SPOTLIGHT: Martini Tattoo by Elizabeth Cohen

Drink Me

I’m your last cocktail
of the night, see how you eye

me, little wolf girl
see how you graze

my lip, lick my

I was a shaken baby
iced in a metal belly

Now I am the theme song
you’ll hum at moonset

and when you wake
in the noon light you’ll

wear my old familiar throb
like a purple boa, you’ll taste

just like my sugared mouth
I’m your last supper, darling

see all the apostles staring
they know the truth

they know that you’ll drink me
eat me, never resist me.

I’m the blood
and the body, patron saint

of the drowned
I’m looking at you, kid

In my glass skirt
with my fun paper hat

reflected in
this bottle-fillled mirror

I’m so glad
we are together

it’s raining out
what else is there to do

The Zigzag Line

the naked skin, the tender places
that lift to meet, graze to touch

the wet of you, the slide, the press
cannot compete with the fire

of the water, the embossed coaster
fizz and crackle, first pour

of the day
o meeting o communion

of liquid and lip, o grog, o hooch
o upsy freeze, the softest place

on the inner thigh is no contender
nor any sea cave or hidden spring

waters stroked by the slender oar
of the kayak at first light

any trill or flutter – all of these
vanish at 4:00 pm

hour of the first nip, clink, slug
& snifter, all things liquid eclipsing

the feather, the cheek of the neck
hip of thigh, knee of pelvis, pale

of the ale, vitae of the aqua
no lushy darling in the starry dark

no earlobe kiss, no bump and roll
can match the shine of moon

the sauce in the belly,
the salt and the lime

the tiniest glass a god call:
Knock-knock, who’s there

it’s mes-ca-al-i
Mescali who?

Mescali rose
Yes, put this girl on a tab

give her a place in the Friday night
stumble, the hazy drift

of dark light
& forget the rest – it’s all mildly sozzled

what do you wish for
what possible thing

what wet dream could be wetter
than this waking wet dream

o sauce and the jimjams
the afterstumble throb

warm breeze
and deep tremens

and here you are again
in the stuckness, the grimness

the o darlin’you chose this
3 sheets to this wind

Martini Tattoo

It always happens
Autumn arrives
& it’s all cocktails, all the time
KGB, Buddha Bar
Space Billiards, the Hall of
North American Forests
deerskin-flasking Drambuie
with Schwendeman’s
noble American bison, and later
with Crab Louis at Ludwig
Bemelmans at the Carlyle

worm-in-the-bottom, straight
up, dry/salty & maraschino
shotgun darts with your
Sour Mouse, Christina

Because you are 24 and still
have your Bat Mitzvah shawl
That is when you met your first
bo-ray peri ha-gafen
became that woman
who left her sober child

Bless me, bless me patron saints
of whisky and rye
baptize me with Sophie’s
holy water, on Second Avenue
shaken hard
by some serious
cheetah-gloved hands

Float a cocktail onion
gracefully at the bottom
of me, light me up
in the butterscotch moonlight

Pour me another because
we are on the lower east side
and we are 24
and lit from within
lit from without

there’ve been fire works
in the bottom of the whole
decade, the planet careening
on its axis, this is the way the world

Ended, this is the way that world
ended, this is the way your world
ended, not with a kiss, but a cork
pop and hiss, the blur, the blur

the beautiful blur of your Exene
polyester, your Super 8 face
your tattered knee
highs, your famous Saturday nights
at Sophies with Ray and
his amigos, with its no sign
and scraped-up pool tables
and the pull of Saturn
and the lull of the apple
the ginger of the lemon
the drop of the chocolate
the watermelon
the dirty

Oh-say-can-you-still-see them—
all the girls in consignment
store furs, patent leather
boots, stick-and-poke
Goldilocks, with one shaved side

Blessed be all the dive bar poets
& vodka rabbis of the lower east side
who poured us their best drinks
those last drinks, the on-the-house
drinks, the just-one-more drinks

& we drank them all
and always came back
because they knew us
they knew our names


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