Friday, January 1, 2010




RWP#107...inspired from this photo "shotgun blast" by Shane Gorski






SHOOTING GALLERY






There was no light


only darkness and tattooed graffito


in the shadows of the dark horse


shooting junk


in the empty church loft


above the back alley of filth


below the street of lost hope


lossing their minds


and collapsed veins


a place to fix


with hollow sounds and silent shots


the mistress of of burnt spoons and dirty needles


took them to the pusher of death


Ken the keeper saw a glow


and remained


knowing that darkness comes before the light


he weathered the storm


of junk and dirty needles


when the ghost of himself appeared


on a tightrope of broken eggshells


and led him to the light


beyond the shadow of who he once was


emerging into the light


like a phoenix


his soul rose from the ashes


awakened with clarity


he made this his home


the shooting gallery of light.

16 comments:

Linda said...

This is a sad story Wayne but an accurate glimpse into the world of an addict. I think the confusion of shadows and light is telling. Thank you for sharing this and I hope the coming year brings lots of love and joy to your part of the world.

Erin Davis said...

Wonderfully bleak. Here are my favorite lines:

when the ghost of himself appeared



on a tightrope of broken eggshells

Paul Oakley said...

shooting junk
in the empty church loft
above the back alley of filth


This is a very strong image, Wayne. But it first grabbed me because of the way it accidentally triggered an unrelated memory, not of a drug situation, but from the final year of the Communist dictatorship in Romania. Too involved to explain here. Only saying that I sometimes forget how much the extraneous, unrelated stuff we bring to our reading of a work affects how we react, what grabs us quickly and what sinks in more slowly.

You portray the junkie world in powerful images. It is beautifully written, but I like the movement toward the light, not simply a cold death ODing in the church loft but the appearance of the self-ghost that leads him to the light, that makes this something else. A recognition of a kind of worth and dignity in the least likely of places.

Your lines,

when the ghost of himself appeared
on a tightrope of broken eggshells
and led him to the light


reminds me of the Hellenistic concept of one's guardian angel being a part of oneself, an unsullied portion that appears the same as the sullied portion but with a radiance about it. It is just right that the junkie's "angel" is an image of the junkie.

Thanks for this poem, Wayne.

briarcat said...

Your repetitions of the word light (with glow, clarity, emerging, awakened, phoenix) really kick this into overdrive. A very bright poem of its circumstance.

anthonynorth said...

You've encapsulated the life in raw reality. Excellent.

Karen said...

Wayne - Thanks. The darker pictures are of the right side view and the sunny ones are of the left - both of my back yard. It easy to add them. Just go to "layout" and click on "add a gadget". That will open a window where you pick the gadget to add. Choose "add a picture". It will then instruct you to either browse on your own computer or get a picture from the Internet. You can move the pictures around on your blog with the layout view and preview them. If I can do it, anybody can.

Now, I'm going back up to read your poem! :-)

Karen said...

Wow! I am amazed at the varying places this picture took us! You have created a whole world here, one that makes perfect sense with the photo. The details and the mixing of shadow and light, along with the earthy and elevated diction make this come to life. Beautifully done!

rallentanda said...

You've conveyed the depressing reality of the smack freak's life very well.The ending was very moving and beautiful.

Jeeves said...

Nice one

Cynthia Short said...

So very powerful with many amazing images..you did a really fine job with this one, Wayne!

birdswordpoetry said...

I enjoyed the imagery you conveyed here. It is a nice piece of work.
-Roberta

Tumblewords: said...

I knew little about addiction until reading this piece. It's vivid and vibrant with dark and light. Nice!

Francis Scudellari said...

This is a very gritty and visceral piece. I like the play of words in the title (and closing line) that echoes the photograph's as well.

6p00d8341c643353ef said...

Hi Wayne, thanks for your comment at my blog, and I'm happy it led me over here to see your site and read this moving response to the RWP prompt; the image evoked something like that for me too. Thanks.

zouxzoux said...

You've captured the essence of the photo perfectly, IMO. Plain, unvarnished words here - a death song and a warning.
Great work.

flaubert said...

Such a sad story with a very ahppy ending. Beautiful!

Pamela