“Junk sickness is the reverse side of junk kick. The kick of junk is that you have to have it. Junkies run on junktime and junkmetabolism. They are subject to junk climate. They are warmed and chilled by junk. The kick of junk is living under junk conditions. You cannot escape from junk sickness anymore than you can escape from junk kick after a shot.” William S. Burroughs, Junky

nobody tells her how to spend her pay
so she thought nothing of passing a buck
to the man – bronze with sun and dirt –
clutching his poverty and homelessness
scag*-dancing his way down Mainline Street

* scag = a bag of heroin

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo ~ circa WW I heroin bottle by Mpv51 generously released into the public domain.

“In 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs. Of these, around 29.5 million people – or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population – were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders, including dependence.” MORE United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


“Today, more than 7 million people suffer from an illicit drug disorder, and one in four deaths results from illicit drug use. In fact, more deaths, illnesses and disabilities are associated with drug abuse than any other preventable health condition. People suffering from drug and alcohol addiction also have a higher risk of unintentional injuries, accidents and domestic violence incidents.” MORE  Gateway Foundation


There are many people whose lives are touched by the ramifications of substance abuse. In my own country, it is estimated that more than two-thirds of families have felt the impact of addiction.  Maybe your experience inspires anger or sadness. Maybe it inspires compassion.  Tells us about your views, feelings or experiences in your own poetry.

Share your poem/s on theme or a link to it/them in the comments section below.

All poems on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, October 22 by 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.


  1. daring a second that I’ve had for a while…


    Again I hear

    it’s expected and part of recovery. Continued self discovery
    And yet
    some are discovered. Dead.

    Again I hear

    it’s illness. Or maybe genetic/ hereditary
    And yet
    it seems choice when
    the needle goes in.

    Again I hear

    it’s a process, a journey
    And yet
    this journey takes me to hell.

    Again I hear

    there is no failure as long as I continue trying
    And yet
    there is no success in the trying.

    Again I hear

    I have my whole future ahead of me
    And yet
    there is a hole in the future.

    Again I hear

    everyone deserves another chance
    And yet
    the next chance looks just like the last.

    Again I hear

    keep coming back
    And yet
    I only come back to the abyss

    Again I hear

    Accept the things I cannot change
    And yet

    I have again.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, you did it again!!!!… I mean, prompted a poem from me, dear Jamie…. Here it is:


    Substance abuse?… I do not know
    Of that myself – and this, although
    I was born somehow right in time
    For being a Hippie #metoo:
    I loved ‘Hair’ (yes, I keep singing
    Still ‘Let the Sun shine in’…),
    I did study at La Sorbonne
    And later lived ‘May 68’
    When students and the young workforce
    Did fraternize and reinvent
    The French society, for a while.
    I could then, as many others,
    Have fallen into drug abuse,
    Yet my soul kept me far from it
    And never did I even try.
    Cigarettes? I didn’t like them
    And soon stopped wasting my money
    Into packets my friends emptied
    Before I remembered to smoke!
    Alcohol? I’ll take a few drops
    Of old rum drowned in cane syrup
    And call that my own ‘Planteur Punch’…
    More than that I wouldn’t enjoy,
    So never got drunk, by God’s Grace!
    My own addiction is much worse
    For yes, I am in constant need
    And require my fix all the time…
    But far from destroying any
    Of what I truly am, instead
    It is making my whole being
    Grow back ever more consciously
    – And ever more blissfully too –
    Into my deeper, truer Self,
    My eternal and divine Self:
    Right while being in this body
    (And with all my dear body-cells
    Taking their own share of the Bliss),
    Addicted to Divine Delight
    As to our natural birthright,
    I make it my daily diet
    And my more and more constant high
    Except that I don’t get blissed out,
    But rather blissed in, I would say!
    It doesn’t require anything
    External to my own being:
    We’re all born with that potential
    And can activate it at will.
    Only, this is what we must choose
    If this is what we want to have.
    It is what we all truly crave
    But most of us are never told
    And hear only of outer drugs
    When the Real Thing is in us,
    Right in our own core, or also
    Right around us, all around us,
    Everything is bathing in it!…
    The supply isn’t a problem
    For the supply is infinite,
    And yes, totally free to boot!!!
    So here is my smiling advice
    For true happiness as a vice:
    Turn to this Divine Addiction
    To Use Without Moderation,
    Your sun then will shine from within
    And make our world happier too!…
    That’s what we all come here to do.

    Bhaga d’Auroville

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ..fine lines..

    it is a fine line we walk,
    gently avoiding peptides,

    only just a theory,
    yet used independantly,
    alongside honest work,
    for mending.

    the film continues,
    some of the old cast, new actors oblige,
    ideas on lack of addictive ways.
    simple days without receptors.
    singing under breath, counting, unpacking boxes,
    this is the lead. hints are posted, and may you believe them graciously.

    for many times will you be tested.

    there were substitles, out of focus,
    we could not read the other language.
    the film continues…. peptides.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. so much to say – abut the “other victims”

    Basic Education

    cold and wet in a bed
    shared with two others
    a single blanket barely
    covering three

    cereal dredged
    from box bottoms
    cracker crumbs
    breakfast to go

    darkened room
    fuzzy cartoons
    clothes in piles
    and under chairs

    stepping over
    bottles and butts
    spoons and powder
    and stepping out

    past yells and cries
    smells and smoke
    out to a yard
    of condoms and needles

    onto cracked sidewalks
    fences and offers
    for candy and rides
    by not so strange strangers

    arriving at last
    into a classroom
    of second grade friends
    and the teacher announcing,

    “Makir, you’re late, again.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. need’ll

    in the dead man’s car a needle
    on the dead man’s face foamed saliva
    and an easy smile.

    the total count of needles in the car
    was sixty-Two.

    squirrel-stashed here and there
    in his guesthouse abode
    we’re many more. one of his
    contained in salt. his spare teeth
    were in a falsebottomed container.

    his pain and
    his holes of loss
    of fellow wretches and
    a wife had
    at last

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Jamie,

    My second response:

    Unreal Wombwell,

    The Old Town Hall is a pub
    where a pint sups half full or half empty,
    pedestrians intent upon their daily task
    Pied wagtails twerk and pass by
    green unicorns, the canal and mines
    frozen in metal on a gate into a side street,
    Air is made of warm Potters pie pastry,
    Hashish cracks doors of perception.
    Old gypsy nags snort past betting shops.

    The day assembled of colour coded bones
    so it stands upright and invites a spy
    of its wears, whyfores and whatevers
    And wagtail dodge and weave between feet.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:


    Hijab covered she arrives
    at my till with her two young girls
    What us that smell? She exclaims
    Hashish, I answer.
    Her small kids hold close to her dress.
    There should be a law.
    Especially with kids around.
    They shouldn’t have to suffer this.

    The aroma of the previous male customer
    still hangs around after she’s left.

    (From a forthcoming collection “Please Take Change, Cyberwit.net, 2018)

    Liked by 1 person

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