Now realizing back in my earliest childhood days and teens

an inexorable coat of arms draped over my extended family

it being a unique container reeking of whiskey but filled by my kin

supplanting a ship in one of those impossible bottles


‘Irish milk’ it was jokingly yet ruefully called by the Eire choir

other members of my jumbled heritage not so quip literate

the males never in need of an occasion to disappear another sixer

the female DNA in my lineage being reluctant collaborators


This excess liquid cowardice brutally poisoned all in reach

awakening demons requiring just such nutrients for release

the imbibers briefly relieved of their day-to-day burdens

accepting tit-for-tat as a grotesquely even proposition


Still, mine was mostly a family of decent beating hearts

yet busted up and dwarfed lives so very raw and real

with dreams drawn but primarily self-quartered

and loves mutilated despite appearances peripherally intact


Our poverty of mind and wallet an incognito fait accompli

but it gathers no leavening to spit at oneself

true, nobody ever once asked as to our two cents

likely because we showed no means of affording it


Generations later, by tilting at the malignancies

and changes empowered by will and through foresight

we carry a lessened assortment of scarlet letters

with reddened scars now hidden under middle class costumes