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Published: Sun Apr 15 2001
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
REVERSE Number Search for Chilly Evenings in Hell

for liam rector

It makes no difference in life if you win or lose:
just waking up every day can take all you’ve got.
That’s why so many of us turn to drugs and booze.

Quit your job, get divorced, take a cruise.
What do you care? When you’re hot, you’re hot.
It makes no difference in life if you win or lose.

What really matters will not come as any news:
bad as bad is, even good times can hurt you quite a lot.
That’s why so many of us turn to drugs and booze.

The way some people fight it is to snooze
all day and night, popping Prozac, dozing on the cot,
because it makes no difference in life if you win or lose.

But that’s not our way. Oh no, no, no. We choose
direct engagement, or is it complete evasion? We’re not
sure. (That’s why so many of us turn to drugs and booze.)

In the end, it’s hopeless. There is no way to refuse
to see that future heart attack, that fatal clot.
It makes no difference in life if you win or lose:
that’s why so many of us turn to drugs and booze.

See what's inside AGNI 53

Terence Winch has published two books of poems—Irish Musicians/American Friends (Coffee House Press, 1986), which won an American Book Award, and The Great Indoors (Story Line Press, 1995)—and a book of short stories, _Contenders _(Story Line Press, 1989). He received an NEA Fellowship in poetry in 1992. Winch also recorded three albums with Celtic Thunder, an Irish band he started with his brother in 1977. (updated 2001)

 

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