Painting Hearts Instead of Scoring Coke

heart

My blood is hot scotch desirous, animalistic unpredictability coursing and I can feel my pupils pounding, black holes swallowing the whites of my eyes. I’m right between euphoria and murder, the golden moment right before you rise into heaven or fall into hell.

I want need some cocaine. 

It’s always the same thing, the sweet burn of the luminous golden scotch mingling with my tongue, tickling the very depths of me with every swallow, the tinkling crystal tumbler raised and tilted at a glib angle as the scotch ripples through me like a stone thrown into a pond. I’m one smiling, laughing witticism after another two or three doubles deep. This is civilized, radiance pushing the dread from my center, a glowing amber ocean in a glass literally scorching the earth of my anxiety, every gulp like a whispering friend encouraging me to live, to be alive, giving me life, new life and new needs, new ways to fulfill those new needs for my new life writing these words, hell, I need a drink. 

I love that phrase, it’s the only honest protest we have left, “I need a drink,” implies isolation and frustration and a reprieve from it all into sexy danger and abundant power, the righteous murder of the maiming our minds do unto us, something everyone can understand. S/he needs a drink. X happened and now Y is Z. S/he deserves a drink.

Tara’s driving my car flying above the purring German engine, the power of it intoxicating, her eyes burning embers ready to catch flame and I see myself inside her eyes, little ellipses containing my deepest reflections. She says we’re siblings. I see it.  

I have her take me south to the lake near the place I got evicted from and I just missed my girl. I walk across the street to this shitty bar PIZZA, the other letters sizzling and popping on and off until the shuddering, crackling A finally explodes popping into the darkness shooting slivers of sparkles that shower down from it like a sparkler, leaving a single blinking Z. Everyone briefly looks outside at the little explosion and I look through the faces for someone familiar. Nothing. I light a Parliament with my head buried in my phone texting the people you text on nights like these nights. I look around like I’m lost, that’s how I feel, and my eyes lay upon a kid with a mad shine in his eyes sitting on a stump of green gun metal, the Seattle Weekly box, his legs dangling over the side. He starts talking to me in rapid fire and I notice his face has meth all over it, and he’s speeding through something about how it’s his first night in Seattle, “My fuckin’ girl got pregnant, maaan, so I hopped on this greyhound with no ticket dude and without saying shit and just got the fuck outta there but she has this uncle and—” Lovely. I think he thought we were friends because we both witnessed the A explode. I nod and return to Tara, letting him tell his stories to the wind. She’s sitting parked in my car waiting me out and anyone else would have infuriated me just for existing; I’m flustered and frustrated and hating drugs, hating the lack of drugs, hating that I hate the lack of drugs but Tara is like valium with a heartbeat and no matter what and no matter how badly I want coke I want Tara to be okay more. This is the first friendship I’ve ever had, I think. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a friend my whole life.

My wise voice, as Tara might say, is murmuring maybe screaming something about how this is actually serendipity, not loss and that’s true, cocaine turns me inside out into a hungry carnivorous violence I never even let myself believe could exist in me and without fail I end up at some ugly hour of the morning in my shower sobbing, blowing burning chunks of ammonia and ephedrine out of my scorched face hating everything most especially myself trying to wash the fury and hopelessness off of me, shoveling sedatives and beta blockers down my throat knowing they won’t fucking work because nothing fucking works because I’m on coke and coke doesn’t work.

Now we’re in the middle of Capitol Hill, 12th and Pike, one block from the succubus-girl and the condo we lived in where she almost murdered me and everyone is screaming and everything is drugs and pounding bass and kids in middle school and college running around like insane insects in a hive; the people are all game tonight the air electrified with cheap cologne and perfume, hormones and pheromones and the shit-coke I know is down in the grottos along the avenue waiting for me like that evil girl used to, sitting so gently on her bed looking bashful even timid when I would finally crawl back right until she leaped off my cock into the bathroom to vomit and scream, yes, the things I came here for are here. I watch some kid piss on a garbage can. I watch another kid piss on a street corner. This is a carnival of piss, colorfully terrifying, everything pressing into me from all sides like walls of skin crushing me from all directions and this place is a shining blood-red apple staring at me daring my teeth to sink into it like a vampire staring into a throbbing jugular, sticky blood and apple juice flowing down from my jaws onto my chin dribbling down impossible to stop until my hands are sticky and my fingers snap when I pull my hands apart from themselves because I am going to eat this city.

