Saturday, November 29, 2014

The girlfriend

"Your hands are cold " she tells me.
THAT'S BECAUSE IT IS COLD OUTSIDE. I yell in my mind.

I hate dealing with amateur hour. When you are a user of a year or more, you should at LEAST know how to hit yourself. C'mon. This girl is in the same situation that I was. When I started using, I didn't know how to properly use a needle. I was always depending on others to stick me. What is even more troubling is that, you are putting you life in their hands. You are trusting them to make sure enough is not actually TOO much. This person you rely on is both a doctor and a chemist. They have to mix up the precise dosage. Otherwise, they may kill you.

I think 22 year old girls all seemed to have learned from older guys with prison tattoos and a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. He is quick, he can whip the shoelace out of his boot in less than ten seconds. He has a stab wound next to a faded cross on his muscle that is slowly softening and drying up as the days between him and his last prison term get wider and wider. He walked out the gate that day with the best of intentions. He was not going to use, only drink a little. Now, a couple weeks later he is convincing his new girlfriend that snorting that shit is a waste. He is creating a new vampire like his uncle made him. Death is better shared among lovers and friends and misery loves company. What starts out as a gift becomes a curse.

We are sitting between two cars in a parking lot. She doesn't trust me enough to take me to her apartment. She didn't say it but there is absolutely no reason we should be out in the open committing a felony through injection except she is too afraid I might steal a bottle of her Calvin Klein perfume or ten dollars from her coin jar. She doesn't trust me to come to her apartment but she trusts me to jab a fucking needle in her arm.

"Look" I tell her "Just hold still."

Her boyfriend left her with a mess. Well, he didn't actually leave. He was taken away in handcuffs. He had found himself some innocent girl he met at the bar. She was going to school for art before it got a hold of her. Her parents think she is just taking a semester off when in fact she is using their money to support both their dope habits. She loved him so she wanted to try it. A little bit here and there at first. Well he created a monster. She is strung out with no ability to care for her needs. In other words, a victim searching for a crime.

Her smooth white skin reveals little in the way of veins. I suspect he has been watering down her shit the whole time so I did the same. She brought enough for a quarter but a gave her much less than half. She is depending on me for everything. I won't disappoint her. I promised her that I would go second. But now this bitch is getting on my nerves. Have you tried to hit a no vein, whiny, underweight, entitled newcomer between two cars in the wintertime when every piece of blue is hidden underneath goosebumps?

I give up. I smile at her to let her know this fucked up situation is okay as she turns her head with dry heaves. She said she was sick. She wasn't lying.

"I am taking off your shoe" I tell her. The only warm place left on her is her foot. We have been out here far too long.

Bingo! With the speed of skillful opiate inoculation, I hit my target on the top of her foot. She winces and cries until I start rubbing her leg. I see the warmth travel up, up, up. And then she briefly grins as she falls backwards. Holy fuck. I've killed her.

Did I mention I haven't even fixed yet an I am fucking sick too. Now this fucking girl has gone too far falling fucking out in the parking lot. In a split second, I have to debate my options. Do I fix then save her? Do I save her then fix? Do I leave her? Do I fix, then leave her? Do I fix,then leave her, then call 911? Do I see is she has more money before I leave her? What the fuck. I don't even know this bitch. Her boyfriend just asked me to look out for her. And she won't even let me in her apartment. UGH.

As I bend down on two newspapers to get near her head which fell with a soft thud on to the concrete, she slowly opens her eyes and asks "Why are you on top of me? I was just meditating."

Now, I truly have heard it all. This chick just ODed on less than a half a bag and thinks she is meditating. Your boyfriend got you strung out, took all your money, took over your place, got you to drop out of school, and has been watering your stuff down so bad that you fell out on half a bag and you think you are meditating?!!!!!

I tell her "let me help you up" because I am fucking out of here. I prop her up so she can "meditate" for another minute meaning nod till her eyes cross. As I stab myself in the leg, I realize yet again that the easiest of hustles are never easy. All "free" dope comes at a high price.







Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving

The cold rain runs down the dirty window. This time of year I think about my youth. It seems like a million years ago, not five. I remember when I was young, I used to draw hearts in the condensation on windows like this.I would imagine my fantasy boyfriend. He would be tall, athletic but like my same kind of music. We would curl up on a day like today and watch the rain from our warm beds. My head would use his muscles for a pillow as he gently played with my hair.

My reality is quite different. My prince charming isn't so fucking charming this morning because he is sick. He is laying curled up under the comforter with cigarette burns while I pull on my dirty socks. He is tall, around six feet, and probably weighs 145 pounds. The only scales around here weigh out points and grams. Next to his side of the bed, he has a picture of GG Allin and a plastic figure of THE TICK from the comic books. I can't really use him as a pillow because he is so bony. Some times he rests his head on my lap so I can hit him in the neck. The only time my head seems to go against his chest is to see if he still alive.

"Are you almost ready to baby?" I ask him as I shake his foot.

Our pet names for each other seem so ridiculous at this stage in the game. I love this man. I do. I love him as much as my heart will allow. But every single day, there is a constant wave of criticism that comes from living with an addict that is unhappy with themselves. Neither one of us minds the term "Junkie". In fact, I think we both embraced it at first. We started down that path separately and now we trudge down it together.

I try to pull him up but realize this is something he has to do on his own.

Neither one of us has had a fix. That means, we have to get moving. We saved some beat cottons but that did nothing but leave a scabby hole and a feeling of regret. Trying to get him to save a wake up for the morning is an exercise in futility. Once he gets going on the crack, he wants that landing gear. I hate crack. I hate the smell. I hate the way it makes people act. That's why I sneak off and do some speed here and there. So much cheaper. Crack is like a money pit. You pour $20 dollar bills down that hole and wake up on the carpet six hours later.

He pulls himself out of bed and wipes the dust out of his puffy eyes. "Okay" he tells me "Let's do it".

It is hard getting warm when strung out. There is a feeling of cold that seems to seep into your very core. It is even harder when you are dope sick. The feeling is just creeping up slowly like a flu with a timetable. I know exactly how I am going to be feeling if we don't hurry the fuck up. This scheme is his idea. I would much rather be trying just about anything else. I find standing on corners literally begging for people to get me well more effective than his ideas. But we are supposed to be a couple and he pretends to have some self esteem left. We are dressed exactly alike- hoodie, socks to our knees, cut off shorts, two or three shirts, canvas shoes. He helps me navigate the streets because my glasses are fogging up in the drizzle. At least, it isn't a full on rain when we get up the hill from Ellis.

 The line is already snaking down the block. He could read my mind thinking fuck this when he drags me forward. He looks at me to say "no we are in this together". This would be the hustle of the morning as he had declared last night. We would be waiting for hours in the drizzle in this line at the church to get groceries for Thanksgiving. I had never tried this before despite living in the city for a few years. I sold my Christmas presents for drugs one year. Another I got arrested an Christmas eve for prostitution. He promised me this year would be different. We were told they will give us a frozen turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and everything we need to make a dinner "at home". This idea is laughable as we live in a hotel with no cooking facilities, a room with no microwave, and barely eat. Then we can walk right down the street and sell our $80 worth of groceries for $10 cash. Seems like a bargain.

I see the Christmas lights in the windows of the Church. It makes me wonder what human beings do this time of year. Being part of the normal world seems so long ago. Eating turkey on the special table, with the special dishes, with the smell of roast bird filling the house for winter days to come. I miss laying on the couch full of food watching football with that feeling that everything is right with the world. Instead, I am shivering in line to get a box of food I will sell for $10 to get my morning fix while life passes me by.

 In fact, after he gets a fix he is leaving me to visit his mother. I will be pursuing the next leg of my hustle on my own. He swears he is going to ask her for $50. I suspect he will come back drunk and sick instead.  In a few hours, the streets will be empty. The only thing left out here will be me, my habit, and painful memory of another holiday spent strung out.


People put so much emphasis on the holiday season. Don't fall into that trap. Do what you can to take care of yourself. If you use, take steps to be safe. If you are in early recovery, avoid expectations. Make your own joy and reflect on how far you have come. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Original Joe.

