Name: Nick from San Francisco
Occupation: student of hair
Tattoos on his face
Why the lapse in time? I relapsed, went back to rehab. Yeah, I’m 1.5 years sober, third time now. Did you know 3% who leave rehab go back to using, and only 1% kick it after 5 years? Yeah, it’s no joke. Opioids are the real thing.
I mean. When you’re on it. It’s like you’re being hugged by God. The feeling. I mean, I can’t explain it. But here’s the thing: the first few times, you get that God-hugging feeling, but then, for all the other times, you’re trying to feel normal. You’re doing what it takes to avoid the detox feeling. And that feeling, is like death, 10x. It’s the worst kinda flu that just doesn’t go away. I mean, it does after 3 weeks but that feels like an eternity. We all dread it so we keep using. It’s living in hell on a hamster wheel.
You know, I think that’s what happened to Michael J and Prince and even that actor guy, Phillip Hoffman. They detoxed, they tried to kick the game, they went back to the same dose they were taking before — bang, bang — it tips them over the edge. Heroin makes you sleep, so they went to sleep.
I know so many people who’ve died in my life. Oh man. My girl, her boyfriend – I mean, they never really broken up cuz he died – his death rocked her. And she was a user, that’s how we met. She was in a rehab in Milwaukee and then transferred to the San Francisco one and yeah, that’s how we met. She’s one month ahead of me but she’s really miles beyond me. I think it’s the combination of having a rock like her, and purpose. That keeps me outta trouble.
Don’t think my parents are whack. The two of them are the only sober ones out of a family of users. We have a good relationship. We talk every day. You gotta understand, opioids they’re non-discriminative. It’ll swallow anyone who wants to dance. Anyone. You too. [he shyly laughs]
She doesn’t say thank you.
We took her to the moon and back, showed her the stars; live music, delicious eats, Nature, space, room to breathe, ears to listen, shoulders for padding — we have been the best hosts.
And yet.. no thanks.
Thank you for buying dinner.
Thank you for making me tea.
Thank you for driving me around.
Thank you for the company.
Thank you For. It. All.
I’m watching myself retract from her.
I’m watching myself not wanna care.
Something so simple.
Three words that make all the difference.
Why am I so attached?
Why do I need that gratification? And so immediately?
I let it go for some months.
Let this new light fester.
Out of the blue, she reached out and asked what I wanted for Christmas
To say thanks for making her first West Coast visit one of her favorite memories.
FADE IN: Two women, one smokes.
A: I was in a Uber car, well, really Lyft but you get what I mean. The driver, Jamal, asked me what I do. I said nothing. No really, I said, “Nothing,” all nonchalant and shit. He took a second to understand, much like me, really, I mean who says that?
I said nothing. Ugh. What kind of despicable human, am I?
A week later, I’m at this yoga retreat and someone asked me again. I was just about to answer Nothing, when I stopped myself and took a sip of my organic hot apple cider, and pretended I didn’t hear them. Or maybe I pretended to react like I was still thinking about what we just talked about. I looked stupid, is all. Well, if I’m not sure what your intentions are I’m going to blow you off.
[beat, she smokes]
Why do I do that? I know damn well who I am. Why is it hard to say it, “Who me? Oh, sure, I’m an Artist, with a capital A.” Or, “What do I do? I do greatness. I am greatness.”
[she laughs, and smokes]
You know, Mohammed Ali would say that, “Who me? I’m the greatest.” So why can’t I?
B: You can.
Continue reading “dip your toe”
FADE IN: Anne Ferney (18) and Jaquila Gilmore (16) drinking Dr. Pepper:
A: And that’s when her mom started rattin’ around Wilkinsburg going around to people’s houses, “Is my son here?” I am, like, oh my god, I don’t want ever for our family to experience that. You could see in her face that she was scared.
J: My dad. First, he’s the first one to call me. And then my mom called me. And then my best friend called me and, I didn’t know what happened.
A: The news keeps sayin’ they had an Automatic AK and I’m just thinking it couldn’t be an AK cuz they kept hearin’ the shots go off so you know he kept pulling the trigger.
J: How you actually know that, just blew my mind but OK.
A: It sounds like first person let their clip go and the second person let their clip go. They say eight people got shot. Cuz first on the news they say, “Ok, four people got shot.” The next thing you know five people comin’ up dead. I’m like, yo, they just changed from four people shot, five people shot dead, eight people shot, like. And then they brought the little baby out, like, there was kids in that house. And one of the girls was pregnant. Basically, it was six people that died. If you want to be technical.
J: I don’t know who she is, but she was pregnant and she was shot. I’m like, this is cray-zy. I gotta get out the hood, cuz this is too much.
A: My senior year, I’m tryin’ to go to Florida cuz you can graduate with a trade.
Writing from the car
Sun is shining the weather is sweet (queue music)
I am parked among the wealthy, the exuberant, the luxurious.
Why does this always feel so foreign to me?
Oh, that’s a bigger question for another cocktail.
I have a few minutes, and the only thing I want to do is – touch
Hand to heart
Close my eyes, and
Anchor into me.
Can materialistic overwhelm disconnect you from you?
They say it’s true.
I say that it does.
I find myself unchained and segregated, searching for my anchor.
Physical proof of value and entitlement
The statues, the sprawling greenery, the dream of…
The world loves this shit and I am torn and yet curious by it
Why isn’t it easy?
I look at my basic car
My simple keyboard that connects to my, yes, luxurious phone
I look at my leather bag, authentic jewelry, Nike shoes, American citizenship, and on.
When you look at me, my life is not far off from that.
The abundance I take for granted
I toss to the side as I look for the next
FADE IN: a man talks into a camera.
Uh, I’m being inarticulate. You just gotta be focused. You gotta be clear in what you want and why. This world is changing. And it’s not looking good. You know.
NPR did this story about the Survivalists among the rich. These guys have built underground bunk-like-houses for the next “apocalypse”. They’re speculating a full-blown civil war. Billionaires have gone out and bought secret get-aways with generators and solar paneling, specifically for Doom’s Day. You know Reddit online? The fuckin’ chief officer carries with him a survivalist bag – canned goods, water, ammunition, maps. Another superrich dude went out and got laser eye surgery simply because he fears supplies will eventually dry up. I mean, yeah, who gives a fuck about his eye surgery, that’s not the point. Listen to what he’s sayin’.
They’re sniffin’ the shit and it don’t smell right. And who are they? The movers and shakers of our world.
Everything that’s happenin’ with Trump and China and Russia; the environment, mass shootings, the increasing black and white tension, – it’s not looking good.
But, that’s the point I’m trying to make. We can’t get upset about it anymore, we’re way past that.
Nah man. The breakdown of society or at least a catastrophic earthquake is just around the corner. And now’s the time to get really crystalized in what you want and why you want it. So, what’s your Why?
Short denim jeans.
Orange hair growing out from a collision of blonde shades.
Black socks squeezed into matching flip flops.
Old rollie. Used and reused.
Sweet, classic Cali teenager.
Thirteen? 14? 16? No more than that.
She looks nervous, diverts her eyes.
“Can I share the table with you?” I ask.
Thumb in mouth ripping at skin, she nods with eyes drawn away.
Staring off in the distance…
Continue reading “cali teen”