallflower
Paulie LipmanPaulie Lipman is a former bartender/bouncer/record store employee/Renaissance Fair worker/two time National Poetry Slam finalist and a current loud Jewish/Queer/ poet/writer/performer. His work has appeared in the anthology We Will Be Shelter  (Write Bloody Publishing) as well as The Emerson Review, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, pressure gauge, and Prisma (Zeitblatt Fur Text & Sprache).