His final binge

it was several years ago.
maybe by now the parents’ grief has caught up with them.
he had been a wild child, a troubled youth
and when he began absorbing chemicals
the neighbours probably whispered together,
nodding their heads and agreeing that it was inevitable.
the speed fed his brain, made him feel he was finally alive;
pulled from his head
so many important things he suddenly discovered he needed to say.
but the day came when he knew it was time to call it a day
so he drank alcohol instead.
later, and with difficulty, he even gave that up,
limiting himself to a little weed in the evenings.

I sometimes think that if I hadn’t helped him to fulfil his dream of visiting India
he would still have a reason to keep breathing,
but instead he realised his fantasy,
came home, put a bottle to his lips,
and began his final binge.
a few weeks later he collapsed and died.

after the funeral his parents drank tea on the lawn
when offered sincere commisarations,they loooked on,
confused, beffuddled, perhaps only able to take in
that this was more than just another thing their son had done.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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27 thoughts on “His final binge

  1. I read an article in our Sunday paper this morning about the therapeutic value of journalling = blogging in this instance. They included things like improving the immune system and memory amongst other things.

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    1. It’s interesting that it can boost the immune system, although perhaps any activity that is enjoyed (as long as it’s not harmful) has that potential.
      As for memory, I have found that I’m pulling things out of my brain which I didn’t know were hidden away for years, in my subconscious mind, and although I’m unable to remember simple words, I no longer accidentally substitute the words I mean to say with random, unconnected words – like ‘fish’ instead of ‘glass’ or ‘hockey’ instead of flower. That was beginning to worry me eighteen months ago.

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  2. Oh Jane… Your poetry is growing by leaps and bounds. This poem could have come right out of the book “Staying Alive: Real Poems For Unreal Times.” It’s wonderful and thought provoking. Well, well done, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Calen. There must be a right and a wrong time for writing a poem, and it felt like the right time for this one…
      This poem is about my friend “Fluffy” who died about seven years ago, the same week I married that awful man – who I call Keith, in my memoir. It’s not his real name.

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    1. Thank you Lynn. He found life difficult, although he had some fun along the way. I think he almost made a conscious decision to go give up on life. It was about seven years ago, but I still think of him often. We became friends just before he gave up the drink, and we were close for a while, when we both lived in the same alternative community.

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          1. Well, that’s why alcohol and drugs are so tempting – self medication for those who wish to escape from the world and themselves, if only for a while. We’re lucky more of us don’t go down that route, really.

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              1. You can but hope you’re saved, that’s the only problem. It’s tough to save yourself, but I guess there has to be an element of that to any recovery.
                By the way, how are you? Just thinking of what I promised 🙂

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                1. the only way to recovery is through your own efforts.
                  It’s been a strange week – though maybe that’s true of every week. When Paul tried to get money out of me I told him no, and went out and bought some paint, and told him he had to decorate the living room to make up for being such a pain, and then go on to do the rest of the flat. He’s already finished the living room! Tomorrow he moves into his new accommodation, and I hope things will be easier after that. His probabtion officer drugs tested him and found synthetic opiates in his screen – some kind of tablets he’s been taking for pain relief, and got addicted to. He has to produce a clear screen next week or he’s in trouble. I think he’ll do it, although his sister has upset him terribly today. That’s a long and peculiar story. I don’t understand what’s going on with her.

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                  1. Well, it sounds as if he’s trying, getting your painting done for you is a good sign he knows he has some serious making up to do. Pain killers hook a lot of people, don’t they? Was that a hangover from when he was so ill? Can’t imagine how tough it is to kick that stuff – I hope he manages it. And I hope things quieten down for you. You could do with some peace. Very best wishes and love X

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                    1. Yes, it was to muffle the pain. The doctor wouldn’t prescribe them because of his history, so he bought them on the street.
                      He moved into his place today, and I’ve seen him this afternoon. He instantly seems so much better now he has his own space. xxx

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  3. Very moving.. I guess it was just another one of those things their son did… tragic but not really, tragic for those left behind but maybe not for the one who left. As Don McLean said in the song “Starry, Starry Night”

    For they could not love you
    But still your love was true
    And when no hope was left inside
    On that starry, starry night

    You took your life as lovers often do
    But I could have told you, Vincent
    This world was never meant for one
    As beautiful as you.

    I look forward to reading more of your work, thank you. Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that song, though not as much as I love Van Gogh’s paintings. I was about six when I first discovered the beauty of his work (I come from an arty family) and have been faithful to him ever since – I’m very loyal when it comes to any kind of art.
      I don’t think Don Maclean could have known that although his pictures were out of this world, he was known to be a rather unpleasant man – but that was probably due to his mental illness, and it makes no difference to what he contributed to the world.
      In some strange way my friend Fluffy, about whom this poem was written, reminds me of Van Gogh, and that’s strange, because he appeared to have no creativity whatsoever.
      You hit on one of my passions – you’ll be mentioning Leonard Cohen next, and I’ll go off on a tangent once again.

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