Saturday, December 10, 2011

Just an Update

It has been a while since I have posted anything.  I have actually had some pretty amazing things going on my life, but it was just way to intimate and unknown to really talk about here.  Some things are just better kept to ourselves, at times...at least that is how it is with me.

But, I have figured it all out...and now I guess it is time for an update.  I am not really even sure where to start, and to be honest...I am really not sure where the beginning of the story is.  I guess it all started about twenty years ago.  Twenty years ago...that is a really long time.  And in the last twenty years, so much has changed drastically for me.

Twenty years ago, I fell in love for the first time.  I met this boy from Louisiana, and he swept me off my feet in a whirlwind of ecstatic proportions.  I remember looking at him at an Allman Brothers concert, seeing him with stars in my eyes.  My head spun, and my eyes flickered, and the whole world swelled like the waves in the ocean.  I remember laying on the floor in his house that night after the concert, talking, touching.  I remember the taste of his lips, and the feel of his skin, and the pounding in my heart. I remember falling in love for the first time that night.

And we both fell hard.  It was wonderful, in every way.  Physically, we fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.  And emotionally, our hearts pounded in unison.  We stayed up all night, so often...talking and then making love.  The pure feelings of first love, and the connection that was so strong.  We poured our hearts out, filling each other's glasses with all of ourselves.  Drinking from the glass, we became drunk with love and spinning in complete ecstasy.

We were both so young, and life's twists and turns began to dance as we both tried to forage our way in the world of young adults.  Several years after that Allman Brothers concert, my first love's life began to follow a path that I did not understand, and a path that I was afraid of...a path that I did not like.  He started doing cocaine a lot.  Or maybe, I started realizing he did it a lot.  I cannot really remember all the details so many years later, but I ended up breaking up with him because he did too much cocaine.  The break up was rocky and ridden with lots of getting back together and then breaking up all over again...but eventually it ended, and it ended badly...at least that is the way I saw it.

Sometimes now, I am astonished to think that I broke up with someone for doing too much cocaine.  Some years later, I would be shooting dope into my veins.

My first love also followed a path of addiction.  Our paths were not the same, and our drug of choice was different, but the story is quite the same.  We both took our addictions to their extremities, and we both lost a lot along the way.  And we both got clean in the wake of a traumatic, life changing event.  Mine being the Hurricane, and my first love had a stroke.

I heard of his stroke years after it happened when I was pregnant with my son.  It took a while for the news to sink in, as I pictured him, sick and scared.  Something inside me told me that I needed to try to contact him.  I was not exactly sure why, and I was not exactly sure what I wanted to say...but I knew I needed to contact him, just to let him know that I was thinking about him.  Maybe to let him know I was here for him.  I had also heard that he had been clean for quite some time, and I realized that we probably had a lot in common.

I looked him up on My Space, and I may have even created my account then, just to send him a message.  I sent him a message, giving him a short history of the crazy turns my life had taken since I last saw him.  He did not know anything about the heroin, the Hurricane, and certainly not of my pregnancy.  We messaged back and forth several times.  That was about four years ago.

Over the years, we watched each other's posts on facebook...I watched him get engaged and buy a house.  While he saw pictures of my son's young life as it unfolded. I watched him change his relationship status from engaged to single, and he watched the progression of my book as I began writing it.  We commented on things sometimes, and we messaged several times throughout those years.  All through the power of social media.

And really, I am not even sure how it all began.  He came to my hometown this summer for a concert, and we made plans to meet at the show.  But, Phish shows get hectic, especially for a single mom with a two year old in tow...and we did not find each other that night.  I had printed a copy of my book to give him, but I guess that story would have to wait a while.  He called me to see if I wanted to have lunch the day he left town, but I had to work that morning.  I tried my hardest to get out of it, but it just wasn't possible.

And several months after that, the facebook messages became a little more frequent.  We started chatting on facebook, and then those chats turned into phone calls and texts.  Before I knew it, I was buying a plane ticket to fly to Texas and see him.

I had never left my son overnight when I bought that ticket, but I had arranged for him to stay with my mother that weekend.  I had never had a single 24 hour period away from my son isince his birth almost two and a half years ago.  I had not been on an airplane in so long, and I was hardly prepared for the new security checks.  And I had not seen my first love in 15 years.

So, I flew to Texas, and had an incredible weekend.  We stayed up talking at night, catching up on lost years.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  And we made love all weekend long.  And it was earth moving, and I was left trembling in ecstasy over and over again.  I told him all my deep, dark secrets...even the ones I have never really breathed a word of.  I felt so comfortable, like I was coming home.  I left Texas, knowing my life was changed forever while my heart jumped and danced in my chest and the smile could not be wiped from my face.

We are both in recovery, and that is really important.  I did not realize how important it was before I fell in love with my first love, all over again.  But recovery is not something I share with most people in my life.  There is an unique language that is only understood by those who have walked in the shoes of addiction and recovery.  To share this with my love, I realize that we understand each other more than ever.  And I realize how much I need that.

We had already made plans to meet in Louisiana for Thanksgiving, and this time I was bringing my son. Over the next few weeks, I discovered that my love wants to have a family.  And I also realized that our goals are the same...we both want to be able to provide a secure and happy life for ourselves and our family.  I realized that we were no longer the carefree kids we were when we first met, but we had both become mature and responsible adults.  So, incredibly different than we were twenty years ago!

Thanksgiving was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life.  My love was amazing with my son, astonishing me on several occasions with his insight and natural ability.  And I realized just how amazing this whole thing really is.  We met so long ago, and our lives lead us both down tumbling, destructive paths, but all that led us back to each other...and the bond is stronger than ever.  It is really unbelieveable, I think sometimes.  What are the chances of it all...that my first love and I would both follow a path of addiction seperately after we split up, that we would both be in recovery, and that the same love and connection was still there, flaming up more passionate and fiery than either of us imagined to be possible in our older, wiser, and more jaded state.  It is incredible.  And still a little unbelieveable at times.

