An American Tragedy

In his mind the purple walrus
__mutated to a bat,
its unstable form evolving
__till it became a cat.
“Old cat,” said he, “you frown at me,
__it seems you are annoyed.”
“I am your mind,” the cat replied,
__“it’s I, you have destroyed.”

“This is not right, you cannot speak,”
__the man revealed a scowl.
“Like it or not, I am your mind,”
__the cat began to growl.
“Magnificent as I once was,
__my task is now complete.
I suffered much from your abuse
__now fate you cannot cheat.”

“I fail to understand,” said he,
__“the riddles which you speak.
So many worlds are known to me,
__it’s others who are weak.
The drugs have opened every door
__that there could ever be.”
“Behind those doors,” the cat rejoined,
__“there’s no reality.”

“Where are you cat?  My vision fails,
__my sight goes dark as coal.”
“Your end is near,” replied the cat
__“It’s time to pay the toll.
You have destroyed your greatest gift,
__your musings now are past.”
The man’s mouth opened nigh an inch,
__before he breathed his last.



Phil S. Rogers is a sixth generation Vermonter, age 72, now retired, and living in Texas. He served in the United States Air Force and had a career in real estate and banking.  He previously published Everlasting Glory, a historical work that tells the story of each of the men from Vermont that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War.

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12 Responses

    • Phil S. Rogers

      Thank you Dan;

      The drug use in American society truly is a national tragedy. I realize that it could never be completely eliminated, but there is no real effort to come down hard on people dealing in drugs like Fentanyl.

  1. Sally Cook

    I truly enjoyed this poem and its images. You have such a talent for fantasy — I would like to see you take on “The Further Adventures Of Alice” or some such. I believe you could pull it off.

  2. Margaret Coats

    An entrancing fable, sadly too true. And what a great idea to begin the poem with hallucinatory evolution!

  3. Yael

    Great way to describe the drug epidemic! It’s a fun read that describes a very somber and stark reality in a whimsical and non-preachy way. Good job!

  4. Paul Freeman

    Over-prescription of opioids for profit has had a terrible toll, as evinced by the title.

    A thought-provoking piece, indeed, Phil.

    Thanks for the read. Lewis Carroll would have loved this.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I am of the mind that humor and quirk are great tools in poetry to get a serious point across. This well wrought poem uses both as it gets its grave message across on a subject we should all be extremely concerned about. Thank you, Sir.

  6. David Whippman

    Susan’s right, you can make a telling and serious point with humour. You’ve achieved that here.


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