Posts Tagged ‘addiction’


nothing/s ever good enough
for you

people change to sycophants when
with you
somehow the truth still never
rings true
this war we wage upon ourselves
is through

because nothing/s good enough
for you

there/s nothing left for me to give
to you
good to bad you stuck to me
like glue
through the times we were left for dead
& blue

nothing/s ever good enough
for you

I love my city and I every day I watch a little more of it burn away.

It’s said the world is a stage and I’m but an actor in a play.

I want a new disguise.

Tired of these tired-old lies.

But I am really happy for these guys.

A real show of hands.

Finding a way to profit under any type of circumstance.

And all the jobs this suffering creates.

Yeah… it’s great.

But people are dying here.

Bombarded with mongered fear.

With no clear destination.

But that is what happens when you let yourself be taxed without representation.

We nodded off at the wheel.

We missed out on the new deal.

We got kicked in the gut.

But now we’re waking up.

Little by little returning to grace.

It took us awhile to develop a different style of syntax to articulate this new kind of treachery being perpetrated upon the human race.

Thieves nailed next to Jesus.

They got us.

Slaves in a machine.

We’ve been sold our own dreams.


Enjoy it for it won’t happen again.

Everyday a few more thieves are raised from the dead.

Being addicted to opiates is like getting hugged by a giant vagina.
At first,
the pulsating warmth that courses through the blood is irresistible.
You’re stuck to her glue.
But then you find out it’s riddled with sexually transmitted diseases.
That it is sleeping with half the town behind your back.
& you try to quit;
but she won’t let you leave.
Not till she is finished with you.
Not until she has fucked all your friends.
Sometimes even screwing family members.
Blew through all your money.
Sold all your stuff.
& when the last drop is squeezed from your writhing body,
then she will leave.
Right when you had just gotten used to having her around.


This is not glorification; rather, consternation.

Hey fellow Word warriors.

Strange days around these parts. The final edition of the ZENspeak publication has arrived. This self publishing foray has been a trip. At first, I didn’t know what to think of self publishing. I am of the generation that thought, crazy though it may be, the artist was paid for his work, not the other way around. But in this age where everything is turned into a racket, it was silly to think that something as potentially commercial as writing, would be safe for long from the evil clutches of American marketing. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe it will give volume to millions of voices that had otherwise never been heard. I thought self publishing could dilute the credibility of art, letting any Joe with a couple hundred dollars available, loose on the art scene. I thought the only people it really empowered were those with access to money. Thus the impoverished, were where they have always been, left in silence. I thought money would come to dictate art. But then I thought, that’s how things already are. I thought a lot of things. But here I am, self publishing. Maybe I thought wrong. I tell you what dear reader, in the last six months I’ve learned: editing, publishing, promoting, digital photography, editing digital video, and developing and publishing a web site. And of all of it, I can honestly say none is more daunting than the book’s formatting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you aspiring hacks.

The 5 edition of the ZENspeak spoken word features 4 poems including: HyperREALity Of The INNER City; The Magic Show; And She Says She Wants Darkness; Gothic America

HyperREALity Of The INNER City is the result of a prose/poetry hybrid I’ve been developing for years. This is nothing groundbreaking. Many have attempted this before me, arguably, Arthur Rimbaud to the best effect. Usually, this style has a phonic ring to it that enables the reader to identify the poetry embedded within it. I wanted to strip away all such poetic devices; no alliteration, consonance, half-false-full rhymes, anything that gives the piece poetic characteristics. But it can’t be read as straight prose either. I want the reader to feel this discord. It just doesn’t fit. It’s strange. The subject deals with the O.G.s of the inner cities. O.G. is an extravagant term. They are just bums that have been bumming for decades and have achieved a certain type of “hood fame” for basically just surviving fiend-dom. These old timers believe they are privy to a certain esoteric knowledge. That the youngsters just don’t know the secrets of the game the way that those that came before them knew the secrets of the game. But those secrets wind up being no more than lies and death, and they don’t come cheap.

