Dark Blood (poem)

Dark Blood


what a way to die -
seizures on the sidewalk
on a dark Halloween night

you wanted to escape
the tinsel people
the sick and the hungry

to fill the emptiness:
heroin, LSD, cocaine,
marijuana, valium...

whatever you need
within arms reach,
who could save you

when your insides 
are like a dead crab
picked over by gulls

and there is not
enough
substance

Joanne Fisher


Originally published in JAAM 12

I haven’t had much time to write lately so I’m falling back on an old poem. When I put my first collection together I didn’t include this poem as I felt it was too weak. Revisiting (and giving it a rewrite) makes me wonder it was better than I thought at the time.

When I wrote this I had just read a biography of the actor River Phoenix who died on October 31, 1993. At the time he was working on the film Dark Blood. They had just shot the exterior parts of the film in the desert and then come back to Hollywood to shoot the interior scenes in a studio. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Phoenix went on a drugs binge that led to his death and the film was never completed. The director George Sluizer ended up releasing the film in 2012. He narrated the parts that never got shot, and having seen it recently, you do get a sense of what was lost. It would have been a very intriguing film had it been shot in it’s entirety and it touches on some very dark themes, which probably didn’t help Phoenix at the time. The list of drugs in the poem is what was found in Phoenix’s bloodstream after his death. I find it sad when obviously talented people throw away their lives needlessly.

On an unrelated note my blood is a rather dark colour similar to the colour above, just so you know…

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher