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The Edge of a Dream

Sean Michael, April 2018

Many nights I’ve lain awake
Floating at the edge of a dream
Of what used to be
Of what could have been
What will never be

Hanging from a windblown gallows
The truth I know has gotten shadowed
Voices from the shadows make no sense
Distorted visage bellows laughter
Feeding on the dreams I’ve been after

Many nights I’ve lain awake
On the precipices of reality
Of what used to be
Of what could have been
What will never be

Fallen from the tree of worlds
Awakened to illusions unfurled
Another twisting turning maze
I meander in a daze
Alone I make my way

Many nights I’ve lain awake
But I will finally sleep
In the pyres of what used to be
And the ashes of what could have been
What’s to come I do not know my friend

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #220, May 17, 2018

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I’m Alright

Sean Michael, April 2018

I smile and I nod
I say everything is alright
You smile and nod
Though you know it’s just a lie

I say hello
What I really mean is goodbye
I smile for you
When I’m alone I cry
I laugh out loud
As I scream inside

I don’t know how much I can take
My mind bends until I start to break
I need to be alone
So I run away
No matter how far I go
I can’t seem to escape

So I smile and I nod
I say everything’s alright
You smile and you nod
Though you know it’s just a lie

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #219, May 3, 2018

A King’s Exile and Death

Sean Michael, November 2017

My faults and flaws are deep scars running the course of an
autopsy of my soul, conducted by the murderer and thief of
beauty; the squanderer—me!

I take from others and deprive myself of what is real, burrowed
within this prison within a prison—Nowhere!

Bars locked around a decaying heart; please breathe your love
into this vessel, robbed and barren, for I feel so alone, and
this loneliness I know so well, reaching for emptiness as I rise,
then fall again, hellbent on living my life as a failure—Self destruction!

I don’t know if I can make this right—why do I run when I should stay and fight?!

Now as I begin to unravel, toward the darkened tunnel I travel,
a cold and dank place without light—Alone again!

No more yellow… Just one last goodbye as I wrap my fractured
crown in burlap and lay my baldric down, bereft of sound but
the sound of tears splashing my palm, walking the road to nowhere,
a king’s exile—Somewhere awaits death!

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #216, March 22, 2018

Gasoline and Hellfire

Sean Michael, October 2017

The more that I want something
The more I become beholden to that thing
And as I seek that thing out
I become beholden to those whom I seek it from

Tethered to my desire
Perpetual aching lust
Needing wants
Discarding needs

A spark that turns into a flame
Spreading like a wildfire
Devouring all until only it remains
The progenitor of pleasure and pain

Feverish flash
Hollow inside
The taste of ashes in my throat
Wanting what I can not have the most

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #215, March 8, 2018

America the Great

Sean Michael, October 2017

Corporate greed
Sends jobs overseas
And the 1% gets rich
Behind the backs of our economy
The working class bleeds
And there’s an even lower class
Nobody seems to see
Why should American children go hungry
As the government sends money overseas
Prison becomes privatized industry
And public schools lose funding
Great home of the free
A land that’s running out of opportunity

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #214, February 22, 2018

Flies on Shit

Sean Michael, April 2017

My thoughts are swarming like flies on shit
Buzzing endlessly
Copulating and birthing this insanity
Slap! Swat! Zap!
They keep coming back.

 

 

Posted for dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #213, February 8, 2018

The Opiate Crisis Vs The Crack Epidemic

Keywords defined:
Crisis: A crucial or unstable time or state of affairs, especially one with distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome.
Epidemic: Affecting a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community or region at the same time.
Systematic: Presented or formulated as a coherent body of ideas or principles; methodical in procedure or plan.
Racism: Racial prejudice or discrimination.

[ I ]

Some believe that the the misuse of opioid pain medication is labeled a “crisis” which focuses on rehabilitation rather than incarceration, because it apparently commences in “middle-American white neighborhoods.” They compare the treatment of this outbreak to the crack-cocaine “epidemic” that began to permeate “poor black neighborhoods” and led to tough penalties and incarceration rather than treatment for mostly black men and women. I have heard the term “systematic racism” used to describe the disparity in the ways these two unfortunate circumstances are dealt with in the American judicial system, and at a cursory glance, it is a good argument. After a more profound and investigative look, I cannot connect these tragedies of death and incarceration solely to skin color, or more specifically systematic racism but more exactly to the color of money. The crack epidemic and the opioid crisis have both proven lucrative to business and to the government (taxes), and furthermore, both black and white smoke crack just as both black and white use and abuse opioids.

[ II ]

Cocaine was legal for “social use” and medicinal purposes until approximately one year after the commencement of the prohibition of alcohol. Cocaine was available over the counter at the pharmacy, as well as the soda fountains, and it was common for blue collar/working class whites to gather at the fountains in the evening to drink their cocaine-laced pops and socialize in public places. Cocaine was considered a “sophisticated drug,” and blacks were eventually banned from using it under the allegations that it made them crazed, causing them to rape white women and burglarize farms. At about the same time that Protestants, mostly women, were pressing the nation for the prohibition of alcohol, there was also pressure from the public to make cocaine illegal for all peoples and all uses. The main concerns of the mothers, who started these movements and protests, was the well being of their children and protecting them from those who were under the influence of these disinhibitors, as well as a stringent adherence to their religious beliefs.