I plan to move to Texas.  I plan to go to graduate school there, studying to get am MFA in Creative Writing.  I hope to be a college professor after I finish my degree.  I will be able to focus on my writing for three years, while going back to school.  And I think I can produce a really great work or two in those years.  Afterward, I will still be able to focus on my writing, as a college professor.  I will, of course, also have to focus on student's writing then, as well...but I will be able to focus on writing.  I will be able to teach something I love.  I spoke to a class at my university this past semester, talking to a small class about writing memoir.  And it went really well.  The professor that asked me to speak was blown away, and he said all the students were electrified.  They asked a lot of questions, and it was really a great experience.  I think I will like teaching.  And it will be good for my son, and good for my family.  Summers off is another really big perk, especially with kids.

So, I plan to move to Texas for graduate school.  And I plan to live the rest of my life with my love.  My first love.  My last love.  My only love.  And I feel like I am the luckiest girl alive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Little Girl


The little girl
Learned how to dance,
That summer,
Spinning and twirling
Into worlds unchartered.

That little girl,
Evolved into
Something much more
That summer
As her heart began to thump
Like a grown up
And she knew
What it meant to love.

That little girl,
So young
And exploring
Venturing into all
The realms unknown.
Trusting
With blind faith
And love.

But, times grow tough
And we are all starving
And Sick.

That little girl,
Whose heart once thumped
With pleasure
And a heart swell
Of emotion
Sits out in the rain
Tears steady fall
And the pieces of her
Broken heart
Lie shattered
In the mud.

The little girl,
Grew dark
And daring
And really twisted.
As she fell
Further and further
From the summer…
Living in the cold
And wintry
Months
Of the living dead.
The rains keep falling.
And she fears
The sun can never shine.

That little girl,
Still lives
Somewhere
Deep, deep inside.
And she wonders
When the music
Turned black.
And she wonders
If
She still knows
How to dance…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Slang

Trying to get ready on a time crunch this morning, and my son is all up in my face.  I have been known to "get ghetto", as my friends like to say, when I am irritated, or angry....

My son is grabbing for my phone, wanting to play a game.
Me:Son, you need to back up off my grill for a minute!
Son: (fake laugh) You silly, Mommy.  Not a grill, this a phone!

Too funny.  I do not say a word because I do not even really know how to explain this one.  And I think...how to explain slang...hmmmm, this is going to be an interesting ride for a very smart two year old and his writer mother, who is somewhat obssessed with words and language!

Monday, August 29, 2011

6 Year Anniversery

Six Years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans, scattering my debris all over.  Years later, sometimes it seems like I am still picking up the pieces from it all.  My life has changed in so many ways, so many good ways...but today, I look back and sigh....

Hurricane Katrina Slide Show with Readings from my Book....

video
This is a slide show with readings from my book, describing my experience in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  The images are all media images, and some of them are hazy...but my words are clear, bold, and heart wrenching.....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Liam.

A God Damned Nine to Five

Standing
On the edge,
Looking down over this precipice,
I see clearly
On each side, 
And the mountains
In front, sparkle
Green
Vibrant
In the sunlight. 
I see the dangers
One one side
I see the dark and alluring light
I see 
What I have always seen
What I have always known
And who I have always been...

Well, not always...

But, that is neither here
Nor there
These days
Because those days
In between,
Those are the ones who really carved me. 
My stories
I tell fervently
To this audience of captive listeners
All the stories I know
Are addled with drugs
Or some other sort of decadance...

And I stand,
Looking over the edge
Of this precipice,
With my darling angel's face reflecting in the sky
And I know,
Which way I chose.
I know which side of the chasm 
I will live on. 
And I look down, 
Into that chasm once more, 
So hot that flames lick my cheeks
And I know
Which way I am going. 

But, then, 
My identity
Fractured. 
I am already broken.
My stories are all broken.
And so, 
Can I put it all
On that fucking shelf?
Put away the piercings, 
And forget about my allure
To tattoos
Forget about the shaved head
And wearing all black. 

But, then...
Damn. 
Who am I?
And where do I go from here?
Can I uphold this image
While living in a two story...
Brick home? 
And where do I go from here?

Cause I wanna provide my son
With the fucking two story brick home!
God damn it!
I want him to have everything...
And that is all that really matters. 

So, I'm looking for a nine to five...
And I am back to writing at night
And the poetry
Does not bleed
As regular
But, it bleeds more fiercely
When it does. 
And I am looking to move
To a gated community...
Where I ain't gotta worry bout my shit...

Yet, I watch the grungy kid
Ride by, dirty,
Like fresh of the rails
Tattoeed, guitar slung
Over his shoulder
Struggling a little 
With the army green bag
That probably holds
The rest of his belongings

And I realize
I part of me wants to stay
A part of me misses
Those days of old
Those days of utter darkness
Sometimes
The sun
Hurts my eyes.

But, I gotta step outside
Earlier and earlier each year
As I get older
And as my little boy gets older.
And I think about his future
And all I want him to have. 

And I realize
That without question...
I gotta move to
A god- damned
Gated community. 
And I gotta get
A god-damned nine to five...
But, if that is what I have to do
To keep this little boy safe...
Then...
I guess I gotta suck it up.

Cause that is what being a momma is all about...
Ain't it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poems from the Darkness...

Time passes
And things change,
Sometimes drastically,
And other times,
Only little by little.

But the hole in my heart remains
The hole in my chest
Will always remain
And sometimes, still
It eats away at my soul
Invading my life
With the the darkness
Of the past,

And sometimes, now...
The present looms
Dark and scary,
Just because it is so fucking light
So fucking normal
And so fucking lonely.

