Plan For a Poem, #5 (Part III)


By now you know
I planned to write a poem
about all the drugs i have taken.

My Controlled Substances Act.

I. And I had been done
for a time, at least, with most substances.
A clean three months,
Lenten Self-Help 101.
Reborn at my Birthday
and looking forward from then to
nothing more stimulating than perhaps
a little Viagra
(My wife had a subscription)
A glass of wine, and then, later —
much, much later —
different sorts of drugs:
Truly scary drugs,
prescribed by bad people,
no longer recreational.
not taken for fun, but  against death.

(and therefore out of the scope of this analysis).

And that’s
where I was
when someone
offered me

II. The poem would now try and quantify what a pothead is.

But, like all pot-headed poetry,
it would sound much better in idea than in exposition.
or be subject to some kind of labor
that is easier to imagine than do.

(Or perhaps we’re all just lazy as fuck.)  

Anyway, a pothead is someone who seems to meander about
slightly befuddled, curious, flexible,
and porous enough, therefore, for large ideas to pass through,
sometimes noticed, sometimes not,
like neutrinos passing through our bodies
or a planet flying through time
or a baby, being born.

or a colorblind vegetarian equal parts choice and fate,
or a punctual person, stuck two minutes in the past,
or a justice system based on need rather than blame,
or a poet reciting, chewing gum.

A pothead is one who smokes alot of pot.

And pot is amazing:
fun, weird, not scary . . .

(Oh, and! . . .
A way better bargain economically!
If the unit is “degrees from normal” and the competition is alcohol at $7 a pint,
pot is cheap by comparison.)

“By comparison?”
“Yea, by comparison: right next to adjacent,
on top of Superior —
along with contingent,”

See, that’s what we’re talking about.
Pot is like steroids for your perspective,
and so you make better decisions,
and you can also get really sweaty —
It’s fine as long as you’re honest about it.

…At which point, the poet admits he’s become a pothead.

(or, as they call it on the islands, “a Herbsman”)

III. A Pothead!

Such an undignified thing!
A lattice of scorn, thrown at the stoners;
laughter at their relaxation,
disgust at their optimism.
Their coolness of temper? So fucking lame.
Glazed imperfection, masquerading as virtue.

And yet, it out-lasted,and grew,
as some kind of plant.  

The poet would explain how the habit formed slowly
Like learning to ride a bike.
At some point in fertile fasting,
he found himself smoking this fabulous stuff!
He’d smoked it before, of course: a couple dozen times, sure.
But now, he was driven to be high all the time.
Because it makes decisions easier to make
And parenting more rewarding and easy and fun
And enduring the pain that life gives, possible
and food tasting good.
Really good.
really really.

I’m eating deliberately but slowly
and without pause.
I am slowly but efficiently eating as many of these nachos as my deeply stoned state will allow
and because the target is good —nachos — the efficiency is at a premium.


The poet would then make a sketch
of cultists, who always had pot, being around at that time
hawking frequent opt-in smoking
But soon, he realized how irresponsible this was,
and started buying his own. 

And once he’d embraced it,
it embraced him back.

And he realized with joy, what should have been obvious:
that they call it High for a reason.
He was always high, now
floating around, dangerously optimistic
Thinking things on the top of his brain
Getting more good at being less unhappy
listening to things just for how they sound
lost in a dream of fog slowly lifting
opened eyes wide and slightly smiling.
and able to tune vibrations to a wider range of frequencies
than with Alcohol, the other life drug.

He knew that being high was different than being drunk.
(Not that it’s a difficult thing to know.)
Alcohol drove a biological truck
While Pot just stood and watched.
And if alcohol was, let’s face it, a better dancer,
Pot could get more things done.
Things like learning to dance,
and shingling sheds,
And detecting falsehoods,
without leaving you fucking wrecked.

(Is it too much to hint that Pot just may restore pagan sensibilities
to this horridly post-modern world?)

No wonder they made this illegal.
It’s a better product.

IV. The poet might then wonder,
if the abundance of pot, all around, all of a sudden
indicated the world around him changing?
or himself drifting into a new world?

Drifting is much better, mind you
So that’s what he’d choose.

Pot filtered his world by making it great.
like looking at things through a prism.
It let him see wider, act looser, get higher,
and save lives at the same time,
through the manufacture of good feelings –
Even though ye contemplate the horrors of time.

And so, as life upped the pain, and frowned in the living room
Pot helped him slip right out the back door.

V. The poem, now finishing,
would strive for some pop.
Evangelical flourish — go out with a bang!
And realizing, envisioning
a way to bebop
with the words, now the poem, would start to refrain

A final Pandora,
her box smashed to bits.
The pothead adores ya!
He laughs and he sits

His thoughts now fall to naught but time moves on
distracted by all the things now worth the look
A vain old memoir that ends here in song
forced from non-being in part by crook and hook
I have worn feelings felt straight from this human heart
But no such address now exists for one true love
And drugs, a balm for that which tears apart,
and yet allow us spit at the fool gods above
And grace of this we seek, now turned to habit
While feelings are still fresh and words inspired
I recollect the truth, and herewith stab it
Staying up at night, all high and tired

I sit, and think of all the drugs I’ve done
And write down words,


… Anyways, that’s my plan.

Author: James, the Lobster Man

James is a ne'er-do-well, a dandy, and a flaneur. His work has been published in The Atlantic, Harper's, the Times-Picayune, Vogue, and the Stranger. He lives in Brooklyn with his fine, fine daughter.