Morphine Cover






And Her Name Was Morphine

by Ricki Shiers Jr.

— as read by Steve Garland

illustration by Audri Jaxon






Steve’s introduction:


[ed.’s Note: These poems are published unedited, as Ricki had them in his manuscript when he left us.  However, the order of the poems is rearranged, here, not alphabetized as in the original, but with the strongest poem first, and a cohesive meta-narrative apparent in the sequencing of the second half.]




And Her Name Was Morphine


In Certain Sunlight


In Certain Sunlight (revised) (‘13 edition)

when the lights dim, we can all seem attractive
but when bulbs of sun bring brightness, our skin is deformed
the high-definition mirror of ourselves amplifies every individual pixel
bringing the beauty to a state of terrifyingly ugly
in certain sunlight, this is where models are born and some die off
this is where we feel the differences of confidence and shame
the only goal now is to turn the brightest lights off



Long-Hand Writing for Short Term Memory


Long-Hand Writing for Short Term Memory

neurons and synapses and um…
I forgot again, did my birthday pass again?
my brain’s probably fine still,
but I just forget anything
not set in moments or a polaroid
not the meds, nope
just a dumb self with a short shelf-life
bland, bland
what happened before I fell asleep?
sixteen hours finally gone
eighteen years, 18,000 moments and polaroids


For Virginia


For Virginia

Oh, Virginia
I’ve been searching for your bones lately
I know they’re here in the river somewhere
next to the stones in your fading dress
if I can find them soon I will hold them
and try to conjure an image of you while writing my eulogy
I’ll look, somewhere deep in the seamless water
I will empty out the mud from your heavy armor
and mix it with the medicine that drove you to drown yourself
I’ll see you soon, Virginia
I’ll be with you soon, Virginia
You’re always here, Virginia


Lust and Lists and Lies


Lust And Lists and Lies

lists upon lists of listlessness
tired and no pressed lips to lick
luck leaves and life loses
lie, lye, let you lust love run over one
leper have you let your heart went
leave life
love loss, and leave less please
lore and basilisks
blasts of blue and bleakness


Note on the Pavement


Note on the Pavement

walking home I found a piece of paper so crippled
that her ink was partially invisible. out of curiosity and reluctancy
to arrive home to my uncaring habitat, I picked up and search it for evidence of anything

I was automatically enamored by whoever drew the portraits
that person, I imagine, wears their thrift store shoes with laces like unbound snakes
and a jacket so dirty that it is a gradient of brown and blue
this child, however, is the kind to spend their entire day scribbling on pieces of paper,
losing their self in between the lines to put a brickwall between their self and the parental neglect
that they believe anyone and everyone receives.

The picture this person wrote is so distorted and uniform that it
is symbolic and practically the embodiment of childhood itself
the crooked heart in the center of the square-triangle house has a small crack
that seems so large I could write this poem in it more than once.
the attic is empty except what appears to be a string, probably swaying back and forth
like the young artist’s shoelaces when they are running outside to play on the cement
by the parking lots

I’m happy to know that the artist left their name off so I never know them and never have to
meet them, and I can now live with my own thoughts of who they may be. I can live with the
ideas and galleries they framed in my mind, and I never have to ask them, what I thought
the whole time: “hi, how are you”.


Home Next to Home


Home Next to Home

fog rolls
in a town that’s not mine
a place more soothing however

so I’d rather call that home
an abundance of Bookstores
keep coming back
one dollar for the bus, easy
satisfaction is worth it

I hope the letter is never
returned to sender;
I have to leave


My Exit Song


My Exit Song

there’s no reason to be afraid to die
because when the end comes,
we’re all carving our eulogies
into burning trees, until the ashes hit the sky
but eulogies are just words,
and humans are just skin,
but we all chase our dreams until
we lose our breath, towards the end
but for whatever reason we have
the fear of death, wrote upon our senses
but we’re all just like silly flies
so in end there’s no reason to be afraid to die
my only true fear is that my words will
translate into dirt
if so, I’ll build them until they have a worth
and if we each pick apart a piece of the puzzle
and place them back, then we’ll perchance have an idea
of how our lives will play out,
reducing the fear of death