I want to scream sometimes.
And I want to warn them all...
But, nobody listens to my advice,
And maybe, in the end...
We are all left stranded
With only our addiction,
And everything we once loved
Is lost.
Maybe, that is the only way we get better.
And maybe that is what keeps others so sick.

Until we manage to pull our head out
Of the muck and mire...
Or until we die.
And I am still here,
And he is still there.
And nothing will ever change that.

Nothing will ever change all of that.
So, I guess I should listen
To that age old advice...
And surrender
The things I cannot change.
But, my heart still holds tight.
Although, I know now...
I will never see his face again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Simply,
Thinking
About ideas, brewing
Old friends
And old times
As this new confidence
Brings me back to life...

Another freelance article...

Taste of Union: Grand Asia Market

Although I must admit the grind of deadline and a newspaper is not really what I thought writing for a living would be like...it is better than nothing. But, I sent my book to an agent, and I really, really hope that one day...I can just write books!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Some Shit

Depression
Swallows me whole
Abandon it all
Run away from
Everything you need to do.
Just sit
Cry
Blank, blank stare

Stress
Welling up
Like a tear
Building
Before the fucking dam breaks
And snaps
The fragile little limbs.

Silence
Silly singing
Sullen striking somber shit.
Seems like all is
Searing in flames.

And I just wanna
Say...
Burn, baby, burn.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Guess Things Could Always Have Been Worse...

I just read this article, describing the robbery of a pharmacy, where the crazed man, determined to get painkillers ended up shooting everyone on site.  His wife was also arrested for her involvement.  The neighbors are all shocked, as no one suspected drug problems...and everyone just thinks this man is so nice.

And he probably is a really nice guy...most addicts are.  And I am quite sure that anyone living in the home was WELL aware of any drug problems...but, no one outside could suspect a thing.  And I think about the desperation when you are in need, the awful pain of withdrawal...and the insanity that comes along with it.

I cannot imagine robbing a pharmacy and shooting everyone...but I do know what it is like to bend every moral you have to get drugs.  I do know what it is like to cross that line.  As addicts, we all cross different lines...some are merely hurting ourselves, while others are hurting others...even taking a life.  And I think about all the blurred lines, and I realize the denotation in the sand is really the same...ad you never know where the addiction will lead...

Sad, though...this poor guy, really just starting a life with his wife...and now he is facing murder charges.  I think about those days when I was just beginning a marriage.  All those promises, and all those hopes.  I think back to the innocent days when Liam and I were in love...both with each other, and with heroin.  I think back to all those times, both good and bad.  And I think back to it all now, sometimes with bitterness, still.  But, then...I look at this story, and I realize things could have been much, much worse.  I think of this young man, waking up from the fog of intense opiate addiction...to find your life forever altered, and incarcerated.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dedicated To My Phish Friends In Portsmouth VA Tonight


This little story is dedicated to all my Phish friends who are in Portsmouth, VA tonight. 

Back in the day, I was quite the Phish fan, travelling around the country with the freedom of the road and good weed.  I met many of my life long friends through our mutual love of music…back in those innocent days of The Allman Brothers and the early 90s.  Back in the days of dancing and ecstasy and the innocent experimentation coupled with that freedom of youth.  Back then, my musical tastes were wandering and jamming, with dread locks, patuoli, and long hippie dresses. 

As time wore on, the music became harder…and so did the drugs.  I progressed to house music, dancing up the same sweat on a club on ecstasy.  And the club scene led to cocaine, crystal, ketamine, and creative cacophony.  One minute, I was dancing to DJ Archer at Mythos, and the next minute I was in the dark caverns of the Audubon Hotel. 

And the music became more angry and violent, as I more often abandoned the dance floor to slink upstairs to the rooms of the infamous “hotel” on St. Charles.  The buzz grew harder and more complex, as I woke most mornings aching from the want and need.  Thriving on the fuel of punk music and the screaming rage of the bands of the day, with little food to sustain my often-erratic stomach.  Over time, I passed up the rolled up dollar bill in search of something much quicker and more direct…and in no time the veins in my arms were marked with reds and light purples.  Purple turns to black, and all the music I dance to in the strip club screams of heroin and blood. 

Years and years have passed since even those years in the clubs of Bourbon Street, where my world was turned inside out.  I have been clean more than five years, and the music I listen to now is varied from black and white, depending on mood and state of mind.  There are days that I listen to Shannon Hoon wailing in his pain and desperation, while other days I crave Henry Rollins or Eyehategod.  There are days that Tom Waits bellows to my soul, while other days I relish in the brassy sound of Billie Holiday.  And there are still days that I crave that old hippie jam band I once travelled with.  Those days are not as frequent as they were in my twenties, but when they take hold…sometimes I listen to Phish for days. 

Phish was in town on Friday night, and I took my son to the show.  We both had a great time, and I met up with old friends, reminiscing about times long, long gone.  Some friends I managed to see at the show, and others I never caught sight of.  It is much different when you have a two year old at a show with you…your eyes are constantly focused on the little one, and many former acquaintances could have walked right by.  The band, along with quite a few of my friends, travelled to Raleigh last night, and are now in Portsmouth, VA…for another night of Phish.  I wish I could have attended another show, but the responsibilities of life call me once more…and, it is just not feasible.  Thinking about Portsmouth, though, brought an old story to mind that I have been meaning to tell.  Thanks guys (all my old pals in Portsmouth tonight), for the inspiration to finally get yet another story down on paper…

Those days of dope were tough living in Williamsburg, VA.  This place was not like New Orleans, where the dope was all over the place.  Sometimes, you had to get creative in the Burg…and most of the time that included a little road trip.  I often made the trip to Portsmouth to cop with a certain friend who had connections there. 

