POET: Caroline Harvey
PIECE: Spoons
Deviance and Social Control
A glimpse into a tragic moment, as recalled by a recovering drug addict.

Key Lines/Phrases

Key Line/Phrase

“I would slip into sobriety, try to eat, but the spoon’s burnt black from batches of heroin, bent like question marks, asking me… ‘what can you stomach today?’”

Spoons is an extremely useful poem in the discussion of deviance, especially in that the author occupies the status of a former drug addict. She provides a daunting glimpse into the relationships, daily activities, and decision making. In addition to its rich symbolism, Caroline Harvey’s piece asks the listener to rethink interaction from an perspective most people will experience.

Full Transcript of Poem

When they found your body… we  s c a t t e r e d. I left New York with forty seven bucks in my boot. The same boots I wear when I am forced to fight. The same bad **** boots I’ll be wearing when they bury me, cause all ****es go into heaven but we gotta bust down doors to get inside.

The day I found out you were dead I tattooed the word ‘move’ on my wrist. I wanted to get ‘stay’… but I figured since you were already gone, it wouldn’t do me much good so I got ‘move’.

You see, we were addicts, with needles locked and loaded. Arms like bullets jammed in the barrel and backfiring, backfiring, backfiring.

BANG! I would slip into sobriety, try to eat, but the spoon’s burnt black from batches of heroin, bent like question marks, asking me… “what can you stomach today?”

September 21st, 1994
Your beautiful, boy body had become a brown haired pile of bones and teeth. The men who murdered you were users I used to… use with. Men I kissed and called friend. But I learned early, that when you’re hungry for a drug, friend is just some **** you say so someone will feed you. They were blind and wreckless for another taste so they killed you for a fix… dumped you somewhere ugly… figured nobody would find out, but your body remained like a careless fingerprint left as the quiet indictment of our broken lives that maybe I should have tattooed ‘stay’ cause I stayed quiet for years.

The same kind of quiet you find when there’s a secret held between two bodies, pressed together like spoons, bent like question marks, asking… “is this alright?”

How long does it take for a body to decompose?

The day they printed your obituary, I changed my name and never said yours outloud again. You are the secret I have worn instead of skin. You are the reason I still need my boots cause I’ve kicked habits bad enough to kill most people, but I can’t kick this memory and until then I figure it’s not gonna do me much good to stay… so I just move.


Follow-up Resources/Discussions

Discussion/Follow-up Questions

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Artist Comments

This space is reserved for any comments the author of the piece may have about the points he was trying to get across and the background of why he wrote the poem.