Art Gallery
Recent Posts

Author: Meredith C.

There are no good words to explain, no shovel precise enough
to dig that deep around the arteries and veins
to that fiery heart at 120 beats
pounding beneath the wooden lid of this disease.

but let me try, as I sit on the broken planks
I clawed my own way through
fingernails still full of dirt and splintered pine
all these years later.

I leave them that way to remember
how from that wrecked last day on my knees
I waved the bloody white flag of no more
not knowing for sure what that would mean.

Which is how I found you, all fury and flash
running so fast between each Marlboro red
dancing demon on the bottle of your favorite nip
not even close to done, your will as tough as old leather.

That day at the hospital, possessed
you tore the tubes from your skin
and snaked past the nurses and out the door
to the hot summer heat of your cinnamon whiskey.

So many days lost and so were you
out there somewhere and making sure
that if you were alive to tell it,
you would have quite the story one day.

Adding to that tale, 66 proof of promises and lies
until from someone else’s shaking hands
you felt the rough jab of the needle
so deep in your young vein for the very first time.

Then coming to in a dirty unlit hallway
no one is too good for anything out there
not even you, crawling to a stop
a new depth dug at your last call.

From the constant scratches underneath the lid
from your brown eyes wild, I could see
miles across the char and flame
this one here, she is just like me.

And once all the fight and flight bled out
nothing left but the ragged sleep of a haunted heart
with just enough fear left to flee
and enough to know there is nowhere else to go.

And now with heart calm and eyes clear
the demon long exorcised from your blood
you are the fireball, a red hot ball of fire that will streak across the dark day
you once slid beneath, dreaming of the end.

No longer pulling up the warm blanket of dirt that thudded down
and scattered across the lid, you let me sit with you
on your broken planks, your fingernails still full of dirt and pine
and your will as tough as new leather.

Author: Meredith C. There are no good words

Author: Meredith C.

When something’s dead, they tell me
it rests.
I don’t see that—I see mistaken black toes with tags
worming up from kicked over dirt
when it rains.

It comes back when you bury it alive,
they say, shaking a finger.
I believe you, I lie.

My own head
this little thing–
I popped off and dropped into a bottle
twisted the cap tightly around its neck
and hurled into the current.

It drifted to places I don’t remember
it drifted to places I’d long since left
it bobbed and floated on
from trembling hands at dusk
to sweat-drenched dreams at dawn.

I tried to hold the head under, I even untwisted the cap
and waited for the bubbles to emerge
for the mouth to fill and flow over, churning the body upside down—
the last of that little girl, until it sank
to settle motionless on the bottom.

I am a conundrum, a bloated baby with searching eyes
staring pickled from round walls in a sealed jar.
I am the same thing I gazed at, mouth hanging
till my mother dragged me away by the hand.
I am, I am, still choking on the water in the womb I swam away from.

And then all those years later, all eyes on me
to which I said, fuck you
and ran away with the first love I ever knew.

My cup ran over and I awoke a day later,
surfacing in a crowd of featureless faces and are you okay?
there’s too much blood in my alcohol system
they diagnose and prescribe while I fold them all into a tight square
and leave it in the bottom of my coffee cup.

Rest in peace, Doc, and then I am swimming
and when I get tired I float on my back
till my head hits the solid shore, and I sleep.

It comes back, they say
when you bury it alive.
I believe you now, I reply.

The dirt frozen hard, the water frozen still
the womb a broken bottle.
And the mind, that little thing, it’s something anyway–
because sometimes, when everything’s quiet
I can almost hear it kick.

Author: Meredith C. When something’s dead, they tell

Author: Meredith C.

It’s my favorite part
that slow ride from the buzz
the stirring of mind, waking of senses
both in body and perception
some sharpened, others dulled
in all the right places
for me to glide.

When it’s time, I am ready.
I have been ready
senses now alert, looking, waiting
for the taste on my tongue
finally and at last
another day done, another night begins
the wet on my lips, second to none.

Even the anticipation
sometime hours before the first taste
quickens my heart.

Like the chemist or the cook
measuring for just the right balance
that perfect combination of ingredients
where I think I become formidable
completely contained but free
bold, gliding through the hours
To become finally, in perfect control of me.

The buzz in my touch, full
the buzz on my skin flares
blazing across the full length of me
the buzz in my mind, binding me
to this very minute, there is only now
the buzz finally burning down my walls
to the ground, I rise up and go down.

Even the anticipation
sometime hours before the first touch
sparks the match.

