Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered and mastered by Sam Patlove
This morning was one of those mornings that it seems like Ray Wylie Hubbard has had more times - perhaps even consecutively - than I'll have my whole life, when all is said and done. It was caused by a night, not of carousing, just of drinks with buddies that went deeper into the night than anyone ever anticipated they would. Stories were flying around, our laughter likely got louder as the pints kept making their way to the table and no one was checking their watch or phone for the time. Everything was just passing us right by as the ale disappeared down the tubes. The other people in the bar were thinning out around us, a sign that we'd miscalculated, and finally we paid off the tab and found our hotel rooms right where we'd left them seven hours earlier. It had been a solid pull of a night, weighed down by the volume of beer consumed, but not sunken by it. We'd put ourselves into merry spirits, via the spirits.
So, there were happy endings for those slept upon hours, lasting only until we woke up. Feeling like death warmed over on a Sunday morning, we found that we could barely speak, the voice scratchy and lost to all of the prolonged chatter of the night before. In the glossy, plastic covering the certificate of inspection for the elevator that we were riding down to try and rummage up some breakfast-type things, we saw our first reflection of the day - those bloody eyes and the half-doughnut bulges below them - making it very apparent that we needed some sunglasses, so as not to frighten the passerby. It was too late for that, in the trip downward, so we roughed it, out the doors and onto the street, where everything was brighter and noisier than we'd left it. We felt as if we hadn't slept a minute, though we knew that we must have been wrong.
Still, in spite of it all, the night just gone was one that we wouldn't change a thing about. We figure that that's what these goddamn nights are supposed to be for. Hubbard has to have awoken thousands of times thinking the same things, looking at the damage done - both in the mirror, strewn all across the floor and in the kitchen sink as well. He has to have awoken in the middle of the night and not known where he was or how he'd gotten to sleep in the first place. He has to have had so many nights where he wondered how his woman was going to feel when she finally woke up. Would there be a fight? Would it all be remembered? Would the chuckle? Would they pick up where they left off? Would they get right back to having sex?
The whiskey bottles are "scattered like last night's clothes" and there's a sense that any hellish feeling is just a sliver of heaven. He compares the sweetest of a woman to that of a whiskey still. Anyone who does that is prepared for the hard mornings and whatever might be coming out of the event's of the evening past. He sings on "Drunken Poet's Dream," "I got a woman who's wild as wrong/She likes being naked and gazed upon/She crosses a bridge, she sets it on fire/She lands like a bird on a telephone wire/I'm gonna holler and I'm gonna scream/I'm gonna get some mescaline/And then I'm gonna rhyme that with gasoline/It's a drunken poet's dream." The Oklahoman is a professional drunken poet.