In The December Grey



after Satan laughs

it begins

there will be no Vicodin today


In the parking lot a shadowy figure mumbled a kind of

hello. At first I thought him an hallucination, but with the

sun breaking through the bleakness and codeine deprivation


vice-gripping my brain, I recognized Gary's black onyx ring

loosely fit on his crooked right ring finger. How I hated him, once

a friend, now a specter , a haunting reminder of when my boys

were young and I still called Fran my wife.


more ghosts jump from

a worn Altoid’s tin


Gary lit a hand rolled cigarette; desolation swirled around his acrid plume.

I breathed in the heaviness; I exhaled a tired breath.




sweat, chills… damn this crawling skin 


Why a computer programmer chose to rob banks after his divorce, I’ve no

answer. Eight years in a Michigan prison, a lifetime… shit, prison life is an

oxymoron; his soul’s forever an inmate. His children, his friends, all moved on.


I knew this about Gary…


$40 for 20mg

Satan accepts credit

Gary doesn't 


And my lockup is measured in cravings, milligrams, broken promises and

disillusioned children — mine, Fran’s, ours. There will be no Vicodin today,

I am broke… broken in the December grey.






Views: 365

Comment by Sirenita Lake on November 28, 2012 at 12:41pm

So bleak. I don't know if this is a personal story, but it's the story of so many people without access to reasonable healthcare, who suffer pain when the cheapest of drugs would alleviate it. I haven't been around OS for a time (for reasons repeated here and there ad nauseum) and have lost touch. I like this poetic style. Accessible but still a succession of discrete images distilled from a narrative, recent and past. Is it new?

I talked to my friend yesterday, and said, if your neck gets better, still refill the vicodin script and give it to me. I can't believe how many bottles of vicodin I threw in the trash over the years, never taking post surgical meds because i didn't get pain worth mentioning. I graduated, painwise, and now need the meds, but not in the quantities prescribed for someone in my condition. I've become a resource for the hurt and unmedicated, an underground railroad for meds from the insured to the uninsured. I call it civil disobedience, though the feds might call it something else. 

Comment by chuck a stetson on November 28, 2012 at 1:06pm


Thanks for the comment and questions: yes, this is a autobiographical as it gets: me & Vicodin, my ex-wife Fran, Gary and old bank robber acquaintance etc... what isn't true is Gary pushing pills... but oh the hard years [10] post rehab -- only to be told last year that NSAIDS were destroying my kidneys, thus a return to codeine and unashamed pain management. 

Yet there is much sunshine in my life and hopefully this new style of poetry I'm diggin' makes sense to those who ['ve] read me.

Comment by Marlene Dunham on November 28, 2012 at 3:46pm

Hey Chuck - in your answer to Sirenita (Hi Sirenita!) you answered my question. I know you have sunshine in your life, so it will be different.  The poetry is different - and makes sense to me.  Liking it - Good luck to you with pain mgmt and all my friend.

Comment by chuck a stetson on November 28, 2012 at 6:55pm

Thank you Marlene... I very much value your opinion. 

Comment by chuck a stetson on November 29, 2012 at 8:56am


thank you for reading my scrambled eggs

Comment by Arthur James on November 30, 2012 at 2:08am


Con Chapman may help Ex Cons?

Call Con Collect. He writes about:


Sex Impotency and Picket Lines.

He's also (Congrats) got ` EP.

Glad You are Here. Con called?

Con is Nicknamed College Boy.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on November 30, 2012 at 6:27am

i guess yr new style is appreciated (as it is by me), for you  , sir , are a coverboy on OURS.

locked up! it happens, alas. when you stray from the pleasantly familiar.

" my lockup is measured in cravings, milligrams, broken promises and

disillusioned children"

The lockup has to do with the body . It's gotta be detained indefinitely for rehabilition. The body squeezed down into tiny circumstances gives up and allows the mind fullplay. some are successful at the experience of lockup.


out in the world if you are a good citizen many ameliorations of your abject condition come your way.

But Satan laughing is not a good sign you will do what they say & 'recover'.

recover means To get back; regain.  ,To restore (oneself) to a normal state:

no former states of me interest me.

Comment by chuck a stetson on November 30, 2012 at 11:09am


a comment from you brings sunshine

no pain

smiles and laughs

in the kale garden

James M. E:

we must get together over breakfast

at the Landmark Cafe

on main street

across from the Charlie Brown Christmas tree

i'll buy

you supply the wit

ah ... now to your email

Comment by Romantic Poetess on November 30, 2012 at 1:08pm

Pain and pain relievers

only bring more pain

much harder to salve

Poetry of life and loss


Comment by Arthur James on November 30, 2012 at 1:31pm

` I just Love thESE  FuNCTIONAL  BlogS @ Other Salon.

Keys stink! That's not Kerry or Jake's Fault. Poetry? No.


I read the Email. Joy knows sorrow. Sorrow Joy must know.

Mephiistopheles says that in FAUST. We Puff, Huff, at Sun.

Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Become ReFreshed at a Lake.


or wherever.

I agree with Romantic Poetess. Pain Pills eventually Kill Folk.

I call Pain Pilld Pain Pills Because PHARs # CEO` Quacks Kill.

There are Saner Methods To alleviate Pain. Sit on Side? Puff.


Watch the Elder Re-tired Farmer Lean On Side and Puff Opium.

I spent Over One Month in India Post Sad-Earthquake. Why?

The Underground Weapon's Test (hush?) caused a Earthquake.

I did Burial Relief There (India) in 1993. Many Agrarians Died.

Sometimes I can still Hear WAILS. Sigh. Sorrow. No Calms.

So - That's Why I'll Wander-Off and Ponder Sad Realities.

A Heart (Seat of Emotions Resides) Needs Replenished.

So - I'll mosey off to view Sun, Moon, and Woo Beauty.

Fools (DC etc.,) are Vain, and enamored How? Ill/Bred.


Groucho Marx said ` You Bet Your Life." A dead duck-

descended from the ceiling. I'd rather View Loons-

Living Ducks at a Lake That Quack. Just saying.


Nature is Therapeutic.

It's to go sit in P.U..

As in no be Pew's

Vain-Pride Fool's


Stinky Pants Poop.



I tell my VA shrink

I no wear underpants. 

Undies are too itchy.


goofy . . .


You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!

Join Our Salon


4th of July 1963 3 of 3

Posted by J.P. Hart on June 26, 2019 at 10:01am 3 Comments

Remembering Julie Johnson

Posted by Julie Johnson on June 25, 2019 at 10:30pm 4 Comments

Open Our Salon For Good

Posted by Robert B. James on June 25, 2019 at 6:52am 7 Comments

© 2019   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service