Another round and I am flowing over
topping off my audacity, what I think is charm
spilling over yet calling for more
every drink served shrinking me back down
deadening my senses, deadening my heart
dropping me and reminding me through closed red eyes
why the buzz to the drunk
is my favorite part.

Author: Meredith C. It’s my favorite part that slow

Author: Gina M.

I Don’t Miss the Birds
I’m so sober,
I miss talking to the 4 a.m. moon.
The way she’d respond in phases.
The way she rose no matter the places I gravitated.
I’m so sober.
I used to be awake for days and now I’m asleep before eight.
I’m so sober.
When I see cirrus clouds in the sky, my thoughts don’t go straight to lines of cocaine.
I’m so sober.
I used to maintain my high,
Now I maintain life.
Now I don’t look down on myself.
I don’t look down into mirrors.
I keep my head held high.
I’m not high.
I meet my reflection straight on.
I’m so sober.
I don’t roll bills into straws; my money would unravel like lockets of curls.
I don’t stumble from stalls with powder in balls in my pockets.
I’m so sober my bills stay straight in my wallet.
I’m so sober.
My phone barely rings.
It used to sing with the needs of all the people wanting all the shit that I used to have.
I’m so sober I snapchat my actual cat.
I’m so sober.
I preach meditation. I preach self-care. I preach coincidence.
Now my phone never dings because people don’t care what I have now that I’m sober.
I’m sober.
I’m so sober.
Since I’m sober, I don’t deal.
I’m too real for some people.
Since I’m sober, I don’t miss most people.
I kiss less people.
I miss the moon, but I don’t miss the feeling when the sun takes over and I still haven’t slept.
I don’t miss the way my heart used to pound in my chest.
I don’t miss the birds chirping the melody of my utter lack of self-respect.
I’m so sober I don’t miss.
I don’t miss birthdays. Or alarms.
I don’t miss milestones. Or opportunities.
Now that I’m sober, I don’t miss my family.
Now that I’m sober, we talk all the time.
I’m so sober I don’t miss the sun in the sky.
I’m so sober,
I don’t miss the birds.

Author: Gina M. I Don’t Miss the Birds I’m

Author: Denise G.

Even Here, In Rehab

Even here, in rehab
Where different devils
Manifest so freely, where pain
Walks openly, seeping from
The pores of the lost and the broken,
Even here, there is hope.

Hope comes with another cigarette break
“Smoke Break!” chiming through the halls
the sweetest of words. There is the smoke
of laughter, swirling around our demons.
We all burst out laughing as they dance.

Even here, in rehab
Where millionaires break bread with
The homeless.
There is joy. It comes with strawberry ice cream
A delicious victory for a raging alcoholic.

Even here, there is love
Streaming through the battered veins of a forlorn
drug addict.

The human spirit
Refusing to give up.
Even here, in rehab.

Author: Denise G. Even Here, In Rehab Even here,

Author: Ron H.

Excuse me, but I think someone needs to be in charge here.

Who needs to be in charge?

If I knew that I wouldn’t have asked you.

In charge of what?

Not in charge of what. In charge of who.

You think “someone” needs to be in charge of who, exactly?

In charge of me.

Oh. Why is that? Are you disturbed?

To be honest sometimes I am. I’m a recovering addict.

That sounds like a good thing.

Oh, it is, but someone needs to be in charge. You’re part of me, so I thought you could remind me who that is.

That’s right, you’re right; I am part of you. Sorry, slipped my mind. I know the answer. Our higher power is in charge of our recovery.

Of course, right you are. We say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

That’s it, yes! You’ve got it, or, we’ve got it now. Good show.

Alright then. Well, thank you.

You’re very welcome. Glad to help.

I just needed to talk to someone.

No bother at all. Keep coming back.

Author: Ron H. Excuse me, but I think

Author: Dianne B.

What’s in the mug, I wonder—
He stumbles from the room.
Moving close, I hold my breath
Putting my hands over Raggedy Ann’s
Stitched mouth and triangle nose, fearful
It might do to us what it does to him—
The smelly brown liquid.
Why drink something
That smells like the cleaner mom uses
Only for the bathroom.
It takes my breath away when she does.
I stare down into the mug until I have to breathe.
I don’t flinch.
Neither does Ann.
The rubber tree plant falls into view,
Dirt spiling out of the pot.
Then him trying to steady himself,
On the door frame.
He trips toward me.
Eyes of fire and glass,
Green like the shaggy rug.
He pats my head
Missing and hitting my ear
Plopping in his seat.
He drinks it—
The smelly brown liquid.

Author: Dianne B. What’s in the mug, I