A Deep & Gorgeous Thirst, a collection of poetry by Albuquerque native Hosho McCreesh, wades wistfully into alcohol-drenched territory.
Freewheeling in style and content and clocking in at 300-plus pages, A Deep & Gorgeous Thirst sweeps us up and takes us all over the world … drunkenly. Before we know it, we’re browsing bar culture in places as varied as Ireland, Japan and Wyoming. Through verbal snapshots in the guise of title-less poems, the protagonist endears himself to us as he trots around the globe. He ends up in fights and near-fights as often as he does hotels and hot tubs.
But besides being about decadence, these picaresque poems also transverse love, romantic and otherwise. In a poem that begins,
the snowy, January streets
the speaker soliloquizes on the tragic and unspoken affection he feels for his brother.
In another poem, the protagonist finds himself in the home of a disgruntled veteran after a night of heavy drinking. During this alcohol-aided hangout session, the ex-soldier suddenly produces an assault rifle to complement some gory war photographs. This sad guy is just trying to impress his new friend, our soused hero—but, alas, it’s a misguided act of show-and-tell. The tension that McCreesh generates here is key. A reader will wonder how this awkward situation might progress, and will undoubtedly be pleased when the man is met with compassion rather than contempt. As Hosho writes in the resolution:
all the macho shit goes,
and you're just two people
and there is even an embrace that transpires, a tender moment in this bender of a book.
Finally, these poems assert the writer’s allegiance to the city of Albuquerque, namedropping landmarks that Duke City residents are sure to recognize. For example, the squat geometric face of the Frontier Restaurant is sure to be conjured by its mention in the collection. If you consider the local flavor, as well as the meditations on love and compassion (and the overall sense of fun intentions that permeate the poems), A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst seems to deviate from stereotypical themes like misogyny, depravity, etc., that famously drunk writers (i.e., Charles Bukowski) tend to harp on.
Although McCreesh mentions Charles Bukowski in A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst, suggesting influence, the scenes depicted in this collection of poems seem more like 21st-century versions of Dionysian adventures. That’s not to say that this poetry’s hero roams the woods with a flock of Maenads, eating live animals to satiate a vicious hunger—he simply hopes you will go out with your buddies and blow off some steam. Luckily, you may not have to go as far as Japan, or even as far as Wyoming, to do so—Central Avenue should work out just fine.
Leo P. Neufeld is a chicken wing enthusiast who currently “lives” in Albuquerque, NM. He is of no relation to the painter who is apparently famous here in Albuquerque; he is very good at drawing stick figures.