English: Beyond Coma and Despair

Image via Wikipedia

I wrote this poem for Open Link Night and decided to use it as a kickstart for Write2Day as well.

A Sestina

Alone, I settle in to nurse the night,
to venerate these saints I should despise.
Bow down before these gods who leach my spirit,
accept the chalice filled with certain death.
I hide the truth from those concerned I’m lost;
prevarication’s now my way of life.

Within my room, I hide, consuming life.
A shaft of light breaks through and rapes the night.
I tape the curtains shut, so sunshine’s lost,
for brightness violates all I despise.
My thoughts attend to naught but this pure death,
her promise tears apart my fragile spirit.

A new god I adore, not born of spirit,
who brings ecstatic joy now to my life.
No sacrament—communion with this death.
It promises to guide me into night,
to teach to me all others to despise,
to mingle now my life with all those lost.

I grasp the cup, hold tight to all I’ve lost,
deny all those who speak to me of spirit,
and wallow like the swine, to be despised,
embrace illusions that erase my life,
hold fast unto the wine I drink at night,
content to find my joy imbibing death.

Within my hands I hold the key to death,
I wander on this path, knowing I’m lost.
Each day becomes another endless night,
Each night consumes me like an evil spirit.
Without a hope of saving wretched life—
anomalous creation I despise.

Swallow the night—this moment I despise.
Let go of spirit, hugging hopes of death.
Are you, too, lost? Or will you cherish life?

At last, I’ve satisfied my poetry addiction. I’ve been experiencing withdrawal as different challenges have absorbed my time.

Poets and writers of all genres turn to angst-filled topics for inspiration. I would venture a guess that many of us have experienced addiction, either personally or second-hand, through the lives of those we’ve loved. As you most likely know, there are many types of addiction besides those like alcohol or drugs, the ones that immediately come to mind.  There are two types of addiction: substance and process. Examples of process-addiction include such things as shopping, work, sex, gambling and exercise. Drugs, alcohol, food, caffeine and smoking are samples of Substance addiction.

For today’ prompt, dip into an addiction or a few of your choice, or enter the mind of an addict, and see what happens. Don’t forget; we welcome prose as well as poetry.

If you are able to participate, here’s how:

  • Write your poem, short fiction or essay and post it on your personal blog.
  • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Add your name and the direct URL to your post.
  • Come back and pay a visit to other addicts poets and comment on their work.
  • Have fun and enjoy the process.

I hope to see you back here, and above all at dVerse Poets’ Pub for Open Link Night where the company’s great, the drinks are abundant and the poetry, without equal.

Photo: License unknown (from Wikipedia)

41 thoughts on “Addiction

  1. Luke Prater says:

    checkin in again… this is a beast…


  2. […] Addiction ( Rate this: Share this postShareFacebookStumbleUponTwitterDiggRedditEmailLike this:Like8 bloggers like this post.   20 Comments […]


  3. Thanks, all for your comments. Re: the sestina form. While it does require a bit of discipline because you’re working with those six chosen words and I chose to do mine in iambic pentameter, I’ve found it to be a wonderful cure for when I’m feeling stuck. An aside: I chose six words initially but ended up, in the process, of changing all but one to better fit the meter. They did have essentially the same meaning, though. For example, instead of night, I originally had darkness. The key for me is to settle on a theme up front and then chose words that you believe will lend themselves to the theme. One time, however, the theme emerged from the words I had chosen. I attribute that to the power of the unconscious or creative spirit or whatever name you give your muse.


  4. zongrik says:

    …and on that note, once you start writing sestinas, you kind of want to write more, unless you suffered too much, then you never want to write one again!!


  5. worninshoes says:

    Thank you. Yours has served to inspire, to recall, a fire smouldering too long far within.


  6. Phil says:

    I chose to write about heroin addiction as a lover – a deadly and evil lover as conversation and conflict inside the mind of an addict. I chose to look at the fatal attraction and affair the addict has with his or her addiction; with a manipulative lover’s pull over its victim, thread by thread stitching its fatal web surreptitiously as it slowly and repeatedly binds mind and body, ensnaring and isolating victim into a web of despair and helplessness.

    I’ve seen too many fall victim to the ravages of such an addiction, and the common thread that seems to emerge is this strange and pernicious love affair they have with that which destroys them. Thank you for provoking me to do this.


  7. […] following prose was inspired by a visit to Victoria’s Liv2write2day’s Blog with a writing prompt topic of addiction, challenging the writer to perhaps enter the mind of an […]


  8. Missed at Open Link, but just saw on the Blogs I follow. Raw, naked, brutally honest–loved your words, incredible piece. Still want to try a Sestina, I find the format fascinating, and it works so well with topics like you chose. Well penned, Victoria.


  9. markwindham says:

    incredibly cynical and depressing, but I did get one finished and on the linky.


  10. Somwe visceral wording here- i really like it…almost jarring, prickly- maybe like how an addict would feel!…this is how your poem read to me- it jarred, made me feel almost uncomfortable- but thats why it was so clever considering your subject matter. And a sestina? sheeesh! never attempted one of these before- but considering how well this read- you might just inspire me to give it a bash!


