Ghosts of Crisis Present

Sisyphus by Alex Stassen


Ghosts of Crisis Present

They should call it the pharmacy that dispenses suspended hopes.

Situated there just outside the station.

A precarious pile of oddities containing six dollar half gallons of milk, scratch tickets, Philly Blunts, and Totino Pizza Squares.

All marked up, like the customers.

No profits to be gained, as the owners are owned by habits spinning out of their atmospheres.

Burning up.

Dying embers looking for oxygen to sustain their burn.

A gaunt gauntlet of souls, reminding passersby to work hard and consume.

Walking through the truth with averted eyes, and a failed understanding of how short the distance is from indulgence to dependence.

Just six letters really.

Worker bees flitting over the walking dead, pretending that they are not walking dead.

Call it charade, or self-deception, or the American Dream, the concept resorts to manifesting itself as a nightmare.

This is where they congregate to compare slights, hold communion, and validate their shared fear of reality pounding down on their furrowed brain lobes.

Safety in numbers?

Proprietary sobriety?


We’re all dying from drugs of our own choosing.

Illusion of free will.

Our humanity pushes us toward the path of less suffering.

At times, temporary times, momentary times, any attempts to lessen the blow only amplifies the result.

Anger rises in the belly when looking at the train wreck.

Adorned in track suits, covering up track marks.

Rigid eyelids closed to right the dizzy.

Swaying back and forth like the metronome in piano class.

No notes to lead the stanza, just a repetitive echo of need, need, need.

A white woman talking to two black men, doing her best Rachel Dolezal.

No matter how hard it seems, it is imperative to love these folks the most.

They are in need, need, need.

They, like Andy Dufresne, want to live in a warm place with no memory.

Empathy replaced by disbelief at how it could go this far.

We take turns turning to face each other while we wait, and shake, shake, shake our heads.

How could they?

Then we reach for the escape in our pockets.

Suddenly, faces lit up in hypnotic blue, by screens selling dreams.

All knowledge at our fingertips, but curiosity is deadened by sound bites, and snap chats, and terabytes of teased bits stringing you along further down the rabbit hole.

False carrot.

Non thinker, kitchen sinker.

Dependency requires a tiny leap, once started, inertia completes complacency.

The truth residing in the back of my skull, in a place I cannot reach, much like the fact that I can’t kiss my elbow.

I’m that person.

I’m no different.

I need, need, need.

There but for the grace of an arbitrary void of nothingness go I.

I’m compelled to pick up my phone.

I’m lonely.

I need a hit.

Push the instrument into my hand and pull my fingers across the glass.

Let my sentience mix with the content of the glass, and open a window to my soul.

The first hit was unlike anything, ANYTHING

Haven’t been able to find it’s equal.

Why Fight?


False high.

Surfing the pitter-patter of nothing matter.


I’m a junkie, like my brothers.

Waiting in line outside the local pharmacy for the dispersal of suspended hopes.

I need, need, need.