The Magic Show rewords every bad relationship I’ve ever had the unfortunate luck of getting involved in. A particular one came to mind while penning this piece. It started out pleasant enough, with a girl who thought I was the cat’s meow. I always did these magic tricks for her. She’d go nuts for them and always try to get me to tell her how I did them. After a few months of tricks, I broke down and taught her the in/s and out/s of my magic. She never wanted to see any of those tricks again. She seemed mad, once she found out how simple the tricks were, and that there was a time when I had tricked her into believing in them. After we broke up, the whole relationship and how it turned out, seemed to be reflected by that lesson in magic. At first, it’s all sparks and intrigue; but, in the end, we fall for a trick, and once we know the trick, the magic is gone, never to be regained. I don’t stick to form and rhyme schemes very often. Show and Darkness are two of my better examples of such.

And She Says She Wants Darkness has been traveling with me for years. It has always been one of my favorites, but I never could find it a proper home. It was too short to stand on its own. When the ZENspeak book came along, I found a perfect fit. Darkness was born of a time that I was reading a lot of Milton and Plath. Milton’s blank verse was definitely rubbing off on me and Plath was a monstrous influence on me. When I read Plath, I feel as if I’ve been reduced to a child psychologically. She throws me into a world of boys and girls and daddies and mommies and everything seems normal on the surface, but there is a terrible distress bubbling under the surface. Darkness is a brief account of a girl that has a pretty uptown life, but she also has a second life, a darker life, a second face that no one from the uptown area has ever seen her wear.

Gothic America comes from my constant entanglement with the romantic literary movement. I wanted to illustrate the romanticism of the United States. Most Americans suffer from a romantic-self-aggrandizing. We believe that we are everything good that is holding this evil world together. That it is up to us to save the world. To give the world freedom. Even while we are destroying it. It’s not just that. Walk up to someone and ask them what they are. Bet they don’t say that they are American. You may hear, “I’m Italian, or German, or Dutch,” but you won’t hear, “Why silly sir, I am an American!” We blame our heritage for little quirks like our temper, or our inclination to gossip. Ever hear, “I just can’t control my anger, you know I’m Irish.” We remain connected to our cultures, but in a way that doesn’t require much leg work. We don’t practice the rituals and traditions that come along with a culture. We have a romantic sense of what it means to be German or Irish. All of this brought me to the funeral of Percy Shelley. To those that don’t know, Percy had drowned out at sea. Back then, a body found at sea was quarantined, not to leave the beach for the possibility of contagions. A small group of Percy’s inner circle collected on the beach, to burn his already decomposing body. This resulted in a story that has been dramatized to an effect that would make any true romantic proud. Some accounts tell us that Trelawny plucked Percy’s heart from the ashes of this raging fire and wrapped it in Percy’s poem Adonais. The heart, and its clever wrapping, were later to be sealed in Percy’s sarcophagus. The detail that his heart was wrapped in his poem, Adonais, is not wasted on those with even a cursory knowledge of Shelley’s work. Percy wrote Adonais as a tribute to the then, recently deceased John Keats. Keat’s tragic passing at such an early age, deeply affected Percy. Beautiful this symbolism may be, the real account differs slightly. By the time Trelawny reached for Percy’s heart, the organ was carbonized ash. The heart was not buried nor enshrined in a tomb, but was ultimately entrusted to Mary Shelley, who eventually passed the morbid keepsake to her and Percy’s son. With all this said, I thought of America, how she seems to be dying, and who can really face the reality of this. Who will light the great pyre for her? Where are our prophetic romantics now?

…and if you get a chance check out the ZENspeak book. There’s a twenty page preview floating around.

This story is funny now, but it sure wasn’t funny when it happened.

