Miriam's poems address the ravages of addiction and hope for healing and recovery. She has done readings at the Mass Poetry Festival, the Riverwood Poetry Series, and at meetings of Learn to Cope, an organization for families and friends of those struggling with drug addiction in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts
IN HER ROOM
where the carpet stains begin
at the door and end at the window
where the air is stale with smoke
from cigarettes lit years ago
where her art class engraving
of a dragon her photo
of a young boy throwing stones
into a pond hang
in silence where I heard her voice
in muted tones beneath the noise
of the TV where girls giggled
on overnights a floor away
where she fell asleep with the phone
on her face where her adolescence
took place—the hidden
beer and the boys—where
after college she returned
to hibernate for winter and never
emerged for spring
where blood spilled
into the needle pills fell
under the bed where spirits
of the addicted dead feed
on the memory of heroin
where the space is not
converted to a guest room
where no one goes anymore
where the door is closed
where the past is frozen
LET'S TALK ABOUT ADDICTION
Let's talk about addiction
the CIA connection, drug money
to finance covert shiipments
of weapons, hidden wars,
that baby lying dead
on the streets of Kabul,
your daughter in her quilted bed
with a blackened spoon and syringe.
Let's talk about Mr. Gagliardi
of Medford who died at midday
on the grass in Boston Garden
shooting up in front of tourists
who found a fresh corpse
where they expected red and yellow tulips.
Crowds on their way
to catch a play on Washington Street
treated to front row seats
of theatre verite, the last act
in which the needle hangs
from the dead man's arm
while the faint of heart turn away.
Let's talk about suicide,
direct and inadvertent. Vehicular homicide,
that last joy ride before the lifelong spin
in the wheelchair. Let's talk about theft,
crimes committed as a means
to get high. Let' not forget random
acts of violence in which heroin meth crack
cocaine drive the live action
thriller in the killer's brain.
Let's talk about the purity of high-octane
smack, unmixed and the cost of a six-pack,
grown for your loved ones
in rich Afghan fields of poppy
by farmers with nothing
else to sell but their daughters.
Let's talk about your teenage son
who thought snorting oxyocontin
would be fun and wound up
strung out, breaking into homes
for trinkets. Look past the picket fences
you'll find the lawn disturbed
in your neighbor's yard. Note the crimson
cardinal and his red-crested mate.
To face the Hydra-headed god
who's kidnapped your child, you'll need
a bracing shot of beauty the way
an end-stage drunk needs booze.
CAN A POEM SAVE A LIFE?
I have lived like thin smoke rising
from a bloody field.
I have stretched my stringy will
through one more night.
Not to forsake my child. Not to capitulate.
To save a life
Is to save the world, the Talmud says.
Can a poem save a life?
Shall I write new blood into dead words?
Shall I peel back my sleeve?
Will the whisper of stones seep in-
to the cordoned room
Of my loneliness? Shall I rise
to one more morning?
copyright 2013-2016 Miriam Greenspan