union square

hotels and tourists
trolleyspotting,
a girl alone
trackmarking,
smiles.
you’re so handsome,
she says.
lonely
worn
soft
black skin
still
beautiful
sad, saucer eyes
waiting to be judged
for those scars,
the tracks
the copper moons
she knows I see
as she ripples on the wave of tourists
who came to look for something
once beautiful,
only to walk right past it.
So I took her,
my beautiful shipwreck
in placid seas of pretty tourists
and I led her away.
you’re so handsome,
she said.
I left her
at her salvation army,
walked away
past the homeless shelters,
around the corner,
up a block,
past a parked ferrari,
past the tourists
going nowhere.

unionsquare

no more poetry

circulatory subway map_image_531502111843035769745

hands on my weapon
dirty AWOL veterans
making deals with thieves

wait for violence
feel spontaneous
excitement
enjoy it
while it lasts.

when the knives flash
it becomes pointless.
dull.

go home, have fun
until someone gets hurt.
even better,
hurt harder.
we’re in a lull.

plan for action
fall asleep
in bliss or boredom
feel sorry
for nothing.

hard green eyes
fragile subway maps.
sunlit daydreams.
bound and beautiful.
tied to something, someone, somewhere.
it’s not enough to be alive.
i agree. so,

no more poetry
we’re cynical together
we shot up our dreams

Junk Romance #4: Nicole

“A mild degree of junk sickness always brought me the magic of childhood. ‘It never fails,’ I thought. ‘Just like a shot. I wonder if all junkies score for this wonderful stuff.’” 
-William S. Burroughs

True junk romance is to be totally alone, no matter whose eyes stare back at you with desire.

Relapse brings back the dreams. Withdrawal brings back the yearning. I can feel her calling, her shiver down my spine. We’re addicted to the withdrawal just as much as the high. The relapse makes the agony of her withdrawal worth every second.

In junk dreamtime, she teases me with visions of the ones I loved enough to pose a threat to her. I fell in love with her at first touch. She’s jealous because I fell in love with you at first sight.

I can see your brown eyes staring into mine in that fluorescent room with grey carpet and old computers humming to the drone of a lecture by a woman with an ironic obsession for Robert Carlyle. She can put me there with you right now, years ago, forever, some day soon. Beautiful with your short brown hair and olive skin, your elvish smile, your eyes never too coy to draw away from my gaze. Do you still exist? Will you ever? Junk makes time travelers of us all and gives us scattered dreams where we had lives as smooth as ravens’ claws.

I used to believe in love at first sight until I met her. She taunts me with your ghost and I’ve lost everything but your eyes. Dark eyes that stare into my empty soul. You’ll never exist again at seventeen, in this moment or in my collapsing future. And she’ll never let me go. I’ll only have your eyes watching me from the past, a cruel gift from her as she waits around the corner and in the dark alleys I’m drawn toward as I’m pulled away from you.

brown_eyes

Heroin: Art and Culture’s Last Taboo

Featured

diogenes-1860

These are the best journalistic pieces I’ve ever read/listened to that delve into the history of junk philosophy. The author doesn’t seem to have ever been a heroin addict, which is wonderful. What joy, to see our little tribe of philosophers in extremis considered on its merits by the outside world! Andrew Hussey deserves a round of slow, lethargic applause.

The Article: Heroin: Art and Culture’s Last Taboo — by Andrew Hussey, The Observer

The Radio Version, which is even better: BBC Radio 4: Heroin, by Andrew Hussey — on Art, Creativity and Heroin 

The drug did not give Baudelaire visions or hallucinations, even if he had wished for them; instead, it threw him into a profound meditation which detached him from the world and made him understand it more clearly…

Heroin users don’t need to do anything or go anywhere: they just are.

This above all is what makes the heroin user a threat to a society built on speed and movement. Heroin, in contrast, makes the individual deeply introspective. Beyond the “dirty junkie” cliches and the fear of disease, one of the reasons why heroin is still taboo is that it wipes away the sense of responsibility to the collective, to the herd. This is why heroin users are usually characterised as self-destructive narcissists who don’t really deserve to survive their habits.

But it is clear that artists who are heroin users have a clearly developed sense of negativity in relation to society, and that has its own aesthetic. This indeed is the true art of heroin – to refuse life, to refuse society; terrifyingly, in every absolute sense: to just say “no”.