Now, the telling of this story would not be proper without an introduction to this character, whom I knew as “Space.”  Space had been in and out of the cycle of addiction for years, much like me and Liam….but not much like most of the people in the Burg.  Space had earned this nickname for a reason…and he was really all over the place. 

His long brown hair, hung oily in his unshaven face most of the time, and his thick camouflage jacket was often his uniform in the winter.  His dark brown eyes darted back and forth, until they would slightly close with the pleasure of heroin.  Space would silently settle down with the pleasure of a fat shot, but the rest of the time he was on full blast.  He was one of the craziest characters I have ever met.

One day, we are speeding towards Portsmouth, in search of dope in Space’s humongous truck.  Space sits in the driver’s seat, focusing on the road as best as he can, as he rambles on about the Breathalyzer in his truck.  I sit in the front seat, anticipating this little ride…in search of the good shit.   Sometimes, the dangers of the ride there are all worth the pleasure in the end. 

Space’s large, dark blue truck looms down the highway, with its camper top covering the bed, allowing tons of covered room for all kinds of shady shit.  The camper top is sprinkled with stickers of the rebel flag, and Space looks particularly unshaven and back woods.  He rambles on speeding towards our death on several instances…and I determine that Space is the worst driver I know. 

We arrive on the shitty side of Portsmouth and immediately begin trolling the streets looking for a dealer with pockets full of dope.  Space knows a lot of the dealers here, and I look at the beauty of this little place, as his eyes scan back and forth with the keen sense of a dope hound. 

The streets are speckled with old houses, full of character and years of neglect.  Neighbors sit on the porches in spotty locations, sipping libations from a paper sack.  The streets get smaller as we get deeper and deeper in to the heart of this place.  Chain link fences, and random corner stores.  The streets are a mixture of black and white pavement, giving the aged impression of grey and broken in bits that are descending to ash before out eyes. 

In front of us, a black man darts out with his head tucked down.  Space perks up, leaning his head forward and squinting his eyes.  Then, his eyebrows adamantly rise in recognition.  And his smile turns upside down, and his pursed face turns redder and redder.

“Yep!”  He yells.  “That mother fucker!  Yep, that is him!” 

I still think he is talking about the dope man, as Space floors it and the truck lurches forward.  Space leans his head out, shouting at the man.

“Yep, its me, mother fucker!”  he yells, as the man starts and takers off.  Space looks at me.

“That fucker owes me forty bucks!  Burned me on a couple a bags!”  he tells me as he presses more weight on the gas pedal. 

Before I know it, we are barreling down a small narrow road in a black neighborhood, in a huge pick up truck with its camper top decorated with the rebel flag.  Space is now yelling out the window that he is “gonna get the son of a bitch. “

I ducked my head down, slightly.  I was not sure if I was more mortified or more terrified, as Space speed down the neighborhood street chasing this man.  The man, also dipped his head, then turned, darting down a tight alley.  Space turned the large truck on a dime, following his target right down the alley.

I see the sides of buildings brushing right past the windows of the truck, and boards of the buildings on both sides of the alley fly by my side window, revealing sagging textures and chipping paint just inches out the open window.    In front of the looming truck, a skinny black man runs for his life.  Between the engine’s violent roars, Space screams about being burned and getting his money.  The man ducks to one side, and we come sailing out of the alley as the skinny black man in debt to my crazy friend has disappeared. 

The engine quiets a little, as Space’s food and mood begin to steady.  He just slows the truck down, focusing on the road.

“That asshole owes me money, and I WILL get it,” he says.  Then, his eyes begin to dart back and forth once more, looking for the dope.  Thankfully, his phone rang moments later.  It was his connection in Portsmouth, telling us to meet him at a nearby gas station because he has the goods. 

The rest of the trip went off without a hitch.  We easily scored, banged up in a diner parking lot, and rode blissfully back to the Burg with a pocket full of the good stuff.  I often rode to Portsmouth with Space, and each and every trip provided me with a great story to tell.  And at the time, I never feared for my life in Portsmouth because the need for dope refused to allow it.  Since I got clean, I have often looked back on those trips to Portsmouth with a mixture of terror and humor.  I can honestly say, I really did not want to visit Portsmouth again.

Until tonight.  I wish I were in Portsmouth tonight.  I would be dancing and enjoying Phish and the entire hippie fumes.  I would be miles away from those days of copping in the Portsmouth ghettos.  And miles and miles closer to here.  Even if those ghettos are lingering right around the corner from the show.   

Fuck You, Once Again

Time and the way things change can surprise us all at times.  And then, there are some things that even time cannot heal.  There are some things that no matter how much time and distance lies in between...they will not change.  Some things will just hurt forever, and there may even be times that those old wounds will be torn open once more...to leave them gushing blood all over the floor.

These wounds of mine are so scarred, now rough, like leather.  And I know they cannot be ripped open again because there really is no blood left to bleed.  All that is left is a hole of the flesh that once was.  All that is left is this scarred leather like thing that I cringe to see every time I look down.  And although the blood has not flowed near those nasty sites of pain and destruction for years, sometimes the wounds still hurt.  Some things just do not get better, and time and distance do not heal...but, only help to forget.

This leathery wound of mine is all red and inflamed, as new information is brought down on an old, old situation.  And my heart is so fucking heavy today, as I think about all the things I lost in the fire.  But, as time goes on, I realize that the most precious thing lost in the fire was really not as pristine as I once thought...

Cryptic language, I know.  But, I hate to just dive right into the same old shit without some sort of flowery introduction.

An old girlfriend of mine was in town the other night for the concert.  (Which I thoroughly enjoyed.)  Janine and I were once very, very close.  Interpret that however you wish, and all of the interpretations will be correct on some level, I am sure.  She is one person who was always there for me when I really needed her.  I love Janine with all my heart.  She has been there for years, and she was there through some of the roughest times of my life.

