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Aaron Poochigian 01-19-2020 10:49 AM

The Thirteenth Step
The Thirteenth Step

Between a day won and the day to come
he sighs and snags a stool at Maxís Bar.
Served, wordlessly, a glass of Pinot Noir,
he hoists his pinkie finger, drops his thumb
and snuffles. Magically transported from
Gowanus, he is strolling through some far
vigne or a Weinberg on the river Ahr.
Then no more Europe: what his nostrils plumb

turns abstract, and each deeper huff effects
ecstasy greater than an all-out kiss
inaugural to a night of gonzo sex,
yes, greater than a hermitís pent-up flagrance
loosed or a junkieís last wild hit of bliss.
Yes, he is drunk, drunk wholly on the fragrance.

Roger Slater 01-19-2020 11:34 AM

No nits from me. My favorite by you that I've seen lately. Fine work.

Aaron Poochigian 01-20-2020 12:05 PM

Thank you for enjoying this, Roger.

Rob Wright 01-21-2020 09:38 AM


There is so much to admire here; the meter is supple. The lifts come at just the right places: "served", "hoists", "huff" "sex" and "bliss". The only suggestion I can offer is the title, as it sets up – in this reader's mind, the idea of betrayal – not self-betrayal – but that of trust, that once it has been established, violates that trust. At least that is what is meant by "Thirteenth Stepping" in the parlance of recovery from addiction, which is addressed here, quite powerfully. The scent of wine is a powerful force in this poem. Well done.

Allen Tice 01-21-2020 04:29 PM

Deleted. Deleted.

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