Sunday, August 5, 2018

Another Statistic

July 2010

"So, what is this shit suppose to be?" Gerald asked after exhaling

"They call it V. Shit's like coke on steroids."

"Nah, more like ice." Jim chimed in (followed by the obnoxious fucking laugh of his "HEH HEHAH"). Scott, after fidgeting with his ever-present sunglasses, looked his way and shrugged.

"It's an upper man. It'll get ya there. Discovering how is half the fun."

I looked at Gerald hesitantly. 

"I asked if you were good on weed man Weed, not fake coke made in some Chink sweatshop." 

"You boys tryin ta get high tonight or what?" Jim asked distinctly not laughing this time. A hostile glare illuminating his dipshit, redneck face (I didn't care much for Jim if you couldn't tell by now).

"Alright, fine. How much?"

"$25 for a half G."

"Yo, you got that 10?" Garret asked me.

"Uh... yeah sure..." 

My mind racing with possibilities. Unbeknownst to everyone else. I'd already had a love/hate affair with that "fake coke shit." Surreal, life-affirming feelings followed by spending the better part of 2 days in  hellish comedown had prompted me to stay away.  I had enough manic highs and crushing lows to deal with under ordinary circumstances Besides it was a 1 flash in the pan. A novelty if anything; "Just trying it for the life experience man" but something had got the better of me. Peer pressure, curiosity, a growing fascination with what regular society deemed the most disgusting aspects of poly-drug abuse? Whatever you wana call it. I decided that one more time couldn't hurt.

September, 2017

"Gerald. I'm going out for a bit."

Gerald sat, bathed in the soft blue glow of his computer monitor. His facial features as flat as its surface.

"Where you going?" he asked after a longer pause than usual.

"It's Tuesday dear."

"Meds?"

"Yes... meds," Linda said shakily.  Forcing herself to swallow the lump in her throat.

"How... how have the voices been?" 

"Okay I guess... Mom," he said as Linda did a double take to make sure she'd picked up the spare key. Trying her best not to fixate on the clutter on the table, dried up dog turds on the floor and expired milk in the fridge.... Those are things that could wait.

"Yes?"

"Can you get me a pack of Newports while you're out?"

"Yes dear... I love you."

"Love you too," Gerald said. His eyes still fixed on his computer screen.

Linda, slowly shut the door behind her and lingered for one last look at the front door before starting her car. 

September, 2010

"You should slow down on that shit man," I said (ah the pre-junkie da(ze)ys. That awkward time in one's life where sound judgement still makes an appearance). 

"C'-C'mon (tweaker behaviors intensifying). Scott's got a fuckin ball of the shit... A ball! Maaaan, we could go in on that, dime it out and push it all around town. I know plenty of people who would jump all over that like a... like a fuckin dog in heat. C'mon. Please help me out!"

"Push it or smoke it all?" I asked. 

Gerald said nothing.

"I'm sorry man. I just started school. Can't be fuckin around with too much of that ya know?"

"Fuck! Fine." Gerald said while storming off to his truck.

"You can lose my fuckin number while your at it."

"Whatever you say Gerald," I said letting out a sigh before lighting my first cigarette of the day.

"Whatever you say."

March 2013

"Hey, you remember Gerald?"

"Yeah, it's been a minute. What's up with him these days." I responded after exhaling, coughing and passing the blunt back to Dana.

"Damn, been a while huh?"

"What?" I asked

"I mean this is high tire shit but it's not that good. Wouldn't have thought that shit would've phased you. Ya know being a college student and all," she snickered.

"It's not all coeds and vodka" I said after finishing my coughing fit.

"Midterms this week, have to buckle down and actually study."

"Suuure, anyway Gerald."

"Yeah, what about him?"

"Dude's a fuckin space cadet now. I was hanging out with him at Jay's a few weeks ago. He started going on and on about how he hears these voices sometimes but it's all good because he's just like on a higher level of consciousness or something."

"Wow," I said unable to think of much else to say.

"He was hittin that V shit pretty hard, even after Scott left town."

"I'd heard he was still doing it occasionally but... damn." 

"Well, I don't know for sure. Rumors are rumors. You're the psychologist in the making. What do you think about all that? I mean I've definitely met people who get pretty fuckin weird after messing with stuff like that."

"Hard to say. Could be any number of things really. I hope he's alright." 

Those words echoed through my head long after I made the (hour or so) drive back to my dorm.

"I hope he's alright."

October 2017

"911 where are you calling from?"