Anyone that thought they had a handle on this addiction thing, only to find all hell breaking loose one day, those are the people often left with the question, when the hell did things get so bad? I was hanging out with a friend, Jeremy. Actually, friend is a very loose term in these circles. Let’s say acquaintance. We were partying at Jeremy’s place for nearly two days. We stayed up all night, shooting this and smoking that. Around three in the second morning, he went downstairs and came back up with a bowl of cereal. I kept staring at the cereal. When you’re on a long-hard drug run, it could be days between meals. He detected my interest in his bowl and told me to go down and get my own. I went downstairs and tried to find a bowl from the mountain of dirty dishes. I got one that wasn’t too bad and tried to rinse it off. I grabbed a box of cereal and as I turned the box over to shake out the contents, several gnats flew out the box. This caused me to take notice of the gnats that were everywhere in the kitchen. I looked in the fridge and found milk that was three days past the recommended date stamp on the jug. I lost my appetite. I was starting to feel nauseated. I dumped the cereal in the bowl into the garbage, and put everything back the way I found it. When I came back upstairs, Jeremy started drilling me with questions. Why did I take so long? Why was I banging stuff around down there? Why didn’t I get a bowl? I don’t know why I didn’t just tell him that his kitchen was nasty and the cereal had bugs in it and the milk was probably spoiled. I didn’t have the heart. I didn’t want the confrontation. I don’t know, take your pick. I just told him that once I got down there I wasn’t hungry anymore. Jeremy grumbles a bit more before heading back downstairs to dump his bowl back into that trash heap of a sink of his. While he’s down there, I hear cupboards slamming, dishes clanging, and the refrigerator door swinging shut. I hear him coming back up the stairs. He seemed to intentionally walk heavy. The tension was starting to give me anxiety. This is how it goes down when you hang with smokers. Now, I’ve been no angel with the stuff, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. People that smoke for extended periods of time, tend to be on nerves’ edge. It’s hard to relax around them in this state. At any moment, for no reason in particular, they might grab a butter knife and hold it to your throat and demand the thirty cents change from the pack of cigarettes that you walked to the store to get for them three months ago. So I brace myself as he walks back into the room. He sits down without a word. I start to think that maybe it’s cool. Maybe I was making a deal out of something that wasn’t going to happen. Should’ve known better. He starts drilling me with unreasonable questions again. He wants to know why I left the refrigerator door open, which I didn’t. He wants to know what I did with all the other cereal boxes, even though I only touched the one. He wants to know why I just emptied a bowl of perfectly good cereal into the garbage. He wants to know why I’d lie about something like that. He says if I’d lie about something like that, then what wouldn’t I lie about. After this small psychological barrage, I just snap. I tell him about the gnats. I tell him I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to be rude. He quiets down and I think things are turning back to normal. As normal as a situation like this can get. Should’ve known better. This peace lasts for about five minutes before he gets up from his chair and starts poking about his room. Here we go I thought. He goes to the dresser top where the pile of dope sits. He grabs a card and starts shifting the pile back and forth. He’s muttering at this point, but certain words are legible like, had more, that’s messed up. After a moment of this, I decide to clarify what exactly is going on and perhaps launch a pre-emptive defense before the madness ensues. I tell him I didn’t touch a thing. This sets him off to a new degree. He asks me why I would say something like that if I didn’t do anything.  Next, he’s yelling, telling me I have to go. He goes over to another dresser and pushes it over. It slams on the floor. I’m up out my chair now. I tell him I’ll just go. But he starts saying things like, sure leave now, after you ripped me off. I don’t know what to do. I’m in the middle of nowhere. It’s a little after six a.m. I have no one to call at such an hour for a ride. I have no money. Meanwhile, he takes a drawer that slid out the dresser he toppled moments ago, and smashes it against the wall. It splinters into pieces. I’m gone. I start walking out the room and down the stairs. At any moment I expected him to come running after me with a hunting knife. But he never came out of his room. When I walked out the front door I could still hear him up there shouting and smashing stuff. I’m not even sure if he knew I left. I kept walking and made it to Parkman road. I decided to go to my friend Chris’s apartment, but I still had a long way to get there. The quickest route seemed to cut through a few neighborhoods in order to get to Mahoning avenue. I walk idly through the neighborhoods because it was still early. and I wasn’t sure what time Chris got up. I didn’t want to piss him off by waking him. An unbelievable thirst began to grip me. My stomach rumbled. I hadn’t had a cigarette for hours. As I continued walking. I passed a tricked-out Z24 parked at the end of driveway. The car’s windows were down. I looked up at the house which looked secured and non-active. I walked past the driveway, looked back at the house windows and saw nothing stirring, and I turned around. I walked briskly up to the Z24. I bent down through the open window on the driver’s side. I’m going right for the change console in the middle, which is open and full of silver. As I’m collecting the silver I hear, HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY CAR?! I’m halfway in the car, halfway out. I look through the windshield at a big black guy standing on his porch in boxer shorts and sandals. The porch is about twenty yards from the vehicle. I dropped the change I had managed to gather and slink back out the window. He starts walking towards me. I’m holding my hands in the air. As I slowly start walking backwards, I tell him, look man I’m sorry, I didn’t take anything. But he’s not having an apology. He’ll settle for nothing less than blood. He tells me to come over so he can talk to me. He’s closing the gap. When he gets about ten yards from me, he turns it up full blast. I follow suit and turn and take off myself. So now I’m running down this road and this black guy is chasing me about twenty yards behind. He keeps yelling for me to stop. I keep yelling back that I didn’t do anything and to stop chasing me. I turn a corner