Just as making alcohol an illicit drug did not deter people from using it, similar laws against cocaine had no effect; in fact, making alcohol illegal only caused a boost in crimes such as smuggling, tax evasion, and murder. Making cocaine illegal had similar effects. In the the 1980’s, a new drug called crack was created by cutting cocaine with baking soda and cooking it in a beaker to “rock it up.” Crack rock was much cheaper than cocaine, which was often referred to as “the rich man’s drug,” and went for as low as five dollars a hit. Crack became very popular in black communities, although there were also many whites who began using this drug. The 1980’s were the beginning of the “crack epidemic” and a recrudescence of crime sprees similar to those that occurred after the prohibition of alcohol. The D.C. area became notorious for harboring very territorial, violent, and murderous drug gangs who killed informants and even police, who tried to stop their business.

Very tough laws were passed against the possession, use, and sale of crack, and a small amount—a much smaller amount than cocaine—could land a person in prison for as long as ten years; in fact, the toughest drug laws have to do with the distribution and use of crack cocaine. Despite the “Reagan administration’s” feeble efforts to inform the public of the crack epidemic and divert some punitive measures to rehabilitation measures, very little was done for offenders of crack laws but to lock them up. Due to the popularity of crack cocaine in the black communities, the majority of people being incarcerated for breaking these laws were black.

[ III ]

Today, the drug that is permeating our communities and making a comeback from the 1970’s is opiates, but in the form of prescription pain pills such as hydrocodone, oxycontin, and codeine. The abuse and misuse of these medications is indeed a crisis as large as, if not larger than, the crack epidemic, so why aren’t there tougher penalties for possession and use? First and foremost, most of the people using these opiates are prescribed them. They are delivered from huge and powerful corporations like McKesson to doctors who sometimes either overprescribe or miss-prescribe these medications. There are laws against possessing medications outside of their original bottle or possessing medications that are not prescribed to the individual, but they are not nearly as harsh as the laws for possessing crack, because the medications themselves are not illicit drugs, the misuse of them is what’s against the law.

Opioids have flooded the streets not through some dealer cooking it up in a rundown house, but through a much larger and more powerful dealer, an industry and institution: manufacturers, like McKesson. The obvious route to stemming the tide of these opiates are to penalize the industries that are over shipping them to doctors, who in turn overprescribe the drug for profit. The problem is that these companies are billion dollar industries that can afford to pay a team of well-trained lawyers for defense, who will plead some clerical error for shipping massive amounts of medications to doctors, who could never realistically prescribe such as excessive amount ethically. Furthermore, these billion dollar industries can afford to drag a proceeding out for years and cost the government millions of dollars prosecuting, not to mention the fact that the government could lose the case and set a precedent in favor of these companies for future cases. As a result, the government receives tax payments from these industries and fines them one hundred and fifty million dollars.

Companies, like McKesson, remind me of al Capone during the prohibition years: Untouchable; good at manipulating circumstances and covering up the truth, teams of lawyers, and more money than God. Stiffening penalties for unauthorized possession of medication would do absolutely nothing to stem the tide of opiates into our communities, because the people giving it to us are in positions of authority, and ultimately, are protected by the government who refuses to prosecute them.

[ IV ]

The problems we face with opioids are similar to the problems we face with alcohol and cigarettes. They are not illegal to use and very easy to obtain, and making these thing illegal would not stop anyone from using therm. They are products of huge industries that have the money and power to get away with abusing society by marketing to younger users and giving out prescriptions at a price. Crack cocaine on the other hand has always been illegal and is peddled by street dealers, not industries. The government makes no profit from crack through taxes and can only fine its users and sellers by locking them up, furthermore, although it costs taxpayers about $50,000 to house a single prisoner, the federal government gives money to the department of corrections for offering certain programs such as education and substance abuse treatment. Whether these treatments are sufficient or worth the money is another story.

It’s not “Systematic racism” that causes these crises to be treated differently, it’s “systematic money making.” It is far less about black and white than it is green. Our government, an industry of its own, is afraid to lose the fight against manufacturers of opioids and has found a way to make more money off of them instead.

FOOTNOTE: The views in this article are mine and are mostly opinion, although my opinions are based off the interpretations of facts the I have gathered through reading and watching informational programs on the subject of opioids, prohibition, and cocaine. I would be interested in hearing alternate theories or similar views from others. Below is a poem I recently posted and am reposting for the benefit of this article.

False Prophets for Profit
Sean Michael, November 2017

World leaders or false prophets?
Hands in your pockets
Nothing will ever change
Until it threatens their profits—

Three hundred plus murders
But that’s not what ended prohibition
Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929
Still they wouldn’t listen—

The stock market crashes (uh-oh)
Greedy souls quickly consume greenback rations
Preparing for economic downsizing
We need more products to tax—

The people want their moonshine
They drink it and go blind
Stomachs are pumped and some die
Bet the good stuff’ll fetch us a pretty dime—

Stubborn politicians add amendments to the Constitution
Just as long as it suits them
And never to remove them
Reluctant to admit that they were wrong—

But they aren’t the only ones who try to string us along
Last week I heard this ridiculous song
“I could make a million sayin’ nothin’,” the rapper bragged
It was true and it made me sad—

The preacher man comes on television
And tells us how doomed we are
Dial the number on the screen to make your contribution
And he’ll drive off in his new car—

False prophets want your hard-earned cash
And they’ll tell you anything to get it
The truth is in the fashions and the trends
Spend Spend Spend—

You don’t have to be a lamb of society’s skullduggery
Forget your own wants and needs
Silver-tonged prophets will arrive in the masses
But who will you believe?

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