I copped madness outside places culture crashed into urban legend. Near places that heroes wrote, sang and were born into crumbled futures. In Coltrane’s North Philadelphia white boy custard blooded junkie bones. Stood stoop staggered slack jawed wobbled. The nose drip lamplight row home autumn smell of Halloween. Jack-O-Lanterns shimmer light off broken glass and spent vials scattered over cracked grey sidewalks.
These abandoned echoed streets rumbling with gentrified labor pangs. Ghostly opiate fog wisps around corners tracking scented journals inked with Poe’s inspired Philly pissed yellow moonlight soaked dope pen alleys. I stumbled mumbled and tripped myself into weary hearted broken step wall ups. Rise early morning hard foot city stomp searching for cheap food and easy money. Lies to those who barely know you enough to follow your runny nose Pinocchio story time job hunt. Odd work, weird work sanctuary tears alms to the poor bastard babies. Barroom afternoons bike chain balance Jim Beam beer run Monday.
Clinic reservation coffee cough cigarette group therapy, Center City. Methadone cure all NPR talking points years before dope killed private school ivy leaguers. Sipping coffee cup warm steam grate sidewalk chalky sunset. Skateboard Love Park workers pipe grind between homeless men. Smoke too much on my way South or West in search of rock n roll. Church show dry time as I cleaned up between making beds in new rooms. College friends unaware of my secret lover named hey-ron, just that my story said he was part of my journey.
So I fucked random nights between subway stints, squat house hustlers and shoeless mornings worried about eating my daily allowance. My roommates were in check mate all clear fall out shelter boys. Each going crazy in their own way, we rusted apart. My next few places were struggle huts of pills, bottles and nose bleeds, literal needles in my addictive haystack. Mattress dirty sheet all night things. Banging baristas and bar fly swatter smoke ring lovers.
Crushing cans on roach clip counter tops in Fairmount Ave third floor and falling out Sunday night behind the art museum with two punks I hardly remember. They gave me apples and patches, like fur traders headed to the west. Sick for days when I finally gave into the reality of my sadness. Drying up wet was my solution, trading bloodletting for Jameson flask flush with denial.
My shaking hands wandered church halls spouting love speech while hating the very existence of God. The spiritual awakening left me tired and battling insomnia but it seemed safer than the streets. My faith felt lines shown through my tattooed skin flaking off into ashes of my old self. Addiction lingered around keeping me numb enough to take the abuse of the clergy couches and reprimands. Nights I drank heavy with the queers, queens, painters, poets and bad luck storm clouds. That’s ultimately my tribe whacked out on machete wielding warriors pf weird. Lovers of all things taboo cost me only some sickness which is trade for the secret hell found between the pew and pulpit.
I’m rounding the sun again and I’m still here. 42 years of fighting the rivers of chance and circumstance, still sick with mental fires and addictive urges to ignite my skin like a firework inferno. There is a volcanic voice in me in bed with a terrible who’re of a friendly ghost that was my whole world. My skeletal remains boxed up wrapped in old fliers and City Papers marked Philadelphia days. Then there are fuzzy fabled years of alcohol preacher cross bearing visions of utopian grace that reality made clear we’re fictitious at best. So I live on. scraping by the rusted root of my hometown, returning to the scene of my initial crash. Like a sojourning pilgrim broken spirit collapsing lakeside to rest, work and restore.
Finally comfortably sober amongst a new world of craft beer bearded vice peddlers and the idea that junk is more accessible than ever. I stay dirtied in my best old clothes just clinging to songs, writings, journals and my few understanding loves that let me in their worlds despite my whirlwind emotional shipwrecked mind. I’m grateful in the hopeful prison anxious for my future with a new lover who speaks in the tongues of my tribe, like a long lost spirit guide. I’m fragile and aggressively human which is all I can really be. Just love me where you find me and I’ll give you parts of me in a mixed media display of my appreciation.