and there is a group of kids and parents waiting at a bus stop. Unbelievable. They watch me run past them, probably wondering what the hell was wrong with me. A couple seconds later the black man runs past them. I hear him yelling back to them, GET HIM! STOP HIM! CALL THE COPS! IT’S ONE OF THOSE CAR THIEVES. Some of the parents start in on the chase. Kids are running around in a frenzy. Parents are simultaneously yelling for the kids to go back while yelling for someone to call the police. This marathon of madness continues for a couple more blocks before we run past another bus stop. Some of those people join in. At this point I had half a neighborhood chasing me like I was Frankenstein. I was so tired. I thought I was going to drop from sheer exhaustion. But I couldn’t stop. I really thought this blood thirsty mob would rip me to pieces if they caught up with me. What I couldn’t have known, was that these particular neighborhoods had a rash of break-ins into their cars over the prior three months. I had nothing to do with these break-ins, but these people sure didn’t know that. This neighborhood was out to make crime pay and I was the face of crime that day. There was no way they were going to give up and let me slip away. They were taking the law into their own hands. I had to catch my breath. The cramp that creeped into my side was beginning to kill me. I veered off the open streets into the yards. I jumped a fence and found a small shed that was built really close to a house. I hid between the shed and the house and gasped for air. I was doubled over for no more than a minute before a kid spotted me and shouted, HE’S OVER HERE! HE’S OVER HERE!BEHIND THE HOUSE! Damn you, I thought as I darted out from my hiding spot like a wild animal. I decided that the darting in between houses was proving ineffective. I headed out onto the main street. But the street I came out on, ran along the Mahoning river. There was nowhere to go but forward. To the right of me were open parking lots to apartment buildings. To the left was a guard rail, and over that was a steep embankment which led down to the river. There was a bridge up ahead about two hundred yards. If I could just cross that bridge, my friend’s house was right there.  That seemed the most reasonable plan. But then, the crowd of vigilante neighbors came from around the corner of a house. Somehow, that same black guy in sandals was still leading the charge. I kicked my jog back to a full sprint and after a few feet my chest just gave out. Then my legs went. I had a horrible cramp in my side. But they were real close behind me now. There was no way I would be able to make it to the bridge. I took what seemed the best option at the time. Isn’t it funny when the worst idea becomes the most reasonable one? That says a lot about where you may be in your life at that point. Anyway, the best option I thought, was to slide down the embankment to the left, and try to wade through the muddy banks and across the raging river. I was still running full blast, but my  body had never been closer to collapsing. I never broke stride, never slowed down, I just leapt over the metal guardrail like it was a low hurdle. Like I said, I thought it was a good idea at the time. I began on the street, went over the guardrail, and landed in a deadfall of leaves and dead branches on the other side. The embankment was even steeper than I thought. I slid head over heels through the deadfall. I remember seeing the top of the embankment, the river, the leaves, then the top again. I landed at the bottom. My legs were twisted up in briars and twigs. My shoulder felt detached from its socket. My face was scraped all to hell from the briars and branches. I could hear the crowd gathering at the top. I could hear the black guy complaining that he had lost one of his sandals. I had no more fight left in me. Jumping into the river would prove folly at this point. There was no energy left in my reserve to fight the current. I surrendered. I yelled up to them that I was coming up. I slunk back up the embankment completely defeated and utterly embarrassed. When I neared the top, the black guy that started this lynch mob, grabbed me by my bad arm and my T-shirt and hoisted me the rest of the way up, before slamming me back on the ground. I would try to get up, but I just keep getting pushed from one neighbor to another, as they ripped through my pockets, and yelled threats. Right then the Warren P.D. rolls up. Some super-cool-old black cop. He gets out and sees these guys whipping me around and he also sees all the scratches and red marks on my face and he thinks the people were beating the hell out me. He doesn’t know that I just did cartwheels down the embankment on my hands and my face. So he dives into the groups’ midst, arguing on my behalf. Once he gets a hold of me, he throws me in the back of his cop car and tells me to sit tight because these people want to kill me. He goes back out there and argues with the neighbors for awhile before getting back in his cruiser. The whole neighborhood throws daggers my way as we pull off. As we’re going down the road he keeps looking at me in the rearview mirror and shaking his head. He asks me why I would do such stupid thing. I tell him that I hadn’t ate for a few days and I just wanted some change to buy a can of pop and get some cigs. He tells me he can’t help me with the cigarettes, but he’ll get me a can of pop at the station when he books me in. Let me tell you, I slept better that night than I had in years. Even though I was in the county jail. I like telling that story because it says a lot about the life of an addict. One day you’re walking and everything is fine and within a matter of minutes, sheer pandemonium breaks out, and you try to outrun it, but you can only run for so long before you wind up at the bottom of an embankment, and in the back of a police car. People often ask me what changed my mind so hard against drugs. Well, I can’t really say that I turned away from drugs completely, because I still get bounced back and forth between doctors and medications. For me, it’s a question of damage control. Choosing the lesser of evils. But for those still lost in the abyss; its difficult to say. Different people have different thresholds they’ll cross. Losing my friends and losing my family didn’t do it. Losing my license didn’t do. The fear of going to prison didn’t do it. I seen many go, twenty-seven to be exact, all real people that I knew in one way or another. In fact, both Chris and Jeremy are two of those twenty-seven. Something just changed in me. That life just didn’t do it for me anymore. I began to slowly see myself as something different. I always believed I was intended to do something that worked into a bigger plot. A bigger plot than just feeding the machines of the courts and the jails.

Thank you for listening, said Jerry.


Many try

To pick the locks she lay

& though I seem lost

I follow signs to lose my way

I believe there exists a key

To a dead bolt so complex

Never cease

Hence, the desperate attempts

Becoming a figment of forever

Reduced to ashes

A never say never

An odd feather on the phoenix

There was a time I’d die

For my dark queen

Of dismally dying suns

Her obsequious servants

Are like collapsing stars

Imploding gravity of lives

Her physiology generating

A scent so intoxicating

No thought of depth of descent

Give this devil her due

For we know her ends

Yet, we suffer her abuse

How many times

Must we prepare ourselves to die

Change our self like an accent?

Heavy & alone

Upon ascent

A sad sack of flesh & bone

Maybe there will be a day

When this forgetful world remembers me

After leaving me for dead

Before washing me out in the cold sea

& as for the now I say

The journey begins & ends back home

Don’t regret the words I’ve said

Every one recorded in my black tome

Time thaws time’s trivial tears

Spring/s the season to reap the harvest sown

I always felt the growing pangs

But I slowly learned & I’m under grown

Somehow, someway, someday is near

& something blessed me to barely breath

& bars snapped & things didn’t seem so strange

But it’s my home & I’m scared to leave

Stop breathing air so she

Will be unable to catch breath

Stay strong while she’s dying

& pray for her silent death

While begging for your life

Sitting alone

With just the tick-tock

Thoughts & bones

& the doors I lock

Just send me away

Back to the white sands

Just give me one day

A day in my own hands

They got so much to say

Policed like a road block

Head will one day lay

On greener lands

Tired of the concrete

Weighing heavy

Upon my feet

The cracks in the street

Their steady drum beat

You see;

I got this disease,

Of being hungry,

Of living;

If you call living,

On your knees

I want it all

All to burn

& I wont be happy

Till I get my turn

Burn out the retinas

Of my shifty eyes

So I can recognize

So I finally realize

The weakness of these lies

This pathologically contagious disease

Rise, rise

Phoenix burn

Rise, rise

From your scarred knees

©Carl Paul Henneman

The Search For The New World

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Prose
Tags: ,

        Some of us let our lives get really bad and really hard. No matter how bad or hard mine got, I just could not stop. It was as if a switch turned on one day and I lost it completely. One minute you’re running around acting crazy. Then crazy just becomes your life.
But there will be a moment, while living that life, when it no longer feels like you belong there anymore. Something is different. You have tired of it. You are still stuck in the mud, but for the first time in a long time, you are looking to get out of it. I’m not talking about that night you spent you in jail and swore to anybody that would listen that you’d never come back or when you were in that rehab and convinced all the doctors and your family that you were really done this time or that Sunday in church when you got up in front of the entire congregation and confessed with tears and silently prayed that if God could just help this one last time you’d never do anything like this again. The moment of realization I am talking about is real. It is unlike anything else that came before it. I wish I could convey it properly with words. The best I can do is that it is a belief in something bigger than you. It’s about believing that you are bigger than what you are. When this moment of realization does happen, you will definitely know. You cannot fake it, nor mistake it. It will floor you. Do not worry if you are not there yet. It will eventually come if you’re open to it. If you already have it, buckle up, because we are in for one hell of a ride.
Realization is an amazing experience that is worth a thousand words. However, it’s only half the battle. The other half is the ugly part. Next, is beginning to rebuild your life. This rebuilding process is difficult for many people. Especially those that expect to have the life they had before this tsunami of addiction swept over their lives. When rebuilding, it is not always wise to follow the preceding format. You can get it close to the original. But you may not be able to rebuild on the same property, or in the same manner, if you want to avoid the same catastrophe that toppled the original building in the first place. Don’t get stuck on some nostalgic standard that your life has to live up to in order to be considered a success. Nothing new grows in such an environment.
Not everyone is going to believe you have changed. Some people may never accept you for what you have become. That’s okay because there are people that will. Even that doesn’t matter much in the big scheme of things. What matters is that you believe in what you have become. People will judge you. People with lives way more twisted up than yours. All you can do is be friendly and remember how clouded your vision was at one time.
If you’re doing the right thing, you have nothing to worry about spiritually. All else will follow suit soon enough. A strong spirit eases the mind. A happy mind helps push a healthy body. Maybe you will be poor and alone when you begin this journey. Nevertheless, would you rather be addicted while dealing with the hardships of life? Life is hard enough already. It makes no sense to make life harder by your own volition.

Smiles and bruises my peepz,
Carl Paul Henneman

We’re all dopamine fiends in this society.

Being all that we can be,

By any means necessary.

Heroin chic and dead sexy.

Seeking that next big hit of brain candy.

Journeys that scorch a path of misery.

Tracked by the authorities.

We make our discovery so easy.

The celebrities and wealthy make it on T.V.

But for those drowning in poverty,

Eventually incarceration will be the recovery.

Left finding divinity in the jails of the city.

Washing away the identity.

Cleaning it up with courtroom divinity.

Whoever said individuality was a necessity?

Selling the soul for AA serenity.

Enroll in some lame second-rate state therapy.

Drop out;

Spoon fed;

Social worker dime-store psychology.



Who needs empathy?

When all you want is some sympathy.

Vicariously feeding this voracious machine.

Tired of these community college degrees.

Just there for a check, judging me.

How about a little authenticity?

Let us see both their arms bleed.

Cuz’ I’m not buying the dreams,

These counsellors are selling so desperately.

So many laughing.

So few helping.

Everyone is suffering.

While someone’s profiting.