Andrew-Hussey-003

Professor Andrew Hussey: dean of the University of London Institute in Paris

 

Shakespeare on Heroin

Featured

Newly reformulated and cut with iambic pentameter.

Relapse Day 7: Bad Scene, Act I

To use or not to use, that is the question—
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The stabs and shots of outrageous misfortune
Or tie up Veins against a sea of troubles
And by injection, end them? To dream, to sleep—
Ever more; and with a shot, put to end
This Heartache, these thousand unnatural shocks
Our brains are heir to? ‘Tis a preparation
Devoutly taken. To walk the world asleep…
To sleep, perchance to Wake! Aye, there’s the rub,
For on our heroin, what life may come,
While we flee in disdain this mortal coil,
Must give us pause, despite all the Thoughts
That make Absurdity of waking life
For who would bear the stripes and bars of time,
The prosecutor’s wrong, the social scorn,
The pangs of junky love, the Law’s decay,
The insolence of officers, all spurns
The world merits but we are forced to take
While we ourselves might our quietus make
With a bare syringe. Who would these troubles bear,
To grieve and sweat under a broken life,
But that the dread of losing our escape,
From sobriety, that unsought country
Travelers avoid return to, slows our Time,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than withdraw to a world we care not for.
Thus Suffering does make Junkies of us all,
And thus the golden rays of opium
Are sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Dreams,
While enterprises of great pitch and moment,
Are tossed by Time as currents turn awry,
And we yield to Inaction.

Original free verse:

To use or not to use, that is the question—
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The pains and miseries of outrageous misfortune
Or tie up Veins against a sea of troubles
And by injecting, end them? To dream, to sleep—
Forevermore; and by a shot, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand unnatural shocks
Our brains are heir to? ‘Tis a preparation
Devoutly to be taken. To walk the world, asleep…
To sleep, perchance to Wake! Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of heroin, what life may come,
When we have shuffled away to deny this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Absurdity of so painful a waking life
For who would bear the stripes and bars of time,
The prosecutor’s wrong, the society’s scorn,
The pangs of junky love, the Law’s decay,
The insolence of officers, and the spurns
That society merits yet we are forced to take
While we ourselves might our quietus make
With a bare syringe. Who would these troubles bear,
To grieve and sweat under a broken life,
But that the dread of losing something in our escape,
From an unsought country, whose sobriety
No traveler wishes to return to, collapses the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than withdraw to others that we care not for.
Thus Suffering does make junkies of us all,
And thus the golden rays of opium
Are sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
While enterprises of great pitch and moment,
Are lost to time and turn awry,
And we lose ourselves to inaction.

Of Ragamuffins and Dens: State Legislation, Municipal Enforcement, and Opium Smoking

Social class has as much to do with effective drug demonization as race. This great article doesn’t rewrite the history of anti-Chinese racism in the prohibition of opium, but the class divide caused by criminalization and the speed of the cultural shift from upper class but bohemian acceptability to disgust, classism, and racial segregation of drug use is breathtaking. You see the same pattern throughout the general history of drug prohibition in the 19th and 20th century, with different drugs and in various societies.

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society

On May 26, 1888, the Boston Daily Globe reported the death of a young Harvard student named Frank Mills. The front page headline read: “Fatal Opium.” According to the story, having decided that life at Harvard would not be complete without the experience, Mills and three fellow students had ventured into Boston with the hopes of securing some opium. Following suggestions from their classmates the foursome sought out a man known as Nicholas Gentleman who sold opium in the South End. The boys had “refused to go to an opium joint,” as they feared a police raid, but told Gentleman if he would come to Harvard they would “make things all right for him.” He readily agreed after several assurances that Mills was “an old hand at smoking.” That evening Mills continued to claim he was a frequent smoker leading Gentleman to oblige his numerous requests for another pipe. Mills…

View original post 1,380 more words

Who Killed Kurt Cobain? Vultures: Courtney Love explains

Ludovico

In 1995, Courtney Love, in a questionable but more honest interview than most, talked about the immediate reason Kurt killed himself: being “ganged up upon” by selfish, greedy jerks who were supposed to be his friends. Courtney and the vultures that surrounded him staged a “tough love” drug intervention. Any idiot could have told them it would backfire. But they didn’t do it for him. They were trying to shove their cash cow toward the bullpen. He was supposed to be touring, he was cancelling left and right, and millions of dollars were at stake over Lollapalooza alone. And here we have a guy who is not only on smack, he wants to sneak off and record Lead Belly covers. He doesn’t want to be a pop star and make us money. That is unacceptable.

