Itching to play with matches

I hear it better now than ever I did before,
you did that. It weeps now loud
in the quiet of every street;
anyone can hear it, anyone can have it,
anyone can see it glow in every home,
this comfort, this love, this need.
God, how long?
It starts, they say, low and muted
a mere whisper, a soft caress, a first kiss, so kind.
And then it’s part of you,
closer than a heartbeat,
dearer than a lover
and bound to you as you are to it, forever.

Let’s pray, because he’s here now, you know, in your poem—
at the table with the Scotch cookies and Polish cakes
and the tea to serve to friends.
And all the while he’s waiting,
itching to play with matches,
staring at the covered cage and snarling,
Sing, damn you, sing!
He’s here.

Few people realize how prevalent drug and alcohol addiction is. It truly is the “elephant in the room” that just doesn’t seem to get talked about enough.

The tragedy of addiction is like an onion: thickly layered from the inside out. The toll on the addict and everyone around them is heartbreaking. And what is doubly sad is that many addicts are, at their base, trying to self medicate their emotional pain away.

Thank you for reading Itching to play with matches. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge,


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