Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Witness

" I haven't seen you for a long time."
As I approach the homeless encampment, I see all the familiar signs. There are clothes strewn about the ground. There are wrappers from sweet treats eating in haste and discarded by the user. There are cardboard boxes folded flat. There are old couch cushions. This is clearly an area where someone has set up house.
" I haven't seen you in years!" I hastily reply as I dart around the corner.
I am attempting to catch the next train out of the shit hole that I use to call my home. I need to get home before the tofurky starts to thaw that i have placed in my back pack. Tofurky- a "roast" made out of meat substitutes is a tradition for me. Now that both my parents are gone, I have started to create my own legacy for my children to grasp on to long after I have left the Earth.

I recognized the face. The face was that of an older black man. His eyes have glazed over with time, almost a greyish color. The bags under his eyes have been a prominent feature in the twenty or so years I have seen this man. There are places and moments in our lives that remind us of how much we have changed- positively or negatively- since last had a witness. This man, in his peacoat and his beanie cap, has been the witness to many moments in my life.

When I first came to San Francisco, I was a naive child in what I thought was an adult body. I quickly learned that my use of opiates required a level of dedication that keep me busy day and night. When I wasn't nodding in a doorway, I was out in the street searching for the ways and means to get drugs. I would walk past this man. I did not pay him any attention because he had nothing to offer me. I needed chivah. I needed money. I needed you to get me well. I was a dramatic young addict on the search for a high.

I passed by this man a few years later. I was tweaking my brains out. I had seen him a million times or at least a thousand or maybe I saw him or maybe it was the police fuck. I don't fucking know. Stop asking me questions. Anyways. yeah. About that. I saw the fucking guy. I think I did see him. Who?.. Fuck.

I passed by this man again. Chivah, Chivah, Chivah. Bring me a few clients and I will kick you down bro. You know that I am selling now, homey. No, I don't have a dollar. I got to put all this money into the re-up. The quicker you can bring me a few people, the quicker I can help you okay?

The next time I saw him, things had changed dramatically for me. I was living in a sober living house in the Tenderloin. I lived RIGHT were I used only six months prior to moving into my new place. As the crack heads and the dope heads and the families shuffle by, I realize I need to make a decision. I am standing with my back to the wall. I have on my hooded sweatshirt, my Ben Davis pants and shirt. My hat is turned backwards and I am ready for business. Am I selling? No. I need to head to aftercare.This is all a conversation in my mind. Truly, no one gives two fucks out here if I make it or if I use today. I pass by the man. He is in the doorway. I have never seen him use drugs. He always smiles at me.

I moved away from the Tenderloin. I would see him from time to time for my jobs. I would give him my left over food or buy him something when I could do it. He would always be grateful for someone that stopped and acknowledged his face. I remember what that was like to have someone see me as i stop by my shopping cart. For a moment, I was more than a homeless junkie. I was a person.

I saw him today. I guess he set up camp in the Mission. He also left behind the Tenderloin. I suppose he is in the sixties now. The streets are rough and people are ruthless in the area we both called home. He had another young girl sitting with him. She had her hat on backwards. She was sitting half way in the crosswalk. Obviously, this is her area. She can have this place. I am fucking done with all this shit sweetie. You can have it.

He never asks me for a dollar. He has never asked me for drugs. He has just witnessed the past twenty years of my life and he is still happy to see me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Help support my work

Buy my PDF for the holidays or kick down a few dollars to junkies in need. My Paypal is traceyh415@gmail.com. My email is the same. I send care packages to users that have no access to clean supplies. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The End of My Using

Holes in my skin,
My eyes are pinned,
Fell into a hole,
I have no control.

The thing I love is killing me,
I'm escaping from reality,
I just want to get high,
I can't remember why.

My money left with all my friends,
I sit alone, blood on my skin,
The pinprick is now a festering sore,
Leave me- rotting to my core.

If I knew something different I would do it.
So I am left with fuck it.
I deceive myself and love my lies
Tears of happiness are in my eyes.

One day I will stop this madness.
One day I will end my sadness.
But today is not that day,
So go the fuck away.
Now go the fuck away.

This is a person sleeping on the concrete

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dealing with the Holiday Blues

Holidays are just different when you are a drug addict. Every day is so unpredictable, let alone a day when dealers decide they need to spend time with their families First, there is the whole "how many people am I going to have to hide my using from?" I think in many families, there is that one family member who could potentially "out" you as an addict. Do you bring drugs with you? How long will you be staying? Is traveling involved in this deal. So many elements to ponder.

Secondly, there is the opportunity for a parent or sibling to have WAY too much to drink and decide to make your using a subject of meal time conversation. "well this must be better than the meals you had in jail" or "before you wrecked your car" or "what happened to that last girl you were seeing" and finally "if you ever had any money". An addict already has low self esteem. Therefore, these digs provide more ammunition for me to dig in my arm. The Holiday Season is always a time to reflect on the fact that I was the scumbag who couldn't get it together and broke my mother's heart year after year.

Then, there is the issue of the food. Will I be too high to eat? Am I too sick to eat? Fuck I quit eating meat when I decided to stop using drugs. UGH. Eating in front of other people kind of sucks. I like to inhale my food in two minutes. Unless, I am alone, then I like to stuff my face with unhealthy stuff but that is another post.

The weather sucks around this time of year. Nothing to kill a mood like rain and shame. Let's do a new holiday tradition. Let us embark on being kind to yourself. I, personally, am doing my part to spread information about harm reduction. When I get out of myself and do service for others, I get a brief reprieve from that feeling of dread that comes with remorse. I am going to do my best to save someone from infection, overdose, or despair. I hope you stay alive this winter by finding the strength to care more and use less.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I have to be me

I have these holes in my legs. I have these scars on my arms. I have this hole in my heart. I can not be you, I have to be me. 

I accept my imperfections. I do not need to be afraid of the different. I am unique and I have lived a life. I am wise beyond my years. 

Do not think that I am broken. Please accept that I have sinned. Kiss my tears and hold my bruises. I think it is time I let you in. 

Come inside. Who knows what you will find. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This song reminds me of you

Music can remind you of a time and a place in your life. When I hear certain songs, it seems as if I am transported to a different time and a place in my memory. There are some songs that make me FEEL a certain memory. I feel what I was feeling on that day.

As I moved from homeless junkie punk into mini van mom, I noticed music is hard for me to enjoy. So much of my using involved being in a closed space listening to the same 12 songs over and over, too fucked up to move. I would have a 40 oz in my hand with a trickle of blood on my wrist or dripping down my forearm. There were so many spots, it look like I had a skin disease. I was sleeping where I feel out and waking where I came to consciousness, where that was I had not control of after a blackout evening. I have lived in three different music studios as they were a safe place for a homeless person to catch a safe nights sleep and still have access to a bathroom. I think one of the intrinsic selling points of a mini van is that if things go wrong, I can always go live in there. Being off drugs is never a guarantee of much of anything except not having to fix every day. For me, that seems to be enough to make each day somewhere between bearable and enjoyable with the freedom a drugless life brings me.

I was driving along with my kids strapped tightly in their cars seats. I wondered to myself "How did I get to this place?" My son was grouchy all afternoon. There were a few screaming tantrums today. I was also embarrassed as he bared another children from entering the playhouse. Where did this self centered little bully come from? Ugh. I see myself. The stubborn little boy that has to be extracted from a situation rather than listen to reason. The low point in the afternoon was when he smashed his brother's newly acquired soccer trophy went he did not get something HIS way.

As I am driving back to the house, I try to find some kind of song to tune these kids out for a minute. We have worn scratches into the Sex Pistols CD we got for free from the public library. You have not seen cute until you have seen a three year old sing out "I want to be in Anarchy" then ask about fruit snacks. As I flip through the station, I hear the song "Dream On" By Aerosmith. I have heard that same song hundreds of times.

 I remember being little and listening to albums while people rolled joints on the back of album covers. My experiences from that time of my life are not so different than many other kids with the exception that drugs, alcohol or both seem to be in all them. I hated seeing adults under the influence. I hated the way they did funny things like show each other their private parts, demand to be hugged, or send me to my room. I hated how people would fall down or not be able to get out of bed. I hate how they SAID they were going to be right back but returned hours later with some invented story. I saw these things as a child and I hated them.

What do my children see? When they sit in their car seat and stare out the window, what are they thinking about me "STOP SINGING!" Apparently, my singing voice is not appealing to a four year old. He starts to kick my seat. "Stop mommy." Is my singing voice going to be the only thing that makes them embarrassed? What will happen when they find out there mother was a drug addict? What will happen when they find out their mother used to pull her pants down in doorways and shoot dope in her thighs? What will happen when they search the Internet at 13 or 14 and find these writings? Will they be proud of all the things i have accomplished or will they be upset that their mother is junkie whore.

I can not predict the future. I hope when they remember a certain song or a certain day, they will remember that their mother loves them. They will remember the days I held them while tears ran down their face. They will remember the nights they crawled in bed with me to comfort them after nightmares. They will think about the time I spent trying to remember the things they like, the kids they play with, and the animals they want to see at the zoo. I hope they will be forgiving of my transgressions and the way that I sing classic rock in the mini van on the ride home.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Some days

Some days I hate trying to write and everything I say seems to come out the wrong way. I am sensitive. I want you to like me. I want you to think I am special because I can turn a phrase. I get frozen with my insecurity. Understand my confusion when my tongue is tied for you. 

A Cast of Chemical Characters

There are different kinds of people in this world. Just as there is diversity in the world around us, so it logically follows there would be diversity in the addict habitat. Here are a few:

Captain save a bro:
This type of user refuses to admit he is addicted, yet constantly wants to sample some of your bag. He will arrive on the scene with money swearing up and down that he is not going to use. He has a job, a place to live and will occasionally let you stay there. Yet, the captain can only use at your place therefore you are happy to see him as he always has money.

Chronic illness Jill:
Jill does not have cancer, lupus, or any other diagnosable condition. No, Jill is ALWAYS sick yet will not have sex with you or anyone for drugs. Her general good looks enticing yet she only wants to cuddle after she has ingested copious amounts of YOUR drugs. If she ever has her own drugs, she certainly is not sharing with you. Between her over priced connect and constant whining, you would put her out if she was not so damn cute.

Scandalous Steve: You can not trust this motherfucker with a god damn thing yet he always has access to THE BEST drugs. Plus, he save you that one time from that overdose. Steve is a ride or die kind of junkie when he is holding but those fingers get sticky as he gets sicker.

Scripted Shelia- She is that older chic with the pain pills. She will give you a ride if you kick her down when her monthly runs out. And it always does.

Stepper Sam- Sam went to twelve step meetings once a few relapses back and likes to talk about recovery while you are high. He can quote all the literature and like to say things like "easy does it" while you are fixing your drugs.

Always Overdose Oscar- Get your narcan ready- Oscar is coming over. He likes to do WAAAY too much. When he wakes up under a table, he denies that he ever fell out. You have strongly considered taking the locks of the bathroom just in case.

Prison Paul- Prison Paul likes to get high and tell stories about the joint. He is an expert in both dropping a bottle for your PO and creating delicious entrees from ramen and cheetos. He never carries his own syringes for legal reasons.

Finally, there is your get high and hope to die dope fiend. Everyone enjoys talking shit about this person yet wants some of their drugs. Some work, some do not yet using is their full time job. They can explain how to extract the opiate as well as extracting the last dollar out of your pocket. They think in grams, stamps, books, bindles, and bundles. They are part doctor, nurse, chemist, criminal, counselor, and attorney.

I am just playing around here but if you find yourself....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not sure if punk is dead, but most of us are by Anonymous

When I train hopped, the easiest way to score- Look for a punk flyer, go to the show, meet new people, get connects, and hopefully find some young chick wanting to piss off her parents so we could crash for a while and use her sweet, sweet cash while we talked about what we'd steal when we left.

Funny enough, as a squatter who frankly stank like ass and looked like a leather peacock with studs, I only one time caught shit while walking in projects and ghettos. And even that one time was some punk kid with his boys telling me I had a hole in my pants (the knee was completely gone by that point). Other than that, always got treated like I belonged there.

I think the reason you don't see many is because alot of them are gone...I know I only have one friend from that time that is still alive and still living the life that I know of. One went back to nyc and got clean.

I watched them drop around me like flies. Tim, the 17 year old who didn't take methadone seriously...that was a sad funeral to be at. Barely knew the kid and played paul bearer. Made a post a few weeks back about losing another one. I can list a dozen names, as I am sure many here can. But the punk scene is all about live fast, die young. A lot of them treat it like a game. I did until I fucking died for three and a half minutes. And then I kicked, for the very first time. Was sober for a while after that. But my friends...they just kept on dying, like it was their fucking job (not that they would work a job, fuck the man!).

I think that is why I went all goth. Lots of sadness in my sober years. Plus t.s.o.l., the damned, and the misfits were some of my favorites bands so the switch was easy. Throw in some Christian Death, some joy division, then hit bauhaus and never look back. Plus I always loved that industrial shit. Damn I am rambling. Feeling much better huh?

I remember skanking on new years to Operation Ivy's "unity", after a fucking brawl that almost ended one guy's life. I remember watching a friend being beat to shit by police, while all I could do was scream for help, and nobody did a thing but watch and then to see the paramedics spend more time clearing the blood from the pavement than treating my friend. I remember riding in the back with my buddy that od'd and hearing the medics laugh at the tattoo on his stomach that said "warrior" and them saying, "he ain't much of a warrior any more", and the tears just flow as he is laying there dead. I remember spanky stepping off the corner drunk as fuck and watching as he got hit full speed by a car. Didn't even stop. So much blood. He died in my arms. Paulie's gf getting hit by a semi while we walked the interstate. He took the locked bracelet from her wrist. I still have it...

The junkie life is hard enough. For those of us who lived it on the streets, or in a squat in the frame of an old water bed with a girl you barely know, both naked and huddled under a blanket just to stay alive after drinking the bottle of thera-flu you stole, cause your bronchitis just may be pneumonia and this time the fever might kill you if the fluid don't. And you kiss that girl, just to feel something other than high or drunk or sick. Then you have to get up early to spange, and some of the girls sleep all day, cause they work all night, even when a fucking blizzard is going down. Guys always wanna party.

My point is, that life is hard. Hell, I only lived it for a few years. My boy germ who died a month or so ago, he was still moving, still squatting or getting a room for the night, still living fast. But he didn't die as young as he thought he would. And he left behind an ex wife, and a current wife, and a baby boy. The needle and the damage done, no?
You ask why we don't see more, I ask how we see any at all. Me and you, we're the sell outs, we gave in and gave up. But I say fuck all that. To paraphrase SLC Punk, I ain't selling out, I am buying in. Me and you are the lucky ones. I have earned all the grey in my beard. I am sure you have earned every grey hair you got. Junkie life is hard enough, junkie street punk life is a whole different thing.

And as a warning to any young people, punk or otherwise that read some of this shit and think, "train hopping sounds cool! See the country, get laid, get drugs!", just remember that there are gangs on the rails. And if you're on their box or they find you on their train, and you're not with someone who should be there, they cut your dick and balls off and throw you off the car. If you're a woman, you don't even wanna think about what happens. And don't even think about faking it. You need a tatt, or a handshake, or a code word. They are brutal as hell.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A happy life of low expectations

Right now the cat is sitting on my lap picking at his skin. He over grooms himself to the point that he leaves bald spots and scabs. I relate to my cat. I am abrasive like the tongue of a cat. I dig at myself with barbs of insecurity. I rub away my healthy exterior and dig until I reach the vulnerable places. When I reach my sore spot, I am left with an ugly spot on an otherwise beautiful person.

I have fifteen years in recovery. Fifteen years of declining the invitation to say fuck it all. I have to find daily ways to cope with disappointment. I have to deal with resentments. I deal with track marks that have turned into sink holes. I have abscess scars that look like the landscape of the moon. I have cellulite because I took up eating as a recreational activity. I have some fabulous tattoos, a wedding ring, some grey hairs, and some dark circles under my eyes. 

Am I happy with my life? Absolutely! Simple things make me happy in my daily life. I am not focused on the next hit. I am not worried about getting ripped off. I am not hiding from the police. I haven't ripped anyone off. I haven't compromised my life for a few hours of relief in the bottom of a spoon. 

How do I explain my happiness? I wake up in the morning, I wake up. I am not kicked awake by the police. I am not pulled awake by illness. I wake up next to someone who loves me. I get to eat food. I can pee in a bathroom that has toilet paper. I hear happy kids screaming "mommmmeeee!" They need me. I need them too. 

My life is pretty fucking boring. I get cereal and coffee. Well first I have to get my son. He likes to cuddle on my lap. He gives me hugs and snuggles while I trick him into eating healthy cereal. If I  eating it, he wants some of it. Some mornings, one kid is snuggled next to me while two sit on my lap. 

I go off to my job. People respect me there. I get to help people fulfill their dreams. I help people get decent jobs. I get paid well to do a job that I makes me feel like a rock star. 

I come home to animals jumping all over me. It is fairly quiet before the kids come home. I sit down on my couch. I like to leave the front door open so the sun can bounce off the ocean and warm up the front of the house. I usually cook some food. I use all kinds of different vegetables. 

I do not know where I am going with this post. I may not know where I am going with my day. There is one thing I am sure about- it will not be driven by the need to inject chemicals into my body to make me feel human. And I am okay with this fact. I may be self critical but I am not crazy. My life is awesome. 

PS this is a persimmon and they are my favorite. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Craving

Grinding my teeth. I've had so much coffee.
Thinking about you gives me a fucking headache.
I've got another craving. I am crazy over you.
Why do I care about what you are doing right now? It has been so long.
 I felt so strong- knowing I can just let you pass by without a tear being shed.
You like to get inside my head.
You make me afraid to be alone with myself.
 I put my heart up on a shelf- to get it away from you.

The drugs that coarse through our veins make me insane.
I have dope sick love.
I swear I won't take you anymore but I draw you up inside me.
The chills coming up my spine split my mind into painful pieces.
They are a reminder of how you bound me.
All my friends are gone. All my money is gone.
Cuddle up with my bones. We can pretend I'm normal again...

My self esteem is in shards.
It is crystal clear I feel the cravings.
I'm grinding my teeth with anxiety.
I have a craving.
I'd give anything for that feeling that took everything.
And just like that...I win, I won
My desperate hunger is gone
My life will carry on.

Dear Ruvi

Thank you for my gift 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Haunted while the minutes drag"

I have some time to kill in my hotel room in Portland. I have had a few days to think about things besides the mental health of those around me and the immediate needs of my children. I have to say that while I am enjoying my vacation, I also enjoy the chaotic life I lead at home. I feel as if so many people bounce from thing to thing. They never get an opportunity to find the things that give their lives a purpose. While junkies maybe be an incredible pain in the ass at times, helping them achieve a voice has created a new sense of energy. 

I can only be myself. In being myself, I have many complex layers. I can be the PTA person and the syringe distribution advocate at the same time. I can discuss with my son that a crescent can be a shape AND a type of moon at the same time. We are all many people that inhabit the same skin. Unlike others, I don't feel the necessity to suppress the areas of my interests that don't seem to relate in some way. 

I think more than anything, my mind get bored if I don't have things in the planning stage. I have mental lists of things I hope the achieve. I wasted years of my life: waiting to cop, waiting for you to fix me, waiting to fix, trying to fix him, trying to love away the pain while feeling unlovable, and sitting in a stupor on a stoop feeling stupid. I am living my life in technicolor. It is no longer in black and white like the substances I injected into my body. I have the freedom to change myself and the world. I am taking a chance on life.