Thursday, 23 January 2014

Brendan



She sees him there
lying in his own shit
and piss and vomit
and rage ignites
explodes within her chest. 
I hate you she screams,
I hate it when you’re like this…

(She is like the rest,
those that preach and pester
drive him to distraction.
She does not – or chooses not –
to listen understand
that with every morning waking,
his mind screaming, body aching
he is yearning dying
for that first liquid mouthful…

(She is a tangle in his hair –
he should tease her out
and toss her on the pile
of   f*cking interfering arseholes.))

She carries on
with her relentless screeching moaning
and he mumbling groaning
wraps head in hands
to SHUT HER OUT,
then pleads with her to go buy him a bottle. 

And all she wants to do is squeeze throttle
the last whisky smelling breath life outa him
and she explodes again with steaming anger
and tears streaming down her face
she pummels him with empty fists.

He is fighting for his life now,
thumps her and rises from his bed,
his legs unsteady he collapses to the floor
and he lies there, twitching. 
She recognises, knows those orgasmic groans
and forty minutes in, watching with a selfish glee
rather than inserting *Diazepam PR
she steps over him instead.

She closes the door,
realises she doesn’t care
anymore in any effing way. 
She wants him dead,
wants an end to it,
she pours herself a coffee
lights up a cigarette
and listens to the news.

Anna :o]

Brian at dVerse has us telling stories – and this is a story that I guess I have wanted to tell for some time.  It is a story of Brendan – who could quite easily be a Brenda – who is a resident in my workplace.

Brendan is a (very) intelligent long term and readily admitted alcoholic who has insight into how his alcoholism has detrimentally affected his life.  He is the first alcoholic who has given me insight of the horrors of waking, knowing that there is no alcohol in the house, of how knowledge of this lacerates your body with the most unimaginable exquisite pain.  He tells of scrambling to find money to buy the first bottle of the day, hiding in some quiet space to take the first sup and the relief that this brings.  He also relates the horror of being penniless – knowing there is no end to his craving…

Sadly, what Brendan has no insight into, is the effect of alcoholism on the brain.  His recall is less than thirty seconds and he tells me this story over and over again, night after night.  What a sad waste of a very intelligent life.

*Diazepam PR (per rectum) is a drug given when a patient is in status epilepticus.  A sudden cessation – after an episode of heavy drinking - can cause seizures and several of our residents are admitted in the knowledge that we must continue to feed their drinking habits.  And this we do until some cease to drink of their own accord and ?oddly enough they do not have seizures?  Some who continue to drink do have seizures…?

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

20 comments:

Brian Miller said...

what a harsh reality...and a hard story...makes you wonder what got him started down that path...it is a waste of such a life...and so emotional as well...She is a tangle in his hair – started a part that was hard...which probably justifies for her as well how she is in the end...nice job telling a story...

rallentanda said...

Grim gritty and real and happening out there all the time. Out there meaning I am locked away in here in my protected bubble. Just even reading this poem makes me feel like passing out. Great work which reinforces the fact that I am not equipped for leading any kind of stark reality life:)

I am in awe of people like you who are immersed in it on a daily basis.It make one feel humbled and entirely useless.

Ginny Brannan said...

How sad. I have viewed alcoholism from the outside for many years in my own family. My dad died at 51 (I was 16) from liver disease. He was not a mean drinker, and never wallowed in his own filth, but the addiction was no different. I was told that children of alcoholics can go either way. I am so aware from my own childhood, it's a path I never want to go down. Not something I talk about often, though a moment with a coworker last year at work inspired this: http://insideoutpoetry.blogspot.com/2013/05/demons-and-angels.html
Thanks for sharing this way-to-real story, something that we all need to be aware of.

Grace said...

This is stark & real ~ I don't have any personal experience in dealing with alcoholics but you have created a vivid background ~ Emotionally this can take its toll on the people around them, as can be read from the ending ~ Good one Anna ~

Mary said...

Anna, this is such an insightful and honest piece of writing. I am awed by it really, and how some people such as yourself, deal with these kinds of things every day. I do hope Brendan will find his way........

Mary said...

Anna, this is such an insightful and honest piece of writing. I am awed by it really, and how some people such as yourself, deal with these kinds of things every day. I do hope Brendan will find his way........

Bodhirose said...

What a vivid, PAINFUL, scene you tell. I love the way you describe her as a tangle in his hair. I grew up with an alcoholic and bi-polar father. Not pretty...the whole family still bears the scars...some worse than others. Ugh...alcohol is such an ugly drug.

grapeling said...

brutal ~

Todd Alan Kraft said...

Anna, the contrast of the beautiful write to the horrific topic is blinding. I want to say this is wonderful work, but that would degrade it. You made me feel pity and horror and a host of other things I'd rather not feel. The Diazepam stanza is uniquely distasteful and lingers with the scent of booze laden sweat. As I press the "Publish..." button, I still shake my head in amazement and disgust. I wish Brendan remedy for his crippling illness.

Claudia said...

oh dang...this is so tough...really brought tears to my eyes... for both there is no escape..it's so very hard

ramblingsfromamum said...

I think I should back away from my G & T….
seriously really enjoyed this Anna - exceptional

Gabriella said...

This is a very powerful poem, Anna! You have really shown the side we, outsiders to such stories, do not see. You have highlighted the despair, the hopelessness and the pain. Thankfully some people do recover and get back to a more 'normal' life even if I am afraid many don't.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Written in an incredibly vivid manner. Wow. I can't imagine the hell she's been living through...

hanna said...

Ouch!
like the ending where she indulges in her own addictions ;-)
mine is chocolate, the forbidden fruit in my case, so I have respect for alcoholics, realizing it is a biochemical inadequacy in first instance.
Powerful write.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A sad and realistic story. The wife wastes her energy - he is addicted and you cannot reason with one in the grip of addiction. You tell it like it is.....such a sad and wasted life he led.

^.^ said...

Ya ...

Björn said...

What a real story.. and sad what alcoholism can do to a person.. and what it does to relatives and those that once cared for a wonderful human being... It's like a breakup...

mywordwall said...

You put the two contrasting emotions beautifully in this piece, Anna. :-) This piece is raw and all too real.

Jenny Woolf said...

What a nightmare it must indeed be to be a heavy drinker. I find it's hard enough to give up coffee for heavens sake.

Helena said...

Life's addictions and struggles come across here beautifully. Stark, open and honest. I'll visit this post quite a few times, I imagine.