"Yes! My... my name is Linda Smith. I'm on 313 Lincoln Avenue. It..It's my son Gerald. He's having an episode or something. I thought he was better. Dr. Bernard from Behavioral Health told me he was doing so well with his new meds."

"Ma'am please repeat your location so I can alert an officer."

"Mom! Mom! They're saying... They're saying that you have to go." Gerald said with tears streaming down his face.

Muffled screaming... Call ended at 9:21 AM 0:47 seconds.


January 2018

Man Accused of Strangling his Mother to Death Found Unfit to Stand Trial

Gerald Smith (29) arrested on charges of 1st degree murder in October has been found unfit to stand trial after undergoing a formal psychiatric evaluation. Johnathan Sanders II the public defender originally assigned to Gerald's defense filed a motion for a fitness evaluation following the events leading to the local man's arrest. Gerald was evaluated by Dr. Sharron Asad MD (state mental health services) and Jim Townshed Psy D (state mental health services). He'd had an extensive history of mental health issues which may have played a role in the charges he's facing. 

According to testimony of first respondents, a 911 call had been placed by Linda Smith of 313 Lincoln Ave at 9:20 AM on Oct 23, 2017 stating her son was "having an episode." Officer's arriving on the scene found Linda unresponsive face down on the kitchen floor of the residence. Gerald was pacing, appearing very agitated stating that "the voices made me do it." Smith's charges are were indefinitely suspended by state officials but may be revisited if Smith attains fitness to stand trial. 







Saturday, July 7, 2018

N-bomes, Astral Projection and the follies of youth (The Weirdness)

The first subtle feelings of "The Weirdness" a distinct, yet completely alien feeling no matter how many times I stood face to face with it, were starting to make themselves known about half-way through my first cigarette of the evening.

"Feelin anything yet man?" Alan asked before cracking open a beer and land firmly in the beat-to-hell beanbag chair opposite me.

His words were miles away. Morphing into distorted caricatures of themselves following each syllable as the meat that formed my brain tissue did the same.

This all happened a while ago. I can't bring myself to remember a lot of the specifics these days. Suffice to say, I was young and  painfully naive then. Nativity that manifested itself in eating a strip of "acid" and hoping for the best.

"Gah, this stuff tastes like garbage. You're sure its legit?"

"What? Oh... yeah, it's all good." I said none the wiser. Not caring as much for the scholarly, pedantic research that goes hand in hand reckless drug abuse, 20 year old me really was none the wiser...

Sights and sounds continued merging into multiple unconscious forces. The sound of chirping insects and other forms of things unseen merged into a symphony rivaling the best of anything in the last 4 or so centuries of Western music. The trip was in full swing when something unexpected happened.

"What does it all mean?" the the disembodied voice asked me.

Stereotypical as this question may be for any white, middle class burn out, something about it hit me to my core signalling an existential dread that it would a good 5 or so more years for me to truly appreciate. I closed my eyes and was whisked away to an infinite plan of outer worlds.

"What does it all mean?" I yelled. Flying from one planet to another. I saw quite a lot during this time. Some things I'd care not mention. War, famine, a myriad of civilizations rising and falling. Some ascending to heights of conquest I'd only ever glimpsed brief, vicarious notions of courtesy of my favorite sc-fi authors.

"What does it all mean" I screamed at the top of my lungs. The trails of the nocturnal cacophony which had started back on earth outside of Alan's father's garage following me. Taking on a life of its own, reaching a crescendo to end all crescendos and then... Silence. Stillness. My entire field of vision, all points of reference everything I'd known to be not only human but to exist in totality, vanished.

"My child," a voice rang out soon after literally everything I'd known dissolved into white.

"You are spending too much time in this world... seeking ours."

I looked up with newly formed eyes at three large beings. Heads hung low, dressed in robes of light dwarfing my body and demanding my mind's attention.

"You...you are loved. Your time... will come." They spoke in unison the echoes of their voice sending chills into every fiber of my being.

"You are loved."

I opened my eyes, stared at my hands and and saw Alan's father's garage come back into focus. Lateralus played quietly in the background, ("Black then white are all I see.") Alan was still sitting on the chair opposite me nursing a beer.

"What... what the fuck just happened man?!?" I asked surprised at my ability to form words into anything resembling coherent syntax.

"I'm definitely feelin it now man. Needed to put on some music and chill for a bit ya know."

"Oh... yeah sure."

