“Twelve – Twelve Jars of Wine”

For the Tang Immortals

Especially for Li Po
One of my Favorite Poets
In a Style He’d Like


Twelve jars of wine beside a river bank,
each one a friend and for a friend to break
the seal of, letting out the breath of grape
and age and love and how all things must end.
My friends are never with me when I’m rank
and drunk beside the water, so I shake
my fist up at the clouds and let the shape
of all my sorrows flow like them again.

Shaped clouds, like vines, like rivers, and the wine,
divine in every way that heaven knows,
are always friends. I answer as they pass,
for drunkards hear cloud voices in sunshine.

The jars are empty. Wine’s like friends, it goes
away, and leaves me, cloudy, on my ass.

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