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Hard Time
5 7 09 Tommi NYC and after 025.jpg


September 3






Sometimes I pack the earth down so hard that weeds can’t even grow up through. I try to make nature inert.  I try to kill my alcoholism.  I confine my disease to this tiny path of compacted dirt and wear blinders as to warn off distractions.  I forget there is a garden to be grown in the fertile ground of my recovering mind.  Losing the compulsion to drink is a gift; stopping my mind from thinking is soul murder.  I can sink my toes in the good brown soil and look to the lilies and the Queen Anne’s lace for inspiration.  I can stop giving myself such a hard time.



Let art talk.




It only takes five crayons

to turn a tracing of my hand into a turkey

and it only takes a few things to change

my drunken life into my sober life.


Looking back I am amazed

how little it has actually taken to transform my life.

My drunkenness looks about as much like my sobriety

as my hand looks like a turkey

but the transformation has taken place.


The red, the yellow, the brown,

the meetings, the steps, the sponsor, these basics are the bulk.

Sometimes it’s the small extras

that help push this work of art into the realm of believability.


Accents of green, up and down the fingers,

or a few bonus phone calls to women outside my network.

Anything can be the thing that kicks it over

into a plausible and convincing reality.


I can never be more than I am, a drunk is always a drunk

and a hand is still just a hand,

but within each of these things are unimagined

possibilities waiting to be explored.


Michelangelo believed that sculptures lurked in chunks of stone.

I have come to see that a sober woman

prowled inside this drunk

and every Thanksgiving my hand yearns to put on feathers once again.