I heard it first while screwing a blonde
who had the biggest box in 
Scranton.

I listened to it again as I wrote a letter
to my mother
asking for 5,000 dollars
and she mailed back
3 bottletops and 
the stems of grandpop’s
forefingers.

The 5th will kill you 
in the grass or at the track,
the kitten said,
walking across the popinjay
rug.

if the 5th don’t kill you, 
the tenth will,
said the Caliente hooker.
as they ran up the
beautiful catsup red flag
93 thieves wept in the 
purple dust.  

the 5th is like an 
ant in a breakfastnook full of 
swaggersticks and 
june bugs
sucking
dawn’s orange juice coming.

and I took the 3 bottletops from my 
mother and 
ate them
wrapped in pages from
Cosmopolitan
magazine.

but I am tired of the
5th 
and I told this to a woman in 
Ohio once, I
had just packed coal up 3 flights
of stairs
I was drunk and
dizzy, and she said:

          how can you say you don’t care
          for something greater than you’ll
          ever be?

and I said:

           that’s easy.

and she sat in a green chair and 
I sat in a red chair
and after that
we never made love
again.