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'Same As It Ever Was'

Nov 16, 2014 - 2 comments


There is no moon

I fight my way up out of sleep.
It is 3:33 am.
My body is ringing with buzzing, discordant energies
In a daze, I'm led by my nameless Svengali
I swing my feet off the bed & feel loose earth beneath my bare feet
I glance down
The ground in my room is covered in brittle dead leaves
They whisper, they sigh, they mutter
Their language is unintelligible -- just beneath the radar of my ken

The door to the hallway swings open
The inky void awaits
My heart bangs uncertainly against my ribs
It's in my mouth & head
I step over the threshold

& then..
My senses adjust
There is a faint green fluorescence
It glows, It grows
Intimidatingly & Impossibly fecund

They are singing their ancient siren song
Hundreds of tiny Pitcher plants & Orchids
Row upon row in battle formation
Like crosses @ the cemetery in Arlington, VA

I step gingerly
Unnaturally green, young tendrils gleefully shoot with impossible velocity
Encircling my ankles, spiraling up my calves & thighs
I struggle against them
Against their insistent call & response song to my body
My efforts & forward motion are slow
Finally these Lilliputian strands recoil
With a metallic whiplash zinging
They leave tiny, angry welts on my tender skin

I reach for the knob to the front door
But the door is missing
There are no boundaries -- no barriers
I step into the night, naked

As I do, the sky illuminates the porch
A tremendous flash of lightening & deafening clap of thunder
The rain is torrential
Water is streaming down the sidewalk, racing over my feet
In the gutters garbage is driven to the sea to join other garbage

Water is sheeting through my hair, pelting my body
Water is washing, washing
An Enigma Code
Drumming against my face
High-hatting my deaf ears, blinding my eyes
It's telling me True things
It percolates through my gravel, funneling down the strata
To the Still Ocean
I squint against it & look down in awe
I'm walking on it. What force is at work here?

I do not know this street
Red Neon flop-house signs blink down & reflect off my skin
They hum & buzz
I know this yet I cannot hear it
Like an M.C. Escher drawing
A maze of black fire-escapes loom ironly overhead

I pass a dive bar
A Blarney Stone
Crazy, sad laughter issues from the doorway
An old Wurlitzer grinds out a scratchy 'Roadhouse Blues'

I cross the intersection
There are no cars
The streetlights are tired, barely radiating their faint yellow
The stoplights are bewildered @ their purposelessness
Red, orange, green..waiting, waiting
I see a sign through the murk
Canal Street
I'm in NYC

In the distance, I see the faint glow of fire
(How can this be so in the storm?)
I approach this beacon
Seeking it's warmth
I walk on & on but don't seem to get any closer
I walk for hours, for miles

I look up & suddenly find that I've arrived.
It's a bonfire flickering in a grated trashcan
Across it's rim I see a crouched figure in a ski cap
It looks up.
It's a young, waif-like girl with an impossibly wizened face
She stares at me, her eyes glittering, willing me not to look away
I'm mesmerized & distinctly uneasy
I'm impelled
I stand directly before her & slowly, with dread fascination, meet those eyes.

I recognize myself.
She reaches into her strange garment & pulls out a piece of paper
She extends her arm & silently proffers it.
It glows in the firelight.
I stare at it -- a deer in headlights.
She nods her head once without breaking eye contact.
She shakes her extended arm insistently.

Steeling myself, I reach out to take it in the searing rain
It is covered in close script.
Just as my fingertips grasp it,
The blue fountain pen ink smears & runs off it in garbled waves
The rivulets dripping to the ground, flowing to the gutter, back to the sea
To the Belly.

To reunite with the Mother & the Beast.

I look to the side & see a huge dark looming shape
I'm at the base of a massive hillside girded by a medieval stone wall
I realize with a start that I'm standing below Edinburgh Castle.
I'm on Princes street
Man, that was a long walk, I think to myself.

I turn, 365 degrees -- searching. The figure @ the fire is nowhere to be seen
There are others, though
Rushing to & fro, about their mysterious nightly missions
They are transparent
They pass me but do not see me.
I recognize some of them
I gladly open my mouth in greeting
but shut it @ the futility
We are not here

The rain redoubles
The wind picks up
The ghosts are bent forwards struggling against it

I hear the rising song of the headwinds
The street is suddenly empty
Even the ghosts are gone

The winds are eddying around me, swirling
The centrifugal force increases by geometric proportions
I'm the storm
It's eye
Lifted, lifted
Then torn apart
Ripped Asunder
A billion dedicated atoms
Earth, Water, Fire, Wind


They waft in parallel
Are drawn together, irresistibly
Once again
To form....?

I'm sure to find out
back here in Boston

Good Morning World :)

'You Would Know'

Oct 30, 2014 - 7 comments


I'm not sure why I'm doing this but it's haunting me & I just wanted to jot it down:

For those who aren't familiar with my history, I was an I.V. heroin user for almost 30 yrs. & kicked 20 yrs. of Methadone here on MH. :) I'm not on forum too much these days but I still try to keep in touch.

About two weeks ago when I left my last store for a store closer to home & a better position, one of my managers [we'll call him 'Jake'] that I got along with splendidly, gifted me with an old iPod that had over 2,300 songs in it. After deleting all the Grind-Core & most of the heavy metal & rap, I was left with about 600 tunes.

