Saturday, March 14, 2015

Good Neighbors: 3. Wednesday

You can criticize my lifestyle, 
but you can’t embarrass me.

I see the way you look at me;
I get it: Addiction shows on my face and frame;
I feel it on my skin, it burns in my joints.

I’m in over my head; I can’t get free.
Maybe I’m not beyond rehab, but it hasn’t worked yet.

My sores get infected, but still I can’t stop;
my whole being is a like festering pustule.
All I can do is pick at myself
and feed the monster inside.

I’m a prisoner who wants to be free,
but I don’t have the strength
or will.

My family and friends have disowned me
—they either shun me
or talk about me behind my back;
they wish I would disappear.

I try not to hear their voices in my head;
I try not to shout the curses
that fill my withered heart.

I know I need help,
and I think I want help;
someone’s got to have the key
to unlock my iron cell.

The way things are now,
people seem happy at my failures;
I admit my weakness, and ask for help,
but they revel in their strength,
and revile me for my vices.

People who want nothing better for me
can only be my enemies,
can only do me harm.

Deep within, I want to find goodness;
I want to know what is good
and to be good,
to know a good life.

Please, don’t leave!
Please, don’t abandon me, like all the others!
Help free me from this cycle of pain!
Don’t let me go!

© 2015 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This poem is part of a cycle based on the so-called seven Penitential Psalms. The subtitle of the cycle is “Psalms from the Streets”. This entry is based on Psalm 38, and could be subtitled, “The Addict.”

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