The Public Death of a Human


I wonder if there are bumper-stickers that say “What would Dionysus do?” Maybe there aren’t any because it would run the risk of catching the mythologically-aware police officer’s eye. I wonder how many cops are well-versed in the traits of Greek gods. Maybe it’s better not to posit arbitrary hypotheses. It’s best to keep such worries bottled up. Or maybe I should just drown them in the water of life.

Speaking of whiskey, this tiny bottle of Tully has been sitting on my bureau for a few months now. It’s almost empty. I’d guess that there’s only a 1/5th left, 4/5ths of which were swigged while writing a poem lost in pages of drunken stream-of-consciousness.

I don’t know why I’ve saved this last little bit of Tullamore Dew. My nihilist self says for no reason. My hypochondriac self says that since the seal has been broken and the cap has been left half on by my drunken past-self, that there runs a risk of contamination, somehow. My anxious self says the same thing, but not for any clinical reason, which is perhaps better, because the former is absolutely absurd, (ad infinitum via the paranoid delusional parts of me.) My melodramatic self says that I’m saving the ultimate sip for when the friend who gave it to me as a gift dies.

Although now I don’t think that will happen to him all that soon anymore. My friend recently had surgery in order to remove a tumor from his bladder. It was successful, and should stem the tide of nothingness for a little while, (although the malignancy in his prostate is a different story). Back in September I didn’t know he had cancer. That was when he travelled to Lithuania because he was invited to read at a poetry festival in Vilnius. The somewhat large, autonomous, and semi-recognized-as-independent-commune that hosted the event, (and awarded him with the title of Ambassador of all African Americans) is built on the ruins of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto. He told me he could not feel comfortable there, no matter how accommodating his hosts were, on account of the tortured phantoms of forgotten individuals.

It was sometime in October and the night after he returned from halfway across the world when we went to McGlynchies and he showed me photographs of the artists’ collective and poetry festival. He drank Cuervo and Harp. I drank Tully and Lager. When we departed from one another he told me he had cancer and gave me a gift. If I abide by my melodramatic self then I hope it will be awhile before I sip the rest of that whiskey he gave me.

When we hang out I don’t speak as often as I usually do around other people I drink with. I imbibe in his anecdotes and conspiracies as well as our usual drinks. He’s given me other tokens, usually mysticism-related trinkets, but this whiskey is the most heartfelt. It’s only 50ml, kind of like the mini airline bottles of liquor. Although this gift wasn’t picked up haphazardly and conveniently duty free. It’s from Lithuania, specifically the hotel he stayed in in Vilnius, complete with a white sticker filled with Lithuanian words. He got it for me because he knows me. He notices the little things. Our weekly communion hasn’t gone unnoticed to him, even though it’s only been going on for the past year, out of the other sixty some-odd-years he’s been alive. How about I drink this last little bit now in the hope that it will go on for some time.

About Sean William Lynch
Sean William Lynch is a poet from New Jersey who was born in 1992. Lynch's first book of poems "the city of your mind" was published in 2013 by Whirlwind Press. Frank Sherlock, the poet laureate of Philadelphia, called Lynch's debut poetry book "visionary." CA Conrad claimed that the book was "marvelous!" S.W. Lynch's writing has been featured in numerous publications online and in print, including Milkfist, Poetry Quarterly, and Tincture Journal.

4 Responses to The Public Death of a Human

  1. pembroke5 says:

    Let’s hope it goes on, and you and your friend have “many a few.”

    Alexander Marshall pembroke5@aol.com

  2. We share a friend. He told me about you last night as I was inquiring of his health and he of mine.

    • Sean Lynch says:

      He has told me of you as well. I read a few of your blog posts on your quest to find out more about your Irish ancestry and saw the photos you took of Ireland, many of them the same places I went to last year.

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