The night before last, I was the last to leave work, save one of the store managers. As we locked up, I looked @ the night sky & wonderingly remarked on the unusual clarity & beauty of the stars to him. We parted & I began my walk from the 'gentrified' edge of Jamaica Plain, a 'hipster' enclave, to the 'DMZ' of Jackson Sq. Station which delineates the border of the 'hood we live in. One minute you're passing a store that sells 'alternative' ice cream [you first..I dare you!:)] & a place that offers trendy, hand-wrought clothes for infants. Within seconds you're passing nothing but bodegas, ramshackle store-front, pentecostal churches, check-cashing joints, liquor stores & desolate industrial lots.

@ 11:20, I got on the #22, dropped into a seat up front & settled in for the 15 min. ride home in a tired but serenely, reflective state of mind & heart. After about 30 seconds I noticed an hispanic girl of indeterminate age sitting next to me. I say indeterminate as I knew that she was probably much younger than she appeared. She was unnaturally thin, had long, black, greasy hair with hints of gray & terrible ulcerations along her jawline, hairline & nose. Her shoulders were hunched forward in a defeated, self-protective posture. She had an old TJ Max bag clutched tightly in one hand nestled in her lap. Even before I took a proper look @ her, I knew -- I felt it -- I turned & checked, she was so high on H, she was 'Low'. Her lids were leaden despite her valiant attempts to keep them @ half-mast. I watched her nod. She was doing the opiate slide, bending forwards slightly @ an agonizingly slow pace, then making every effort to right herself. Her main motion though, was a sway to the left. Gradually, her head finally came to rest on my shoulder. This happened several times. She would come to briefly with a start & apologize to me profusely in a low, broken voice & look around like a hunted animal. I can't really describe it but I felt a powerful surge of poignancy & protectiveness when this happened. I'm used to getting stared @ as an assumed 'white-chick-out-of-her-neighborhood' a lot but I don't notice it that much anymore. I glanced around the well-lit bus & this is what I saw: the way I used to be sometimes reflected in the faces of those in the know.  There was amusement: as in: 'How's this going to play out? Will she freak out, how will she handle this junkie, etc.', hard-eyed stares of judgement from a couple of female Jehovah's Witnesses sitting right across from us, there was cocky derision from two young men that I knew to be dealers, studious avoidance from tired working folks, giggling & whispering from a couple of girls in their early 20's & complete boredom from the bus driver who deals with this sort of thing every day. I understood all of it. All of it made me sad, coming from her fellow-beings. Powerfully yet stoically sad. That's how I get when I get sad these days. I believe this is as far as I get b/c I can't afford the 'luxury' of going much 'further'. I'm realizing now as never before, how much my past has affected the way that I'm able to see & feel. Scar tissue, I guess. Maybe that will change. Who knows? I'm not stressing about it. I don't have the 'room'.
The last time that she jerked to [with the whole bus listening in] & said: 'I'm sorry..I'm so sorry'. I gave her a gentle smile & said: 'Please, don't apologize. I understand, I do. I mean,..I Get It..' For the first time, she came fully awake & looked @ me directly. 'Thank you', she said as the bus lurched forward again. After a few moments, her head came to rest on my right shoulder for the final time. I didn't say a word. I looked about & noticed that the 'show' was over. [you've got to make your own entertainment 'round these parts:)]. Right before my stop, I stood, looped my laptop bag over my shoulder & tapped her on the shoulder waiting for her to open her eyes. 'Make sure that you don't miss your stop. All the best to you & please..take care of yourself'. I think my voice must have cracked with that last bit as I had a lump in my throat. I swung off the bus & started my walk to our block.

On the way, I 'rewound' 'Jake's' iPod to the song that was [eeriely] playing when I first turned to look @ her:

'You Would Know' -- Queens of the Stone Age

They're just happy robots
Live on hill of beans
You and I cut from same cloth
Rippin' at the seams

Cut, snip, cut

Don't forget to remember
The devil's got pills in his eyes
Look, laugh, but don't touch
Cut you down to size

Cut, up, cut
(Shut up)
Cut, up, cut

You would know

My girl's all out of focus
It ain't no big surprise
Daddy got his gun loaded

Got cross hairs in his eyes

Shut up, oh
Shut up, oh

You would know

You would know
You would know
You would know


Again, I'm not sure why I had to write this down. Since my detox almost two years ago, I've seen hundreds of H/opiate addicts in my travels. I've no clue why this struck me the way it did. Usually, I choose to avoid thinking about it or engaging with them. Maybe it's still a necessity -- survival mode, like so much of the rest of my life. What I felt @ the time was this: a sadness & urgency -- a wanting: to somehow pass my hand over her haunted face & heart & heal her. To pass it over me. To pass it over the rest of the bus as well -- to fix it all. Alas, I have no such ability.

My past is an indelible part of me. Some good. Some bad. It's here, here to stay & here for a reason. Keep going, you'll find the answers (she tells herself).

Why am I [relatively] Ok today? Why isn't she Ok today? Why are we all [in the words of U2] 'One but not the same' ? Has anyone ever thought about this?

(Sorry for all the ponderous, bleedin' questions :))