junkie poetry

And then………everything changed.
Reality took on a new shape and its old form crumbled away
like a body of ashes in the wind.

I found myself in familiar territory.

I felt the oncoming shake of awareness,
and I knew it wouldn’t be long
It wouldn’t be long until the inevitable took hold, and again,
I would find myself turning in the low-end
 of a vicious cycle.

As the bag emptied, I could feel the anxiety begin to stir.
It moved in, and I could feel the anguish coming on like a storm from the distance.

I lost…
I lost the way water loses to a drain.
All I could do was sink through the funnel
until there was nowhere left for me to spill.

But this is how it is with addiction.
I knew the mental sickness was on its way.
I knew my insanity had reached its flashing point,
and more,
I knew it was only a matter of time
until there was nowhere left to turn.
The high would run out, and eventually,
even denial had a way of meeting its own reflection.

The last spoonful was gone
and all that remained were the tiny whispers,
which screamed in my head
and the ongoing need,
which brought me to my knees.

I was facing the early morning hours after a long binge,
and with nothing left to satisfy the demons,
I crawled along the planks of my hardwood floor,
searching for one last piece of sanity….
but there was none.

Every little crumb, or speck that appeared on my floor

looked like a tiny white flake—and each white flake
teased me like a mirage teases the stranded.

These are the illusions of cocaine’s aftermath…
My heartbeat thumped. My stomach turned and growled.
My skin was pasty white and my eyes were charged
like an amplified zombie.

No matter how I tried,
I could not stop my jaw from grinding
or moving back and forth.
I could not stop the mad thoughts from feasting on my sanity,
and I could not stop the horrible flow of adrenaline
from coursing through my bloodstream.

The lofty high I tried to capture was mirrored by an incredible low,
which in turn, frayed my nerves
as if every sense and muscle was flexed beyond capacity.

In this case, all anyone wants is a piece of redemption.
In my case, that redemption came in a tiny envelope or plastic bag.

This is the part of addiction I was warned about.
But to me, it wasn’t a warning.
It was more like temptation.

In my experience,
the devil never comes ugly:
He comes in the forms of beautiful chaos:
lying on the way in

…and telling truths on the way out.

In my experience,
the devil’s greatest trick isn’t what he says you should do
it’s what he says not to….

All I can say now is thank God I’m sober~


about now

After a long weekend shift, I washed my hands from the dust and dirt. I splashed water across my face, and after losing the best hours of sunlight, I changed from my work clothes and locked the shop’s door behind me. At least for that moment, I was happily uninvolved with my job. For that moment, I turned the key to lock the top lock of the engineer’s locker-room, and after I placed my hand beneath the scanner to prove my work hours, I left the day behind and drove home.
I drove through the city streets, waiting on pedestrians that cross the street regardless to oncoming traffic. Then I ducked beneath the Midtown Tunnel and came out on the other side.
The day was beautiful—however, I spent most of it with various contractors, running from one part of an office building to another.
But finally…springtime arrived.
The warm winds allowed us a glimpse of what to expect. In no time at all, the summer will be here and our side of the hemisphere will enjoy the chance to dress less and show more skin.
I like that
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about a fire

I used to light fires….

I am not sure how old I was the first time this happened, but in the crazy atmosphere of youth fueled by substance abuse, I often found myself hiding from the wreckage of my behavior.
I had to switch friends and change the places I would go to avoid a beating. But inevitably, I found myself alone.
At 14 I was removed from my junior high school and placed in an alternative school for students that struggled in regular, classroom settings. The school itself was a transformed barn, located in the heart of a picturesque campus of a nearby college, and surrounded by specimen trees, rolling landscapes, horses, and it was attended by Continue reading

eight years

Essentially, I am only eight years-old. I say this because of a decision I made eight years ago. And the decision was simple.
It was to say the words, “Never again.”