I sat down and looked around. The dancing trails of light and mild synesthesia stuck around while I drank the rest of the night away. Many years and many brushes "The Weirdness" after and I still have a hard time putting that quiet summer night at edge of existence into words.... Stay safe. Stay humble and remember that you are loved.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

That one time I tried crack

"You ain't tryin'a buy dope are ya?"

I found myself facing an older and if appearances were to be trusted (very speculative) balding black woman as I stood out front of the South End Tap mindlessly puffing away on a cigarette.

"Me? nah (burp) nah man. Not this guy." I lied, drunkenly.

Pale and lanky as I was strung out... I wasn't fooling anyone.

"I don't care if you doin dope, just be smart about it. Don't be drivin and shit.

"Oh, no no ma'am I would never."

She look at me and smirked. 

"Here take this, barely touched it. Seem like you need it mo'than I do."

She handed me a Styrofoam take out container filled to the brim with chicken fried okra. Three days ago, I'd been in detox (oops) and the food there had been as bland as my senses. As grey as the hospital gowns we shuffled around in amidst the back-drop of dying fluorescent lights. Alcohol and fistful after fistful of vicoden and lorazepam may have turned me into a zombie but there was nothing that made you feel quite as undead as detox. I snatched the parcel from this strange woman and scarfed down what I could, before tossing my cigarette to the wind.

"Thanks man" I mumbled in between mouth-fulls 

But she'd already went back inside. As lump after lump trans-fat drenched goodness made its way down my throat, I began to remember the reason I'd decided to venture out to this particular shit-hole bar. 

I'd tried just about everything else. Shit-tire whiskey and Steel Reserve had made up my mind a long time ago hell maybe even genetics had made up my mind a long time ago. Everything culminating to the moment where I finally score some crack rock. I'd done powdered coke enough to know that its glamour was illusory. There were darker avenues to venture down. Untold riches of arcane, euphoria lied there ripe for the taking and after epically failing at detox, it was my time to experience them. I'd been down and out for years, now I just needed to join the club. 

Later, (had no luck scoring at the bar) I found myself outside of a liquor store a few blocks down. I went in to buy some more beer. It didn't matter what brand or how much. I just needed a reason to scope out the clientele or... let them scope me out rather. A good dopeman knows the scent of desperate oblivion and I reeked of it.

"Aye," A voice called out to me as I was leaving.

"What you need my man. I got that good bud."

I looked back to meet his gaze. His gun the first thing I noticed and believe you me, I felt the weight of that gun through my eyes. His posture told me that he had no intention of using it now but wouldn't hesitate to at a moments notice. They say that if the dope doesn't kill you the lifestyle will... Now I understood. This palpable atmosphere of danger really was the great equalizer. Nothing imparted on me from my petty bourgeoisie upbringing could have prepared me for this. This was everything the 90's Drug Free PSA's and DARE programs had warned me about.

"You got anything other than weed?" 

"Yeah, what you need?"

"Rocks... a dub."

"Hold on a minute."

After motioning to another person I'd not noticed standing beside him he handed me a bag and I handed him a crisp $20.

"Aight, you good?"

"Yeah." I said mesmerized. The strained sound-waves echoing in the distance the further I walked.

My hands shook with excitement as I pinched the end of my cigarette, stuffed the rocks in and covered them back up with the loose tobacco I'd harvested. 

"3...2...1..." I said to myself bringing the lighter to the tip and the butt to my mouth I inhaled harder than I ever had before and then... Bliss. The infamous bell-ringer made itself known as every pore on body vibrated for a few precious minuets. I spent the next hour or wandering around aimlessly, drinking and talking to myself until the familiar shapes of my little suburbia came into view. I stumbled home and actually managed to fall asleep. Days came and went as they tend to do. I never did go back to that liquor store parking lot. I knew the age-old bedfellows of pain and pleasure. I knew that wherever angels tread, demons follow close behind... I had enough of those and wasn't ready for another quite yet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I Have a Problem... I'm a Cannibal

A generation and a half
Force fed tragedy
Desolation festers beneath the shiny surface
Corupting the host(s)
Maddned by madness
Bound and submissive
Youth lies ripe for the taking
In a world (more or) less troubled

A lust for death sets in as flesh and bone fracture
Christ on a digital cross
Laid bare by the tools of His sinners (with each gnawing pain)
Releasing  a spray of visceral dread
To be consumed #trending
To be... eaten
#againandagainandagainandagain




Notes; The following was partially inspired by Stanley Dean Baker. A real life cannibal and feature of some true crime documentary series I've been wasting my time with lately. A fascinating read for anyone who may be interested https://gizmodo.com/the-heart-eating-hippie-who-admitted-i-am-a-cannibal-1724667829

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Traintracks

The barge passed, the draw bridge bending to the will of its gears, swung into place and I jolted back to reality by the grinding of the train and the scratchy sound of the intercom suddenly and without warning woke up... well as woke as anyone fresh out of detox could be...  