"I am not really sure what to say to you when you wake up crying like that " I tell him.
What am I supposed to do? Let him sleep? Wake him up?
Dope is supposed to be this cure all pain killer but what happens when the pain is so deep nothing will make it go away, not even your dreams.

He rolls back over away from me. "Crying" he tells me "I was fucking crying" I can see him wipe his face.

His brown hair hits the pillow in a way that I can his eyes slowly close. I know he isn't sleeping. He is not escaping whatever penetrated him when he had no defenses.

This moment would almost seem normal if it did not involve us. Two young people in bed, the light streaming in through the window hitting the bare skin on his shoulder. I am in his boxer shorts and t-shirt snug under his comforter. There is food from last night at the edge of the bed from snacks we devoured. Our clothes are strewn about the floor. As soon as we hit the door at 2:30 am we ripped them of our longing bodies. We could not wait for that moment when we could be alone. Just me, and him, and his drugs in my veins.

A few hours earlier, I was wrapping my thighs up with a shoelace while he was doing pushups in the corner. He needed me to hit him in his chest. He made his money with the illusion that he was straight and healthy. He still had just enough muscle tone and clean arms for the dates to pay extra. Joe and I hooked up from time to time, but it never was what I expected. He was a businessman with extra ordinary skills from what i was told. He did his best work at bars, when the horny queens felt a sense of victory as they walked away with a young stud that showed zero interest in anyone but them ( and their bulging wallet). I never asked what he did with them but I certainly understood why. I was in my sleeping bag  when he approached me with a few warm hundreds in his hand. The money involved things he did not want to discuss and I was more than happy to stay silent. I would crawl out of his blankets and follow him wherever he wanted to go.

He looks so beautiful in the light. I curled up behind him. When he comes and gets me in the alley, I know what he wants from me. We go through this routine a few times a month. He wants to do his half gram shots and feel normal. I never see him nod, only the tiny pupils in his blue eyes tell me he is high again.

I could get used to this feeling, except it came at a high price. He will walk out me sometime before dark. No sex, no commitment, and no expectations. He tells me that he isn't attracted to me yet repeats this cycle over and over. There won't even be a hug goodbye. He just sends me out into the world like I left it, cold and alone.

I don't know what happened to Joe or the dozens of other hustlers I knew just like him. I suppose some got clean. Some died. Some went to prison. I don't know if he ever thinks about me or the quiet nights we spent together trying to feel something and nothing at the same time.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Turn the lights on! Guest Post MV from Brazil

Turn the lights on!

As I ignite the lighter my obsessions manifested, floating in a transcendental eventide, like silhouettes, they wandered alone to a tangle of shadows in the sunrise. Embraced by the humid walls of this grayish city, the essence that filled the gaps of the improvised alleys in a pile of homes was vanished from my body which, with shades of melancholy, blurred the street from the opaque grey of the wet stones until the last wood hue of that last shack, where you still could see the pale yellow of light in the last lighted lamp post.

Maybe by far, only for a few moments, I could get myself clear again, under that fascinating brightness that slipped to the cold wind, like a fluttering orange dress, glowing at night.

My desires quickly melted as words that broke down in an imperative mood stripping the brightness of my being to the abyssal sight of the dark.

The streets were silent just like hostages of the morbid landscape of São Paulo suburbia. It was all so quiet that my footsteps seemed to creak voracious into the emptiness that gave back in wild echoes that paranoia of being chased by the noise of my sole hitting the floor between the burned concrete and the plant of my feet, gradually.

I felt hatred of myself for making that little flame turn into the darkness of those few seconds that would last like a death penalty of a lurid life. I feared that dark pitch from the holes in my shoes to the limbo of my dilated pupils. Then, I did not know whether it was night or if it was the morning sky covered by soot. I felt lost inside myself. In the middle of all that smoke which made me blind, I was sure about one only thing: I had to follow that damn light.

My eyes incessantly scanned the scenery under my feet, at that empty space, between each step, sliding my hands up to the threshold of that cement field, looking for remnants of what was latent on me, hidden in my pockets.