I met Janine through my ex husband.  They worked together.  Back in those days, I remember how Liam used to look at me, like I was the only girl in the world.  I remember how much I trusted him.  He would never cheat on me.  Look at the way he looked at me.  I never minded that he had friends, regardless of their sex.  I felt so sure he would never cheat on me.

When he left me for another woman, a friend of mine...well I was floored.

And not like I could ever talk about cheating.  It was not like I was loyal.  I was more loyal to his dope habit than to our marriage.  And more loyal to myself than anything else.  I guess I am just selfish.  And the addiction crept in, taking everything else away.  But, I kept him well.  And I kept us both addicted.  I really have no room to say anything.  And I probably deserved it all.

Still, it hurts.  I thought he was my one true love.  I thought he was my soulmate.  I thought so many things that were not true.  And I guess that is to be expected when you fall in love with a liar.  That liar turned my world upside down before...and now, I feel it all creeping back in.  I feel it all washing back over me, and my eyes are flooded with tears.

Janine told me she messed around with my ex husband.  Before we split...and before she got to know me.  And I am not angry.  Certainly not at her.  I love her.  And after the night she hooked up with my husband, our love grew far beyond what either of us expected.  And I am not mad at Liam...I know I have no right to be.  And the whole thing just solidifies what happened.  It just proves to me that I am better off without him.

But, it all hurts the same.  Damn, he cheated on me almost two years before he left me for another women.  Had he cheated before?  I always heard that he was with the woman he left me for long before I fucked up so badly that he had an excuse to leave me.  And now this other friend?  How many other friends of mine did he hook up with?  But, then...how many friends of his did I hook up with?  Still, it hurts.

Those last two years with him, as we began to recover from heroin addiction...I thought that things were all being put back in place.  And really, that is just what he let me think.  All the while, he was just waiting until he found another sure thing.  Testing out the waters where ever he knew he would not be seen.  Pretending to put it back together, but really just tearing it all apart.  I just wish he could have been more honest with me...more honest with himself.  Instead of just fucking up my entire life.  Fuck you, Liam.  Fuck you.  That is really all I have to say.  Fuck you.  Once again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

News of Another Dead Friend

I don’t always check my messages as religiously as I once did. I saw the note in my inbox, and I thought it was a story. Or a really profound thought. And as a busy single mom, trying to start a career as a writer…I wanted to save this little morsel for when I had to time to savor it. I always enjoy a note from Animal.

And before me I have these pictures, and all these memories, feelings flooding back over me. The wooden floor. The needle. The hair, the nails, the skin. A chill ran up my spine, like the dope sickness is about to set in. A chill in the living room air from my window unit, while the rest of the place is humid and muggy. My friends here in NC may complain, but it reminds me of New Orleans. It all reminds me of New Orleans some days. Some days, the chill runs up and down my spine, flashing me back…

Just like these pictures. For an instant, my mind, my skin cold and clammy, transported me back to those days. Those days, so far away from these places. These things we dwell on as a writer, committing our travesties down to paper, at last. These memories, these images, these chills up and down the spine…putting me right back in that place. That wooden floor, reminding me…

Reminding me of the Shobar stage, old and worn with the years. Black and white cheap linoleum, and crazy painted bathroom walls. White stalls, and broken toilets. Backs lifted off, and twisted around…to set up my shit. Porcelain, and wooden, and tiled, and faint…faint back in the recesses of my mind…brought leaping forward.

Jarred.

By the memories of the past

These images of

What once was.

This thing I know so well

This thing I knew too well

Still hate to see ‘em go.

And the memories,

Bubbling to the surface

Once more

Spilling over…

The Audubon Hotel. Damn, those were the days. Damn, they ALL were the days. Even some of the dark and desperate days still have this romantic allure. In my mind. Those places, and all the people. Carefree. A piece of me will always long for those days.

Sometimes, it seems they are dropping like flies. Around me, the world still crumbles at times…and in the distance, I hear a soft and melodic music haunting me. A slow and steady beat, rising in my chest and ascending through my soul. A deep and pounding bass, causing my feet to move involuntarily below me…as the ecstasy sets in.

Relax, and let all the cares fade away. Let it all fade away. Sounds romantic. Feels fantastic, I think…as I look back with longing. Then, the shiver up my spine once more.

Like I have seen a ghost. I have seen a ghost of my past, and a tiny little piece of it that really is gone. A tiny little piece of it that really has returned to the realm of the ghostly. The wooden floor, the hair, the skin…the god damned needle. And the fucking apple. A ghost of my past, sending the chill up my spine. And I think I am on the verge of withdrawal again. Only I have not taken an opiate in years. These ghosts crawl into the recesses of my brain, tricking my nerves into thinking old patterns. Triggered, once more, by the images of yesteryear.

I take a deep breath. Look through the pictures again. Spine tingling, and chills running back and forth, as these thoughts dance wildly in my head. It almost feels like I am right back there again.

Then, I pull up Word, and begin to write. Balance flowing back onto my shoulders once more. All of it, spilling out. Where the words have been rather silent as of late…

I look around at this tiny little place, and the tiny little face sleeping across the room. And I think about how far I have come. Too far to turn back now…that is for damn sure. And, I put it down, once more. And I know I am lucky to be alive.

Another dead friend. Is that what this all will boil down to? Dead bodies, piling up everywhere. They have been dropping like flies for fucking years. My heart is heavy with all the sadness, and the pain. My heart is just so god damned heavy.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Addiction Permeates All

And there really is no escaping addiction...no matter how hard we try. It permeates every corner of life.

A friend of a friend of mine has been drinking excessively, and maybe taking pills too. Things have gotten out of control for this young man...and everyone sees it. Talking my friend...I am moved, once again, to write about addiction.

