Freezing in his garret, the Drunken Sailor wonders what would have happened had he not given so much for art. Would love have found him? Would the downy flowers of spring bloom?

He tapped the keyboard furiously:

O will-o-wisp!
O disaster of love’s dawn retreat!
May my heart be forever waxen,
May the day be incomplete.

A spasm seized his throat. Where was she — in this world of trouble and strife and loneliness? What bower untouched lies the maiden yet?

A voice calls from below, harsh, demanding. And familiar. “Dinner in ten minutes!”

That answers that question. He deleted the poem and hurried to finish his weekly column for the Omaha Siren. Wives, and editors, do not like to be kept waiting.

Dear Drunken Sailor:

Another Valentine’s Day and once again I sit with a card, and nowhere to send it. I am a man, and I think I have a lot to offer. I mean, I have a job. I have a car. I don’t drink very much. No offense.

Yet I can’t seem to meet anyone. When my letter carrier, a woman about my age brings me the mail I always hope for a letter. No one ever writes. I know she shares my pain, bless her heart. She always asks how I’m doing. She asked me what I do at night, and on weekends. It’s funny, if I say I like pizza, she says she likes pizza. If I say I like bicycling, she says she likes bicycling. Isn’t that odd?

The other day she asked if I wanted to take a ride with her in her mail truck. She said it would be fun. Well, I had to get some paint at the paint store so I couldn’t very well go with her, now could I. But wasn’t that sweet?

So I’m sitting here with this Valentine’s Day card. Where, oh where can I send it?

Signed, Stamped and Undelivered.

The Drunken Sailor Says:

You don’t drink much? Something tells me you don’t think much, either. Have a drink. Do some thinking, and PS: That ride in the truck? Take it.


Richard Donnelly

Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Classic flyover land. Which makes us feel just a little... superior. Mr. Donnelly's first book is 'The Melancholy MBA,' published by Brick Road Poetry Press in Columbus, Georgia.