Monday, January 30, 2017

KianaRose writes

Na Zdravi *
Salted air tinged harsh 
with Russian winter biting back breaths
that taste of rum,
                of wine,
                of cheap absinthe children shouldn't buy.
We were tall and ugly; 
cloaked in holey sweaters and combat boots
We forgot our socks. 
Said it would make us stronger. 
We forgot our heads 
and danced in the darkness. 
Numb toes. Numb hearts. 

We were
celebrating the death of 
who grieved the lives of 
as unfortunate as we were that night. 
Tall and ugly,
we toasted their accomplishment, 
bit back our breaths, 
peered into our darkness,
and wished we died with them.  

 " "Cheers" in Czech (the untold setting of the poem). 

 Absinthe Dreams

 Absinthe Dreams --Leif Rogers


  1. "After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world." -- Oscar Wilde

    "Boche had known a joiner who had stripped himself stark naked in the Rue Saint-Martin and died doing the polka - he was an absinthe drinker." -- Emile Zola

    Absinthe (Czech: absinth, Spanish: absento) is a strong herbal drink prepared from a distillation of neutral alcohol, water, "the holy trinity" (grande wormwood, green anise, and florence fennel), licorice, hyssop, veronica, lemon balm, and angelica; other herbs such as petite wormwood (Artemisia pontica or Roman wormwood), melissa, star anise, peppermint, and coriander, were also used; its alcohol content was at least 60% and often approached 90%. Traditional absinthes were redistilled from a white grape spirit (or eau de vie), while lesser absinthes were more commonly made from alcohol from grain, beets, or potatoes. It was commonly called "la fée verte" (the green fairy). The medical use of wormwood was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus, ca. 1550 BCE, and the Greeks used wormwood extracts and wine-soaked wormwood leaves as remedies and drank absinthites oinos, a wormwood-flavoured wine; in the 1st century BCE Titus Lucretius Carus indicated that a drink containing wormwood was given as medicine to children in a cup with honey on the brim to make it drinkable. However, modern absinthe seems to have been concocted by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Couvet, Switzerland, ca. 1792 as an all-purpose patent remedy. His recipe was passed on to the Henriod sisters of Couvet, who sold absinthe as a medicinal elixir (though in some accounts the sisters may have been making it before Ordinaire's arrival); a Major Dubied acquired the formula from the sisters and opened the first absinthe distillery, Dubied Père et Fils, in Couvet in 1797 with his son Marcellin and son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod. In 1805 they built a second distillery in Pontarlier, France, under the new company name Maison Pernod Fils. The beverage was given to French troops as a malaria preventive in the 1940s, and then became popular in civilian bars, bistros, cafés, and cabarets; by the 1860s, the hour of 5 p.m. was called l'heure verte ("the green hour").

  2. The traditional French preparation involved placing a sugar cube on top of a specially designed slotted spoon, placing the spoon on a glass of absinthe, and pouring or dripping iced water over the sugar cube to mix the water into the absinthe. Absinthe glasses were featured a dose line, bulge, or bubble in the lower portion to denoe how much absinthe should be poured; one "dose" ranged around 1-1.5 fluid ounces (30-45 ml). The liquor was loosely categorized into various grades (ordinaire, demi-fine, fine, and Suisse) in order of increasing alcoholic strength and quality. Mass production caused the price of absinthe to drop sharply by the 1880s, and it became particularly popular among artists and writers. Czech artists who frequented the Café Slavia in Praha introduced the practice there by 1888. By 1910, the French were drinking 36 million liters a year, compared to their annual consumption of almost 5 billion liters of wine. Some cheap varieties added toxic copper salts to artificially induce a green tint and used the poisonous antimony trichloride to enhance the louching effect. It came increasingly under public condemnation, and many countries banned it: One critic claimed, "Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country." Maison Pernod Fils was one of the most popular brands until France prohibited absinthe in 1914, though Pernod soon reinvented the recipe without the wormwood to produce its trademark anise-flavored drink, pastis, which was first commercialized by Paul Ricard in 1932. (The name "pastis" comes from "Occitan pastís" which means mash-up; similarly, the word "pastiche" signifies an imitation or re-conceptualisation of a classic. Pastis is, however, is part of a tradition of Mediterranean anise liquors that include sambuca, ouzo, arak, rakı, and mastika. The anise, liquorice, and fennel produce the aniseed flavor and the "louche" (the clouding effect once water is added), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) gives the drink its bitterness and contains thujone, similar in structure to the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. Artemisia comes from Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt; absinthium is from the Greek "apsínthion" (wormwood). Since it was commonly burned as a protective offering, the word probably derived from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European *spend ("to perform a ritual" or "make an offering"), much like the bitter Persian root known as spand (aspand, esfand; Peganum harmala). The European Union has set a 10 ppm thujone maximum, but some Czech brands exceed that limit, especially Logan Fils, which reportedly has 100ppm. "Bohemian-style" absinth lacks the anise, fennel, and other herbal flavours associated with traditional absinthe and thus does not louche, so a "Bohemian Method" of preparation has developd that produces a stronger drink than the traditional French method; it involves placing a sugar cube (pre-soaked in alcohol, usually more absinthe) on a slotted spoon over a glass containing one shot of absinthe, then set ablaze. The flaming sugar cube is dropped into the glass, igniting the absinthe, and a shot glass of water is added to douse the flames (or the fire is allowed to extinguish on its own).

  3. KianaRose,
    You write beautifully. You're words seem effortlessly placed on the paper you write upon. Keep writing and collecting your poems, I look forward to seeing books published with your beautiful work.

  4. Kianarose,

    Beautiful words produced from a Beautiful young woman with a lovely heart. Excited to see more of your words published for the whole world to read.


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