Black Crow


edges frayed by those
needles which seduced you
unreachable in your coat of brown powder
you curl on piss-soaked concrete
the tool of your destruction
invading a sunken vein

the back-street vendor
limps down a stinking alley
to don his own shady shawl
to dice with his own demise
just another victim after all

the feeling of relief is all too brief
too soon the greedy ogre in your head stirs
and roars for the next course, as
grasping your muscles he squeezes
he tucks itching powder beneath your tattered skin
your eyes fill with tears and your nose drips fluid
he pulls out every trick he can muster
while you yawn and
sweat glistens on your face

agitated hands a-quiver
you make essential calls
“Hello, it’s Laura. Just 15… oh, I see… OK…”
the supply is drying up and and you need to find a dealer who will let you have a 15 as you’re running out of dole and it’s all that’s in your pocket so you ring a few more numbers but there’s no-one who can serve you and you’re walking to the corner where some others are assembled and they’re clutching at their mobiles and discussing possibilities and someone stumbles off with a miserable expression and calls are being made but the huddle isn’t smiling and you feel the goosebumps rising and your abdomen is cramping and there must be a solution and your skin is getting thinner and

a car pulls up beside you
a voice speaks your name
your rescuer has arrived with promise of plenty
tucked away safely with generous heart
hidden in the back of his bedside drawer

eons ago with innocence intact
this act would have been unthinkable
if you had seen the dissipated wretch
into which your addiction has built you
you would have glanced slant-eyed
and within whispering earshot
muttered in disgust and disdain

but a black crow circles your addled head
a needle within its beak, its talons beckon
cawing out its offer of a beautiful release

lately, tipping into bed and revealing
the oft shared corners of your physical self
seems little to pay for such magnificent return
with nothing left for him to steal
he’s simply borrowing your body

afterwards you slip into the bathroom with your pay
and prick your way to an absence which is never as
complete as you had desired

the black crow lands on your shoulder
its mocking promise broken
paradise has evaded you again

© Jane Paterson Basil


18 thoughts on “Black Crow

  1. The thing I find most interesting about your poems is what’s going on in the character’s head, the way they think, reason. For those of us who wonder why it’s so hard to get out of the demon’s clutches, this is a wake up call to realize we don’t know jack about drug abuse. It’s way different than what the movies show. Dark, but very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The demon’s clutches” is a very apt phrase. Heroin surrounds the endorphin recepters, so that endorphins can’t get in.
      IThat’s an over-simplified explanation.If you want to understand it better, here’s a link.
      You can check it out if you want to understand more, but no sweat.
      Our 3 basic human needs are food, shelter and reproductive. Heroin persuades the brain that it is more important than those three things.
      Having said that, people do recover. I think that my book should include some facts on the nature of addiction, and what it really does, not only to the brain but to the body. It’s not pretty.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dark, very dark, but thought provoking. Considering the stigma attached to addiction, your poems are a ray of hope, giving people the impression that maybe we need to look closer at the whys and a little less at the hows and the ways they hurt us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Addiction is like bowel cancer; we all know that it happens, but we don’t want to look at it. It’s generally brought about by some kind of neglect, negigence or abuse. Addiction can be rooted in an unmended grief from childhood, or negligent mental health care.
      Our nations need to take care of their children; to put more time (which means money. Ha!) into ensuring their security and well-being. We need employ compassion and awareness in teaching and parenting, and drawing out the rot before it sets in.
      On bad days, when I’m in town and I see a woman with a baby or young child, I want to go up to her and beg her to be strong and to fight for her child’s rights, to make sure it receives every tool it needs to remain well.
      But no amount of fighting will get her the resources she may need, because the money that should be poured into them is going on this thing we call defence.
      I’d like to know who we are defending.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a beautiful thing to say, but it makes me feel ashamed. I rarely write about these things lately – I’m too scared of ripping open the wounds.
      But please kill me if I start writing about cute bunny-wunnies and cuddly-wuddly teddy bears.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t be ashamed. Write what you want to write when you want to write it. Nobody should force you to talk about things you don’t want to talk about and anyway you did and that’s more than most ever do !

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wrote about it in an effort to lift the taboo. I wanted to stand naked before the parents of addicts, and say “See my mistakes, my failures, my ugly scars. They look much like yours. We’re normal. Many decent people have scars of a similar size, for all kinds of reasons. We’re no better or worse than them. We don’t need to hang our heads, or to hide.”
          Maybe I’m just taking a holiday from all that.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There is such a huge taboo, anyone who has the guts to write it out, whether direct experience, second-hand experience (which can be worse if you are a parent and see your child go through this) or just empathy, you’re at least trying to share the truth and rid people of feeling that it is something to be ashamed of. The amount of people who probably give up because of the shame. Shame on those who perpetuate that. Well said my friend. And nothing wrong with a holiday I’m all for it!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I go to a support group for families of addicts, and it’s surprising how many parents manage to keep their “shameful secret” from those they term friends. Families Anonymous is an organisation few will admit to being members of, which means there is less publicity than I would like, and less people come to us for help. Maybe I should offer to be a spokesperson for FA. I have no secrets.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Glad you go to such a group there need to be more but of course they have ruined psychotherapy and made me inaccessible for most people which is very unfair for the thousands who benefit from either group or something akin to it. You are being a spokesperson by saying you joined and it helped, that may help others who read this to feel they can. I don’t understand the shame factor but I do see how many perpetrate the belief there is something to be ashamed of (there isn’t) xx

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. I doubt you are a terrible person. Kids turn out how they are going to turn out. Yeah sometimes parents screw up but oftentimes it’s nothing to do with that. Addiction and mental disease are separate from parenting they may be exacerbated but they’re also separate. I don’t think you can stop someone you love being mentally ill and thus, what they ‘do’ with that, cannot be your fault or a lack of parenting. On a realistic side, we’re all screw-ups at times, it’s inevitable and would be weird if we always got it right. I used to work in publishing, now I write full time 🙂 I did get a Psych background but couldn’t cope in the field as it was ingenuous and most of the ‘therapists’ I met were egomaniacs who liked to make others feel they were in charge and ‘well’ I didn’t like the limitations of the profession so I wasn’t able to hack it both because of my own vulnerabilities/weaknesses and the screwed up system.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. It’s OK, I don’t think the addictions of my two younger children are a result of my bad parenting, but I blamed myself at first – most of us do.
                      I didn’t know you were writing fill time – the writer’s dream.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Well I cannot say because I am not fortunate enough to have children but I do believe watching parents, that parenting is underappreciated and it is too easy to blame a parent for things that are more complicated than that. I believe if you were then, as you are now, then you did your best and that’s all we can do isn’t it?

                      Liked by 1 person

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