Journalism In Verse


The Red and the Black

in Health/U.S. by

I rip music. Shostakovich complete trios
And sonatas. The case cover is red and
Black with an almost watermarked
Image of the hammer and sickle; labor
And peasantry. The value of my work
Exerted out tubes of my feet and into
Capital gains and capital cities and
Astonishing rates of return. I am a
Pill. I am a walking loving eating
Fucking opioid den.

Red and black. Turn back the clock:
Just say no we are told. Again.
Don’t take any drugs ever. Look
The other way. Give yourself over
To scripture or golf just as Dimiti
Respun his work around government
News frenzies designed for and by
Malevolent denigration. You see
The problem is not with the company
But with your weakness. Your tone

Take your medicine. Refill and use.
Demand pain, scream out of opaque
States that you just need a little
Pick up. Julien Sorel, master of love
And lover of armed forces mistook
Steps of ascension but had he had
Opioids, the church of a narcotic
Sanctuary perhaps then and only
Then would his plot twists have
Yielded material gains for state,
For church, his Eros proletariat.

I rip music. Shostakovich. The tremor
And violence of Piano Trio No. 2
Rattles my bones as I am sure no
Doubt the romantic swells of an
Overdose feel to all affected by
Such horrible accidents. So easy
It is. So casual is this ease with which

We prescribe and ingest and take
And take again. Never more than

A few hours without medicating,
Never more than a phone call,
A visit, a hopeful whimper as
This thing we call life has gotten
Almost comical and ridiculous:
Opium. Morphine. Behold heroin.
Cocaine. Greet methamphetamine.
Finally see the wolves; call them
Tinkering gods, pulse manipulators
Rubbing every one of our buttons
Just the right way.

No clean line here. No smooth face.
No graceful resolution of theme.
Chaos and disenchantment. Plead
For more. Plead to make it all go away.
Ask for forgiveness. Bury your anger
In the music you produce. Walk.
Negate love. Julien Sorel – bounce
Your way into church, refuse Counsel.
Comfort the masters. One way or
the other your heart will be taken
from you, taken and punctured.

Psychosis of literature and throb of
Competing tone voices pulling your
Skin apart, the red and the black,
Blood army of pills and bruise church
Of sedation. The hammer, the sickle,
The labor of breathe, molestation
Of a regular peasant stripping down
And getting into bed with the wolf.


Read More

My Son Went Through 12 Drug Relapses. The Government’s New Plan to Fight the Opioid Epidemic Doesn’t Go Far Enough. [Fortune Magazine]

A History of the Opioid Epidemic [Farm & Dairy Magazine]

White House opioid commission calls for wide-ranging changes to anti-drug policies [ The Washington Post ]

Sean J. Mahoney works in geophysics. Sean helped create to the Disability Literature Consortium (, which made its physical debut at AWP16 in Los Angeles. He co-edited the 3 existing volumes of the MS benefit anthology Something On Our Minds, and works as an assistant editor for His work has been published in Occupoetry, Barking Sycamores, Nine Mile Magazine, OTV Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, Your Impossible Voice, and Right Hand Pointing, among others.

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