Serenity     

This poem is for the drug addicts

the dope fiends.

this poem is for ninety pound bodies

shriveling in gutters like dried fruit.

this is for those who shoot.

for the withering alley-cat specters dancing

sleepwalk in the devil’s daymare.

this is for those who drown in dope

without a sunrise beyond the black tar’s shadow.

indentured to the needle and the spoon.

this is for my siblings who met their makers too soon.

 

This poem is for you

you who are black listed for your sickness

convicted, untouchable and criminally ill.

you who is locked up for possession

without a hope of redemption for

your child who is missing you and doesn’t understand

the reasons why the drug war nabbed his daddy

and will follow in his boot steps

if not properly guided.

 

This poem is for you who grew up

comfortable, but were missing something.

who graduated from the school

bus to the squad car, the pen to the magnum,

you who found your feet, your fountain,

in the Haight & Ashbury.

 

No hurry.

Why worry?

 

SMACK is the main line out of the middle class

and into an early grave. this is

for the track marks we paved.

 

This poem is for you who is on the wait list

for an underfunded treatment center for three

months deciding between

triage through treatment

or deliverance through death.

anything to stop the suffering.

This poem is reality.

 

I know this poem.

This poem is for ME.

 

ME who used to strip mine crumbs of amphetamine from the carpet snorting whatever came along with the catch. ME who trembled in anticipation at every new prescription. ME for whom the birds chirping in the morning would produce paranoia. ME who heard gunshots and lived in psychotic delusions

           

ME. . . who got clean.

 

ME who no longer lives between high speed chases and post-mania comas under the covers.

 

This poem

is for worried mothers.

 

This poem is for hope.

it is for one day, just this day clean

and serene, finally again a human being.

this poem is for no longer

being an animal a slave to my desires,

impulse towards deathly indulgence.

this poem is for skin clear of scabs,

face full of color and complexion.

this poem is for

a job,

an education,

poetry slams,

and getting published.

this poem is

for friends and family

proud to call me theirs,

for a mother who I can look in the eye.

this poem

is for hope.

 

But this poem is also for the fallen,

for the soldiers digging their trenches in

Southeast D.C. and Baltimore.

 

This poem is NOT for

the War on Drugs

the War on the Poor

the War on the Spirit.

 

This poem. . .

is for my dead kin who struggle no more.

for those who finally gave up and greeted the

reaper in the back seat of a beat up Caddy

with not an ounce of body fat,

sunken cheeks

emaciated skeletons

the ones we loved

dead at 23.

…this poem is an epitaph.

This poem is statistics.

This poem rolls dice.

This poem is proof that the dealer didn’t win.

This poem is for every addict who never met the pen.

This poem is for last gasps beneath bridges,

for the funerals

we didn’t have the courage to attend.

This poem is for

resistance,

resilience, and

blind fucking luck.

THIS is a poem against all odds.

THIS POEM should be six

feet under, but

 

            IT         defies gravity.

I          defy gravity!

I          defy DEATH!

Brian McCracken is a poet, activist, and youth ally living and resisting in Olympia. As a founding member of Old Growth Poetry Collective, he lives in a house full of dyslexic poet revolutionaries.