Posts Tagged ‘addiction’


By David Allen

The past caught up
to my second son
on a warm June day.
It lay in wait
in his old home town
until he returned
from an island life
that soured with divorce
and drunken days
that turned into weeks.

Matt had come to visit
and clean himself up,
pledging he was done
with booze and drugs;
and would start to climb
the 12 steps to sobriety.

But an old friend visited,
bringing a gift.
“Something to take the edge off,”
to ease the alkie shakes.
His past edged the present aside
and he took a hit.

It sent his blood pressure soaring.
Blood rushed into his brain,
squeezing the frontal lobes,
clotting into a cranial pool.
It knocked him out.
Fate had come a-calling.

His brother and I followed
our dog’s freaked out barking
to the backyard where
Matt lay unconscious
under the hammock,
his eyes cloudy white,
pupils rolled up in retreat.

He was in a coma
for over a week.
The seizure was caused
by what the cops called
a junkie’s “hot shot” —
a dose of drugs offered
as a friendly high
that knocks the mark out
and easy to rob.
Matt’s was a combo of meth,
opioids, and stimulants.

“It finally happened,”
was my first thought.
The horror he evaded five years ago,
when he flew back to his island
and his ex-girlfriend killed her new beau
with a heroin overdose,
had come to settle a score.

The damage done to my son
will take years to heal.
The brain is fragile.
A traumatic brain injury
is like a malware program
that scrambles a computer’s
memory; a virus that destroys
the settings that directed a life.

To fix it, sometimes,
you just have to turn it off,
wait a few seconds or weeks,
then turn it back on and
download new settings.
But you have to be patient,
it may take a while
for the new programs to sync
and life starts anew.

My new book “Type Dancing”
Is now available at:

Type Dancing.jpg

temptation 1

By David Allen

The piece of paper
Plucked from the poet’s
Brilliant Ideas jar read
“Temptation is sure
To knock on your door…”

Temptation rings so often
It creates a tinnitus hum,
A constant ringing, whooshing
Electric buzz that drowns
Out rationality.
The tempter is the urge
To fix the broken people
Ringing constantly,
Begging, pleading,

The enabler futilely tries
To save them, to prevent
Their final fall, the plunge
To the bottom of the pit
Their addictions create;
Until he, too, breaks
In spirit, helplessly
Caught up in the
Spiraling descent.

Hopeless, he shouts
“Stop this! How can
I stop this?”
And, finally, a voice
In the darkness answers:
“Temptation may ring,
But you don’t have to invite
It to dinner. Say ‘No’
Just say NO!”
It’s then the ringing stops
And there is light.”




It could have been my son,
I thought, as I read the front page story.
Police had arrested a woman in Chesterfield
For murder in the overdose death of a friend.
The cops said the 19 year-old woman
Invited the young man to her home
For a party with booze and pills
And a recently bought stash of heroin.
Their night of unbridled ecstasy ended
With him shaking on the living room floor.

Cops said the young woman
Was too scared to call for help,
Waiting until her friend was still
Before calling 911,
Hoping, I suppose, no one
Would hold her responsible.
But evidence uncovered in the next few weeks
Unveiled email messages in which
She bragged she had just scored some smack
And invited her friend over to party.

Wow, I thought,
That could have been my son.
Then I got a phone call.
“Hey, Dad,” my daughter said,
“Did you read today’s paper?
That girl, she used to live with Matt.”

Jeez, I thought, and read the story again.
Hailee, the girl’s name was Hailee.
I remember seeing her once when
I stopped at the house where I had let my son
Crash as he attempted to get back on his feet.
“That’s Hailee,” Matt said,
Pointing to a lump under a blanket
On a stained couch in the filthy living room.
He told me he was just helping her 
And another roommate kick drugs.
When he saw me glance at an empty vodka bottle
Sitting on the kitchen floor,
He quickly added, “Oh yeah,
All we do now is a little drinking.”

A few weeks later, I checked Matt into a halfway house
After he was attacked by the other roommate,
An ex-con skinhead, during a night of drugs and booze.
He threw a TV at my son and was later arrested
For assault and parole violation.
The next day Matt decided to burn and cut himself
Just to see if he could feel something real.
He’d finally hit his bottom.

Hailee moved out while Matt detoxed
And we closed up the house.
I  hadn’t thought of her
Until the news of her arrest.
The homicide happened a month
After my son got straight and,
As I read the story for the third time,
My phone rang again.

“Dad, did you see the paper?”
My son asked when I answered.
“Damn, that could’ve been me.”

                                                 By David Allen



Like my poetry? Then buy my book, “The Story So Far,” published by Writers Ink Press, Long Island, N.Y. You can find it on ( in paperback and Kindle formats, or by sending me $10 at:

David Allen
803 Avalon Lane
Chesterfield, IN 46017