Pamela Moore Dionne


For years you replenished dopamine to lush levels
in tropical synaptic zones, flooded riotous limbic rivers
with Jack Daniels.  The dendritic pathways of the flow
deltaed on a corpus callosum so awash in the sediment
of acetylcholine that a white hemispheric substance,
once cerebral, grew base, grew stupid and profane.

Behind every point bar lies a levee. Deeper in lie profane
swampy syndromes and manias dependent on chemical levels,
driven by genetic hierarchies that lead to substance
abuse.  Choose your poison; its availability measured in rivers,
if you know where to look.  Beware the muddy sediment.
Swim only within the bars where you find a clear flow.

Had we scanned the corpus callosum, evidenced a flow
of hypometabolic distress; your PET jealously profane…
We might have called you something different had we seen the sediment,
this disorder larger than simple drunk, had we recognized the levels
that propelled you, diving head first, into murky gator riddled rivers.
If we are guilty at all, it’s for this simple lack of substance.

But you…  You found substance where there was no substance.
You panned the gaps and eddies of the raphe nuclei’s flow
for golden serotonin nuggets.  You built dopamine damned rivers.
In our mouths, your name tasted like loss, tasted of the profane.
Your intellect failed.  You sunk to weighted levels;
just so much suspended erratic against the sediment

of our lives.  You became the boozy sediment
present at holiday gatherings; a stinking substance
tracked in on someone’s soul, no one daring to level
a complaint regarding the odorous flow.
You brokered the thing we denied.  You were profane
in your adoration of besotted rivers.

You were our Stanley hunting Livingston, finding the source of rivers
where you were caught in Victoria’s plunge pool sediment,
tangled in the meander of a floodplain so profane
you couldn't find your way out, couldn't find the substance
of the self that would track into safer flows.
Finally, there were only so many levels

below sea level you were willing to travel, only so many rivers’
muddy flows you would swim, abraded by coarse sediment.
Some dives profane the sport, yours gave it substance.

Copyright 1999, Pamela Moore Dionne

Pamela Dionne received a 1998 Centrum Poetry Residency and Artist Trust GAP Grant for her manuscript A BODY OF WORDS: THE POETRY OF GRAY'S ANATOMY.  Her  work appears in Raven Chronicles, Shenandoah and Synapse.   She is a 1999 participant in the Jack Straw Writers Program and Seattle Poetry Festival and performs at artsEdge with Joan Laage and Chuck Smart the weekend of  June 25th - 27th, 1999.

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