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Dead End (not!)


Dead end – foto Smith

Had to choose this poem because it’s my only one mentioning “dead end” and I really wanted to use the Dead End foto above.

Tried & Traveled

After I died
in my dead end drinking
twenty years ago
it took
three days intensive care
six months of Nyquil
to beat the alcohol,
cocaine to kick the Nyquil,
poverty to kill the cocaine,
valium to get off grass,
and weed to beat it all.

Tried most anything to get off me.

Now it’s one cup cowboy coffee
Costa Rican strong
each morning
and hope of toke or two
to take me through the month.

But what I really want is
copper brain wire
direct to pleasure center
battery hooked
finger on button
blaze of white light.

— Smith, 4.17.2011

Be 21 years sober next month, and stopped daily coffee month ago. Down to free range grass whenever it glows by.

Things change slow, but at least stumble in right direction.

This poem goes back to a study 3-4 decades ago where the mad scientists let rats decide how much of certain substances they wanted by allowing them to press a level whenever they desired a dose. For food the rats pressed until they were full. For alcohol they pressed until they got drunk and quit. For cocaine, they pressed much more often but still went about their life of drinking, eating and greeting. But when they put a wire from the electrical switch directly to the rat’s brain pleasure center, the rats kept pressing the button over and over with no stopping for food or rest or water until they dropped dead.

I wonder if they tested them for caffeine. I gave coffee up a month ago and have written only one wee minor throwaway poem since. Perhaps the rats also stopped writing after they lost their stimulant.

I’m thinking of taking up coffee again now that I’ve demonstrated my will power to myself. But not alcohol . . . 21 years abstinence is just too long to give up. If I drank now, it’d take me until I was 87 to reach 21 years sober again. I’ve never reached 21 years in my life before because I had my first drink when I was 12, started drinking regularly at 20, and seriously at 30. Finally drank myself to death at 45 and quit. Out of all the drugs I’ve done, alcohol was the hardest to beat, followed closely by Nyquil. Coffee is also a hard one to beat. But coke, speed, pills, etc were easy to stop. Grass I can avoid but don’t want to . . . every now and then go up to a year without smoking with no trouble, but always come back because we’re comfortable, friends for life.


White heat, white light – foto Smith

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