It’s a rare, vintage moment of honesty among a crowd that never wants to talk about why Kurt killed himself, or dispel the myth that fame alone did him in. As if fame is some evil goddess. Even in the same interview, Courtney starts to veer toward that official line. Actually, the twisted, greedy pigs around Kurt and in the music industry are the ones who did him in.

These prohibition-minded, temperance movement style drug and alcohol interventions kill people. At best, they can do serious damage. If the management and money men had just let Kurt do what he wanted with his music, since his decisions are what made them all rich in the first place, and if they’d just put Kurt on methadone James Taylor style, maybe he’d be alive today. Maybe not. Who can say? But in the 1990s, tough love interventions were all the rage. Actually, they’re still going on. Even the disgusting A&E show Intervention ran until 2013: 193 episodes, 13 seasons of exploitation and misery.

Mark Goheen, an addiction counselor, put it plainly: “These interventions backfire because it reinforces the idea that [kids’] parents are assholes.” Great way to help some one, right? Be a total prick to them when they’re suffering.

Remember kids, drugs are bad for you, but it’s prohibition that kills.

at 8m18s

Barbara Walters: Could you have stopped it?

Courtney Love: Yes.

BW: Could you have stopped it permanently?

CL: No, but I could have been diligent…

BW: …Why do you think your husband killed himself?

CL: He was ganged up upon…

BW: …Do you feel his death is your fault?

CL: In this instance, yes.

BW: Because?

CL: Because I didn’t need to call for an intervention. I shouldn’t have called for an intervention. I just panicked.

BW: …Because you tried to get him off drugs…it’s your fault?

CL: He thought he was a waste of space. Yes. I told him he had dropped the baby. And I was mean about it… I told him on the phone, ‘you know, you dropped the baby the other day.’ When he was in rehab. You dropped the baby. He was like ‘what!?’ I’m like, ‘you dropped the baby, you dropped Frances on her head.’ She was wearing a big hooded coat, he did not hurt her. And I did not need to tell him that.

BW: And you think that’s why he did it?

CL: I think that’s a major reason…I do, I think that’s a major reason alright? And also, he felt like a waste of space, and a sell out and he’d made everything too huge and it was his fault that everything was too huge. Do you understand what I mean? I mean it came like a Mack truck. First, it was magical. It was so weird. It was surreal and magic in the air. Everybody my age remembers that period when his band got big. And then huge, and then the grown ups knew and then the boomers knew… and he was too famous.

aim

heroin raindrops

heroinraindropsCranes fly overhead
Reflected by glass and steel
Turning dreams to dust

Sweet blades of wet grass
Soft as the silk of her hair
Tremble in the rain

Red sunset beauty
Ponds ripple, blue light scatters
All things fade in time

How to lose your life
Without even trying to
You just follow me

First I hesitate
Plunge the needle in my vein
Yes, the fix is in

What’s the speed of smack?
Misery to ecstasy
In seven seconds

Every junky’s like:
Never mind the setting sun,
We’re supernovas.

all dead heroes

statueweepingspiders_IMGorig

I walk with dead heroes in a sea of broken statues, of ancient gods with stoic faces that weep spiders as they stare into the sun. We shiver in the heat, drift like ghosts through city streets, scattering the happiest of crowds. People roll away from us like waves do from the shore, our desperation sensed by those desperate to ignore.

I live with dead heroes who speak to me in murmurs, across the veins of dry rivers that once swelled in the sun. Now I float where your river takes me. I sleep where your shadows make me. My dry rivers have long since vanished into darkness where they died weeping crimson tears. I am an escape artist. My heart whispers of escapades, but my pockets are full of prisons and my stomach is sick with keys. So I spend my nights alone with you and all my dead heroes in these quiet, cluttered rooms.

Tonight, I slip past sleeping statues, I abandon all dead heroes. I find peace on crowded city streets with youthful gods at play, who in dance and drink live to die another day. But my dead heroes always find me, and trace their lines upon my arms. These people flow around me like ripples on a pond, my presence sensed but my life soon to be foregone.