Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mr. Barleycorn’s Quest!

For me, there was no urgency to stop drinking—what for, why be rushed by
       man, or men; like burgeoning, or mushrooming, something that doesn’t need dwindling, let it go at its own pace: —this is what I said at
       nineteen, during the infancy of my slave days to Mr. Barleycorn.
Me and him breathed the same air, suckled the same breast: Hamm’s
       beer, Budweiser, Coors, Grain Belt, Schmidt, Beck’s—
He wasn’t biased: black, white, brown, we were all brought into his
       brotherhood, young, cultivated young; alas, the devil knew which one’s of us were genetically more prone to its shortcomings, its cravings within
       our chromosomes, we didn’t of course!
Thus we had our brotherhood, free and unfree, shoulder to shoulder, like to
       like, some to same, we chummed, and tirelessly gave to him, life and rhythm, and then at thirty-six, I said “Where am I destined?”
Aw, to be his slave—with a child’s mind, I was amazed that men, so many
       men, including myself were all saying Mr. Barleycorn was not an
       obstruction— of which of course he was!
I mean, after twenty-two years his slave, he was still present, merely
       visible, and I was one of  his chief victims, sufferer!
Yes, he gave me a little humor, a night or two; a little fading attention, now
       and then; he had very little patience, he gave me shame too, some bafflement, some anguish, despair: I was like a man struggling with a
       inherited vice: defeated? No!
What was his quest? I asked myself, in self-defense!
And the best I could come to grips with was this, let me put it as if I was reading his mind:
“Let him sweat, swivel, as on top of a needle; let him scrabble through the   
       youthful years of his life… when he wakes up, if indeed he does,
he’ll have something to think about!” And he was right, and I did indeed
       sober up, and not a minute too late.

No: 4518 (8-9-2014