Cocktails for Narcissus

by Joseph Armstead

Sometimes I can see
my reflection
swimming in the depths
of my martini,
liquid mirror and
bacchanalian curse,
my quicksilvery image
of social inadequacy
masked under a facade
of sardonic anxiety.

My genomic code
wasn't just cracked,
it was splintered,
and mechanical clowns,
of organic chemistry,
picked up the incongruent,
asymmetric pieces,
and stuffed them
into a shoe box.

The sequence bleeds into
the bottom of my glass:

The mirror is a silvered pool
atop a manhole cover over
a tunnel to Purgatory
reflecting the X-rayed insides
of a digital stranger, plasma widescreen,
who comes each night into my home
to tell me why I am not


and I fantasize I can be like
the multitude of snapshots parading
past my insomniac's bloodshot eyes.

Gin and vermouth
replicate the chains
of my ribonucleic center,
a broken neon helix,
keep that secret,
SSShhh! It's in my DNA.
Streaming video
out from the shoe box,
makes me thirsty.

My reflection
with each slow sip.

Autumn Leaves

Joseph Armstead is a suspense-thriller author, poet and computer technologist. He has authored nine novels and over two dozen short stories and been published in a dozen magazines and online journals. Really. And he writes poetry because there are some things that cannot be quantified within the framework of a plot-driven narrative. He writes poetry because he loves words and language. Sometimes he writes verse because he has trouble sleeping, but at other times it is because he has seen some image, some visual, that has sparked a dream of drama in his mind's eye. Mr. Armstead's subscription for behavior medication should probably be stronger than what it is.

Last updated August 25, 2011