Probably, I had more crack rocks in my pockets than I had of age.

When I was 7 years old, my innocence hummed dreams for my obsolete future. While I was drawing with a piece of broken pencil in a crumpled paper the family of my dreams, I imagined myself by 20 years old wearing a suit, walking fast on the rhythm of the steps that walked by the Paulista Avenue, aimlessly, just simply rushed and indifferent as everyone else. Soon, my dreams were interrupted by punches coming from my dad's big fists, wrapped in a mixture of cheap tobacco and alcohol, and the prayers of my mother, a woman who sold his independence for some silly illusory promise of a cherry Martini.

I was drown in the external circumstances of my reasons justified by the frustration of a melancholic childhood, frustrated and terrified, each hit of smoke brought up bitter memories.

At 3 years old, I was beaten by the babysitter. With my body full of bruises, I faced preschool submerged in that sentence "If you tell anyone, I'm going to kill you and your brother".  When I was 5, I started to notice the disagreements of my father's alcoholism issue, which my mother desperately tried to hide without success. At the age of 7, I was obliged to drink almost every night in the religion rituals with my father's relatives. At 8 years old, I spent the night awake, listening to my mother’s crying while my dad raped her all night in the other side of the wall without mercy. When I was 9, it was my turn to be raped. In that same year I tried to kill myself, but I had no success. At the age of 10, I tried to stab my father while he was sleeping. However, I had no success again. When I was 12 years old, I slowly started to quit school. And At the age of 13, I started taking illegal drugs.

My personality was broken by the frustrations I had in my childhood, blinded by crack, the only feelings, as clear as that old uninterrupted flame, was the hate and the pain.

When I was about to turn 18 years old, which lasted as if they were 18 centuries, I still suffered quiet, listening to the cries of despair and agony inside my head.

Once, when I was drunk, I broke some crack rocks with my teeth and another addicted by my side was rolling a joint with his dirty fingers and filling it with moldy weed.

Just wondering of having to stop smoking, I felt nausea. Along the vomiting attacks, my schizophrenic hallucinations were mixed with the reality that surrounded me, whispering that I'd probably die by a cop shot gun, right-wing extremist, frustrated for not mewing addicts in a cage 3 feet tall by 3 feet long and having fun feeding his sadism by watching me bleeding down in a jail full of tuberculosis diseased.

I couldn’t barely count the time from the moment I had a 4 crack rocks chewy to the next time. The air was dense, the atmosphere was tense and the smoke was silver. On and on, holding the breath between each hit of smoke, extinguishing time strictly, while I prepared one more 4 rocks chewy, waiting unaware I was alive, only led by the cravings to hit all the smoke of a chewy pipe, heading to the dealers spot to buy more drugs with stolen money. Those were my concerns, when I got myself high, with the obsession of a carnivore animal ripping his arduous game/hunting.
It all happened so fast. 
The dark became even darker. I was dead even before feeling nothing. I was feeling cold on a 79°F night. My face, a face without any expression was getting lost inside a mirror, without reflection. I felt the last beat of my heart, and later on I felt the cold of this burned concrete field. After quite a time, a pulse. Covered by a astonishing sobriety, I only visualized that fucking addict smoking all my crack while I nodded off one more time. Helpless, I recovered myself from a overdose just like a corpse fighting to live again. 
There I could guess that there was nothing, but the few remainings that was left for me to be anything. I stood up and went off dragging my feet on the asphalt into the darkest side of the street. 

The fear of walking on the light was not just for not having to face the reality, but it was also due to the fear of the contrast between the external clarity and my internal murkiness. 

11:50 PM. I recovered my mind with a liquour shot to be, one more time, the God of my miserable world and restless remake the lights that turn off everyday.