At the age of 33, I came to a crossroads. I came to a place where I had nothing left behind me. There was nothing in front of me and there was no one to my left or to my right. I had very little as far as clothing or possessions and my bank account was mostly empty. Aside from financially, I found myself Continue reading

age of awareness

I suppose we had our moment in the sun. I suppose in our youth, we had our chance to dress like kings when we stepped from the doors of our learning institutions and into the world, which we thought would be easy.
We howled and we laughed. We lived as hard and as loud as we could, and from there, we slowly trickled into our places in society.
We found our new directions and said we would always keep in touch. Then we dressed Continue reading

working man’s thought

I suppose it has been too long; too long since I have gone away and found myself in a quiet, remote part of the world.
It has been too long since I have been anywhere spectacular, serene, or perfectly spaced away from my usual places of home and business.
It has been too long since I have been away from the gadgets of technology, computer screens, cell phones and text messages, emails, and the tall stack of bills which rise, but never seem to fall lower than halfway.

Of course, the idea of a warm island and white sand beaches with beautiful blue water and palm trees come to mind. I can imagine myself lying in a hammock, slowly swaying between two leafy palm trees to the rhythm of a Caribbean breeze, and beside me, a tall sweating glass sits with a straw poking from its top, and its placed next to a triangular slice of pineapple, orange, and a cherry, which are held together with a red plastic sword and propped at the top of my drink.
I could walk along the beach, feeling the sun on my face, and smell the coconut aroma from the lotion rubbed into my skin.

At nightfall, I could sit at a round table with a tanned-skinned waiter in a floral shirt, smiling at me as he asks, “And how would you like your steak cooked,” or, “Would you care for another shrimp cocktail,” and of course he could always say, “Excellent choice Mr. Kimmel. The garlic butter does go well with the lobster tails.”
I can see myself watching the sunrise and the sunset as it turns the horizon into an amazing shade of fiery orange.

I could sit in a small hotel I once visited in Paradise, Arizona. I could find myself sitting comfortably behind the wheel of a convertible and driving through the desert. I could be surrounded by desert’s nothingness; I could enjoy the quiet and watch the black, long-winged vultures turn motionlessly in the bluest sky.

I could spend a few days in an A-framed cottage while losing myself in a disconnected atmosphere of an old television set, and old telephone that hangs on the cedar paneled wall beside an old fridge, and an old stove in an opened room with old paintings (perhaps older than my oldest parent) and an old fireplace, which burns significantly bright and casts perfect shadows, say, like on the body of my naked woman as she waits for me.

I suppose I spend too much time in the same places with the same places. And each morning, approximately 3.8 miles north of Hempstead Turnpike and over Old Country Road, I walk up the stairs at the train station of the Long Island Railroad. I see the same people as they wait for the morning train to place them 47 minutes away from their homes and into the city that never sleeps.
I suppose I spend too much time on Lexington Avenue and not enough time at places like Columbus Circle, or Central Park. I suppose there is less opportunity for me to break away from my routine and see things like The Met, or The Hayden Planetarium.
All day, every day, I see the same things; I see the same tools and the same degreaser I use to clean my hands. I encounter the same mechanical problems and the same arguments with angry tenants in a commercial office building. I see the same bosses, lost in the worlds of their own egos, and pointing fingers while saying, “I don’t care if you don’t think it can be done. Just get it done, and get it done now.”

I do appreciate my ride home, however. I like facing backwards and looking through the train’s window, watching New York City disappear into the distance as I pass through Queens, and in no time…I’m home.

I don’t complain because this is my life.
In order to live, turn on a light, eat something or get from one place to another, I have to work.
It would be nice to get away though.
Even if only for a few days….

pt. lookout

I like to stand near the rock piles on the west side of Jones Inlet. I watch the tides move in and out; I watch the earth breathe, and I watch as the waves crest onto the dark gray boulders that reach out like a black finger from the shoreline.
Behind me, the sleepy town of Point Lookout lives in summer homes, which were Continue reading

April 1, 2014

Today, I acknowledge my sobriety date (April 1, 1991)

