It’s Not My Fault: A Drinking Song

Verse 1

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight,

but there was something, and we got on well,

co-travelers through the days and nights

until it turned sour and went to hell

for reasons that remain unclear…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Verse 2

No doubt the therapists would claim

that there are lessons to be learned

about when to shut up and when to say

what’s really on your mind, what hurts,

and, yeah, mental health was not our strength…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Bridge

I guess fucked up love is better than no fucking love at all;

it takes two to play the game, but a lucky draw for both to win.

 

Verse 3

Sure, I failed, but Lord knows I tried

to heal the wounds and make things whole,

to wipe away the tears you cried

and bring comfort to your soul,

and so it hurt when you sent me away…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Repeat and fade slowly and quietly into despair

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

 

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Breakup Sonnet on a Random Line from Shakespeare, Taken Out of Context

I could not stay behind you, my Desire,

though my failing was not for want of love.

Your ambition I admired, your fire,

but for both of us it wasn’t enough.

We began on equal terms, two hearts,

partners in a balanced relationship,

but I was cut as you became the star;

you gulped the wine that I could only sip.

Sometimes I was content to hold the ladder

steady as you climbed up to the roof,

but, always left behind, I grew sadder,

lonely—not, as assumed, aloof.

When, against my will, you set me free,

I tried to climb, but fell, without you to help me.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Notes: The line is from Twelfth Night, but the punctuation, capitalization, and context have been altered to change the meaning. The poem is also partially a response to the song “The Good Side,” by Troye Sivan, imagined from the opposite point of view.

A Slow Death and Its Aftermath

Who came first doesn’t make much difference.

The more interesting question is who left first,

and when and how. Was it the one who cheated

and then regretted it, or the one who wanted to and didn’t?

The one who lingered too long at the gym to avoid home,

or the one who came in early and smoked weed

in front of the television? The one who fell asleep

on the sofa, or the one one who drank too much

alone on the back porch late at night when he

couldn’t sleep and there was no porn left to watch?

The one who finally walked out the door, or the one

who locked himself up inside? As far as the why,

that’s a pointless question too. They met, they

coupled, they separated, both, as a result,

a little better off, a little worse. Yellow roses

marked the beginning; red ones, the end.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Around

A tangle of passions, in the plural

rather than singular and shared,

had brought them to this pass,

their desires and aspirations mismatched,

so that when the incensed burned out

and the wine bottle ran dry,

no one was surprised, not really,

at the expiration of what had become

mere ritual, mere ritual marked

for duty’s sake, no longer

a feast of cannibalistic fervor.

Then came a season of resignation

before the explosion that ended it all.

Afterward, there were tears, but those

dried up as well, and the world

creaked a bit on its axis

but continued to turn.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper