Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Morning After

I noticed him from a 1/2 a block away. I was in my own world, to say the least, but he caught my attention. I noticed a small figure rocking back and forth. I wasn't sure who it was at first. These alleys drew a cast of characters. Because they were a few streets away from both the male hustler bars and the corners were females sold there services, anyone could turn up near my encampment. These people were transient. They came and went. Or I should say they came, they got paid, and they left. People like myself, we were the ones who were left holding the world on our shoulders.

I lived here. I didn't not live in San Francisco. I did not live in the Tenderloin. I did not live- I existed. I was here on the fringe of human activity. I could scurry away like a rat when I was approached. I wasn't good enough to exist in the world of normal people. I found a place in Fern alley. It was close to a liquor store, a gas station where I could use the bathroom and a movie theater. It was within 100 yards of where I laid my head, if I actually decided to sleep. There was a constant trickle of dates moving past me on their way to lose themselves in a dark room. My life played out with the ferocity beyond anything they could see up on the screen.

As I got closer, I noticed the familiar face. He was small for a male. I couldn't really call him a man. It seems out of place. We were so young then. He was 5'8" and slight in build. Heroin didn't help his appearance. his skin looked almost translucent in the noon sun. He was rocking back and forth on my blankets. This wasn't unusual. As a resourceful junkie, I would charge people who did not have the time to make it back to their apartments to fix. For a healthy cotton, you could use my space. For $5, you could get a few syringes. If you got me high, all of this could be yours AND I would watch for the police. Before judging- Like hey didn't you get all that shit for free- I would stop people dead in their dope sick tracks.

"If that is the way you feel bro" I told them "go find another place."

"But...But...But..." they would stutter.

I would sit my ass right in the middle of my blankets and not budge. A shopping cart make for an A-MA-ZING cover most of the the type. It was a mobile shooting gallery on wheels. Just pay my price of admission.

My little friend was rocking back and forth on my blankets.

"I couldn't find the outfits", he told me. His hands were shaking.

I knew something was wrong then. I always kept a bundle of new syringes in a black lunchbox under my sweatshirt at the bottom part of my shopping cart. I would sleep with them under my head. People were sick here. They would use your syringe and put the cap back on like nothing had happened. More than once, I had been sold a dirty syringe when I was told it was a new one. The person would use a match head to burn the cap back on. The only way to tell would be the fact that there would be some condensation in the section where the plunger hid under the needle. Dirty skank ass dope fiends selling used syringes. Was nothing fucking sacred?

I grabbed my kit "Let me help you Ricky," I told him. Ricky had come here from the East Coast. He was forced out of his house because he was gay. I am not sure how he ended up here. I only knew he was one of the only trustworthy junkies I ever came across in this world.

Ricky rocked back and forth as he tried to get out the dope. The amount of drugs I have seen him do was completely insane. His habit was only matched by his ability to pull in money. For some reason, the dates loved him. That fresh face must have done it. He said he was 19 but he looked 14. The men who came to this world loved someone like that. They liked to find someone young to violate.

As I watched him prep his wares, I noticed something different. "Where did you go last night?" I asked.

He started rocking even harder. "I went to L.A.'s house last night," he told me. He pulled the lace out of his boot. "He told me he was going to give me some money for dope if I did some speed with him."

I assume he got his shot. I was busy looking for cops. He tapped my leg.

"That was the last thing I remember", he told me in a gravely voice. He pointed towards the cooker.

"There," he told me "I left you something."

I was grateful. I was sick. He left me just what I needed.

"Can I sit here with you for a little while Trace?" he asked me. He was in no condition to go anywhere. I saw him curl up inside of himself. He went to a place where things were safe. He went to a place where he was surrounded by the world yet he was totally alone. He was in a place where there was no pain.

I wanted to join him. I waited a few minutes. I sat down next to him. We didn't have to talk. I already knew what happened to him. Someone got a 16th of speed for finding Ricky. L.A. was a speed dealer who liked to rape "boys" as he called them. They started out willing. He would give them so much speed the "boys" would be out of their minds with the legs and everything else in the air. L.A. was HIV positive with not a condom in sight. I had never been to his place but I knew what happened there. At the end of the night, he had handed Ricky $100 to make it seem like it had never happened. It wasn't rape if he paid them. If he paid them, they were to blame.