My face is a razor blade on a cokeless mirror, chopping at the clear glass, cutting at the sides— “Alex, you want to see the one that really fucked me up?” I’m in the car sweating venom and Tara will show more of her demons to me, she knows this shit so well. “This is Angela.” She shows me a video of Angela on my phone reading poetry written for Tara. I see a face made of old bone holding two small smoldering eye sockets and as Tara tells me about the Christmas they spent together where Angela pulled a knife on her in a fit of paranoid rage after smashing her boot through Tara’s fragile gifts I start to forget the coke. I don’t forget the coke. The craving becomes polluted with the better nature of my soul as I see Tara clutching at her face in pain as she watches this video and I see why Tara would love this girl made from bone metal— her face is devoid of love and Tara likes to let her heart get strangled. “I know!” I scream. We’ve watched two videos of this horrendous skeletal woman on a stage reading poetry about Tara and I’ve just come up with the best fucking idea.

“Let’s paint!” 

Now, some would say that doing graffiti in the middle of crowded streets full of people and cops is not the smartest thing, especially after having already pressed my luck and beaten a big graffiti charge a few years back. 

I disagree with those people. 

My trunk is stocked. For a moment I freak out, did all the caps go into the duffel bag that’s at the house? Nope, a big lime-green cap sits on top of a red can like a cherry on a sundae. I light it up and sure enough the cap is good (caps often jam with congealed paint and become unusable) tonight we’re having good fortune. Incidentally, we’re parked right in front of the place where I did one of my first pieces, a little monster guy that was up for some five years and has now disappeared. It’s this big sunken parking lot with this huge, huge wall covered entirely with graffiti and I am taking Tara for a ride. We stroll away, a red can and a black can clinking in her blue purse. We casually walk down some steps to a gangplank that leads down further to the lot and I survey it for cops and other undesirables. Nobody except a couple in the middle of either a break up or a make up, I can’t decide. We get down to the bottom and I look at the wall where my beautiful piece used to be. It’s covered in all new graffiti, much of it very, very good. This may sound fucked up, but I love to tag over good blaster-pieces. My rationale is two-fold: 1. Graffiti is all about fucking up other people’s walls and nobody owns shit no matter how pretty or how long they spent on it and 2. Painting over good art will force more good art onto the streets. 

I’m pretty certain there are a few people who disagree, would put a baseball bat to my head if they saw what I did. I don’t care. I ask Tara for the red can with the cap and she hands it to me and I see her in my periphery with her head on a swivel looking for oncoming cops as I just mangle these walls, red hearts everywhere in about two minutes the entire parking lot looks like Valentines day. We walk up the slanted drive past the couple who look and smile. Making up. Good. When we reach the street I notice that my trigger fingers are covered in red paint. Fuck. Oncoming sirens.

Go.

I start down the avenue the way it would make sense to go but quickly reverse course, Tara trailing a few yards and we go right back through the lot I just smothered with hearts because everything graffiti is counterintuitive, including getting busted— the cops rarely think to look at the spot that just got hit, why would the idiot taggers still be there, right? Right. We’re back on safety in my car. “Painting hearts with the cops after you is better than smack,” I tell her, my eyes virtually rolling back in my head. Both of us are huffing and puffing and grinning like idiots as we drive the fuck out of there. The craving for coke has not left me but the need for it has. Tara drives me back to her place and I bid her farewell before I drive myself home, by now sobered up from the scotch, where I sleep a most restful sleep, the clinking and spraying of paint cans and the tinkling of crystal tumblers an amalgamate of hissing and chiming softly in time like a strange lullaby keeping time with my cooling blood and my slowing heart all the way deep into my dreams.

Once A True Love

Ziperovich

Saltwater, she tasted like everything so I sang and she sang,  we sang to each other like so many saints until we died on the cross, true love shed true blood tis true love as could an artist paint if he had any cruel lust and a canvas with a few bruises, a few cuts

Tainted bed, listen close, the only girl I ever met, poisonous lead, a porcelain face,  enough beauty to break necks, shuttered, dying in a forest with enough God to be seen on the horizon, the sunset disguised as a fool smiling and smiling, dying and dying

I love you, yes I do, I made you grow, I meant to tell you sooner, I meant to slit my wrists in the afternoon before you knew, we all of us here meant to watch the blood sink into the sink like glue, but more like water, so soon we’ll know if it’s no son, no daughter, yes love a slaughter because we all, I mean, I just love(d) you, cauterize the wounds, nevermind, don’t bother it’ll probably cut you

