It will be the death of you

She stands outside

Shaking as if she were naked

Her short fur lined hooded jacket

Her only protection from the cold

Not covering her tatty faded jeans

And burnt out long ago trainers

Worn to the walk of her feet

As she takes another drag

From the cigarette held tight between her lips

Held clumsily in her fingers

purple and white as her face

her yellow stained teeth

Gapped around the sides and to the back

In dark squares of time

A testament to her youth

But it’s the willingness of pressure

To find another hit instead of

the mars bars and pasties that sustain her

And when she’s got the money sometimes pizza and chips


Her skinny frame in contrast to her

Red ruby lips and the disinterested smile  

She will give to punters

Through open car windows

blasting welcome heat

as she debates terms and how much

she has no nails to speak of

and fingers that are blistered angry as her face


but resolute and determined to hold on to

what little she can

when at last she finally gets home

full of the taste of sausage roll and half a cup of tea

relief breaks across her face

as she releases her grip upon foil and lighter

splayed out on her bed

to be found by a friend next morning

who does not know the strength of what she bought

from a bloke on the street

only thinking it must be good

by the smile still etched on her face

◄ Mountains climbed

Bucket spades and ice cream days ►


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Martin Elder

Tue 24th Jul 2018 00:03

Thanks Rose. I have written a number of poems along the same sort of subject lines, not all with the same tragic ending , but I probably won't post them all as it could be a bit too depressing


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Rose Casserley

Mon 23rd Jul 2018 16:23

Your poems certainly are getting the attention they deserve to which I am more than happy to add to Martin. This is a well penned if somewhat tragically ending read.

If I was asked if we will ever be rid of the scourge I'm afraid the answer would be the inevitable one.

Best regards.

Rose ?

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Martin Elder

Tue 19th Jun 2018 19:57

Thanks for liking Darren

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Martin Elder

Mon 18th Jun 2018 19:17

Thanks to Desmond Anya David and Brian for liking and to Keith, Colin and Stu for commenting

I have spent some years working with substance misusers in various locations and sometimes feel that which is touched on in word song or play on the subject does not always reflect my own experience. I guess this is just a small part of what I have come across. There have also been some humorous and positive stories as well as the tragedy reflected here. I do worry that I do veer towards the more melancholic at times.

Colin I take your point about the last verse probably stating it all. I hadn't seen it.

Thanks again Guys for reading and commenting

Love to all

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Stu Buck

Mon 18th Jun 2018 15:51

brilliant martin. really hit me.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Mon 18th Jun 2018 09:13

Hi Martin, I think for me the poem here is in the last verse which in isolation could very well stand on its own because all that is said before is pretty much implied in those last 12 lines. Just a thought. Certainly the last 5 lines are very moving - the word 'found' especially for being such a dark and readily recognised way of telling us this story has not ended well. Thanks as always for posting. Col.

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keith jeffries

Sun 17th Jun 2018 21:24

This poetic tale of such personal tragedy is an intricate weaving of descriptive language and and an evocation of a malady which besets many young people of today. Between the lines there is despair and the need to survive, intermingled with a profound sense of loss in every sense of the word. A masterful piece of writing.
Thank you for this

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