two poems by Paul Harrison

personal call (child support)

just like i thought
Milton wasn’t the poet
of Paradise Lost
he was the new case worker
from child support
hassling me about
one late payment
even though the account
is always paid in full
end of every year
and Milton don’t know shit
about me
or the kids
or their mothers
calling me at work
over and over about
repayment plans
written agreements
legal action
cos Milton’s a prick
just doing his job
taking orders, filling quotas
and i don’t hate Milton
but i will say this
it’s lucky he called me
that afterwards
i didn’t tick
‘face to face’ on the intake form
ain’t you or the State
got better things to do
than threaten guys at work
who love, support their children
just doing our jobs

just for today

in the beginning
i didn’t think anything
of it
we were all at it
in it
getting out of it
and now
fast forward
through a twenty year haze
of loss
and near death
of course i tried
to stop, change, modify
no luck, no dice
switching drinks
eating the happy pills
the camphoral
touring the detox
treatment centres
talking about it
in and out of rooms
a few suicide manoeuvres
thrown in for good measure
always new paths
to self destruct
analysing, even glamorising
the salient, simple fact that
i’m a late stage addict
who’s getting really scared
now that a good night
a lucky night
a quiet night
means nothing at all
or 8 tall ones
when the deal was
i wouldn’t
touch a drop

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