On the day I had been
released from prison it was
over 12 weeks since I had used
heroin. I was waiting for a ride
to a halfway house when a couple
of guys from the tier strolled out.
“Where you guys going?” I asked,
and they said, “Great Brook Valley
Projects.” Where the dope is. Where
this dope wanted to go, and then their
ride pulled up. “Got room for one
more?” I asked. “Hop in,” they answered.
I got into the car and the cramps of dope-
sickness hit my stomach. I gagged and
almost threw up, my joints ached, my gut
flipped upside-inside. Junk sickness.
A junkie’s body never forgets. If it was
just physical, I would never use dope
again. It is not my body, it is me, all
of me, my body, my soul, my mind
interlocked in heroin hypnosis, even
clean I will never be free again. This revelation
hit me many years later, post-millennium
junk-yen rocked my being, I had everything
a man might want yet still I yearned
to trade my kingdom for a pile of dust.
Ask me about power, I will begin to tell you,
my breath will stink of death.
First published in Bad Ass, The Boston Poet Journal, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2007.