I think about the way addiction permeates so much of who some of us are. One of my best friends, Natalie, was touched by the addiction of her mother. Her mother's addiction eventually took her life, but Natalie had been missing her mother for much longer than that. Natalie watched her mother die, climbing up into bed with her ghost, crying like the little girl she felt she was. Natalie's mother's addiction is one of the main things that has made Natalie the person she is today. I think about this sometimes from an addict's perspective. And also from a mother's perspective. All Natalie needed was a mother...it is all we all really need, isn't it?

Speaking with this friend of mine today, regarding addiction and the predicament with our friend...he mentioned that his parents also died from pills and drinking. And I think about it all again. I think about it from an addict's perspective. And I think about it from a mother's perspective. And I think about Natalie. I think about so many addicts I knew with kids...

As an addict, I never thought about how this disease really permeates everything...and no one is immune, really. I had friends, also addicted, who had kids. It never phased me...I did not have kids and I did know anything about it. But, now...I look back, horrified for some of those poor kids. Everyone knows someone who drinks too much...or gambles too much...or watches too much porn, or...is addicted to heroin. I thought a lot in those days about how it affected me. But, I never really thought about how others may have spent days and nights worried about me. And I am mostly thankful that I was not a mother back then.

I look at my beautiful little boy, as his blue eyes look over the top of the computer, just now. As he asks me to close the computer, he holds out his finger, scolding when I ask for ten more minutes. "No ten minutes," he tells me, eyes looking down upset. And I think about how I could never do that to him. I have this responsibility to that little face. And that little face has changed my life.

I hope.

As an addict, I know how easy it can happen. But, as a mother...I hope it is not possible. And then, I look back at these adult children of addicts who are no longer with us. I look at Natalie. I look at the friend I spoke with today. And I realize what strength it must take to overcome something like that....and to keep caring, to keep being passionate about things and people.

Addiction permeates all our lives. Some of our lives are so saturated in it that it seems we are drowning at times, and some of us only see it in a friend of a friend. But, it is there...in each and every one of our lives. The experience is more universal than we think...some of us just come much, much closer to the core.

Now, I must go, because it has been about five minutes...and I have been instructed that I do not have ten minutes...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Cop Post...Flirting This Time!

Interesting thing happened to me the other day...

I took my son to the new Italian Ice place in our neighborhood. We had taken a nice long nap that afternoon, which has been a rarity for me in the last year. After our nap, we got up and went out to a great little place that has really good and cheap tacos. Then, Italian Ice for dessert.

The little ice cream place was packed! I did not know that the Italian Ice was free, but when they handed it over, no charge...I realized why everyone is so interested in this place! My son and I sat at a table, when a cop joined the line...

In my past life, as an addict, generally in possession of illegal drugs...I was usually cautious, to say the least, when I saw a cop. To be totally honest, I was often scared shitless when I saw a cop.

Now, I smile at the local cops, waving...and I know, they ain't got nothing on me these days! As this cop approaches, my son looks up and waves. Before I realize what is going on, the cop is smiling at me, and talking to both me and my son. As he walks away to order his ice cream, I realize he was flirting with me!! After he gets his order, he turns to wave good-bye. I wave back, and think to myself...

Damn, has my life changed so much that I now look like the person a cop would hit on???? Do I really look like the type of person that a cop would ask out on a date??? (I must admit, I think I would only be interested in dating a cop that were female...)

I think back to the days when a cop would have eyed me suspiciously...

And I wonder...have I really changed that much?!?!? (Not that it is a bad thing...) I asked several friends about it. One agreed I had most certainly changed that much. Another suggested maybe the cop was looking for some information. And another thought it was just the baby, and actually had nothing to do with me. And my beloved best friend simply called me a MILF...gotta love your best friend!

But, I guess I have changed that much. I am surprised the cop was not put off by The Misfits chain wallet, or the leather studded belt and bracelets. But, I was sporting a frilly little flower print shirt, and my jeans were actually clean and fit rather well. And my eyes were clear and sober, as I ate my ice cream with my son. I guess, I am the type of person a cop might hit on...

Restoration

Chaotic thoughts
Riding the wave of the high
Random actions
Of utter and complete desperation.
The world around us
Crumbles as we speak
Each line revealing something else
More perverted
About the character
Inside.

Layers and layers
Of dirt and grime
Years of neglect
And chipping paint
Peeling away
All the broken layers
Of a life,
Slowing peeling each one
Like a summer sunburn
Basking in the bright colors
All the stories beneath.
The stories,
Still killing me slowly.
Sometimes I fear
I will never find
The raw wood that lies...
Somewhere deep below
The painted years of neglect.

The restoration is painful
And the layers of story
Are tinged with guilt
And indignity
Of complete and utter
Indulgence.
The wood beneath,
Damaged from the days of the storm
May still be salvageable
Sanded down with patience
And persistence
Revealing the natural vein of the wood.

And I am left with raw wood,
A thing unfinished.
Sanded smooth
And well cared for
Surrounded by the paint,
Chipped away stories
Lying in ruin
Discarded pieces
All around this piece of work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Things You Can Never Get Back

Memory shattering
Spilling out
In tiny little bits
And pieces,
From all the corners
Of my soul.

Images flashing
Back and forth on my mind
Round and round
In my head
And I think,
And I think,
About it all
Again and again.

Relive it all
Flesh drenching
Hands clenching
Muscle spasms
Head all full of muddle
Knees twitching
And all the memories
All the memories
Flooding back down
Over me.

Some things you can never get back.
Images of what
Once was.
Dark and black
And decaying.
And images of
What could have been.

All the moments in between...
And I know
Some things
You can never
Get back.

Time passed
Buried bodies
And buried memories
Wasted time
And wasted lives
And all the moments
I can never take back
Violation
Theft and brutal beating
Arms always full of bruises
Innocence
Rape and ravage
Some things
You can never get back.

