Blue by Joseph Hargraves

her lover Kathy
and I are excited:
the heroin
we just bought
is rumored
to be excellent.
Kathy sits on the floor
snorting hers,
I inject Caroline
with the stuff.
Pulling a belt tight
around my arm,
I notice
Caroline's head
"She's turning blue,
we'd better call an ambulance,"
Kathy says.
I look:
I've never seen
lips that color.
I think:
"Thank God the dope's good,"
stick the needle's point
into my vein,
feel the warmth
of the drug,
the syringe.
Caroline falls off the chair.
"Give her mouth to mouth,"
I say.
"I don't know how,"
Kathy answers,
snorts another line.
I'm lucky
to be so high,
I try to remember
C.P.R. films,
place my lips
over Caroline's,
breathe into her.
It isn't working.
I pick her up,
tell Kathy
I need help.
She says,
"You're blowing my high."
I fall against
the kitchen table
knocking it over.
The body hits the floor,
I jump on the body,
pound its chest
to start the heart.
"I'm going to use
the guy-next-door's phone
to call the ambulance-
"Give her mouth to mouth,"
I holler
running out of my apartment.
I dial for help,
give the address;
walk back
across the hallway
with relief.
My apartment door
is closed.
I think
"Face it,
she's dead;"
open the door-
see Kathy sucking
Caroline's left nipple,
fingering her vagina.
The right nipple
is the bluest nipple
I've ever seen.
I think:
"This must be hell."
I back out of the room,
close the door quietly,
and open it.
Kathy looks up smiling,
"Relax honey,
she's gone."
"Fuck you,"
I shout;
opening the window
to let cold air in.
I kneel
beside Caroline, thinking,
"My best friend's dead."
I whisper in her ear,
"The police are coming,
you'd better hope you die.
They'll call your parents,
who'll be pleased to hear
their dyke daughter OD'ed
on heroin.
your parents are here,
She springs
from the floor,
tries to run through
the kitchen wall,
falls down whimpering.
"You stupid bitch,"
I scream,
"Kathy, get her out of here!"
They leave.
I cry,
run to the street,
The police
arrive before the ambulance.
I explain:
"It's okay,
she came to
and left."
The cop shakes his head,
drives off.
Caroline has more
heroin in her pocket,
I run through
the Lower East Side
to her apartment
dodging Puerto-Rican kids
in Halloween costumes.
I hear one
in a clown suit say:
"Did you see that white girl?
She's what I call stoned."
His friend,
a witch,
"They're all fucking crazy."


Nobius said...

Hargraves is the man.

F.A. Pollard said...

“Blue” is a good title; the color sticks with me. Weighing the importance of the dope against the life of a friend, knocking over the kitchen table, “Relax honey, she’s gone”—such well detailed images that I see so clearly. It’s perfect that Caroline comes to at the thought of her parents finding her, then slams into the wall trying to run away. The kids at the end are a great touch. I love this poem.

Anonymous said...

Where's the love?

Anonymous said...

this is probably one of the most realistic poems you will ever read. good one, Joe.

Anonymous said...

excellent poem, the color hit you hard, a beautiful explaination of something so awful. great work.
by carolyn b, boldhippy 03


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