“I have learned the junk equation. Junk is not, like alcohol or weed, a means of increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”
― William S. Burroughs
I left Maine last April and headed for the NW, my old Portland, Oregon drug-use=and=abuse neighborhoods, the Interzone in my own version of Burroughs Naked Lunch. I recall thinking (or rationalizing, perhaps) that, since i had been a serious Zen practitioner for the previous 4 years at Treetop (a Volvo-Zen center in Maine), sitting, chanting, bowing and unbending koans, that I could manage a return to the scene of my previous unraveling, switching my studies over to Refuge Recovery, Noah Levine’s newest recovery practice. Well, I’ve been on the streets (Central Maine, P-town) since I was just 16 and have not seen anything as bad as the grotty shite that i experienced this trip around to the North West. Even old friends, peeps I would have trusted 16 years ago with a Q.P. (quarter pound) of dope and 5K (in neat stacks of $100s, $10s, $5s, $1s, the occasional $50) alone in my house, these days I wouldn’t drop my backpack in front of and leave for five seconds; they’ve become like rabid rats on cheese over and up there.
Or am I just talking about me?
Because after only three weeks in the NW I’m on the machines gambling (well, that was once a bit of a problem.) The next thing you know and its 4 am and I’m at the porn store, across from Taco Bell, in the parking lot and in the viewing booths trying to score dope (speed). I met this chick across the way, “Prius Maelstrom,” and Prius, it turns out, is a dope peddler and following an exchange of yen, she gladly serves me (as we’re behind a fence hiding from her boyfriend [!], she, a bit twacked out. ) It was a short trip from that initial serve to me getting back into trafficking for Prius. In no time I was straight-up homeless, doing goofballs (a gram of coke and a gram of heroin) and just stinking of the streets. Then, Prius’ house suddenly burns down. Luckily her pitbull, “Saddam” saved her and the family’s life buy grabbing them by the necks and pulling them out of their beds.
“I don’t spot junk neighborhoods by the way they look, but by the feel, somewhat the same process by which a dowser locates hidden water. I am walking along and suddenly the junk in my cells moves and twitches like the dowsers wand: ‘Junk here!”
― William S. Burroughs, Junky
The city was being raped by addiction! Ken kesey must be in his grave rolling around, because this is not the city he departed from and gave so much energy to. This was a city being raped by a bunch of synthetic junkies. “Synthetics?” you say? Well, when I got into speed, it was either Propylene or Ephedra.. old-school labs/Chefs, and there were no bathsalts or Fentynal. I’d never seen speed where, like crack, you had to keep using, or like heroin, where you had to keep wiping your nose, carry around toilet paper.
Those few weeks that I spent on the streets of the Other Portland were like that, and then, the more deeper we got, the crazier shit got. Bodies kept piling up from overdoses and Street Life, itself. Shootings, stabbings… the more they kept tweaking the opiates and speed, creating a different strand, the more surreal it got. I mean, at 3 in the morning, I was watching people staggering through the streets like like they were in a George Romero movie. I watched gray dope take a spin in the park blocks, basically a different cook or molecule of Fentanyl and the bodies continued to hit the pavement like dupes at a Benny Hinn crusade.
I was just digging a deeper ditch; I mean, I was actually the first case treated in Peace health for NARCON RESISTANT DOPE; of course then, I just left, A.M.A. (against medical advice,) my middle initials. I remained out of control after hitting the Street; I was homeless and feeding a habit, with the local Drug Task-force taking an interest in me because of my prices; I had to keep selling to support my habit and I was going as low as $60 an 8-ball and $900 for 24 grams of black, $250 an ounce for white.
Meanwhile, my “good friend” Prius, the chick that I’d met at the porn store, the one who’s house had burned down, kept digging a deeper ditch as well. By June 24th, she fell into what resembled a really rough episode of the show “Breaking bad” and ended up busted and facing up to 6o years behind bars.
Nothing felt good after Prius got arrested – she’d become my road dog, my street partner, you know, so I went back to treatment. I actually did phenomenally well for a while, until a Confidential Informant showed up. This thug had put out paper on (ratted out) some of my people in the Park Block, and I ended up getting pissed and (again) thrown out of treatment , this time for taking that rat out, tattooing him.
“I am a ghost wanting what every ghost wants-a body-after the Long Time moving through odorless alleys of space where no life is, only the colorless no smell of death…Nobody can breath and smell it through pink convolutions of gristle laced with crystal snot, time shit and black blood filters of flesh.”
― William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
So, a couple days after my birthday and I’m sitting with another good friend, another heroin dealer named “Helen,” who asks if I want to take a spin up to a neighboring city and pick up, like 48 grams and she would break me off a piece. I agree and we head out and when we get back its 10:30 pm and we’re in her car, out in front of the homeless outreach. She asks what my tolerance is, and I, of course, tell her “whatever,” because I have always had a high tolerance. She fixes me a shot and the next thing I know, its 4 am, and I’m in the ER and I’m coming out of it. A doctor tells me I am lucky because they barely saved my life, and I couldn’t believe it. I was on paper(parole), so I wanted out of there quickly and with no questions. I signed the paperwork and got in touch with Helen, who instructed me to meet her at the package store. When we meet up she tells me that when I’d overdosed that she’d hit me four times with NARCAN, and still got barely a heartbeat. She was freaking, so she’d dumped me off at the ER. She served us both and I forgave her. But other fucked up shit was already happening elsewhere in my view.
