Tag Archives: addiction


Put me to sleep: I’m drunk on my weakness,
in need of being needy, a grievance
to those who would ever hold me or hold
me back or hold back my hair if I were
a girl or a hippie or something new.
I’m a bit delusional, and not just
from the drags. I’m addicted to the next
step in every situation, my
fix a sheer lack of gratification;
only, when I’m in the act of my wish
fulfillment I glimpse cracks of a new light.
It doesn’t have to be this way; I don’t
have to live this life. I can choose to be
or change or grow or put myself to sleep.


Have You Never Been Mellow?
– Olivia Newton-John

I. 1972. Motion.
I am going on only what I’m told here, from parents,
grandparents, people who were there and could retain
the memory of the constant blur of my hands, my feet,
always moving, even in sleep. 2 am rides in the car,
being placed on top of the washing machine during
the spin cycle. My father would push me in my stroller
to Nantasket Beach, unbuckle me at the point where
the white sand ended, and let me run. Keep moving.

II. 1982. Entenmann’s.
They were uncomplicated, small, easy to consume.
One by one they’d go down until they were tasteless
and I was just after the sensation of chewing,
of doing something that happened automatically
and without my permission. Because I thought
this was nourishment. Because in hindsight
it had nothing to do with sustenance and everything
to do with keeping my mouth full so that I wouldn’t scream.

III. 2002. E&J V.S.O.P.
Not quite bottom shelf, not entirely respectable.
I was the punchline long before I’d heard the joke
about you, about us. On a cold night, walking home,
I can still smell you, your siren song smell of bad apples
and battery acid tang. But this was never about quality.
Indeed, most nights you never even made it into a glass.
This was about how fast you could get me where
I needed to go. Oblivion always trumps unwinding.


This one’s hard for me, opens up feelings
of inadequacy over what seems
to be an unnatural chemical
dependency on a gas station purchase.
When did I get like this? At what age did
my once spry child lips decide they need this
to survive? How specifically did this
addiction begin? It feels like I’ve been
living with the weight of this small plastic
container all my life. If my lips get
too dry, I panic, tend to simulate
insanity, monomanic. I
complain and whine until I feel that bliss.
I’m an addict, but oh so soft to kiss.


Sarah tells me
that she spent Spring Break
in detox, that her
hands are in these casts
from punching the walls
in detox, that they
gave her Vicodin
in detox, for her
blasted knuckles.
What the fuck, right?

She is all ripped tights
knee socks and plaid parka,
cascading hair not quite
covering eyes
huge with

When I was first
coming to terms
with just what had
its grim grip
I was this wraith
staring out
with eyes like that,
like being haunted
by my own ghost.

The Star System

We all smirk knowingly when a celebrity goes off to a facility because of “exhaustion.”
“Exhaustion,” we’ve come to understand, is code. It’s a euphemism for “overindulgence.”

Overindulgence, we think, is part and parcel for the famous, for those who lack self control.
Self control, of course, isn’t anything the famous are familiar with. They are paid to put on a show,

a show in which they are beautiful beyond compare, thin without effort, and this requires assistance.
Assistants: they assist, cater, take care, do the things that would otherwise fall to the celebrity.

The celebrity cannot be seen with her delicates in a Kroger’s bag outside the dry cleaner’s.
Dry cleaning is terrifying. Eating is impossible. The world presses in, the mind is a terrible thing.

Things become complicated. The assistants can’t tell her why. They’re paid to fetch, not answer.
Answers can arrive in the form of pay-as-you-go spirituality, 30-dollar red strings for protection,

protection from evil eyes, magazines predicting her downfall, all available at the grocery store,
the grocery store she doesn’t go to because no one must know what she actually consumes.

Consumed by fear when the roite bindele fails to provide, her next best option is the bottle.
The bottle answers nothing, really, but deadens the fear. But only for a little while.

For a little while, it helps. It helps, but requires increasing amounts to continue being helpful.
Helpful assistants are now tasked with procuring bottles along with the delicates. No questions.

Questions only irritate, disrupt the precise chemistry that must happen in order to function.
Functions, openings, fundraisers – she must appear, as ever, flawless. And it’s exhausting.

High and Dry

You know why they call it a hot mess?
Because that shit storm is so fucking
sexy.  I get that tingle
just hearing about the OD.  That needle
dives through skin without a ripple,
slow push and quick release.  I’m clean
but seeing that gets me high
every time.  While that pulse slows
in black and blue veins, my bones
turn to Guinness foam, tingling smooth
so damn smooth, it’s hard
not to pour another glass.  Shiver and shake
through the DT’s, my spine will curl
with delight.  Self-hate in bender number
whatever, I think I’m gonna bust.  Find God,
I’ll change the channel.  Call me fucked up,
but it’s safer to live


(for Christopher)

Days are spent forcing the connection, or
failing to make the connection,
between the pun-savoring boy
and the name of the man in the death notices.
Like quantum physics,
Angry Birds, and the notion
that dissent is only patriotic for some,
I can’t make sense of it.
These days I am deliberately haunted,
fully occupied with my own hero
worship, knowing (because I knew the boy)
that here is no one I could have
rescued. Here is no one who is owed
anything from me, let alone explanations,
or fantasies of reclamation. There is no one
point to go back to, to change the course
of events, to ascertain the exact moment
where an exchange could have stopped
me from reading his obituary.
You don’t have that power, I hear him tell me.
Why are you apologizing when we
haven’t spoken in 15 years? I nod.
I understand that I have made him a
phantom of circumstance, who listens
just to be polite.
The boy becomes the man
becomes the spectre in the film
I play in my head.
But there is no real possession.