When I post my poems they are mostly still in a draft stage. I write them fairly quickly and throw them out into the blogosphere. I’m lazy like that, but it’s not good enough in the world of poetry, so I’ve decided to get off my backside and do more serious editing.

I posted this poem ‘Lolly Logic’ sometime back and I wasn’t happy with parts of it (didn’t even really think of it as a poem, more as a statement or opinion).

If you don’t know already I am a psychologist, but not working in that area anymore. I worked in the alcohol and other drug field for a decade and found it very depressing. So very little has been achieved and it’s gone backwards in others.

I don’t really want to get into a policy debate because they are complex issues, but there is inherent hypocrisy in our societies attitude to all drugs, including alcohol. That is what the poem is about.

Here is the revised poem, and I’m still not happy with it. If anyone has some ideas I’m all ears. Is there bits I should remove or bits you don’t understand? Are some of the medications wrong. Constructive criticism please.

And again for my friends overseas, lolly means candy in Australia.

Lolly Logic

a bit tired
coffee, tea
of course

paracetamol, codeine, morphine
good idea

amphetamine, methylphenidate
must say yes

giving birth
gas, pethidine, epidural
better say yes

zoloft, lexapro, prozac
yes, yes, yes

valium, librium, xanax
without a doubt

can’t sleep
temazepam, nitrazepam, midazolam
no worries

keep sleeping
methylphenidate, sodium oxybate
good idea

lithium carbonate, carbomazepine
you’d better say yes

haloperidol, chlorpromazine, risperidone
we’ll make you say yes

want to party
of course!

want to relax
cannabis, hash
just say no

too much pain
heroin, morphine, oxycodone
just say no

feeling too up
just say no

feeling too down
just say no

can’t sleep
benzos, barbs, ludes
just say no

too much sleep
crystal meth, crack
just say no

socially anxious
poppers, XTC, coke
just say no

feeling adventurous
mushrooms, acid, mescaline
just say no

want to party
all of the above
just say no!


drugs is drugs is drugs is drugs is drugs is
drugs is drugs is drugs is drugs is drugs is
used for a reason


Here is the link to the original Lolly Logic

23 thoughts on “Lolly Logic (revised)

  1. Doesn’t work ‘caue you’re obviously a… how do you spell wowser? Just kidding. Nice idea but can’t see how you could improve it except maybe have a look at ‘morphine’ and notice it is OK and not OK. As you are presenting the idea straight and not with irony, maybe the positioning is not consistant. Maybe it is OK for strong pain and not OK for just pain… ??
    Yes it does get to the nub of our drug dependencies, adult lollies. Such a lot of drugs we seem to just accept, even down to my morning cups of tea!

    1. Thanks Stafford. Adult lollies, kiddie lollies. The idea is that we in society accept drug use – from young kids to adults – and it is actively pushed by everyone (pharmacists, parents, big Pharma, doctors) and then we expect everyone to say no to abusing or using illicit drugs (why would they say no when we have been teaching them that drugs are essential to everyday life). I’ll get rid of morphine – need the street stuff, otherwise it doesn’t differentiate.

  2. The feeling too up/feeling too down pair injects a bit of extra poetic flair into the edit. I felt more confronted by the original poem with its question marks leading into each stanza. Noticed that the ‘want to party’ line repeats at the end with a contradiction, but I am not sure that is hurting the poem. It’s an interesting twist to ponder.

    1. I think you are right – I’ll put the question marks back in I think (they just look untidy – but that’s not a good excuse is it?). I’ve got too many prescription drugs in the 2nd part, so can’t differentiate easily enough (if standing alone) so I will resort to street lingo. Do you know what the current terminology is for hypnotics (eg., roofies). I’ll have to change morphine and oxycodone as well (need street terms, even though they use the prescription illicitly, I need to make the difference clearer). Thanks Brad, you’re a champion.

    2. Brad – what do you mean ‘Noticed that the ‘want to party’ line repeats at the end with a contradiction’. What’s the contradiction? Do you think I should change ‘all of the above’ and be more specific. Maybe it should end with ‘just shove em in prison’.

  3. Well. I am reading every stanza except the last one as the politically correct answer to each question. The last answer comes from my mouth as a response to the hypocrisy. i.e., make one illegal, make them all illegal (or not). Offering a position in that last stanza, I think, is tricky either way – but I would say that a concluding reference to all forms of motivation for taking drugs would do the trick, and maybe set the last stanza apart to indicate the change of voice. How about – Want relief? All of the above. Just say no! – I can live with that recommendation. Wanting relief and needing relief are different kettles of fish. Hope that wasn’t all too presumtious of me. Thanks, Gabrielle.

    1. Not presumptuous at all Brad. Originally that was not my intention – to set the last stanza apart – I was just going through the main drug categories and the last one is always polydrug use. ‘Just say no’ campaigns are aimed primarily at illegal drugs, an artificial distinction in the world of drug related harms (tobacco and alcohol cause the most harm, pharmaceuticals a great deal of harm). I’m not pro legalisation in particular, though decriminalisation and legalisation of some drugs makes sense. I don’t know the answer but we need the debate and a recognition of the hypocrisy. We need to rethink attitudes to drug use and children and BigPharma need a kick up the backside.

  4. I read the last stanza as a contradiction too but an intended one. The whole point really, is that we can’t say no because we’re not put in a position where it’s easy to say no. I think it works because your premise is that drugs are so easy to get and your final point supports that. Does that make sense?

    This is a very powerful poem with an important message. I hope it gets some attention.

    1. Thanks Selma. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The only campaigns that have worked are the ones aimed at smoking (and they aren’t ‘just say no’ campaigns – they are structural changes like increased taxation and smoke free areas which change attitudes.

  5. very cool look at process as well as the quality of the poem itself, which is challenging in so many words and in such a way. how all these things have their medical branding and streetlife, and how a point is made. and how one can then see it. it really is outrageous. and its interesting the yes and no counterpoints.
    when people go into psychology with the best intention and then find it is a 24/7 triage situation and to streamline it and bring home your paycheck means
    sometimes less than perfect ‘behavior management’, the really good ones leave.

    1. thanks tipota, prevention is everything because for the most instances once you reach a certain level of addiction it’s very difficult to go back. There is no glamour in being a junky that’s for sure but often it is presented that way on tv and movies.

  6. street drugs, party drugs, legal drugs, they’re all drugs. I’d like to see the media stick to just legal drugs and illegal drugs. Party drugs turn parties ugly, street drugs lead to streets of shame. Just a few of my thoughts on the issue.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. The use of street terminology contributes to the glamorisation of drugs – as drug users know (that’s why they come up with the names). I just wish doctors would stop prescribing drugs to kids (and adults), often without the accompanying assessment and follow-up.

  7. hi gabrielle,

    i am not quite familiar with pharmaceutical terms, however, i will comment on the poetic substance of this poem. i think, this poem is one of its kind, dealing with this topic. and it should get merit. i admire your ability to do a poem on this. scarcely am i reading a poem as informative such like this. and the repetition of some lines are quite addictive and hypnotic. aptly titled lolly logic.

    great diversity in your writing!

    1. I don’t think you need to know what each drug is – you can get the gist of it with the sound. Thanks for the great comment hames1977. I like to vary my style of poems. This one needs to be done verbally I think – might do a audio of it.

  8. I love this line from “My friends”-Red Hot Chili Peppers ,
    “they want to give her seven years for being sad”.

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