Mother Superior In Black

Alexander Michael Ziperovich

for Mom, the greatest survivor I know…

Black, her favorite color, her the night sky from the bottom of the cavity of a canyon, stars torching burning flaming white light – sparkling explosions in her eyes; when she looks at me, I find.

I know.

She’s always known. Had always known.

Was lookin’ at three years consecutive for a bullshit collection of variously colored sedatives and a loud voice when my lawyer fucked me and raised bail a quarter million. The boys in the bullpen couldn’t believe what they were hearing; her eyes taught me integrity that’s searing. They were almost rioting when I said three words if not for their own MISDEMEANOR cases that were beginning proceedings.

Always known. I begged her to believe me once; I used a dirty flower the first time from some El Salvadoran’s car in hell street #13’s parking lot & I poked my friend from rehab in my cluttered confined little kitchen in my penthouse who has hepatitis C, which sticks around virally longer than God. God, I (thought) knew after my next blood draw what would’ve been saw or seen; massive spikes in my liver enzymes and all other manner of indications of being a fiend.

She said, “No, Alex. It just didn’t happen.” I replied, “But I swing around, high, and poked his arm with a goddamned .29 gauge or whatever and still shot the shit, I was high,” I wined. Again: “No.”

Turns out eye dodged another fucking bullet from a repeated phantom tommy gun/uzi/the finger of God Almighty, Goddamn.

How’d she know I wouldn’t be shot down that low or rather have shot myself down that low?

Wisdom?

Experience?

Persistence?

No words register like the fuckin’ syringes she never saw so there is no explanation excepting her divinely inspired clause and without a pause I believe what she says and know she’s right because that’s how I’ve survived the world war nineteen of my life.

Around then, nineteen. That’s when things get hard. Burning nose to burning foil to burning spoons the bathroom floor, blood dripping down my arm, my chin glancing off my nipples and all the way through that horrible transition to becoming what I am she was there bearing witness; she is an angel with wings made by James Perse and sexy shades by Chanel.

Who the hell knew? Wasn’t it supposed to be the junkies’ on the streets job to read up on their lives and blow my roll? Santa Clause said ho ho ho and I won’t ever again drink a scotch that leads directly to blow.

Why?

Because after a decade there are problems in the system, the plug and sparks are twisted; I made a promise I can’t break to a woman that I don’t think I’ve ever seen even age despite the fact that her 21 year old son had a ninety percentile risk of mortality with MRSA in his chest, the aortic valve of course, God Bless, God Bless, God Bless?

Strength structural isn’t grey or chrome or steel. It’s black. I know the sun is burning your eyes out your skull if you look too hard but imagine the blanket of the night collapsing but not smothering my creativity because if I was to go outside without my contacts I couldn’t see.

The black beauty.

The lady in black with the blanket of her love; I couldn’t have done it myself.

She knows this already but she asked me to tell and now I’m sober for her – not me – plus me – plus Sophie and I’m a little tired of being tired so I’m energetic writing poetry at 6:58 in September for her because she needed one thing from I, damnit, and I was happy to oblige, painfully happy.

Painfully black?

Euphorically black- no that word has the wrong connotations.

Practically ecstatic- no…

Joy.

All because of the divinity of the lady in black that salvaged the unsalvageable and put me in my office with her heart so I could write this so she can see it tomorrow.

Brilliantly black.

Brilliantine white light.

My mommy.

FALLING APART ON JEFF’S FLOOR

YUM! Vomit. YUM! Vomit.

Alexander Michael Ziperovich

I’ve been awake for seven days. No, six probably. Yeah, six or seven days I think. Jeff’s eyes are red whirling tops in the twilight of his bedroom. Everyone’s asleep again but I can’t sleep anymore. The same screaming fun-fun done-done thing keeps repeating: a day happens and then when it gets so dark that it’s almost light everyone stops talking and the fun stops and the done starts but I don’t know how to turn it off, turn off my fun button inside the pulsating, psychopharmacological experiment that is my brain. I’ve been stumbling around in circles trying to find someone to listen to me ramble for hours. Now I’m sitting on Jeff’s floor crying, playing with my pill bottles and panting.

