The last six months I was in Juarez were fairly eventful. I hid out in horror-tells more like stables for animals than for humans... manimals. I did drugs and I begged for money. Like a politician I stepped over, and in, piles of bloody murder. I wiped it off my shoes and thought little more of it than yuck.
Callouses formed on my eyes and indeed on my mind. Thugs would run by me firing pistols at whoever... I didn't care enough to look... or duck... or do anything about it. Traversing a landscape of corpses as if they were a nuisance... an obstacle. Something else not to step in.
I came two real-eyes that the only difference between the filthy rich and the filthy poor is that no one seems to care if the wealthy are ripe or not. I began to wipe my ass, and my elephant, with the constitution because thats what it was made for. I cried and I cried and I cried... I cried till I laughed till I cried.
I walked around like an infiltrator of society... passing secret messages that know-buddy understood... not even me. I was made out of mirrors shrouded in smoke. No one could see me... how could they possibly see the lie. They could barely see themselves.
I sang opera to the deaf and painted masterpieces for the blind. They were the only ones who got me... maybe amputees too. I exploded alone in the wilderness hoping that the shock-wave would move the trees like the trees moved me. It would have been easier to just light a fire and walk away.
I longed to love but there was no one around. Alone in my loneliness I prayed relentlessly to the backside of God. Tugging naggingly at his robe. Whether he turned his back on me or just couldn't look me in the eye... I do not know... maybe he was just busy.
I never gave up hope though... I never lost faith. I don't know what I believed in exactly but, whatever it was, my conviction was unshakeable. I was on a pilgrimage to a direction rather than a destination... going nowhere in plenty of time. Following a broken compass north.
And then, exactly three years, to the day, after my voyage began, it abruptly ended. I stepped into a rental car with my mother and vomited for two days on my way back to california. I told her it must have been the swine flu.
There is a poem that, more than anything else, reminds me of my time in Juarez. It is called "Desiderata".
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; for they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be grater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be helpful while you are here.
Strive to be happy.
Coming down from heroin was quite an experience. The actual puking, cramping, twitching part, for me, only lasted a day and a half. After that I couldn't eat for a couple more days with the exception of gatorade and a couple of candy bars.
The really hard long lasting part was the lethargy and insomnia. For about a month I couldn't do anything. It was like wearing a three hundred pound backpack all the time. I didn't sleep more than two hours a day for almost two months... sometimes less.
Even after the physical symptoms disappeared there was a thick fog in my head. Like when a stereo speaker has a bad connection and sputters rapidly on and off several times a second.
Everything was surreal... but not in a good way. That lasted a full six months.
Funny thing is though that when the clouds finally did clear the sky was the bluest that I had ever seen it. Colors were brighter, sounds were cleaner, and there was a certain clarity of perception which I had never experienced before.
I've been pretty severely A.D.H.D. my whole life. Lets put it this way. If attention spans were gasoline I would have had about enough to power a piss-ants motorcycle half way around the inside of a Cheerio. Somehow or other a year and a half of heroin addiction rebooted my brain and fixed a bug in the process. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
I was thinking last night about my past. Trying to figure out how to clean up the catastrophic train wreck that my life has become. When it occurred to me. It's entirely possible that this whole messed up trip... Mexico, the drugs, my family getting separated, all of it... is part of a prayer being slowly answered. A gigantic benevolent monster of a prayer.
It's kind of far out, isn't it, the way things work. The way that, at least in my case, one can perform an action and not see the result of it for years. Like throwing a stone into a pond and waiting for the ripple to come creeping back to the shore... but when, at last, it arrives it has grown to a wave... ferrying within its foaming crest a treasure unexpected. A priceless artifact which lain dormant in the mire fore being wrested free by the watery winds of change.
A soggy cardboard box. From the cracks of which emanates bristling splinters of opalescent radiation. A piece of garbage which bursts open, thrusting forth the dawn, and banishing the shadows to wherever it is that shadows go when they die. All night in the drive-through to get a McSunrise.
A McSunrise?... yah... ya know I think it might be a good time to get some sleep.
Note to self; five pots of coffee... too much.