hell on a hampster wheel

hell on a hamster wheel

Name: Nick from San Francisco
Occupation: student of hair
Age: 26
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]

sucks the air thin

sucks the air thin

There’s a silence that’s almost deafening.
The kind where, at a party, the music stops and everyone looks up and says to no one, “Hey, what happened?”
The kind that the body shutters from its piercing.
A Void.

I was turning 16. I wanted a big party; bodyguards, a live band, DJ, pay at the door, the whole shebang. I worked hard; I got my artistic sister to create the flyer, gave them out at my and my brother’s schools. A week before, everyone was talking about it, the word spread quick. The band was known enough to build a crowd, I was in love with the drummer who should’ve been the lead singer he was that eccentric.

I rented a trophy room off a big sports facility, facing a big oval where my brother’s school played footy. The party drew a huge crowd, a long line waited around the bend even until 11pm, an hour before close. I was shocked. I barely knew anyone, and when I did, they were intoxicated and in the throes of what it took to be a teenager at a party in the 90s.

Flash forward to afterward. Mum, bro and sis, and my best friends, with black trash bags and rubber gloves, helped me clean up the evidence. Well, enough to get our safety deposit back.

I must’ve sat down somewhere, took it all in. I hope I did. I’m hoping I popped a squat facing the oval of lush greenery and tsunamic eucalyptus trees. Muscles spent and feet regaining circulation from improper use of heels. A mix of pride and exhaustion. A mix of elation and isolation.

And then silence.
The Void.

How it sucks the air thin.

I can’t drive my new car in jail.

Woman and Mic.jpg

FADE IN: a woman at the mic in a bar.

I just woke up one day and thought, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to kill my supervisor, is what I wanted to do. And the only reason why I haven’t already done so is cuz I can’t drive my new car in jail.
Yup, I shop.
I’m a complete consumer and I described that as poverty deprivation.
“I need that because it’s going to do something wonderful to my life,” or “Ooooooh, that’s shiny” or “Oh, I know that’ll come in handy one day.”…. and then that shit just sits there. The Amazon Echo Dot? Don’t get it. Waste of your time and money.
What I want is travel and to do things that don’t pertain to products.
I want experiences.
I want to face fears and follow my gut.
I want the Unknown, even though it scares the Holy BeJesus outta me.
But right now
I can’t because I’m always in poverty deprivation, buying and buying and buying.

There’s a calling inside of me.
I can feel it.
But the not knowing makes me cling to what is tangible, the little things that bring little comfort right now, and eventually finds itself in my garage.
In a box. With a box, within a box.

I’m 50 years old.
Someone is pressing fast forward on my recorder, man.
I feel a calling.
A tiny voice,
And I wanna bring that to life.

I need to think outside the box.
Get out of the garage inside my head.
Step away from my computer, and outside my door.
Take some Unknown steps.
Yup, that’s me.

why not?

She doesn’t say thank you.
It’s mindbloggling.
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.

How about:
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.
And yet.
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.
And then..
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.

I died.

dip your toe

Dip you toe

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.

[she smokes]

Continue reading “dip your toe”

four, five, eight

four, five, eight

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.



singing bowl of rage

singing bowl of rage  roman games

I’m furious
I feel like I can run 10 miles
And then eat a cake, straight out of the singing bowl of Rage
Blood pulsing
Mind spouting obscenities

How did it come to this?
Why am I shooting off the mouth like a loose canon
spiraling through the atmosphere?
Where’s grace, goddamnit?

It’s about not being listened to
It’s about not being taken into account
It’s about blame
Doing it wrong
You’re bad,
Back off.

Get off –

Continue reading “singing bowl of rage”