Two versions of one reflection

The first poem Darkness before Dusk, began life as a personal reflection, then the script for an animated short film on drug addiction that my son Ken was in the process of making when he died. After his death it languished in a file, until it was rescued, rewritten, and then distilled into Waiting for the Lights. No one wanted to publish Darkness before Dusk, but for me it is the more moving of the two.
Again I ask, which is your prefence and why?
Darkness before Dusk
You come to me at dusk on a city street
Hand out
Manner obsequious
Eyes glazed
Speech slurred
By whatever substance has you
Still a beautiful looking young man
Drugs have not yet ravaged you outwardly
But inwardly
The destruction has begun
Desperation driving you to beg from strangers
Some treat you with scorn
They cannot comprehend
The price you are beginning to pay for an error in judgement
My heart weeps for you
I think of my son
How daily he struggles
His body and being ravaged by depression and drugs
He now knows
What you cannot yet see
The price to be paid for momentary oblivion
Is far too high
If only we could see
Drugs put weapons into the hands of the torments that haunt us
Before drugs
The haunting
After drugs
Slow pain-filled destruction
Destruction that does not stop with the body
It reaches into the addict’s being
Stealing self control – self esteem – self respect
With some it even takes the will to live
Still not satisfied it moves on
Its voracious hunger feeding
On the families and loved ones of the addict
Drugs can slice through
The beautiful fabric of love
Leaving cuts that can take years to mend
In some cases all that is left of love
Is a tattered remnant that cannot be salvaged
You come to me at dusk on a city street
For Money
If my money could buy you insight
I would gladly give you all I have
                                       Tricia 7/98_
Waiting for the Lights
He comes to her at dusk on a city street
shoulders hunched in faded black t-shirt
torn jeans
on his thin frame
downcast eyes glazed
by whatever substance has him
“Can you spare a couple of dollars lady?”
She feels the rumble of a passing tram
vibrating through her chest
as she opens her black leather wallet
She hands him a note
lifts her wrinkled, ring draped hand
to caress the stubbly, spotted skin
of his young cheek
He flinches,
raises his eyes to hers for the first time
lights turn green
the crowd surges
They stumble on in diverging directions
Tricia Bertram 2008   (previously published in reflecting on Melbourne)

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on November 28, 2011, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My Beautiful Tricia you have such a way with words. This gave me goosbumps and made my heart ache. Your insight is amazing and only outshone by your compassion. xox

  2. Thank you Ally darling. Your comment shows that my words touched you deeply. This nourishes my writer self, and encourages me to continue.

  3. P.S. I like the first of these the best. The greater details helps the reader to become more a part and identify stronger. Its all in the detail.

  4. For me, the first is real Poetry, the second is iPoetry.

    (I’m not a huge fan of Apple!)

  5. Jo I understand what you are saying. It’s the reason I started this blog. I follow a form of writing called Freefall Writing, and the “poetry police” don’t like my style at all. To get anything published I had to write the meaning out of it, or at least the things that were meaningful for me.

  6. Tricia, that’s why I love the internet. At least for now, ‘they’ haven’t figured out how to control it. I don’t know if it will last, but people all over the world are finding they can bypass the ‘poetry police’ (and all their ilk), and find an audience for their work. I love what is doing.

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