scarecrow poetics/essays

Monday, January 16, 2006



we were meant to move out of the hellhole we were living in
but I blew the 4 o’clock appointment to get
the keys, due to a gas leak that closed off the street
where my dispensing pharmacy resided
and the soulless bloodsucking ghouls who ran
the clinic gave me this ultimatum:
Get your arse to the clinic or you’re out of the program –

the trains were fucked up and at the clinic
it seemed as if there were an army of shivering dope-fiends
in front of me waiting to get dosed
and in the waiting room 3:30 rolled around
I tried to call the landlord to explain
but found myself suddenly grabbed and manhandled
shoved into the street by a slack jawed gorilla in a cheap
security guard uniform screaming

so at 6 o’clock she walked in
3 months pregnant to find me sat in bed
in bitter frustration, with
no keys until Monday morning now:
just the roaches and the mice writhing half dead on
glue traps and a blob of cocaine melting
down a strip of tinfoil –
another weekend of no heat, no
sleep, no dignity and I told her
that’s it I quit. I’m out of the
program I’m coming off.

she’d heard it a dozen times at least
after New York, after every airless meeting
with doctors and shrinks

but somehow
I don’t know why
I actually meant it
that time.

Tony O'Neill © 2006.

In a previous life Tony O’Neill played keyboards for bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. After moving to Los Angeles his promising career was derailed by heroin addiction, quickie marriages and crack abuse. While kicking methadone he started writing about his experiences on the periphery of the Hollywood Dream and he has been writing ever since. His autobiographical novel DIGGING THE VEIN will be published in Feb 2006 by Contemporary Press, in the US and Canada. Wrecking Ball Press plan to release a UK edition Summer 2006. He lives in New York where he works a variety of odd jobs and writes.

More details can be found at


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