by Nathan Whelan
Awake in his chair, 
sitting up, head cocked 
a bit to the right, entranced
by dancing souls of Irish lullabies,
Some days he’ll grace
us with his old self:
a blue collar man,
proud roots, honorable
work, tender and loving
– and then it’s gone, 
long forgotten,
leaving us with his shell,
as though he’s shifted planes
residing in another parallel,
a world of slow breathing,
heavy blinking, exaggerated 
moments of satisfaction.
Words with different 
meanings, the doublespeak 
of an alternative mental state,
the docility of a man enslaved,
fully embracing his captor,
no longer afraid of disappointing.
Glossy-eyed, red-nosed,
his hands still clasped
around the bottle
I threw away
hours ago.