Excerpts from Relative Drunkenness




The instrument of expectation consists of a brass cylinder and a piston[1]

filled with the substance of her rage. She seizes him. A thin line


is mapped out judiciously down his torso. When Mrs. Winterspoon’s

reverie is over, she returns to call on the gentlemen


of The Barber-Surgeons – sits down among them, just having dined.

Another time, according to one curious narrative {which has been published in the


local papers[2]}, she was in a particular city performing a dissection – when an organ

suddenly ceased playing. An elderly woman, ill in bed and {half opened}, cried


out, “A  little preparation!”  Mrs. Winterspoon had stumbled over the rib

spreader and might not have discontinued her invasion had the frightened patient


not made a fuss at her intrusion. The ill woman found the audience to be exceedingly obliging on this occasion, though perhaps a little disposed to the ideas of this singular

woman. It was said that she would write a letter to one person but address it to the son.


“'I am afraid to explain my curious preoccupation with anatomie.”

On the eve of being married to the bishop's son, she brought the Ramus [3] of the groom.


This would account not only for the strange behavior of the ladies, but the grooms inability to speak. In a very public manner, she indignantly broke off the engagement.

[1] The capacity is twelve to sixteen ounces

[2] The Newcastle Curant, June 16th, 1799, The Lewes Journal, July 9th 1799

[3] Jaw bone.





It is a somewhat anomalous fact -

thus were these matters handled by the specialists.


To these they gave the moniker “counterfeit.”

Interesting that such a large number of people would not know the importance of love –


and would rush from the motel with so few questions[1].

It is my point that both adoration and execration are due to a stroke


of luck, as though it came itself,

out of air, though the sky was dark and full of carcinogens.

[1] Chicago Hotel Fire Kills Seven, Chicago Worker Vol.1 November 7th 1902






The inn-keeper sped into the village, shouting that his lover was at hand. The women opened their windows because of the snow and the full moon.


“What’s the matter?” Get home with you to bed!”

But he replied in terror that his lover was a dark cloud that hung around fastened


to the knot of night. He ran down the narrow footpath – went wandering in and out between the sand hills, “What does she want?”[1]

[1] This questions refers to a “question-begging-answer,” and is known by some as the unappeasable question.



three poems by Christopher Leibow

Quyen Ngheim

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