The Best Years of My Life

The Best Years of My Life

A Poem by Annette Jay Sweeney
"

I wrote this villanelle for class. I'm 21 and have witnessed and partaken in college drinking the last few years. I wrote this when I had a semi-serious problem.

"

I’m not an alcoholic, no, not yet.

It runs in my genes like my eye color.

Don’t puke, don’t stumble, you will lose the bet.

 

Every weekend a bottle is met,

my lips draw sweet sourness like a lover,

but not an alcoholic, no, not yet.

 

It’s just me being social, I won’t let

it take hold of me as it did mother.

Don’t puke, don’t stumble, you will lose the bet.

 

In class I bring a Jameson Coke, a

trick trophy conveniently covert.

I’m not an alcoholic, no, not yet.

 

Not twenty-one, through others I must get

the heat, the speed, my heightening brother.

Don’t puke, don’t stumble, you will lose the bet.

 

Soon I’m losing control, like-a feral pet

they turn to bite me over and other.

I’m not an alcoholic, no, not yet,

do(n’t) puke, do(n’t) stumble, …I have lost the bet.

© 2010 Annette Jay Sweeney


Author's Note

Annette Jay Sweeney
Keep in mind that this was a villanelle.

Upon editing this I changed the lines:

"I take a Jameson infused Coke, set
down in class like a trophy covert."

The new version:

"In class I bring a Jameson Coke, a
trick trophy conveniently covert."

Do you think this works better?

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Featured Review

There's a sense of denial running through your verse with expression of opposite outward signs "like a trophy convert". Also the inference that it's not the subject's responsibility, "it runs in my genes like my eye color". I like also your use of "like-a feral pet", suggesting the subject was once tame, but has been led astray, with a sense of realization just at the end.

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Not bad for sticking into the structure of a villanelle, though it feels like you may have stretched the definitons of a villanelle just a tad? I do enjoy the nice lacing you've accomplished throughout the poem

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Matt,
I'm so sorry for the loss of your father. What a tragedy for you. My family is wrought with alcoholism. My mother, thank God, has now achieved 10 years of sobriety but she almost didn't live to become sober. My father was in much the same boat as yours, but he ended up in jail. It may have saved his life. Alcoholism is a masked terror many people fail to see. It breaks my heart to hear what happened to you.
I did mean covert, not convert. Sorry I didn't see you thought that. I'm so glad you like the feral pet part. My teacher wasn't so fond of that, but I think you have a deeper understanding of what I meant that she did. I have had experiences with feral animals. A cat I was trying to foster for the Humane Society was kind of tame, so I thought I could rehabilitate him. First, he viciously attacked me, but I made the excuse that he was scared. Then, he almost killed my other cat. We ended up having to put him to sleep. It was really hard. Thank you so much for the lengthy review! It helped me to like this piece a lot more.

P.S. I like the nickname!



Posted 10 Years Ago


Oh yeah, and your new nickname is Passerat.

J'ay perdu ma Tourterelle:
Est-ce point celle que j'oy?
Je veus aller aprés elle.

Tu regretes ta femelle,
Helas! aussi fai-je moy,
J'ay perdu ma Tourterelle.

Si ton Amour est fidelle,
Aussi est ferme ma foy,
Je veus aller aprés elle.

Ta plainte se renouvelle;
Tousjours plaindre je me doy:
J'ay perdu ma Tourterelle.

En ne voyant plus la belle
Plus rien de beau je ne voy:
Je veus aller aprés elle.

Mort, que tant de fois j'appelle,
Pren ce qui se donne à toy:
J'ay perdu ma Tourterelle,
Je veus aller aprés elle.

Villanelle
I have lost my turtledove:
Isn't that her gentle coo?
I will go and find my love.

Here you mourn your mated love;
Oh, God—I am mourning too:
I have lost my turtledove.

If you trust your faithful dove,
Trust my faith is just as true;
I will go and find my love.

Plaintively you speak your love;
All my speech is turned into
"I have lost my turtledove."

Such a beauty was my dove,
Other beauties will not do;
I will go and find my love.

Death, again entreated of,
Take one who is offered you:
I have lost my turtledove;
I will go and find my love.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Miss Manda. I have to tell you that I lost my father two years ago to alcoholism. He had advanced cirrhosis of the liver, and suffered from alcoholic dementia the last year of his life. His drinking never slowed or stopped, right up to the day he passed away. Your poem so clearly depicts the excuses and permissions that we fabricate to allow ourselves to participate in what we know is self-destructive behavior. Your observations apply to any addiction, any crime, and any cruelty that a human being can be tempted to engage in. “I am doing this thing, but this thing is not me.” We tell ourselves that we’re in control, and different from all the others who have fallen into the hole that they can’t get out of. Then, one day, we realize that we’re right there with them, clambering to get back to the freedom we talked ourselves calmly into throwing away.
Christopher, I like your review. However, the first line you mentioned actually describes the Jameson-Infused Coke as a “covert” (rather than convert) trophy. To me, this implies that the writer was proud of herself for being so bold as to have alcohol in class. She was underage and pleased with herself, also, for the creative way in which she disguised her dissobedience.
I interpreted the “feral pet” allusion differently as well. The word “feral” applies more to a creature that was never tamed than to something that once was. In high school I had a friend who rescued a baby raccoon that had fallen out of the den its mother had set up in a disused treehouse on his property. It was the cutest little thing but, as it grew, it became less and less affectionate and much more destructive. He told me one day, after he’d released it in a nearby park, that it was really hard for him to get over his affinity for the animal he’d considered a pet…but that he’d realized it never was and never could be tamed. The addiction that is the subject of this piece is similar. It lulls a person into a sense of being in control. It offers enjoyment, release, and distraction. The time eventually comes when the person sees it’s gotten larger, more dangerous, and downright sinister. It’s a happy day when someone has the strength to recognize that change and set the thing free…but many times the bond between man and wild pet is too strong to break, and the human being is pulled into the dark woods on the tail of his habit, never to return. Ha ha. That was a lengthy and overly wordy review…but this theme struck me hard. Great job Amanda! I love it. I am glad you let your coon go.


Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Thanks so much for your comments! I was kind of nervous about trophy covert, since it kind of messes up the rhyme scheme and was not the original in the first draft of the poem. I appreciate the input :).

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

There's a sense of denial running through your verse with expression of opposite outward signs "like a trophy convert". Also the inference that it's not the subject's responsibility, "it runs in my genes like my eye color". I like also your use of "like-a feral pet", suggesting the subject was once tame, but has been led astray, with a sense of realization just at the end.

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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16 Reviews
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Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on April 21, 2010
Last Updated on May 14, 2010
Tags: alcohol, underage drinking, villanelle, Jameson, college

Author

Annette Jay Sweeney
Annette Jay Sweeney

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About
Reading and writing have always provided a loving escape for me, but both are now taking on a more serious level. I thrive on reading others' work and helping them to improve, while also depicting my .. more..

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