Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Poetry: Wait Until Late Afternoon

Brushes between boozy friends & alcoholic fathers

From wine snobs to Rev-chugging club kids, gays and lesbians love their alcohol.

Binge drinking — drinking to get drunk — is common enough, and for a minority, alcohol abuse is the reality. But for most, drinking is merely a part of our social and party repertoire, no more or less debilitating than a predilection for handbags.

Friends and occasional collaborators David Bateman and Hiromi Goto tackle this theme in Wait Until Late Afternoon, a book that reminds us that the line between social drinking and having a serious problem can be blurry.

Arranged as 98 numbered poems from alternating narrators (D and H), the poems chat tipsily, here breaking into a laughing fit, there getting sentimental. Both narrators discuss their fathers’ troubled relationships — with booze and their children.

The poems have the character of barflies — they are ordered such that the next one might be a development of the preceding, or it could be a conversational U-turn. Like barstool chats, the format lends itself to a kind of anecdotal and poetic one-upmanship. In this, H takes the early lead, with D catching up in the second half. The book ends, after a series of gorgeous farewell poems, in a dead heat.

Both D and H have sharp tongues and are prone to word sound-play. When you listen to this gem, “hehhhghuuu hehhhghuuu hehhhgghuuuuu,” you can actually hear dry heaves after puking.

There are also some enchanting glimpses of sexuality, as in this quatrain from D:

be my love
don handsome Customs Official
uniforms from other nations
take me into the custody of your beautiful othered arms

Peppered with cocktail recipes, Wait Until Late Afternoon is like the night that gets away from you. Its boozy bravado makes for a rewarding read.