I Found Her in a Winter Dress


I Found Her in a Winter Dress

she slept through it,
december, january…
and she owed this betrayal with makeup
and hibernating, her eyes remain closed
and she is more silent, now


Reaching Out


Reaching Out
summertime was dying off quickly and she loved watching him squirm
she was his heroine, saviour of sorts
they fit together like needle and spoon and unlocked each others barred hearts
it was all in vain, he just used her for his own happiness
but you can’t feel lonely when the sheets are occupied
and the warmth of not caring is lavishing you
in recent times, however, his condition is sickening and weak and his arms collapsed
she’s still there and the dark times are gone but he can’t lift his arms any longer
with his head laid on feathers she feeds him from her plastic chalice
and lays a line of kisses starting from his head, to scarred body
(too many battle scars and war wounds have invaded him)
but he doesn’t move,
no more eating either,
the door is always locked and the wallpaper is peeling
and his books are spread around their bed that he can’t leave
but she keeps pushing herself onto him, hoping she can help him up again


10 A.M. and My Ribs Hurt


10 A.M. and My Ribs Hurt
my ribs hurt again today and the air seems stagnant
but that’s fine, I can breathe vicariously through anyone
I’m like that leach on your skin, just try pulling me off
you taste fine and I need to fatten my ribcage
and hearts are caged in that ribcage,
only being able to reach through those bars
but not completely escaping and holding anyone
but his arms are starting to grow, and maybe,
just maybe, his fists are enough to break out
or maybe his fists are enough to break out
or maybe she has a key and it might fit
a lot of women have used keys but not one
has ever fit the square, lacquered lock properly
and it did,
all the tumblers finally clicked, and the heart,
as dark as he is, is finally breathing
and feeling something towards someone,
and after so long, he is very voracious



Art of Belittling

Art of Belittling

it’s difficult to stay little
with all these hearts stomping around
looking and hoping
for someone to really follow
a silly fellow, misunderstood
can’t find a stagnant thing to enjoy
doesn’t want such complication
is unsure about…
this and that consequence
that and this pretense






1. someone once whispered to me

that two is better than one

so I looked into the idea of polygamy

and that hit hard, suddenly:

3 (or more) pillowed beds

3 (or more) weddings rings

3 (or more) times the happiness


2. I pray that my girlfriend’s girlfriend

and my girlfriend

and myself

can all enjoy each other’s company

and kiss and frolic

in the shape of a triangle

with nothing but smiles

and equal angles at each point


3. if we don’t pay attention

then we won’t have to acknowledge

the world’s blistering shuns

we don’t need anyone to

capsize our everlasting love

so we’ll hold hands on the beach

and you can avert your attention somewhere else

because I love these girls to the bitter death


730 Days Ago


730 Days Ago

for 5+ years the sun shown itself on my street

it was days in summer when visiting friends

and passing the ice cream salesman on their bikes

park meetups reassure childhood mixing in the adulthood

and the cement walking makes me feel Bukowkskian




it’s phenomenal really, being warm as the stars

yet still satisfied with how the summers are


The Beast Around Here

The Beast Around Here

I chased the dragon

I chased that beast home and back and eventually beat it

I chased the cynical thing up the curvature and jut

of its cheekbones that I hopped off

to parachute back down to happy

the only traces are bread crumbs that I’m sweeping now,

and the marks that my cold shoulder left

I stomp my feet when the beast comes back

apologizing and all the usual sorrows it feels

I put my arms in a sling and it leaves again

once, not again though,

I scaled the dragon’s scales

and felt it’s glistening ivory teeth

it snarled, hissed, and embraced me

I couldn’t push it

or leave

it would stay posted with it’s eyes open

for weeks on weeks

it hunkered down into dirt after, however

and escaped safely

tiptoeing, and stomping once the chase began



Coming Soon: the second half of “And Her Name Was Morphine”

Multi-Media poetry, as read by Steve Garland

September 17th, 2016- November 6th, 2016



more Multi-Media Content




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