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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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
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.