“The American Plague”
No room for the nervous
When you’re underrated on purpose.
Purpose by societal definition?
Overkill of cheap thrills
Induced by purveyors of pills.
Happy candy for the sad we.
Sadly basking in the glee
Of the Technicolor shapes they see.
Their splendor but a brief celebration.
Conquest for not much more than the score.
Would divide tribes
To be conquered by factions.
Swift in pursuit of bitter fruit
Yielding side effects and delayed action.
They tend to the bars;
Spreading the black tar
Just to chase the dragon.
Residue and fingertip scars.
Fell far from grace.
Mirrors hold too much to embrace.
No yearning for a silhouette to trace.
Attention drawn to an aging face
And they are barely middle-aged.
Would inhale a can of mace
If it meant another taste.
Briskly sporadic in pace.
Heart racing faster
Than the cadence of their tone.
They would rather be alone;
Left to fade into that zone.
Mind and body faded.
Intricate like hair braided
But they will conceal the roots.
No one reveals the truth.
Rarely around to request it.
Adopted as the norm
Until it remotely harms
But it was always a swarm.
Support replaced by slander.
Taught to mind our manners
But we treat junkies like crap.
Addicts get the scraps
But can’t eat them at our table.
So willing and able
To invoke the need for labels
When we share their categories.
Tales so damn specific
Yet we don’t see the connection.
Our ignorance is our protection.
We wield this heavy shield
fortified with the implied:
That which we would let ride
Long as it isn’t inside.
Raising a gifted kid
With such lofty expectations
And the potential to change the nation.
They dare to change their destination.
No longer drawn towards your bevy.
How long before the heart is heavy
At the sight late night
Of a daughter under the influence
Or a son more thief than nuisance?
How much remains in house?
Arguments with your spouse.
Had to hide your purse
because your child sees your prescription
As peace offering from the nurse.
High school drop out shut off;
Cut off from acceptance.
Negligence never presumed as a factor
Viable enough to make perfect sense.
Since the earliest inception,
Contact viewed as a connection
But it lacked impact and passion.
Listening became a latent action.
We scoff at the criminal
and often judge the prostitute
but our children need their fix;
So this is where it constitutes.
Few things are black and white.
Debate well into the night
Over which race got it right.
Similarities will surely be disclosed.
We hate the owners of our stores
But not more than doing chores.
We sit drinking on the porch
Raising bottles like a torch
to every neighbor passing by.
We sit and wonder why
In place of beginning to think how.
Are we so different now?
Don’t lend retort to the rhetorical.
The difference between he, she and we
Is that although he collects the fees
While she is often on her knees,
We are who they’ve longed to please.
The derelict appear diseased
But we harbor the infection.
No differential diagnosis.
No detection. †
Written By: Devin Joseph Metz