Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

upon recently hearing one more friend has fallen for them, thought i'd post this

Our Derelict Illusions (for Fed)

“To call on the people to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions” (Marx on religion, 1844).

When I first saw our brother Jack,
He was nodding at the kitchen table,
The phone in hand loudly signaling
No one at the other end,
A cigarette burning down between his fingers,
And he became my hero in that instant
Because he didn’t give a fuck about a thing—
Three decades later, I see him there
And still want what he had just then,
Abcesses, burns and bruises airbrushed out,
No desperate joneses or humiliation,
Deleting scenes of him pulling out
His eyelashes in frustration
When he couldn’t find a vein—
Still I think of living somewhere like Tehran
Or better, having a boxcar load of liquid morphine,
So I’d have the perfect junkie life for sure
Because there’d be no problem with supply,
Though I’d have to find ingenious methods
Of ingestion undiscovered yet,
Protect my stash from thievery,
Myself from overdose and murderous attempts
To rob me, and then my liver would quit
At 90 just before the dope ran out.

We said we’d be old men in rocking chairs,
With hashish pipes in hand and grandkids gathered
‘Round our knees to marvel at our wisdom,
Like how the world would be a better place
If everyone would shoot narcotics—
We’d laugh and say, “We are omnipotent,”
But at twenty-four you nodded out for good
While I was tucked away in rehab,
And how I wish that you were here with me—
I’ve learned a lot I’d love to share with you
About solidarity and vulnerability
Since we stumbled loaded miles together.
I’ve often wondered why you died
And I’ve lived on for thirty years since then,
When you’d have done as well as I
Or anyone at living on—
Old-timers in AA tried to console me
With platitudes about some “plan”
That God must have for me (and not for you,
I guess), which was no help at all,
And NA saved my life, for sure,
But never answered questions more complex
Than how to live drug-free: that’s huge
But not much of a “plan” or road to take.

The mind is such a mystery to me—
It turns to anything to avoid
Our present condition, even addiction,
Its romantic rituals,
Tragic searching for solace,
Surreal, euphoric memories,
Bullshit ‘bout the “good old days”
Or some imagined angle to escape
Inevitable jail, institutions or death
(It’ll be different this time, I know it will)—
Even though (or maybe because) I miss
My young dead friends, especially you,
Even though a daughter’s following
In my footsteps and I see the victims
Everywhere, I sometimes envy those
At it still with bigger habits,
Their exciting lives, their fortune at the game—
One plan is to struggle now somehow
To destroy our condition that requires such illusions,
Our dog-eat-dog, shit-flows-downhill condition,
Our sacrificial slaughter on the altar of Power and Profit,
By creating a new reality
So fair and clean that no one needs escape,
No one seeks an accidental suicide.