I held on to the tightest ropes on Himalayan slopes until there was no more, just screaming and good dope and increasing suicidal ideations and us both seeking some way to cope with your violations but there isn’t a way and we found that out quick, both fucked in our heads like freed slaves diving, holding hands, from a slave ship

Hate it or love it, my biblical covenant, a way to adhere to, before I said, NO, FUCK THIS, gave it all up for random sex with cute things, what a way to take the shotgun out and shoot things, make sure they’re dead before you begin to cook things with the hot barrel of the rifle pressed against you as you try to sing new feelings

Always the housekeeper, the loud screamer, always the girl without meaning, the non-believer, just danced around ourselves like we always did, one or two grams of this to make us happy kids, to make Alex’s heart skip, that’s just how we sinned and that’s how you’ll do forever like superglue, who are you but a pretty grim face I fell in love with before I said loyalty is something I can’t fuck with, before I said no, she’s insane, how does this work in my favor, does it, does the pain in the rain snorting caine even belabor the kind of crying eyes that we savor, the kind of dying wine that we favor, the silent, mindless time I saved for her?

There once was a perfect girl in a perfect world giving me tissues to wipe the tears from my worthless pearls and then I found out that humanity ran afoul and she looked upon me with every single perfection laid like sun upon me and I rejected my own torture but I despised my own forfeiture and I just wanted it to be like it was when I had random sex with whores that didn’t eat my coursing blue blood until it exploded into the air like dirty, rotten, lovely, beautiful, make-shift true love coming from oil rigs instead it’s blue blood psychotic stomp stomp on psychotic floors with broken psychotic chores, a poet soaking in a bath until I drown like Jim from the Doors

Let this page catch fire, a common theme I know you’ll admire, you might find this destitute lest you’re of true fire, you’ve mired a sobbing poet into a frothing hoe-get and a slothful more-pig but I admire it all, the way you caught me ecstasy, made me believe it all wasn’t a dream instead the MDMA made us just believe, no matter we looked senseless, we were there in your bed looking at each other breathless in love with our fake mutual serotonergic death wish – let’s kiss

I never died I just multiply with girls that would make you sick and defiant and violent if you looked into their eyes, zero shame, but I’m allowed Saudi princess’ that aren’t insane and aren’t afraid you’re now a past mistress, nothing more, I let you live this and then your death is something poor, in your world it’s shit, I got a new way of seeing me past this, just finished fucking the last chick and I just wanted nothing but to tell you what’s on my mind, for laughs bitch, so it’s really nothing, unless you suddenly figure out emotions and feelings and human beings, which you’re incapable of, so I escaped from your dusty rust to bathe in hugs and taste other tongues soft like Persian rugs not hard, worthless love

My Friend Jamie, My Poor, Poor Friend Jamie

By Alexander Ziperovich

It was really just me and this obese woman, a drug counselor incidentally, in this rehab. There was the Indian that smoked heroin and bitched about his need to go drive his non-existent Porsche and the Mexican he paid for his dope, how he wanted to kill this fucker. He was a farce- but fuck he was built like a fucking panzer tank or better, a gasoline tanker truck, I mean this massive asshole actually had a jet black pony tail! We didn’t get along after I walked in on him showering in my bathroom. Me and the Indian, no we didn’t get along at all and I left him alone but his eyes really didn’t ever leave me much alone time. So, it was all of us shuttered up in this cramped little hovel a few hundred miles north of San Diego in this post-apocalypytic wasteland suburbia apropos of hell with two twin obese freakishly round half-Mexican “caretakers” or whatever feeding us our pills and cooking bad enchiladas every single day. I mean, seriously, every day and the bulk cheese was applied like the bubonic plague in European history.

Me and the obese woman, we cliqued up right away. She was momming me and I was sonning for her and it was working beautifully at first. See, the reason she came to rehab in the first place was because she felt she needed Gastric Bypass surgery and her pain doc had her on, she said and I believed it, sixteen eighty milligram oxycontins a day plus liquid morphine to top it all off and get the cocktail tasting right. The problem here then is that with her on so much dope pain medication there would be no feasible way for this large woman to get any kind of pain control if she did happen to have gastric bypass surgery to thin her out a tad. It was all sad and amusing and we talked about her hepatitis C and her days following the dead (the grateful ones) and her son doing life in Chino and all sorts of other getting-to-know-ya shit. She took to me. She really did. I wasn’t surprised. And with sixteen eighties a day, shit, sign the adoption papers today.

