My Winter Years


These are my winter years –
when regret and recrimination ravage the soul.
Half-remembered memories rattle like marbles
in my brainpan and conspire against my forward vision.
My voice is but an opium whisper, and offers no defense
in the foul darkness of my affliction.

The souls of my feet rest upon a cushion of prayers that
never took flight, for my appeals were falsely laid;
and in this moment, I am content to lie upon my prickly bed,
dankly scented with the sweat of whores and cheap whiskey.
I offer no apology, and upon God’s ear none would surely fall,
for upon my cross He has forsaken me to my earthly merriment.

The familiar smell of petrichor wafts through my open window,
and for a moment the abyss before me appears clean washed and inviting,
stretched beneath a crescent moon like the hangman’s noose.
My dreams are shards of colored glass laced with the blood of my inequities,
The cold hours of this night unwind slowly, but unwind they do
while my eyes yearn to see Death’s gnarled fingers
reach out for me in the gray fog of morning.

These are my winter years –
when the mirror of my existence reflects the harshest light
and my bones rattle in contempt.
Free will was never intended for men like me
whose eyes grow dim with temptation’s agony.
If He had plans for me, He kept them to Himself,
and so I have chartered my own course beneath starless skies.

An Addict’s Indifference


Those were the lost years
when my days were bathed in
the hazy, soft glow of fentanyl
and tomorrow never came.
Those were the stacked hours
of feeling nothing
and floating lazily
down the opium river.
I neither belonged there,
or here,
for more than one lucid moment
between applied patches –
On with the new and hungrily
chewing the old.
I was then a woken mummy,
wrapped in dirty layers of
chemical indifference,
stepping haltingly from
light into shadow.
In those years,
my world spun on a shaky spindle,
my North, my South, my East
and West tossed into a
dark, bottomless hole.
Saturdays were spent in
sweat stained sheets,
clothed in smoke and asphalt
as the withdrawals descended;
counting the seconds and praying
Death would gather me in its
dark bosom.
Every four weeks, the pharmacist
would call my name and I would
lather, rinse, repeat.