I wasn't sure I wanted to take his drugs. He would need them later, to try to forget. Unfortunately, we lived in a city full of people like L.A. I needed this drugs to forget my own rapes.

I did my shot and sat next to Ricky. We both nodded out in the sun. I sat there next to him. We didn't need to talk. We had heroin. In the end, that was all that mattered.

This is based on a real person and a real incident, not a composite of different people. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I can pretend

He tossed the uncapped syringe at me, narrowly missing the side table. I eagerly grabbed my share of the drugs. I made a mental note to myself- yell at him later- as I started to wrap the rubber tie around my thigh. I was already naked from the waist down. Sometimes, I could find a vein right next to my snatch. My skin tight boxer shorts got in the way. I wore leggings under boxer shorts because I felt like it made me less rapeable. In this lifestyle, any female was seen as a whore with little ability to say no. I figured if I passed out, the perpetrator would have to make some serious effort to cut off my underclothes.

"I took 50 and I gave you 30", he told me. As if this was okay somehow, because he told me. Offense number two.

I wiped off my vein with an alcohol swab. I am not sure why I bother anymore. It seems like every month I am getting another fucking abscess. This shitty tar heroin. Cut with shoe polish, baby laxatives, and coffee. It smells like Folgers instant coffee in my cooker "the best part of waking chivah with this cuuuuttt." I would sing this like the Folgers jingle from the commercial. I had to have a sense of humor about my shitty circumstances.

I finally stab the barbed rig into my skin. I haven't gotten to the exchange in a few days. I am using up 10 to 20 syringes every single day trying to find one usable spot. I hate this fucking guy. I hate how it takes him two fucking seconds. I hate the fact that he thinks he needs more than me. He is so full of shit. He doesn't realize I already got hooked up by the people I copped for earlier. That is what took so long. If he wasn't so busy smoking a rock, he would have noticed I wasn't sick. If you are down to $10 and you are dopesick, WHY BUY CRACK? This makes zero sense. ZERO.

I feel the warmth come over me for a moment then the moment is gone. I look over at him. He is starting to suck his own dick. Not literally. he wouldn't bother to suck it anyway. It never gets hard. He might let someone else suck it if he needed the money. He says no but he gay dude upstairs tells me otherwise. Whatever. The difference between a straight guy and a gay one is a half gram.

"Honeyyyyyyyyy....." he tells me with that gravely voice "Come cuddle with me."

This fucking guy. We were up all night fighting over what we were going to do with "our" money in the morning. He meant my fucking money but to him, it is ours. Fighting over drugs we didn't have. I got tired of waiting so I scoured the open air market for people who were too scared to approach the dealers. Some out of towners got me high plus the dealer gave me a bag for the customers. I got that bag shoved in the last place he would look- next to my tits. God knows the last time he grabbed them.

I am tired. Tired of this fucking life. Tired of this "relationship". Is this the best I can do? I curl up next to him. I put my head on his skeletal shoulder blades. For a second, I can lay on the bed. I can pretend he really loves me. I can pretend we will kick dope some day. I can pretend I will leave this life behind one day.

What is that smell? He burnt my hair with his cigarette. Ugh. Fuck my life.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This was my life

"Shhhhh. Shhhhhhh!!!" he tells me. "You hear that? They are out there."
Oh my, I think to myself. This is why you should never EVER get a date some crack.
"There is nothing out there" I tell him.
I see the sweat start beading up on his forehead. He starts to unbutton his shirt as he moves towards the window.
He hisses "turn out the lights!"
I am not turning out the fucking lights. I know this for a fact. This is my room. I am not turning of the lights and getting stuck with this dude. He is pretty big but I can take him if necessary. I keep a knife under my pillow. There is also a broken pool cue under my bed. In reality, I just need to holler out the window. My room is just below my homey. He is up there selling speed. He would run down in an instant if he isn't up there tweaking and freaking with some delicate flower that hit her prime about ten years back.

This dude, Ali, he is full on paranoid now. He starts stroking his dick through his pants as he looks through the window. My friend suggested I hang out with this man. He works at some kind of important job during the week. Then, on the weekends, he likes to spend hundreds of dollars on drugs and company. The last time I hung out with him was equally fucked up.