The TV was the epicenter, the headquarters of the house and we watched the movie Alpha Dog continuously, which tells the true story of this little kid that’s killed with a mac 10 on a California hiking trail because of his older brother’s very insignificant drug debt. “What are we watching tonight?” You can hear the enchilada’s frying and sizzling, all that cheese, these poor fat women, Jesus. “Alpha Dog,” “Oh. Yeah, it’s good.” The Indian absolutely hated Alpha Dog and you’d hear a door slam. I liked it, kinda. I mean, shit, it wasn’t Wheel of Fortune or TV Telemundo and it pissed the Indian off.

Here’s the variable – I run out of smokes and all there is to do is sit at the table outside and smoke or watch alpha dog and eat shitty cheese smothered tortillas. So, I start bumming the obese ladies’ Camel non-filters, which she refers to as “leemacks”. The reason, she explains, is because you never want the fuzz to know what kind of cigarettes you smoke, so you smoke the unfiltered Camel’s backwards, burning up the little Camel stamp and leaving a butt with nothing but hopelessness for any homicide detective trying to find out who dun it. She learned this awhile back I take it, at least before the cops figured out DNA and fingerprinting.

I start bumming her leemacks and she isn’t very excited after I’ve devoured her 7th pack inside of 48 hours. She slows me down getting irritated. Somewhere around this time I use her nail clippers to cut my fingernails and then I remember she has hepatitis and I get a little freaked out. Uh oh, I say to myself, uh oh. I don’t want no fuckin’ interferon. Shit.

“Alex, I can’t bum you anymore smokes, I love ya but I can’t do it.” She will run out herself if I keep smoking her leemacks and I don’t want her to run out and she doesn’t want to run out and no one wants to run out of nicotine in fucking rehab because it’s fucking rehab and there are no good drugs or drinks. Bastards all of em. Burn em at the stake and pour poor liquor into their face, sober freaks.

“Oh, really? Damn. You can’t afford to bum me anymore leemacks? Shit. That’s okay. I’ll survive.”

It is time for me to get the fuck out of this pit. Post haste. No cigarettes? No, no way.

I call my friend Jamie in San Diego to come get me and he concurs. Some skinny fucker gets word that I’m leaving and comes to try to intervene and keep me hostage in the house of bubbling enchiladas and nicotine withdrawal but my mind is all made up on this one. No cigarettes? Cocksucker even offers to buy me a pack. A pack? He limps away all fatalistic away from my roaring laughter. So, I wait at this tropical Tiki Hut themed bar drinking Coronas this older woman keeps blessing me with acting as if I were Macauley Culkin before the heroin (again, I have this effect on older white women, don’t ask me why) and I’m twirling one of those little toothpick umbrellas in my mouth in the sun feeling great. Jamie makes the two and a half hour trip and I see BMW M3 pull up and I’m out like a fucking ghost in the night, although it is daylight and there is no one to put up a fight, except maybe Charlene or Chandra or whoever the old blond is, she wanted me to stay. Sorry Chayenne. She smiles wistfully and waves goodbye.

What I have not thus far mentioned is that I generated a generous benzodiazepine habit along with my usual opiate one: xanax 20 mg a day, klonopin 10 or how about I just greedily pour the fuckers down my throat as much as I can without choking to death. I would ask that the reader keep in mind that this is only really like my fifth or sixth detox/rehab and so I’m still learning the ropes, day by day. I figure that the bullshit WWI benzo the enchilada twins are feeding me (brand name Serax; extremely short half life and worthless for a buzz FYI) doesn’t mean shit and isn’t doing shit but I have yet to learn the delicacies of a benzo withdrawal…

Naturally, I assume I’ll be completely fine. And I am. Dandy. The drive back is stupendous, I’m free, free at last, from rehab and obese women with leemacks and bad enchiladas and mean heroin smoking Indians and Alpha Dog and the whole damn thing and I get to Jamies house and some  dudes are sitting there on his front porch thriving on forty ouncers and blunts and I get with them and catch a taste of Cannabis Sativa and Mickeys Malt Liquor and we chill. A few hours pass and everything is all good, gravy, gratuitously great.

What’s this weird feeli-
EVERYTHING GOES INCREDIBLY FUCKING WRONG.