After my fall, I went back to the place I knew, which was far away from the town I grew up in, and far from the streets of New York City. I went back to a place, which was away from the impulsiveness and the temptations; it was away from the madness, the personal demons, and far away from me.
Arriving before noon, I watched the sun shine over the views of tree-lined mountains, and over the old red barn, the tiny pond, the huge, muddied field where the cows used to roam, and over the house where I used to live.
Snow melted along the side of the dirt roads and the smell of spring was on its way. And there in the moment of comforted sadness, I felt as if I had come home.
This was the view I saw on a daily basis. This was where I learned to shed the cloaks of my old images, and release the habits. I learned about God. I learned about life and I grew.
I grew from a scrawny, longhaired, boy into a young man.
This is where I was stripped of my status—I was removed from my own deadly routines—and furthermore, this is where I was introduced to myself and sobriety.

Away on the farm, I built solid friendships. We always said we’d keep in touch. We always said we’d never forget each other or the lessons we learned there, and at the time, I’m sure we meant it.
But I never forgot…
How could I forget the early morning barn crews, sleeping on steel-framed bunks, which creaked in the middle of the night because of young, newly sober boys, removed from their atmosphere, and of course, how could I forget wearing signs around my neck, getting shot down, screamed at, and degraded in front of a small community of people?

In the hardest memory, and the roughest times, I was taken from the comforts that almost killed me. This was no easy task and I fought back; I rebelled and I argued. But I also became sober.
For the first time, my eyes were opened. I was able to see without feeling uncomfortable, or admit to feeling without being afraid.
There was no one looking to con me. There was no one looking to steal, hurt, or push me in the corner of a small prison cell. On the contrary, there was fellowship. There was family, love, acceptance, and understanding.

I never forgot the months I lived on the farm…I never forgot the counseling sessions, or the friends I knew that left and went back to their old life. And like everyone else on the farm, I swore I would never forget who I was and that would never happen to me. However, my memory was not always prominent.

Back to the world, I was left to my own devices. There was no one around to remind me of my program; there was no one to call me out on my spiritual laziness, or my bullshit. And more, there was no one to say even the simplest things. Things like, “Hello,” or “How are you,” and actually wait for an answer.

Slowly, I withdrew. I began to feel the old feelings, which kept me sick for too long. My attitude changed and so did my behavior, which, in the world of addiction, is never a good thing.

They say the devil knows us better than we know ourselves. Perhaps this is why temptation is so seductive.
My demons know me very well. They know how to whisper and where to hide their lies. They know how to make me listen and change my thought process.

I began to shed the lessons I learned—or maybe I just covered them or drowned them in denial. Becoming raw, I felt the stings of insecurity. I felt the anger again; I felt the awkwardness, and the confusion. Suddenly, the things I knew and the lessons I learned became foreign to me and it was not long before I found myself at a drug spot off of Rockaway Parkway.

I relapsed. I gave back what I once took and held so dearly.
I let go of my achievements. I let go of the lessons I learned as well as the respect I had for myself, and while on a 24hr binge, I crawled across the planks of a hardwood floor, looking for tiny white flakes of powder.
My lips were burned with blisters from the glass pipe. My skin was pale. And my eyes; my eyes were possessed by the cocaine demons, and hauntingly wired.

This is why I went back to the farm. I went back because I fell.
I went back because I knew they cared. I knew they understood my addiction, and I also knew they would tell me, “It’s okay,” and “You can get back up now.”
“You don’t have to fail again.”

If it were not for the people I lived with, learned from, and loved; if left to my own devices, or had I never been separated from myself, and introduced to God the Father as I understand him, I would have never become sober.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore, be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.”
(That’s from Matthew 10:16)

If any, this passage describes my sobriety very well

My life and my sobriety belong to me and no one else. Over the years, I have been met with obstacles. I have gone through hard times. I have lost and I have struggled. I have been offered and I have been persuaded to turn back and forget who I was.
But even if I did forget, this would only be temporary, and fate would quickly remind me of who I was and how easy it is to fall backwards.

Thankfully, I haven’t fallen backwards in 23 years.

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