This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Purdey Lord Kreiden.


First I was intoxicated with rubbing my pussy 
   Lightly against the chair upon which I was sitting, 
       Rocking back and forth for ages then with running 
           Around my grandparents’ pillars to get dizzy 
              Then with sitting on my legs for a long time 
            To get my limbs all numb with les fourmis after 
          That I got hooked on baby bottle filled with coca 
         Cola then milk then on drinking anything out of a baby 
          Bottle and on getting fed by my grandmother without 
           Having to hold the fork myself to my mouth 
            Then I discovered masturbation that occupied me 
             For a while then I was hooked on the feeling that 
                   Ran through me when I rubbed my leg against 
                     Maxime Givetogod’s legs in grammar school 
                       Then I got hooked on what the other kids could think 
                     Of me the whole time the masturbation thing 
                   Was a big thing and never sobering, I remember 
                     Doing it when my mom came to sit on my bed 
                      Before bedtime, at lunchtime after school and 
                       Before going back, through jeans that I wore out 
                        Until there was a washed out pearl-colored angel 
                         Ring at the crotch of all my jeans then it was herbal 
                          Cigarettes oh I forgot in between that I was hooked 
                         On reading my writings to the class, they were 
                        Fairytales which I generously sprinkled with the names 
                    Of the kids I wanted to be liked by, and I would write 
                    One each day at lunch break, and one each night 
                      So I could read it the next morning to the class,
                        That was a big thrill after the herbal cigarettes 
                 I was drunk on letting a small piece of my underwear  
                 Appear so that the boys in my school would look
                    At my butt and try to touch it as I passed 
                     At the same time it drunkens me to sit on those boys’ 
                   Knees and when they patted my ass with clumzy paws 
                 And to tongue the air at them in arts and craft classes; 
               Then I didn’t sober and I went straight to smoking Chesterfields 
                Red and then I was drunk on drinks, I drank vodka for the first
                 Time and went to music classes drunk after lunch and my conception  
                 Of the universe changed into a calm bowl of pale porridge; 
               Suddenly life was a melopy I could panflute anywhere if 
               Only I had a vodka-caramel bottle in my bag, which I always 
             Did, hidden in a plastic water bottle then I was on more and more 
           Vodka, I drank it in the bus to Marseille in the morning then I did an 
         Ethylic coma after that I got drunk on ectasy pills the first one
       I ever had my god the sun rose after ten or twelve hours
          Of dancing and I’ve never felt so happy in my entire life 
            And Modeselektor was playing sounds in between ectasy pills 
             I thought about them so hard I finally got hooked on an energy drink 
           Called Dark Dog, which is now forbidden, and which tasted 
           Like a very friendly sour cherry. At the same time I was drunk by 
             White nights and taking pictures in the early mornings 
                When the streets were asleep and then I was on Paradise 
               Which is a mix of mdma and mescaline and when Louie 
               Gave it to me for the first time he laced it with grenadine
                  And we walked on the port to go to the movies and the sea
                    And the people and the sun all looked like they were
                   In 3D, and I was on being in love with my gay best friend,
               Which was a big thrill then I was hooked on so much coffee 
            My heart almost exploded then I drank wine and beer and I got drugged 
                By merely dancing until clubs closed in the morning 
                And my eyes remained closed too as I walked out of them 
              In Paris (by that time I had started to be addicted to living alone 
              For the first time and eating only pasta with nothing in it
            And drinking and drinking and my days were bright) Soon
          I got also hooked on eating raw meat and steak tartares 
       And going to the restaurant each nights then I was addicted 
        To dancing and being seen as I did and pretending 
      To ignore I was and at the same time I was hooked 
     On a german composer guy called Dominik and I would drink half 
    A bottle of tequila in the lobby of his building before gravitating 
     To the seventh floor which sheltered his house and the whole time 
   I was intoxicated by fucking all the time and then I was  
     On mdma and then I was on Biche and we were hooked
   On speed and mdma and beer and amazement and whiskey 
   And trains and cities we barely looked at every night 
  We would drink a bottle a whole bottle of whiskey and erase our 
     Memories then I was making collages and then I was high 
     On being very sick and almost dying that took three 
   Weeks to happen at the exact same time of the year three 
Years ago and I died for Easter day and resurrected just 
  Like him for a week at the hospital I was high on morphine 
 And the nurses all laughed at me because they thought I was addicted
To ketamine, then I was home high on sodomy because I’d been advised 
     By the medicinal corps not to have any sort of sexual intercourse 
      And I was then on whiskey and on Biche again and then 
        I was given Lamaline suppositories for the pain 
      In my belly so I started being addicted to that and then
        Once I couldn’t get them without prescription so the pharmacist
          Gave me three boxes of codeinated paracetamol pills
            Instead and I took them with disbelief and I’ve been amorously  
           Taking them twice a day ever since; that was three years ago 
             And now I still can’t write sober and it sucks I think but I don’t 
              Know if it does because writing all this to you amazes me and I 
           Think it’s a miracle a miracle my fantasy is we are silent 

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).