"First, I eat your pussy," he told me. "Then I smoke the crack." Ha. that didn't happen. He never got off the floor in the bathroom. He just handed me money to leave. I think he wanted someone to keep him from digging at the carpet or tearing up his face. I just wanted him to buy me some heroin. I was willing to hang out. This was getting ridiculous.

"Ali," I told him "Don't start this shit again."

He grabbed for me in a way he thought was playful. I pulled his hand off my upper arm.

"Ali," told him again "I need some heroin. You can hang out here but I need heroin. I can get it downstairs."

He was now fully sweating  from his forehead to the back of his hairy hands. It was simply amazing. He was like a crackhead wookie in a polo shirt. I am not sure what was in that pipe but it was cold outside and this man was sweating like there was some fire in the devils dick.

"If I give you $20, will you get me some water?" he asked as he returned to his spot at the curtain. "And some cigarettes." Now he was asking for too much. I needed at least $18. I would get him some single cigarettes from the liquor store before they closed.

 He reached in his pocket. He handed me a wad of crumpled singles, a condom, some tokens from the dirty bookstore, matches, and two twenties stuck together. BINGO. Just what I needed.

I slipped on my flip flops. I bolted out the door to get my fix. That was the last time I saw Ali. By the time I got my dope, hit up at the dopeman's house, got his cigarettes, his water, and his change a few hours had passed. When I came back to my room, the door was wide open. The window was wide open as well. I guess that crack had made the walls close in on him. He must have wandered out among the other creatures of the night never to be seen again.

I always wondered what happened to people like him. the ones who came as visitors but never became residents of the hell that overtook my daily life. The truth was I needed Ali, or someone just like him every single day to support my habit. I needed to have a crack pipe, a speed pipe, syringes, and all the connections. I needed to know all the hookers, the hustlers, the protectors, and how to avoid the police when a person was driving their wife's car. I was a creature of opportunity. I was a parasite and a host at the same time. This was my life.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May all my dirt stain you- guest post from France

May all my dirt stain you soon
A few lines of dope for you to know.... Does it worth It? I don’t think so.
But I need them to think,
Coz they make me speak...

And I want you to know Coz you make me sick.
I ve been a prostitute, my mistake an escort girl,
A precious classy type one but I’m still a whore
Made of your blood & sharing the same last name on our mail

 Also making true your dream of a five stars hotel lifestyle
I’ve been a drug dealer, a cocaïne Hustler,
Carrying my stuff around in Paris by Night in my underwear,
I didn’t know the cold, couldn’t remember the pain,
Filling up my fancy bra with Sir Money and Brothers Dollars
To buy myself the same designer bag as yours,
So, Auntie, I’ll never be ashamed of my non possessions again.

When I was daddy’s little girl, doing it all well,
For the sake of your love, I even didn’t get a phone call, I fought most of my life, penniless, studying hard
I ve cried each night out of 15 years. Noone cared. 

Praying for my dad to come back & take me home 
Rage & Despair fed me while you never came...
A few lines of dope for you to know.... 
Does it worth It? I don’t think so.
But I need them to think,
Coz they make me speak...

And I want you to know Coz you make me sick.
I’ve been a junkie, a real one, involving needles
Holes in the arms, scars all over the body, empty Eyes.
And at the end of my spoon, next to my last fix available,
I often feel the same while the flesh is pierced by the syringe, It all comes clear.

 I weep like a poor little thing,
So Daddy doesn’t love me, they all never did. They never will.

I’ve always been bisexual, For as long as I remember
My first crushes were for classmates, I was their hidden Lover Silencious as well... 

Then a boyfriend turned me into swapping
And I’ve tried to fuck as many women as did my father, cheating
On us. Sexually, I m into girls. My Love has no Gender,
At least I m all about Love, while your sons feel like they had no mother.

When I was the pride of mummy, & teachers,
They named me the queen of Competitive Exams.
I’ve also been a bit of a beauty pageant.

 I won prices & awards But none of my people never came to applause...
So what’s the point of a success
When around there’s none
To tell you well done.
It Made emptiness
So real I couldn’t bounce again.
I met my delusions so plain...
It was no option
To go on....

A few lines of dope for you to know.... Does it worth It? I don’t know.
But I need them to think,
Coz they make me speak...

And I want you to know Coz you make me sick.
Now I’m proud & I’m strong, I’m a waste & I am a mess & I’m all yours !
This is my revenge.

