Writers Are My Nepenthe
—with apologies to Ted Joans
Writers are my nepenthe. They alone saved my soul more akin to
peyote than some mundane substance. The best kind of therapy.
Workshops and journals get holy sometimes. My jones gets going.
They are sanctified stages. But other places are like certain com-
mercial hospitals (where bloods are sold). I don’t dig their evange-
lists. I be on the side of the free but don’t come cheap. Ain’t into no
slave labor. Writing is still my nepenthe. Makes me feel better
’cause I hear the messengers. From: the right reverend amiri/seer
sonia/sister sandra maria/the wizard wonder/uncle etheridge/cler-
ic rakim/minister morrison/saviour sekou/baba john/deacon diva
lisa/empress erykah/rector victor cruz/zoastrian zora hurston/trix-
ter darius/freemason mosley/fundamentalist yusef/priestess pat
landrum/heirophant hattie gossett/holy roller nona hendrix/ecu-
menical ethelbert/monkess jayne cortez/guru babs
gonzalez/preacher quincy/his funkness formerly known as/deacon
steve cannon/ and sunday teacher ted joans/they let me lay my
burden low. they are the runaway from which I go! yeah, so, writers
are my nepenthe. Writers are….
by Tracie Morris
Soft Skull Press, 1998