My heart is going to leap out of my chest like in that movie Alien with Sigourney Weaver and I start shaking like a leaf in a storm and I am burning up, red like a lobster shell with a temperature of one hundred and hell degrees. I feel as if I am about to expire. This is definitely not opiate withdrawal. Now it’s time to find out via the internet that if you don’t titrate off benzos very slowly you catch a fun seizure and your ass goes spasmodic and you fucking die, well, my ass fucking dies. Fuck. My poor friend Jamie, my poor, poor friend, he’s happily spinning music on his turntables and I’m trying to bury myself in his couch, burrowing, burrowing. I cannot escape my biology I realize and I suddenly leap up and shriek at Jamie: “We need to go the fuck back now! I am going to die here! It will be everything but dignified! Vamanos!” I am very reluctant to return to bad enchilada land but I know they have that Serax shit there. My “brother” (yeah fucking right, Brady) who said that if I needed anything to call him and who lives literally minutes away does not answer my thousands of phone calls and text messages and who is a complete junkie pharmacist and who would have, I am certain, been able to procure me some valium or something. I’m betting Brady’s high watching the sci fi channel playing with Fentanyl patches, selfish fucking asshole. Oh, Brady recently found Jesus and sobriety after doing a year in the county after trying to kill the sky with a .357 Magnum on the roof of his moms mamsion with the cops surrounding his house and a red dot stuck to his skull. Whatever, he isn’t an option so we go and I’m riding shotgun in the M3 telling this poor child friend Jamie to hit the motherfucking gas. “Get this bastard moving, it’s an M3 isn’t it?!” We pass several police traps and I inform poor young Jamie, who has had yet to catch his own habits, to fucking fly by em’ and keep going or I will die in the county jail. As in, if a pig tries us, speeeeeeed the fuck up with the pedal directly on the motherfucking metal.

We are now about 22 minutes from our signature destination; where the Serax (still a shitty benzo, but hey, a benzo’s a benzo when your heart’s about to explode) lives and I have to piss from drinking Malt Liquor so fucking bad that I am screaming while also shaking, biting my jaw into itself so hard my mouth is a swamp of teeth, blood and bile.

Now we are 19 minutes out and the piss is just going to have to go somewhere at this point and we are not fucking stopping no fucking way my heart keeps stopping and starting and stopping and starting and I don’t want it to stop entirely the way it would if we stopped we are not stopping we are not stopping no cops no tanks no armies we are not fucking stopping Jamie do you understand James? Fucking hit the fucking gas you pussy motherfucker!

ETA 11 minutes and there’s a scramble to find a bottle, but the one I find has nothing I need, it is one of those shitty Pepsi bottles with the incredibly tiny holes. I give it a good shot, I mean I fucking try, but I got a big dickhead and while were on dickheads lets just come right out with the fact that I am a Ron Jeremy sized Dickhead for what takes place. I really do my best to get it in there but it is as if the hoover damn, or I don’t know, the entire fucking ocean is just coming up out of me and this little Pepsi bottle is just mocking me as this river of urine explodes around it and it ain’t catching much of anything at all so finally, I give up and in glorious, relieved, graceful, beautiful defeat and I just lay my ass back piss flying everywhere, a tide of piss cascading down off his seat going off into and filling up every part of his once urine-less BMW. Right as I’m squeezing out the last few drops, smiling dumbly, piss still dripping down off his seat into the pond that is his car he pulls up to the house. The look on his face is priceless as I pause, think of something to say, forget it and open the door and exit, shaking the pool of piss off of my shirt and shorts onto the street and I look at Jamie and his eyes are wide and shell-shocked like he just witnessed a murder or a fucking man die of Ebola in his car, “Uhhh, what the fuck, okay. Okay, great. Fuck. Fuck. Yeah, no problem on the ride, fuck. Oh my god, what the fuck. Yeah, I’ll see you, man. Later du-,” and as he screeches out of the drive way he makes a u-turn and it looks like he’s trying to spin the car so fast the piss will just all somehow fly out or evaporate.

My Friend Jamie, My Poor, Poor Friend Jamie.

Jamie, next time you cannot piss in my BMW when you’re coming off of your Xanax habit.

This one’s for you ol’ boy, take it like an apology or something bro. I’m glad we’re still friends because if you pissed all over my M3 I may have had you murdered and thrown into a hole in the desert. Love ya, pal.

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