 (in Portuguese)

Faça-se a luz! 
E num riscar de isqueiro 
manifestavam-se  minhas obsessões, flutuantes em um entardecer transcendental, como silhuetas, sozinhas vagueavam para um emaranhado de sombras no abater do dia. Abraçado pelos muros úmidos da cidade acizentada, esvairecia do meu ser a essência que preenchia a lacuna de seus becos improvisados por um amontoado de casas, que em degradee, com tons de melancolia, borravam a rua desde o plúmbeo opaco dos blocos molhados e mal erguidos até a última matiz amadeirada do último barraco, de onde ainda se podia ver o lívido amarelo da luz do último poste luminescente ainda aceso. 
Talvez de longe, somente por alguns instantes, eu pudesse tomar uma forma clara novamente, diante daquele fascinante fulgor que dançava para o vento frio, como um vestido alaranjado tremulante, reluzente à noite. 
Rapidamente meus desejos derretiam como palavras que estalavam com imperativo tom que ia despindo a claridade do meu ser perante o olhar abissal do escuro. 
As ruas calavam-se como reféns da paisagem mórbida do subúrbio de São Paulo. Era tudo tão silencioso que meus passos pareciam ranger com voracidade para o vazio que devolvia em ecos selvagens a paranóia de ser perseguido pelo atrasado som que fazia o descolar do meu solado, batendo entre o chão de concreto queimado e a planta dos meus pés, gradativamente. 
Sentia ódio de mim memso por fazer daquela pequena chama as trevas daqueles poucos segundos que perdurariam como cárceres eternos de uma lúgubre vida. Temia aquele soturno breu desde os buracos dos meus sapatos até o limbo das minhas pupilas dilatadas. Então já não mais sabia se era noite ou se era o céu da manhã coberto pela fuligem. Eu me perdi dentro de mim. Entre toda aquela fumaça que me cegava, eu tinha apenas uma única certeza : seguir a maldita luz. 
Meus olhos varriam incessantemente o panorama por debaixo dos meus pés, naquele metro cúbico, entre um degrau e outro, deslizando as mãos até a limiar do campo acimentado, procurando resquícios do que em mim era latente, obducto em meus bolsos. 
Provavelmente, haviam em números nos meus bolsos mais pedras de crack do que eu tinha de idade. 
Quando eu tinha 7 anos, minha inocência  cantarolava sonhos para o meu obsoleto futuro. Enquanto eu desenhava com um pedaço de lápis quebrado em um papel amassado a família dos meus desejos, imaginava usar terno e gravata aos 20 anos, enquanto apertava os passos pela Avenida Paulista,sem rumo, simplesmente apressado e indiferente como todos os adultos. Logo meus sonhos eram interrompidos por socos vindo dos punhos grandes do meu pai, envoltos em uma mistura de tabaco barato e álcool, e as súplicas da minha mãe, mulher que vendeu a independência  pela tola promessa ilusória de um Martini com cereja. 
Mergulhado nas circunstâncias exteriores das minhas razões justificadas pelas frustrações de uma infância melancólica, frustrada e estarrecida,cada trago trazia à tona amargas lembranças. 
Aos 3 anos de idade eu era espancado pela babá. Com o corpo cheio de hematomas eu enfrentava a pré-escola submerso na frase "se você contar para alguém, mato você e seu irmão". Aos 5 anos comecei a tomar conhecimento das desavenças e do alcoolismo do meu pai, que desesperadamente minha mãe tentava esconder sem sucesso. Aos 7 anos eu era obrigado a me alcoolizar quase todas as noites nos rituais da religião dos familiares do meu pai. Aos 8 anos eu passava as madrugadas acordado, ouvindo do outro lado da parede o choro da minha mãe, enquanto meu pai à estuprava sem piedade a noite inteira. Aos 9 anos foi a minha vez de ser estuprado. No mesmo ano tentei suicídio, porém, sem sucesso. Aos 10 anos tentei esfaquear meu pai enquanto ele dormia, porém, também sem sucesso. Aos 12 anos, lentamente comecei a abandonar os estudos. Aos 13 eu comecei a usar drogas ilícitas. 
Caráter lapidado pelas frustrações na infância, cego pelo crack, os únicos sentimentos, claros como a velha chama ininterrupta eram o ódio e a dor. 
Próximo dos meus 18 anos, que passaram como 18 séculos, ainda sofria calado, ouvindo os gritos de desesperança e agonia dentro da minha cabeça. 
Enquanto bêbado, quebrava as pedras de crack com os dentes e o outro viciado do meu lado esticava um guardanapo de bar, cheio de marcas de dedos sujos enquanto o preenchia com maconha mofada. 
Só de pensar em não fumar eu sentia náusea. Dentro das crises de vômito, minhas alucinações esquizofrênicas misturadas com a realidade que me circulava, sussuravam que eu provavelmente morreria alvejado por um policial da Ronda Ostensiva, extremista de direita, frustrado por não enclausurar viciados em cubículo de 3 metros de altura por 3 metros de comprimento e se divertir alimentando o seu sadismo de me ver sangrando no fundo de uma cela cheia de tuberculosos. 
Eu não conseguia fracionar o tempo entre um chewy com 4 pedras de crack e outro. O ar era denso, o clima tenso, a fumaça era prateada. Incessantemente segurando a respiração entre um trago e outro, extinguindo o tempo estritamente, enquanto preparava mais um chewy com 4 pedras, aguardando sem saber se estaria vivo, apenas para fumar todas as bitucas de chewy em um cachimbo, a caminho do ponto de tráfico pra comprar mais drogas com dinheiro roubado. Essas eram as minhas preocupações, enquanto me drogava ferozmente, com a obsessão de um carnívoro dilacerando sua árdua caça. 
Tudo acontecia tão rápido. O escuro ficava mais escuro. Eu estava morto antes mesmo de eu não sentir quse nada. Sentindo frio em uma noite de 26° C. Meu rosto, um rosto sem expressão ia se perdendo dentro de um espelho interior, sem reflexo. Senti a última batida do coração, depois o frio do campo de concreto queimado. Após um tempo indeterminado, uma pulsação. Recoberto por uma lucidez atormentante, visualizei apenas aquele viciado fumando todo meu crack enquanto eu apagava mais uma vez. Sem a ajuda de ninguém, me recobrei de uma overdose como um cadáver que arriscava viver novamente. 
Ali eu pude deduzir que não havia nada, a não ser o pouco que me restava para nada ser. Me levantei e saí arrastando os pés pelo asfalto, no sentido mais escuro da rua. 
O medo de caminhar pela luz não era simplesmente por não querer enfrentar diante da própria luz uma realidade há muito explícita, mas implicitamente era o medo do contraste que tinha entre a claridade do exterior o brumo do meu interior. 
23h50. Recobrando a consciência com um copo de conhaque para novamente ser o deus do meu desprezível mundo e refazer incansavelmente a luz que se extingue todos os dias dentro dele.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