Images flash
Once more...
The pictures of my life
Flashing before me,
I see white light
The end of my life.
Images flash
Back and forth
On those caverns
Of my mind
Some buried
And some repressed
And others cherished...

Lives and loves lost
Lifeless, limp body
And wet muddy land.
Moments missing
And others mark me
Forever.

Battle within...
On what to take
In case of fire.
And what
To leave
And let it all burn.

Some things you can never get back.
And other things you can never change.
Some of it,
We have control over,
And the rest...
Well, it is all the rest.
What you decide to do with it
Seals your own fate.

To this day,
I am still not sure what I am gonna do.
And I wish,
I could just get
A few moments back.
I swear I would not waste them.

Ahhhh, the tortures of regret.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Graduation Is Upon Us, Well...Me, Anyway

Well, just a mere update...but, a very important one, at that. I finished my last class of my college career tonight. At least until I change my mind and go to grad school. For the time being, though, I am sticking it out at the restaurant...while I set aside one day to write. And I am going to pursue writing for the next six months, while I pay my bills waiting tables. My mouth is watering to think of the delicious Carnitas we serve! (That seems like a sarcastic comment, but really I love the Carnitas...and I guess I am glad that there will not be too much change all at once in my life.)

It really seems like I just started back to school the other day. I actually was blogging when I first went back to college. And I graduate on Saturday.

I am glad it is over. I am glad to relax a little tonight. And then, tomorrow morning...I am going to start my new writing projects. Or I am going to dedicate the morning to my new projects that I have already started.

Graduation. I am proud, I guess. I am glad to be finished, finally. And I hope to make a living as a writer within the next two years...in any capacity I can.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Off The Cuff

Drowning,
In a sea of madness
A thousand
Different people.
Screaming out from roof tops.
And one...
Just one lone person,
It seemed.
It seems,
At least now.
Drowning,
In a sea of madness,
All over again.
But, the game is very different.
Still...

I am drowning.
They were drowning.
So many people have drowned.
The waters,
The waters all around.
I was.
I am.
I relive the water
All around.
And I think...

I know how to swim.
I know...
I know how to sink,
And I am trying to
Avoid
That
At all costs.

Drowning,
In emotions of the past,
And all this stuff
Has only made me stronger.
And I gotta make it happen.
I gotta make it happen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kicking Dope at The Empress

Been thinking a lot the past few days about dope sickness...thinking about that god awful feeling, the fucking pure hell that the sickness really is. Puking, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and of course the entire mental anguish of it all.

My son had a stomach virus, and as it is taking care of a sick child with a stomach ailment, I was literally up to my elbows is puke and shit....memories flooding back onto me, with totality of the smell... I remember kicking in the Empress once, kicking for a few days at least, until something turned around, or turned back up, or whatever the case may be. So many days I spent kicking in the Empress....

And this particular time, I think the room was on the first floor, down the main hall to the left. We got there right before the sickness set in...the next few days spent in a living bile hell. We tried to flush the toilet, but when we pushed down on the handle...nothing. I remember laying my head over that toilet after two days of its ejected poisonous bile from both puke and shit, smelling it all as I layed there, puking up my broken and burned guts. My feet on the wet floor, and my head rested on the lid of this toilet that was unflushed, broke, for two days of withdrawal and hell, smelling all the piss and shit and puke, strong and acidic, still could not bring up enough bile in this barren and empty stomach of mine to really make a dent in the madness.

Too sick to call anyone to fix it. Too sick to do anything except puke and shit, cry and whimper. One the third day, he rose again from the dead, as the call came ringing through...money, dope...and the sweet, sweet combination thereof. I gathered myself together, pulling and tugging at my matty and dreaded hair back into a semblance of a ponytail, and shuffling through all the clothes on the ground, searching fro something dry. Brushing my teeth, and trying to pull it together...to go out into the bright Louisiana sun, and wait on the corner for the man. God only knows how long I could be waiting...but, I tell you...I know, it ain't gonna be long now.

After scoring, I came back to the Empress, and I stood up front, chatting with Bob for a moment, trying to feel normal...as I knew normal was sitting right there in my pocket. Then, he tells me..."Oh, I forgot to tell you, that handle on that toilet goes up to flush, not down. I guess you figured that out, though!"

Damn, I went into the bathroom as soon as I returned, and the whole bathroom had that distinct odor of rotten, nasty bile and all that was once inside that has been ejected out, poisonous landfill, disgusting human secretion...and I pulled up on the handle...and it all swirled down, leaving us with a clean and sparkling toilet. I filled a cup with water, and went to make everything better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Person in Need

Just encountered a girl, reeking of withdrawal. I spotted her from a mile away, ambling slowly towards me...looking like so many friends of mine, looking like myself. I recognized the smell right away, as she stumbled slightly towards me, muttering something incoherent about the weather. I recognized that desperate smell of need and addiction. I recognized the face in anguish, the pain and the need. And I wonder what she is doing on a college campus...is she holding it together that well? Or is her whole world about to crumble. Smells like the need has already taken over...and the streets are calling her name. I know....because I have been there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Short Story About Long Ago...

Once upon a time, many, many years ago…I was in love with a boy. Yeah, yeah, I know it seems crazy to some of you for me to be in love with a boy…but, I was. Like I said, it was many, many years ago.

Rob was my first love. And we all know about first loves, shrouded in mystery of all things new. Passionate, and undying. Blinding and bursting into flames. All the rest of the world seems to stop when you fall I love for the first time…and your perspective is forever changed.

Looking back on those innocent days of long ago, I see the world stop still, once more. And those memories are also stopped, locked in time, without the slight taint from the adult world I know now. Some of those memories, so pure and innocent. Those few stories that remain from those days live on, pure and unsoiled….an anecdote for the past. This is one of those stories.