Many may try

To pick the locks that she lay

And though I seem lost

I follow signs to lose my way

Yet, I do have one key

To dead bolts so complex

Never cease

My desperate attempts

For she is my forever

My beautiful phoenix

Reduces me to ashes

This queen of many suns

Her obsequious servants

Are like collapsing stars

Gravitating to her warmth

A physiology generating

A scent so intoxicating

I ponder further descent

I give this devil her due

For I know her ends

But I am dulled to the abuse

She weighs heavily

Upon my ascent

Writing has always been an integral part of my life. I can’t remember when I decided to become a writer. I suspect it came from an infatuation with comic books and Star Wars. I would get so angry sitting around waiting for Lucas to follow up Return of the Jedi, I’d just make up new storylines and act them out with Star Wars action figures. Crazy, I know. I suppose most writers have delusions of grandeur at an early age. The innocent days of childhood. Somewhere my dream of  becoming a storyteller shifted into a much darker realm. Fast forward a couple decades. Years abundant with self-torment, drug addiction, and mental anguish. I used to believe that those were the key ingredients of good writing.

When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Kurt Cobain, William Burroughs, and Vincent Van Gogh. No wonder I wound up drowning in manic depression, struggling with drug addiction, and living with suicidal tendencies. And to think, I actually strived for the life of the tortured artist. Be careful what you wish for. I thought drugs expanded the artistic vision. Maybe they do in some moderate instances. But it turned into a living nightmare for me. I became so preoccupied with the drugs, I started writing less frequently. I had little time for anything but chasing after the drugs. The addiction consumed everything. It overwhelmed me. I quit high school and college. Forfeited my position at a local newspaper. I have witnessed the depraved evils of mankind. Evils that many authors only imagine in their writings. I have twice survived prison. I’ve slept in cars. I’ve fought with the best of them, or the worst of them, and walked away bloodied and bruised. I’ve seen twenty-eights friends buried as a result of drugs and countless lives left in ruin. Though I may be able to write with a sense of authenticity now, I’m not so sure that I couldn’t have just read about this stuff instead of experiencing it directly. Take it from me, drugs will hurt more than they help your writing.

My memory may be fried, but one thing I do remember is the day Cobain killed himself. Cobain was more than a musical icon to my generation. He was a symbol of contempt for the mundane existence that was being thrust upon us at the time. Some of us didn’t want the life that our parents had. We didn’t want to work our lives away for corporations that cared so little for us in return. We felt abandoned by our parents and a society dictated by corporate greed. Somehow the corporate world still managed to get a stranglehold on Kurt. We watched our superhero deteriorate via MTV as the record label just continued cashing in on his artistic talent. I recall the utter lack of hope I felt when I heard the news of his suicide. He seemed to be on top of the world, adorned with all the money and fame a person could want. If that wasn’t enough for a legend, what hope did the rest of Generation X really have? Some of us surrendered to the corporate world and some of us surrendered to our addictions. I was heaped in with the latter of the two.

Burroughs had to live with the fact that he had shot and killed his wife (accidental or not) while all hopped up on bennys and God knows what else. He was a portrait of the toxicity of narcotics to the human constitution. He was always broke, both financially and physically. Few people could stand being around him more than a few hours. And Vincent, we’ve all heard the stories of Vincent. Supported by his brother Theo. The self-mutilation. His desperate search for the companionship he would never have. The suicide in the sunflowers. It makes one really question this tortured artist gig. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some insane experiences to write about. But this crazy lifestyle has set me way back and I don’t recommend it. Especially after seeing so many intelligent people fall to waste rather than rise to glory. My advice to the up and coming artists: just watch a bunch of R rated movies instead of experiencing this crap first hand. Addiction will definitely hinder you more than it will help you.

So what now? What is one to do after waking up from this malaise to a state of utter devastation? Thank God for blogs I say. Otherwise, I would have little opportunity to express myself artistically. Especially in this age of self-publication where money talks and poverty walks. I used to think I was born to enlighten the world. Then I thought that I was here to burn it down. Now I’m just angry with myself for wasting so much time that I will never be able to regain. When I think of the tormented artists I so admired in my teenage years, I now know how tortured they were. Don’t put yourself in this position.