Sunday, June 12, 2011

How I Woke Up

No, I didn't wake up today like this. I actually wrote this poem in a response to another poem I read yesterday, in response to remembering what I was like decades ago. But no, this exact thing did not happen to me. It could have been me. There are at least two people way back then who might have deserved this from me.

Or as someone said, perhaps this is actually not about dope, even though it says it is. It is dark, though. It is deeply trapped and basically awful. If I woke up like this today, I probably would have been waking like this for some time. I would very likely be stuck in the nightmare. I would probably continue to wake up like this until a miracle or some darker disaster would then shape things differently, like going to jail might change things. If I have awakened like this, then going to jail might be a dark blessing rather than a disaster.

I have some personal experience with bad shit turning out to be a blessing. I wrote recently on the idea of sloppy good luck. There is a whole spectrum. Sometimes luck turns really sloppy, even stinky, reeking of the sewer. This kind of luck takes awhile to reveal itself as the good luck it is. The point embedded in this musing: sometimes you fall so deeply into the pit that you have no way back up without help of some kind, from serendipitous fate, from God, angels, demons, from the thrust of destiny, from the kindness of others.

It may be in that hard school you learn the most about love, humility, forgiveness.

It occurred to me that I might be appearing too saintly lately. I thought it might be appropriate to point out that I went through some really dark shit in my youth.

How I Woke Up

I need to smack him
down, take his dope, end his life
if I can, oh Lord,
if I can like he
took mine that last thrust before
the next nasty rise
erupted on me
like vomit, like black light groans
in the back room mess
I must now live in
as I choke down my cold rage
and am torn apart.

June 12, 2011 11:17 AM


  1. "It is deeply trapped and basically awful." That description alone makes me love the poem. Dark me. Very descriptive and alive. Midnight crude oil. Viscous.

  2. Annie, I know you have learned to see in the dark. I love you for it.

  3. and i'm learning through this
    Darkness has touched us all in a way..I think the fact that we can and do put them into words..(again as honest as yours) us that dim light to hold...But i guess if you start believing that the light is the start of things afresh altogether...then you have jumped ahead of time...somewhere we remain that person...only we have learned to talk him into sleep...and maybe sometimes wake up too...for a little you may have done here..

  4. manik, as you may recall, I spent a couple years in Bangladesh, and traveled a bit to Nepal and India around Delhi, Agra, Srinagar (I viewed the Kashmiri as breathtakingly beautiful, dark skinned, auburn to red headed, blue eyed), going through Nepal, the only way to get to India from what was then East Pakistan. In that time I was also a steady user of the legal ganja, the smuggled in and therefore illegal hashish. By day I worked as Financial Secretary for the local Dacca hospital (for a year) and by night I smoked dope and hung with some other people, Bengalis and western, and yearned to be back in the US where it was all "happening".

    I also studied philosophy and psychology on my own and practiced guitar, teaching it a bit to younger westerners. I kept a journal in this time, and still have it but very little locates the journal in East Pakistan.

    This experience is not radically different from most of my drug use and that is why I say the darkness in this poem is not really mine. However, it remains true that what any addict can experience is possible for any other addict in the right circumstance. A couple years later I was trashing and stripping my life and leaving the state abruptly to escape legal consequences, and a short time before Bangladesh I was living on the street. Thus this imagined experience is not only true of someone, the same entrapment (the dismay) was true for me.

  5. This is brutal. It definitely comes from some kind of pain place. Sometimes the words just come up like vomit and bile.

  6. chris,
    i reside in himachal..the state closest to kashmir..and if you see the small thumbnail closely....i kindoff give that appearance....people call me a crossover russian..i think i've crossed time and not boundaries..the wrinkles have started to appear...

  7. Ghost, I love the music. As for waking up like that, I strongly doubt anyone wants to. Many however do.

    Brutal is a good word for it. I regret to say how deeply in me I have to go to find it. I would prefer to dive that deep and find nothing but peace and a sense of the divine, but no, I have to find homicide and suicide and addiction and lies and dismay and insanity and loss. I love you Rachel.

    Manik, just recently I realized that the intermixing of genes in that part of the world has continued. I used to say (because it is surely in part true) that it is the effect of Alexander's soldiers, of Alexander himself. E.M. Butt and Sons was a houseboat hotel on Lake Dal and the land they were next to was the remains of a garden reputedly made by Alexander's army on the lake shore. In the guest book of the boat we stayed in was the name George Harrison. The year was 1969.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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