First Pink Drink

                                            after Sia’s “Chandelier
My first drink was a 40 oz. berry flavored malt beer & at twelve years old                                 I’m
drunk in a basement with giggling girls & Johnny Cash’s middle finger. We’re                      gonna
vomit, gonna pee in the washing machine, fall down rickety wooden steps then                    swing
& seesaw on a waterbed, melt like Dali’s soft persistence on our descent                                 from
little girls trying to be little women. I pretended to be drunker than I was.                               The
fuzzy voice outside my head, each of us dangling on the branches of our own               chandelier,
each of us lit with warm liquor. We turned into the staggering zombies                                   from
the undead. One thing on our minds: get drunk faster, become loose in                                     the
cold cave into the refraction of our bodies, so much laughter in the bright                      chandelier
of our faces. I heard Sia on Howard Stern talk about her alcoholism &                                     I’m
obsessed with her song. I became the party girl too. My night was                                         gonna
rage, make-out with the neon bar colors of the midnight world. I wanted to                              live
on the top note of every moment, a plucked guitar string thrumming                                        like
a shot glass of daddy issues, like I don’t wanna feel rejection, I want                                tomorrow
to never come, ride the buzz into light years with no hangover. Time                                  doesn’t
wait for you to grow up & see the aerial view of your bad decisions or                                     exist
in the moment as you live in the moment you are losing.                                                            I’m
still stuck in that basement with those giggling girls, wanting to be grown.                           Gonna
watch myself take fermented communion, my mouth an estuary for blood. I                              fly
over the sleepover of girls dreaming of what kind of women we will be,                                      like
a ghost watches a world it is no longer a part of, how getting drunk is                                            a
metaphor for Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. In the dark hours I’m just one                               bird
flying higher, a wet bubble before it bursts. We are taking mighty swigs                               through
sore breast buds & first kisses with metallic braces, fingers finding other caves,                            the
horny tugboats of youth. We watch our parents & say we’ll never be the                                     sky.
We’ll get close to the sun & not touch it, but the wax is melting & I’m not                                feel-
ing good. There was so much throwing up that night. Stomach’s ocean of                                 my
purge, my second communion in reverse, my abdication. My                                                  tears
pink as the vomit on the dusty floor as pink as the carnations inside us,                                       as
pink as pop music can remind you of one night when                                                                they
tapped your shoulder to come down to the basement & bleed yourself                                       dry.

Tiana Clark is a Pushcart Prize nominee and recent recipient of the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Tiana is an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University, where she is a Poetry Reader for the Nashville Review. Her poems have appeared in Word Riot, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review and Best New Poets 2015, and are forthcoming in Muzzle Magazine, Southern Indiana Review, and The Offing among others. Find her online at