Four Poems By Courtney LeBlanc

Love Poem From Vodka

Your lips on my mouth, your hands

on my glassy skin. I craved your touch

as much as you craved my taste, clear

and cold down your gullet. I never

abandoned you – when someone 

whispered rehab, you asked your daddy

but he wanted fame as much as you

so we kept slow dancing, your platform

shoes tripping us as we stumbled onto

that stage in Belgrade. We were booed

off but I comforted you. When Blake

split I was there to blur your broken

heart. And that last weekend – I rivered

down your throat, your hand still wrapped

about my long neck in a forever embrace

when you closed your eyes for the last time.

When I Quit Drinking in My 40s I Remember the Boyfriend Who Gave Me a Bottle of Champagne on my 21st Birthday

He asked a coworker what to get me and she said

flowers. Instead he bought the cheapest bottle

of champagne. While I would one day love

the effervescent drink, at 21, I didn’t yet enjoy

the bubbles singing down my throat – I wanted

watery beer and fruity, florescent shots. He downed

most of the bottle in the backseat, handing it back

and forth with a friend. When we got to the bar

I proudly handed over my ID, proclaimed, It’s my

birthday! That night I danced with everyone 

but my boyfriend. My best friend and I whirled 

around the dancefloor, limbs loose and free. 

In a week I would learn he’d fucked someone 

else just hours before purchasing that bottle 

of brut, but that night I celebrated this wobbly

step toward adulthood with him by my side, or at least

standing on the sidelines, chugging a beer.

Amy’s Bedroom Talks

The fights I’ve seen, the fucking. Both loud,

sometimes violent. Oh she loved him, but

like that song says, he loves blow and I love puff.

Honey, drugs don’t make for gentle love

or soft words. She’s messy – platform heels

peeking out from under the bed, bras hanging

on doorknobs, sheets gritty from weeks between

washing. And that day – the glass bottles fell

empty from her hand, one nestled beside her

on the pillow, watching her take her last breath,

knowing she loved it best. 

A Quarantine Cocktail

Fill a glass with ice – if you have those fancy cubes, use those. If not, fuck it, no one is going

to see it.

Remember you’re isolated with only your partner and dog for company. No partner or dog? Then you’re really isolated. Take off your bra, your pants – no one is there to judge you and if there were someone there who judged you: time to find a new partner.

Find your liquor of choice: gin, rum, tequila, vodka

Pull out the pomegranate juice from the back of your fridge, the juice you bought at the start of the pandemic – it claims a multitude of health benefits. Because with a pandemic, you might need whatever healthy goodness this juice can provide.

Pour the liquor into the glass, cover the ice with the clear liquid. Add a bit of the violet juice, for a dash of color.

Down the drink fast, in one gulp if you can. Make a second drink, adjusting as you prefer. Sip this cocktail, watch the ice melt slowly, luxuriate on the tart taste, the subtle bite of gin/tequila/rum/vodka.

Drink till the day has faded to night, till the black of the sky matches your mood.

Remember the liquor store is considered essential and is still open.

Remember this can’t last forever.

Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full length collections Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat) and Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79

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