The Curse Of An Addict

The Curse Of An Addict

Indulge me in a reprieve from disbelieving thoughts, if you would be so kind, so that I may share one of my favourite things: a slam poem, excellently spoken by its author—the charismatic and intense Shane Hawley.

I admit to being disappointed in the unenthusiastic response to my previous efforts at highlighting its existence; tweets remain un-retweeted, emails remain un-replied. And for the life of me I don’t understand why, because I think it’s brilliant. Despite the subject’s animated nature, it’s profound; because of it, it’s clever and funny. What’s not to like?

Like an addict, I will persist and pursue, in the hope that this time a blog will succeed where social media has failed. But like a joke explained, I fear that I’ve sucked out all the magic, and foiled myself. I’m comforted, at least, by the knowledge that Shane is a National Poetry Slam champion. My appreciation can’t be that misguided. So please, watch, and enjoy. I include a transcript below, because I think it’s a beautiful thing.

Wile E Coyote – Shane Hawley

It will work this time.
It has to.
I spent the better part of 19 hours
crafting this mural on bedrock
and three full days before that
laying pavement
redirecting the winding desert road
so that it would end abruptly
at the foot of my masterpiece:
a rock wall
painted to look like a tunnel.
An optical illusion.
A way out.
But there is no way out of here.

My name is Wile E Coyote
and I am so fucking hungry!
Inexplicably stuck
in this lifeless desert.
My only companion
a mindless blue bird
whom I am forever doomed to chase
to whom all laws of the universe bend, then break.
This is my existence
compulsively ordering
one ridiculous contraption after another
even though
I am on to the people at ACME.
I know
you are fucking with me!

I am hours of flight suits
or a working magnet
or a lit wick short of supper.
And I deserve it
I left my imprint
all over this desert.
I’ve been pancaked, incinerated
run over, diced
and buried.
I’ve accepted my failure
with only simple signs
pulled from invisible back pockets
begging for your empathy
as if it will cushion what comes next

And whoever fancies himself my maker
was cruel enough to imbue upon me
the knowledge of how things are supposed to be.
fire upon ignition.
roll when the pull is great enough against them.
The trajectory of catapults is not arbitrary.

Can you imagine how it feels?
Your best-laid plans
crumbling around you
Peering into the mouth of fate only to have it
blow up in your face!

It’s enough to make you wonder.
If it’s better to be a perfect physical specimen than it is to be bright.
If all the time you spent lost in thought has been a waste.
When all along it’s been easier
to just
I am a super-genius,
and I can’t capture a flightless bird
who grins as I drool for his flesh.
I keep at it
as if the next bow will fire the arrow
instead of me.
As if the poisoned birdseed
will somehow end up in his mouth
instead of mine.

It is the curse of an addict to chase the thing that destroys you.

But until you’ve done it…
Until you’ve launched yourself
off a thousand foot cliff
for that thing that you love,
you will never
understand the gravity
of my plight.
This is it,
the culmination of my mania,
this fake, fucking tunnel
is the best I can do.
And when the dust settles
I will stand firmly on red sand,
his broken blue neck
clenched beneath my teeth.
This time,
it will work.
It has to.


23 responses »

  1. Pingback: Shane Hawley’s Wile E Coyote! | I Want Ice Water

  2. “I keep at it as if the next bow will fire the arrow instead of me” made me laugh out loud. And so many other parts too! Completely brilliant. Great fun to watch/read – glad you kept at it & posted it! 🙂

  3. Poetry Slam PWNS! XD When I was in Speech and Debate in high school, Taylor Mali was my idol! XD If you can call him that. His poetry just hit me where I needed it every time! ^_^ Shane is wonderful too! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Yeah, poetry slams are sometimes looked down upon, Silly. It’s performance art, and the poetry is no less inferior. And it’s fun.. But what do I know, hey?

      I’ve not come across Taylor Mali. I’ll have to go check him out. Thanks.

  4. Jaco, it’s that Aussie Apostate Atheist again (who adores the alliteration others abhore). Just wanted to make another remark about how remarkable your blog is. Mine ( does not contain incredible videos like yours. Both you and I discovered Taylor Mali’s brilliant piece on Proof-Reading thanks to a reader’s comment. Thanks for letting the rest of us enjoy the fun.

    Frank O’Phile

  5. Jaco, I am impressed by your politeness and the fact that you take the time to read responses and react to them. I will not waste any more of your time, but do hope that you will honor my blog ( with a comment or three. Happy Hallowe’en, wherever you are.

    Frank in France

  6. A poem has two qualities that makes it outstanding in a way that plain prose cannot do. One, it grips the reader and make him or her want to read and re-read the lines because they have a resonance and secondly it is allegorical with a meaning so subtle that their message is both evident and subliminal. This poem by Shane Hawley easily fits into both these brackets.

    Well done for making it widely available.

    • Sure, glad you liked it.

      I like your two qualities test of quality. I expect that Remnant, my poor attempt at poetry on this blog does not hold water. I love my opening line though. I think that worked.

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