  11. Brendan says:

    Addiction is a ritual — a dark one, inverse to the forward light of the spirit — so a a rigorous form fits it well. Been there, slave to that. Writing about addiction outside of the madness is like Orpheus on the far side of Hell. Part of us never quite gets over the chill, and we must never forget the slavery lest one day we think it’s a good idea to reward ourselves with the thing that damn near killed us in the first place. Thanks for this taste of life back in the savage garden. – Brendan


  12. seingraham says:

    Such a wonderful sestina … as someone else said, it’s so well-wrought, it’s hard to remember, it’s a sestina … and I’m with you as far as the process addictions go – the poem I posted for dVerse tonight, “Closest to the Edge” works for this in some ways too, I think … while I wouldn’t acknowledge for many years that there’s such a thing as being addicted to despair or suicidal ideation, I’m not sure that’s true … it’s like anything else one gets comfort from, even the darkest things


  13. siggiofmaine says:

    Posted my poem … it turned out to be quite lengthy…had to stop writing…saved some for another day !
    Siggi in Downeast Maine


  14. jenneandrews says:

    Victoria– never for one second doubt how wonderful your work is– you certainly would rock my world were you to consider anything like genuflecting before me– the support I get from the DVerse gang is very humbling. I love this piece…. love, Jenne’


  15. souldipper says:

    Then there’s the pesky withdrawal symptoms from being away from the computer too long! 😀


  16. Chazinator says:

    Very powerful poem, detailing so many nights and days I know so well. The richness of the words comes from an experience hard won, but not nearly lost as your prose piece shows. Understanding and objective awareness of what sickness we suffer from gives us that needed spiritual space where we can begin to assess both cause and effect, as well as possible cure. Your poem speaks volumes about the power of the spirit to overcome even the harshest adversity.


  17. hedgewitch says:

    I love the sound of a good sestina, it’s got a magic, no matter what the subject. This was dark, but I don;t know if one can ever write as dark as the thing itself. Excellent work.


  18. swanrose says:

    Gripping…..I had to read it a few times. Great work.


  19. Your poem speaks volumes about our addictions… you can hold a cup of death in your hands… it’s a scary subject one that leaves an impact… I know I’d like to be free once more!


  20. brian miller says:

    hey victoria…good to see this one again soon…smiles…sadly still embroiled in it with the boy i mentioned already…and so hard to break…i think poems about things like this come across really well too when you have experienced it or seen someone go through it…nicely done…


  21. claudia says:

    i’m always in awe when i see that someone has done a sestina…and you’ve done such an excellent and meaningful and deep one…tight with emotions..gave me goose bumps at times…holding the key to death…addiction can surely lead to death…physical or mental as well..


  22. That poem was a bit difficult for me to read–too close to feelings that were part of me a lifetime ago.

    Yes, I know all about addiction. I’ll see if I can contribute something to this prompt….


  23. hannah says:

    See what you made me do….?
    I struggled with a sestina today.
    Made a template first and then painted by numbers.
    Please come take a look.
    Should have been tidying instead 🙂


  24. Jamie Dedes says:

    Wow! I’m impressed w/Sestina – a challenge and you’ve handled it so well, as you always do. Nice. What a perfect illustration.

    Always love your challenges, though I don’t often take them up. I usually am wrapped up in some sort of project … feeding my writing addiction!?



  25. Luke Prater says:

    btw our March Creative Challenge submissions close today at 4pm EDT/8pm GMT, theme is ‘Pride’… would be fine to enter an older piece that involves this theme in some way (even subtly/minorly). Submissions to Julie if you’re interested 🙂


  26. Luke Prater says:

    Brave you are to tackle the Sestina. I have been avoiding it for years. Try it with rhyming end-words (3 sets of 2, or 2 sets of 3, eg hell/shell, men/ken, feel/heel, or hell/shell/tell, men/ken/leant), also interesting to make it metrically exact (eg iambic pentameter). They have more poetic interest for me personally when one or both of these are used. Great job here though


  27. vivinfrance says:

    Writing addiction? You have to be addicted, and bloody-minded, and maybe a little mad to write a sestina (I speak from experience), but the fact that your poem is one had passed me by on reading it on e-mail (I missed the title). Such is the skill you brought to this difficult form. I shall go away and ponder my many manias.


  28. Bill says:

    Holy crap, Victoria, this poem is immense! I find myself shaking and crying reading it. I can’t even recognize it as a sestina it’s so raw and real. This ain’t no addiction to poetry — this is what vows of silence are for…


  29. ManicDdaily says:

    Wonderful! Poetry addiction indeed. This was very powerful and well done. A complicated subject and form that you carry off beautifully. K.


  30. jmgoyder says:

    I love the sestina form – yours is brilliant.


  31. mairmusic says:

    Dark and intriguing– an interesting write.


  32. hannah says:

    Sorry, I double linked.
    There is no delete option. maybe you can remove one for me?

    Is there such a thing as Clutterbugs Anonymous?
    Just today I realized that I am having a problem,
    although addiction may not cover it, unless one can be addicted to clutter.
    Maybe writing this will push me to find a solution.
    I find your poem challenging and rather frightening.


  33. brian miller says:

    nice victoria…i work in the world of addiction…matter of fact one of my kids that just ODed in my car the other week blew a random drug test today….sad case…its hard, brutal to break addcition, i have been there….and the writing addiction, ha, i wont try and shake that one anytime soon…smiles….


  34. siggiofmaine says:

    Found with having to sign in to “like” I have to remember where I’ve been to “like” a post when the cat is lounging on my lap. She HATEs me balancing the computer on her head to type !… even with one hand !

    Enjoyed your post…am thinking about it…it’s a good subject and an interesting one.
    So many ways to go with it.

    Siggi in Downeast Maine


  35. markwindham says:

    I have not braved the Sestina yet; very foreign to my form-avoidant style.Here are a couple of older ones for the subject matter. I will get something new for ‘linky’.


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