And I did all that shitty Money by my own, Since this is all that matters..
& If I’m out of cash tomorrow
I’ll carry on with one of these businesses

 But this will be my last dance
As you never let me a chance...
I ended up deciding to live in peace
And without hate nor rage I m pissed Destructing myself for a bit of cash
So it won’t be long before I turn into ashes...

I ll change a bit of my pain against your shame I wish all my dirt to stain
You soon so you’ll know
All the truth about So...`

E-S A-S 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Voice That Only I Hear

This morning, I was riding the train. Normally, when I ride the train I am completely immersed in scrolling the internet. I am looking for the the next wave of drama in the world to distract me from my emotions. As long as I tune out the rest of humanity, I don't have to feel anything. As I was zoning out, my zombie status was interrupted by a voice. I didn't just hear a voice. I felt this voice. I felt a deep, male voice. It was like it was reverberating through my mind. I looked around the train. I thought I was losing my fucking mind. I have heard voices before fro all my meth use. For a moment, I was convinced it was a flashback for a few seconds.

Finally, I looked in front of me. There was a young man standing directly in front of me but I would have completely overlooked him. He had a backpack on. He was tall, with clean clothes, and a scruffy beard. At first, I thought he was signing along to music. When I looked with desperate intent, I saw he was singing with no music. He had this beautiful voice inside of him. He was singing in this deep bass voice on the train that cut into my morning. I felt this voice. I heard him.

He got off the train when I noticed no one around him had heard him. I felt sad for them. They really missed out on something special.

People ask me why I work with "junkies". My response is that there is so much beauty inside everyone. The drugs may or may not mask that. Having a person who connects with you is so important. Harm reduction is about having someone see the humanity within you. We care about someone in a time when they may not have the ability to care about themselves.

I assume that because I used to be a heavy user, there are times when there is a voice inside someone that only I hear. It may be a voice that someone else has forgotten. It might be that the person has lost their ability to speak for themselves. I am not sure why I am so drawn to people living in hiding. We need to live our life outside of the shadows. We need to be okay with who we are.

No matter what choices you make in life, find the beauty in the world around you. take time to listen to another person. That connection, that spark of life, it is what drives our humanity.

Remember that someone out there wants to hear your voice. 

Love Tracey. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vital Signs

"We are here to take you pulse Miss Helton" the nurse told me.
"Do they ever let you sleep in this fucking hospital?" I asked as I put out my arm.
 "Can you provide me with your date of birth?'
I pointed to my wrist "It is right on my wristband 5/29/1970."
The nurse smiled at me with her best fake smile as she tried to take my blood pressure.
"When will I get some more morphine?" I asked.
"I am not sure," she told me "Are you in pain?'

Yes. Yes. Yes. I am in fucking pain. I want to get the fuck out of here. There is one small problem- I am hooked up to all these tubes. I have a tube letting fluids in and a tube letting fluids out. I don't remember exactly what caused the abscess. I sort of remember jamming a syringe into my arm of unfiltered tar heroin few times when I was sick. I developed two infections close together to the point the doctors felt it was necessary to slice me open five inches long.

Yesterday, when they pulled off the bandage to change the dressing, I started to cry. I really did. I felt this unfamiliar feeling. There was this hot wetness streaming down my face. I remember taking the air and setting it out the window of the passenger side of my friends' car. I loved the way the wind felt against it as we drove around. She had no air conditioning in there. I liked to think my hair looked better blowing in the breeze as I imagined myself escaping Ohio for somewhere else. Now, my arm was sliced open. The red, raw scar looked like a massive cavern of puss and hamburger. My tattoo was sliced down the middle. I felt myself crying. I almost lost my arm but I am crying over my god damned tattoo. These fucking medical residents here could have done better, I tell myself as I sink into my bed.

At least, I won't be kicking this time. I am not just in any hospital. I am in jail. When they arrested me, I didn't even make it through medical triage. I have four abscesses. One in my thigh. I left the bandage on for a month. It stank so bad, the police argued about letting me go. Neither one of them wanted to take me to the hospital. I had one in my wrist. That one was the size of a golf ball. I guess I didn't notice. Then I had tthe twin towers in my upper arm.

My mother said that jail saved me this time. Maybe it did. When you don't care about your life, it becomes hard to fear death. All I care about is my next dose of morphine and getting out of here.