Zones of Avoidance

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Zones of Avoidance (an excerpt)entry picture

I’m reading ‘The Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ –

I want to understand what drove my daughter out


in the snow with no coat or socks, in search of a fix.

I want to understand what divinity led her


to set up camp in the derelict ‘pigeon house’

after running out of sofas to surf.


I was a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds girl myself.

I liked the way it made inanimate objects move


until that day in Balham when my guy sang Rock n Roll Suicide

from a third floor window and an Alsatian leapt


from the wood grain of the station door

and policemen were penguins in disguise.


Tough Love. The mantra of the support group

for those beaten by their loved one’s addiction.


When I was busted at nineteen and the bedsit landlord

tipped my belongings onto the street, the last person


I would’ve turned to was my mother.

You’ve made your bed. Lie on it. Lie on it. Lie on it.




Maggie SawkinsThe Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry

◄ Zones of Avoidance



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Greg Freeman

Sun 31st Jan 2016 23:29

Thanks for posting an extract from your wonderful Zones of Avoidance here, Maggie. Speaking as one who's reviewed the book!

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Robert Mann

Sun 31st Jan 2016 20:37

Maggie - I can feel the narrator's pain throughout this piece. Even though drugs have only been a minimal intrusion on my working life, I do wonder at the self destruct button some people are unable to avoid. A fitting closure might also be 'You've made your bed. Lie on it. Lie on it. Die on it.' Well written Maggie.

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