ENOUGH

"Why are you fucking crying?" 
I can't stand when he yells at me, especially not an inch away from my face. I am sitting on the ground with my arms crossed. I am not sure what I am going to do. I know I am not going to get up from this spot. 

Have you ever just had ENOUGH. Not enough in lower case letters. You can ignore that enough. That enough comes the first time you fuck someone over for a bag of dope. That enough comes when you miss a family gathering because you are too much of a fuck up to make it. That enough is when you promise yourself you aren't going to use today, yet by nightfall you are leaning to the side. That is lower case enough. 

I mean ENOUGH! Like- fuck this shit enough. Like break all your gear enough. Like I need to go to the emergency room for this abscess enough. Like I am over drafted and have no hustle enough. Like my girl left me, the one who promised she understood me enough. Like I hate myself enough. I had ENOUGH. 

I was crying in a public street, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a busy city, in the middle of my life. I could not carry all my belongings not one more inch and I could not give one fuck more. The tears roll down my face in silent surrender. The monkey on my back paused long enough to acknowledge that I was defeated. And for a moment, the world stopped to hear my sobs. Then started again. 

"If you don't get up now, I am leaving your fucking ass here " he yelled in a whisper. 

And so I got back on the merry go round again. I guess for a few moments, I cared about myself. It just wasn't enough. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Big Thank You to My Readers

I wanted to let you know readers- I am officially publishing a book from Seal Press. This book will be more focused on how I have stayed clean all these years. I will not be abandoning you readers. This blog is our thing. It helps me as much as it helps you. Love Tracey.