Week old sweat had stitched itself into the fabric of my DNA, I reeked of chemicals that reeked of piss. The junk had waged a costly war on my body. A good nights rest being one of the many casualties. The fact that I'd been able to doze off (somewhere around Iowa I think?) without the help of Big Pharma was shocking. This... was recovery.

"Folks we will now be resuming our route to Kansas City. 15 miles til our next scheduled stop in Acres Square. This will be our last stop until we reach our destination. If ya need to smoke or stretch your legs... this'll have to do.

"Fuck," I muttered under my breath. 

"Six hours between cigarettes."

Addict thinking is what the professionals call it. Always scheming, planning ahead. Trying (and failing) to save a few crumbs for the next morning. Passing your time making your way through an endless list of a dope-men (or women, hell even transwomen if we're getting all PC about it. I once did a stint in my local behavioral health unit with a lovely transwoman who used to shoot meth and talk to aliens... getting off topic. Moving on); who refuse to operate by the laws of conventional time and punctuality. The types who will always "be there in 20 minuets man. 30 tops.

"All aboard," the stern female attendant yelled.

I stomped out what was lift of my cigarette and left Acres Square behind.

I hadn't planned on going to Kansas. I hadn't really planned on traveling anywhere without my usual crutch, but plans like most other things often find themselves subject to change.

"So what now?" M asked. Putting on a strong face as she clutched my capped needle in her hand. Her still-lit cigarette dwindling away in the ashtray with each passing second.

"I don't know... A change of scenery might be in order."

"What? Like... rehab again?"

"Yeah..."

"You know what that means then... You promised it wouldn't get this bad again. You promised you could control it."

"I know. Bit off more than I could chew with that one..."

M's hand grasped mine... Dim lights were almost as good at subduing the colors of emotions as dope. Subtle twitches in the face, tears welling in the eyes become less real when half lights in your apartment complex are burnt out.

"Just... just get better."

"Is this seat taken?"

I turned and faced a short black woman who looked to be well into her 70's wearing more layers of clothes than I'd thought possible.

"Uh, no go for it."

"You may call me Ms. Pearson." She said before tossing her bags on the floor and taking a sip of overpriced bottled water.

"Okay Ms. Pearson. Where ya headed?" I asked trying to be polite.

"Ohio."

"What's the occasion."

"My son's wake... Only 34 when the Lord took him."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"Thank you... You know, when you get to be my age. Death becomes more... familiar. It don't get any easier mind you but it does become more familiar. I just never thought I'd see the day... No mama should ever have to bury her child.

"What was his name?" I (despite feeling like utter shit) asked. Genuinely intrigued.

"Trey. I take some solace in that he grew up to be a good man. Kind... He was always kind. Hard working... He gave me 2 grand-babies. I... made this for his youngest."

Ms. Pearson dug through her overstuffed purse for what seemed like far too long before she found what she was looking for. A plastic baby doll. Missing an eye and draped in the ugliest crocheted wardrobe I'd ever laid eyes on. At that moment, a reflex something long forgotten possessed me. I grabbed the stupid thing and started sobbing. Ms. Pearson put her arm on my shoulder and hung her head. Here I was having a real human moment after countless years of trying to rid myself of them. Fuck me... I guess this is recovery.

“Sometimes we have the absolute certainty there's something inside us that's so hideous and monstrous that if we ever search it out we won't be able to stand looking at it. But it's when we're willing to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel.”  - Hubert Selby Jr.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Yours Truly Discusses Addiction and the Creative Process on Mics Uncut.

My feature on Mics Uncut a web-series focused on up and coming artists aiming their work at tackling big issues in an effort to change the social landscape. Check it out and show some love for the underground. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw7jziV9ZHk&feature=youtu.be

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Glass

Time flows through the clefts of your form
A reflection black as anti-matter
Concealed by the elegant cracks of a mirror

Starved of endorphins
Its tortured visage carves my flesh
Into its willing sacrifice
With each embrace
Blood meets bliss

And the world
Is a little more than what it once was
Brighter in some spots
Darker in others
Til your jagged image hemorrhages out of every pore

Wrapped in gore-soaked rags and
Emboldened by devotion
I await your siren's song with each new day
In a casket bearing your mirage