A friend staying in one of the rooms I stayed at got shot in the head by a Mexican rushing on speed; apparently someone there owed him 20 bucks. His victim was the most innocent kid there, a weed smoker who barely touched dope, (and young to get shot), all because this Mexican thug was rushing. The poor hippy kid sat on life support for a couple weeks and then his parents pulled the plug.
Around the same time another friend got septic from shooting dope. It was like the dope was eating her from inside out.. “Toxic Avenger” shit! You could actually see the flesh bubbling and melting. They ended up cutting pieces of her arm off and she eventually had to be put on life support. Until they pulled the plug on her too. In her case it was her and two other old-school addicts shooting from the same bag of dope, same amount, but, it must have been her time. She was the only one to get septic.
My friends and family, of course, after watching me exist for 20 years in this lifestyle didn’t think I was coming back to Maine, and with bodies dropping all around me from the heroin and the drug lifestyle that went with it, I got to the point that I almost didn’t make it out. By November I was planning on escaping back to Maine, back to the one-syllable state. At the last minute I won big in the lottery up in a local bar and bought an ounce of dope and just started partying – four days before the bus was supposed to leave! Then Helen disappeared.
Not good!! Paranoia setting in!! Shadow people!! Watching all movement!!
I checked into a detox the next day, with 3 days until my scheduled departure, just to make sure i would be physically able (and willing) to catch the bus. One of my good friends, a riotgrrl named “Viper” ended up putting me on the bus. I’d made it on, but I did have just a tiny bit of Crystal Meth on me. Just a tiny bit. On the bus, i actually hooked up with this stripper, “Charity Breeze” and we proceeded to get high together on the Greyhound, all the way to Saltlake. In Saltlake it turned out that the bus driver didn’t actually have a license to pilot a bus, so we sat waiting for 9 hours at the bus station. We finally started up again, but, by the time we hit Indianapolis, Charity was dope sick. We got off at the stop there and walked over to a Whitecastle, where my new friend proceeded to do a dope deal in the parking lot. Unfortunately, the thug that took the Charity’s money brandished a firearm and proceeded to rob her. Now, this stripper was no snitch, so we just got back on the bus, sick.
“In the words of total need: “Wouldn’t you?” Yes you would. You would lie, cheat, inform on your friends, steal, do anything to satisfy total need. Because you would be in a state of total sickness, total possession, and not in a position to act in any other way. Dope fiends are sick people who cannot act other than they do. A rabid dog cannot choose but bite.”
― William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
We ended up on different locations through the EC (the East Coast). My connection to Maine went through PA, and when I got there and I find out that it’s thanksgiving, I am pissed; I should be with my family in Maine by now, not a fucking bus station. Of course, since I was there until 6am I did a little mingling and ended up hooking up with this chick named “Mercedes,” who takes me to what they call “North side,” one curvy-ass road in some old-school grimy-ass projects. Of course someone called the cops, but Mercedes was running the show and it all worked out somehow; perhaps it was one of those Thanksgiving Day TV. miracles. Afterwards I proceeded to shoot heroin and crack until 6 am that was my Thanksgiving dinner, since I couldn’t be with my family and was stuck in PA.
I finally got home to Maine, and once back i played everything out like life was grand and my Complex P.T.S.D., as well as my many addictions and compulsions were under control. A big FAT LIE, of course. I did this, played this game all winter but ended up actually taking a dream job in NH in March. The place was straight-up Gentrification, utilizing the good ol’ boy system but with very limited money and services.
“People play it like its sophisticated and so fresh and so clean because its a college town! But really, u need adequate housing and a shelter where people aren’t scared to get stigmatized!! Affordable housing and sober living.”
Peer Support there, however, is phenomenal and “Serenity Center” is trying to perform miracles and slowly succeeding with little to work with; super cool people. At the hospitals, though, it’s “turn and burn”; they wont even give out ZYPREXA, treating it like a ticket of heroin.
Too much corruption- I swear its a federally-run dope game, kinda like Lily Pharmaceuticals teaming up with Nazi Germany and getting the methadone pattern with the Wizard of OZ behind the curtain. It’s like “the Truman Show” in NH. It needs to be more about loving kindness, not lining pockets.
So to say the least, I gave up the gig in NH and finally came home to Maine again, just three weeks ago. Of course, as soon as I hit P-town, I took a spin in the loony bin via the Maine Med ER; it was the best experience ever.
Now I am back to 100 percent!! Maybe 98. Or 97…
I’ll be fine. Swear.
“The face of evil is always the face of total need.”
– William S. Burroughs