Caught Smack in the Middle Blues

I once loved a man hooked on heroin, but our romance didn’t last;
I once loved a man hooked on heroin, but our romance couldn’t last;
there was no room for me in his arms, when his ‘Jones’ held him fast;

leaving me caught smack in the middle
between him and his happiness.

The first hit of smack makes you sick, but only after it makes you high;
the first hit of smack makes you sick, but it makes you very high;
the rush of light through your veins is the hook, and you, are its eye,

and I was caught smack in the middle,
between very bad and second-best.

But he would always deny it, no, no;
that was over, and done with, and past,
but I knew that he lied, and he knew
that I knew, no promise of his had a chance,

for his ‘Jones’ was an evil creature, with its claws stuck deep in his back;
for his ‘Jones’ was an evil creature, its claws were dug deep in his back;
no matter how hard he tried to dislodge it, it clung like a starving cat.

But still he kept on pretending, no, no;
there was nothing riding him; not like that.

Every day he announced he was quitting, but it was only a brief reprieve;
every day he announced he was quitting, but it was the shortest of reprieves,
and by now he couldn’t fool me, I knew better than to believe.

But still he kept shaking his head; not so,
though he was the only one he deceived,

while his ‘Jones’ was riding him through hell,
and too far out on the other side;
“It gives me something to live for,” he said
—and something in me, died.

Again and again, he claimed that smack was doing him no harm;
again and again, he pretended, that smack would never do him harm;
while all that he might have been was poured into his arm,

leaving me caught smack in the middle
between him and his deathly dreams.

He’d flag blood in and out of the needle, stuck in a vein in the back of his hand;
he’d flag blood in and out of the needle that he’d stuck in the back of his hand,
and I had to watch, though I cringed inside, and I came to understand:

It’s called smack because it hits you
with the force of a god’s command.

His ‘Jones’ rode him day and night;
his ‘Jones’ rode him astride;
his ‘Jones’ rode him sidesaddle,
and backwards besides.

I loved a man who was a junkie, but only for a while;
I loved a man who was a junkie, but for a very little while;
I couldn’t bear to look into his eyes, and see Death smile.

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