“I don’t know what’s going on.”
He turns away from me to face the wall, “Go to sleep, fuck, Alex. You need to sleep.”
“I know but I can’t.”
He twists his body back and cranes his neck to see what I’m doing and turns back away, “Stop playing with those fucking pills.”
My brain is buzzing fuzzy, I am not feeling lovely and in fact my brain is fucking me, “I know but I can’t. Christ.”
He’s tired and lost, “Dude, c’mon. Let’s just sleep.”
“I am losing it, Jeff.”

I’m pouring various pills out of the bottle into and through my hands letting them slide through my cold fingers into my throat.

I convinced my fraudulent junkie doctor that I have ADHD. He gave me three or four different stimulants to try. I’ve been trying them with gusto. Once, his eyes wide and scorched bloodshot, he said, “I try everything I prescribe.” He’s my psychiatrist. We get along great.

I remove my shirt and look in the mirror and I see patches stuck to me, transdermal patches all over my body. Daytrana patches. Selegeline patches. Uppers. Downers. Mono-amine Oxidase Inhibitors.

Attached like leeches to my skin.

I feel like all I’ve been doing is eating handfuls of pills of all kinds.

That is all I’ve been doing.

I’m looking at the bottle of Atenolol I have clutched hard in my hand. A beta blocker. A blood pressure medication. If I take more than three it would probably stop my heart. Yes, I have enough to take me away, to take me somewhere to finally get some rest. A place to give the day away.

Suicide is seeming like a seriously viable option. I remind myself that I’m having a psychotic break from lack of sleep. I’ve been heavily abusing amphetamines among every other fucking drug for weeks. How long can this go on? I crawl into Jeff’s bed and I’m crying and I’m laughing and then I’m silent, my heart thudding in the darkness.

“I hate this. I can’t fall asleep, no matter what I do.”
“I know, me too.”
“I’ve taken like 20 bars tonight, man.”

We’re both laying there with Ritalin and Adderall and Desoxyn and Ketamine and Psylicobin and Xanax and alcohol and weed coursing through our blood streams in the glowglobe of his room trying to listen to the snow falling outside.

“You know it snowed like six inches tonight.”
“Yeah it keeps snowing.”
“We need to sleep.”
“I know.”
I say plainly, “I think I’m gonna kill myself.”
“Dude, what the fuck? Just sleeeep.”

I’m back on the floor in my pile of pills picking up bottles and reading labels and looking for new ones. I feel like one of these pills will do it, one of these pills will fix me. One of these will make me feel right. I wont ever have to take another fucking pill again. I just have to find the right one in this pit black box everything might be okay.

I know everything about pharmaceuticals. Benzodiazepines are the only drug, excepting barbiturates and alcohol, you have a real chance of dying from when you discontinue their use or in other words, go through a Dante’s Detox, you think not? Xanax is faster-acting than Klonopin but lasts half as long. Valium is good for relaxing your muscles and works well sublingually. Tylenol is the most dangerous thing about Vicodin and Percocet. You can smoke, snort, and shoot Oxycontin if you know what you’re doing. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing you can. Ask me anything about a psychoactive pharmaceutical and I can probably tell you about whatever aspect of its psychopharmacology you’re interested in, everything except how to stop or how to feel happy on them or off of them. I have everything but the answers I need.

“I’m calling your mom dude.”
I nod as I put another klonopin on the tip of my tongue. God, it’s like strawberries flavored with laughter…

I hear my moms alarmed, high-pitched voice on the other end as Jeff explains that he needs help with me, that I’m breaking down, that yes I’ve been taking “those damn pills” and no he doesn’t know how many. She knows the junkie shrink gave me stimulants. They warned me.

How strange that it’s snowing and I’m on my friend’s floor seriously contemplating pharmacide now.

My parents drive through the snow to rescue me. They feed me a seroquel and I feel waves of calm, a warm serenity washing through me and my body begins to relax and my mind finally surrenders and I sleep, dreamless.

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