This particular boy was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana…and unbeknownst to me at the time, a second love affair came to fruition in these days…the love of Louisiana. And that love for Louisiana would one day take me on a journey that would carry me farther from home than I ever imagined. But, back in those days, the love affair with Louisiana was still innocent to, as her rivers and greenery enchanted me, enveloping me in her stories and tales, and enthralling me by her mysterious demeanor. It all resides back in those early days in Baton Rouge….

Rob and I visited his family several times in Louisiana, travelling by van as the large deciduous trees of North Carolina faded into plants more tropical, bursting forth with bright greens and fruit. The land flattened, as we got further south, to where you could see for miles along the horizon. The moisture began to cling tightly to the air, and your skin bathed in the humidity.

Upon arriving in Baton Rouge, the elegant appearance of old slashed against my face. Trees overhanging the streets, and the rich, dark soil spotted the more barren areas. Rivers, rolling through the corners of the city with a levee to provide cover from the rest. I remember sitting quietly on that side of the levee outside of the city, just watching the river roll past. The river is much different here than it is in the busy, polluted city of New Orleans. It seems gentler, and here, in its natural element it is not such an anomaly.

Staying with parents always came with a few difficulties, even with parents as cool as the Pickens. We had to be respectful, after all…we really were just kids. So, we would sneak off to have a little time to ourselves.

One night, we left his parent’s house late. We both had on pajama bottoms and slippers. We drove around a little, as I sat on the ground of the van, between the captain’s chairs, petting and kissing my first love. Rob looked for a place to park the van, and eventually we took refuge behind an old gas station.

The station was still in business, although it was closed for the night. Rob worked there in high school, and he knew the lay of the land well. We climbed in to the back of the van.

Although, I cannot really remember much about the interior of the van that night, I do remember my view out the window. Out the window, the bright fluorescent light from an old, long streetlight glowed, humming and bright. Bright artificial light, spreading a glittery glow across the metal of the station. The fence lit up in the bright light of the night. A large white awning, hanging partly over the van, made me feel like we were pulling up for gas from the full service station, while we fucked in the back. Glittery light, and glittery love, along with sweat and touch and emotion, surrounded by tools and parts and explosive gasoline. Heavy breathing fogged up the windows, and the glow of the gas station faded, as I closed my eyes in ecstasy.

Afterword, we sat and talked, as our warm breath fogged up the nighttime windows even more. Eventually, we climbed into the front seat. This time I sat in my own captain’s chair, and my body hummed with both love and pleasure. Back in those days those two went hand in hand. It is sad sometimes to see how time has jaded me…

We pulled out of the gas station onto a main road, then turning down a small street. The next thing I know…blue lights are flashing behind us.

My heart pounding, as it always pounds at the sign of police. I watch the flashing lights in the mirror, splashing intermittent and blinding blue light throughout the van. Rob and I exchanged an anxious glance, as he reached for the registration. Thank goodness we brought our wallets, even though we were wearing pajamas.

“Get out of the car, please,” a voice bellowed from a microphone, seeming to echo into the night.

A sheepish look crossed Rob’s face, as his face flushed to red. He smiled slightly, shrugging his shoulders, and he opened the door. He was wearing these dark green bedroom slippers that looked like soft boots, booties, if you will. He had on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. Embarrassed, he walks towards the police.

I watched in the rear view mirror, taking note of how silly he looked standing on the side of the road with the interment blue lights illuminating his baby cheeks and upturned lips. I watched the cop gesture towards the foggy windows, and then he gestured towards me. The two of them walk towards the van, disappearing out of the view of the rear view mirror.

The cop’s face emerges in driver’s side window, shining the flashlight towards my eyes, adding another spray of white light to the already blue flashing atmosphere. He shines the light around in the can, and the light splashes past my bare legs.

“Ma’am, I am going to need to see your ID.”

My heart is racing, and I am too young to realize that this is really no big deal. I fumble around for my wallet, fearful of being in trouble for something. I was too nervous to realize he was probably just checking that I was over 18. My shaky hand reaches out to hand him the driver’s license. He looks it over and smiles.

He hands my license back, and then he motions for Rob to get back in the car. I guess he is going to spare him the embarrassment of his parent’s neighbors driving by to see him on the side of the road in his boxers. The cop then rests his arm on the side of the window, and begins his lecture.

The reason he pulled us over was because we were pulling out of a gas station that has been closed for hours. He was worried we could have been robbing the place. Upon seeing the foggy windows, his whole perspective of the issue became clear to him. He laughed, off handedly commented about our driving around with the fogged up windows. He pointed his finger at us, as if he were lecturing a couple of toddlers about sharing their toys.

We pulled away, laughing as we swore to be more careful about where we parked.

The Addict, "Poor, poor soul."

We were given an assignment to read an article about opium trade in Afghanistan in my Journalism class last week. My professor showed some pictures that accompanied the article, and there was one picture of a man, staring out from a darkened building. My professor said, "Oh, and this guy, he is a heroin addict, poor, poor soul. Well, I am sure you can tell, just look at him."

And I did not see anything about this man that would identify him as an addict. No track marks in the picture. He had on a collared shirt for god sakes! And he looked clean cut. There was NOTHING that would identify that man as a heroin addict. (The poor, poor soul.)

And then I asked myself....well, what does a heroin addict look like anyway? And I thought of all the addicts I have known, and they all look very different. Some are fat, and some are skinny. Some are battered and bruised, and some hold down regular jobs wearing a suit. Some are old, and others are young. Some are dirty and homeless, while others live in a mansion on the hill. Some are men, and others are women. Some have children, while others have no one. Anyone can be a heroin addict.

It just illustrates the stereotypes I will always face, as an addict. The stigma will always be attached to heroin addiction.