the deep beat
10 years ago, I was fortunate enough to have iboga as an ally in my heroin detox. Though only the first step on a long road to transforming my circumstances and way of being, iboga is an amazing medicine when respected as such. This is as decent of an account, of a fraction of my experience, as i can provide.
The hunt, the buck, the healthy hearty muscle scarf family. Winter kettle stew. Claiming your prize, over and over. Catching the skeleton for your banquet trophy recognition, and I had to stand by.
Out in the fields of snow, the vast violet Universe twinkle moonlight fields. Yes, a snow owl. The snow owl. Lost? Extinct? The prize? Shot out into nothingness direction by my Jemez brother. It had to be done. Whistled out from the crossbow. Was there a fence? An old stray cattle stick /rust covered spike string boundary that’s died with the ages, and buried by paper? Was I behind it or in front of it? Either way, the black forest was to my back.
Being so weightless myself, the body really struck me. Strength. Father was so infatuated with the struggle, the domination of the last great beast. Death turned out to be no sympathy? With approval, their great lodge in the trees existed. Timber mansion. Multiple fireplaces. Sell the tractor and keep the pride? My God, how?! Someone wanted your land. Perhaps the splurge was a bit much. And I watched the glass atrium battle/reconstructed moment of defeat for viewing pleasure and the wife clapped. Sinew and all. Fur trapper fantasy. Those days are gone. Maybe not . . .
I appeared in northern Europe later and that was my life. Snow shoes. High fashion and ermine. I was the hit man. “Make what you want, here are scraps. Gimme my junk, wherever that is. (I’m desperate.)” Five dollars a pelt, I’ll have a sliver! This is where I get sucked into the city.
Associated with the same velvet house, which supplied my welfare, she stood, silently mingling. Slender, numb, and apathetically transfixed with the object of ‘interest’. Graceful sailing swan. She was both an icon and a number in this ice Dalmatian lounge. Her pupils said it all, though she didn’t cry. An act of public makeup application to the inside corner of her left eye. A dropper left an oil slick streak rolling down her cheek. Whether it was double blood, or mink gland extract, or special feather excrement, I will never know. Something so carnal, so brutal in capture and process, that it must be a delicacy. Coat me in rich! You can buy the wild.
Money, now, becomes much scarcer. There is more movement. Involvement is necessity. Dusty underground cavern dens lit by candlelight that no participant is responsible enough to maintain. It probably gets knocked over occasionally, but the trade continues, regardless. It is that relentless. I was new and white and weak. I dealt with darker forearms and tattooed necks. I had no business here. Each transaction held a fatal struggle for power that was relieved only through a spontaneous primal mercy mixed with sheer adherence to efficiency. I had splinters, but was trying for a dagger. Plastic trinkets and brass came and crossed my path. Goals receive respect/demons deserve empathy. Eventually the substance rose under my nose and words like ‘share’ were emitted into the air. I now knew names, I now saw humans. This, together with anger, was leverage that earned me an issue of bitter tea and a dirty tail tip. Devils’ gravestones, cement slab shacks, and an orange explosion sunset that made no difference. Smokey clothes were my tent. The big red nose lived up the road. Goblins took turf everywhere (and controlled the fire at night). Cold night. They made good company. Don’t bring a crucifix.
Back to up. His entire existence was miserable. An ignorant system that cursed the atmosphere at so many breaths per minute. He probably chewed Bazooka/Tootsie Rolls, or sucked on suckers while he pretended to fix his rusty bucket of a truck that had never seen wheels, nor received gasoline. He did this all day everyday. It gave him enough purpose . . . no. There was none. It gave him an excuse to exercise authority on his worm wife and any squirrels he managed to catch. Sometimes someone flipped him a nickel. To aid in his destruction, maybe, for his heart would race and he’d drool on his overalls before ejaculating himself in a lard-laced waddle frolic down the molehill to get drunk on barley water or corn syrup and hiccup his way back up to the tin sheet play truck where he’d slump on a junkyard recliner and swallow gumballs. It was during one of these solid waste sessions that the fates decided to cancel his pulse. With all my hatred for that benign throbbing I witnessed with the ethic of the sun, it could’ve very well been me. His beady rolling livestock eyes turned to X’s before his skull popped. Matter scattered everywhere and I still to this day love playing that tape back in my own divinely endowed head.
Concrete Jungle is a literal term. A blend of Chicago, New York City, and what I know of my own skyline ancestry. The real history’s written in the streets. Post-abolition ghosts of honest crack smoke fill me in. I have to listen. I am a pupil...
The industrial district’s roughed up. Death priced sneakers walk on blacktop paved for labor. Barbed-wire tumbleweeds stir reluctantly in a low blow zone. This is still life. This is a vulture watch in pigeon paradise. Penthouse treetops house a faceless race of no consequence to this realm. Our residents roam. Metal shells of bustle past are monuments of rented flesh. An equation of perseverance, which kills joy, curbs laughter, and still stomps sullenness. Sugar daddy supremacy survives and babies are born on boards. I am an embedded observer, accepted because hunger feels the same.
Again, sizzle, skip. I listen with one quarter interest, three quarters obligation to tales of wage fossils who spill their nostalgic word slurs at random. Minus dialect adaptation and live monologue, they might sound like: blue collars and conductor caps, foundry fire engine steam with ash-coal fingernails. Casual scavenge of the ancient factory yard (gardenless) leads to archeological acknowledgement. Unearthed work shirts have definite emotional impact. “Like always, food was scarce. When it was gone though, we could eat the grease off canned nuts or bolts and get by. It wasn’t for taste.” Thankfully, the government had enough mercy during the Dark Age Manhole Uprising to drop parachute mule blankets from hovering helicopters. With as cold as it is now, I don’t know what else we’d do. Pop-up projects with lots of mothers, some community comfort, and rattling vacant chicken cages, exist in permanent darkness/temporary steadiness. It’s a musty, crowded heat, and you’re lucky to find a space. Others will take your place, so there’s no stigma toward leaving. Just shimmy crawl under the edge, stand up with independence, and thrust your hands deep into your pockets. Frost bites, but you can’t profit in warmth. Move your mitts. Feign your chalk line in a sunspot, asphalt angel. Amidst lawless wanderings of frail opportunity hours, the simple recognition of living is reason in itself for enhancement. Only then does the stench tirade fade. Let the scrap clutter wrappers blur/absorb/degrade into the chain link honeycomb. Insert glass fragments in the palms that climb toward a cherished breath. Don’t step on the backs of the old fashioned. Tradition (with a razor) should suffice. A bolt of cloth will cover your tracks; a noose works as a belt.
As for the hole in their wall, I see degrees, green olives, and high quality plastic laundry baskets. A minuscule pixel on the map marks an informal and functional thespian collective of not quite sewing circle closeness, situated snugly between florescent and ambient. A couple of couples that like to savor savings together, get entertained, and reminisce. During a toast over turkey, they spilled their wine (almost on purpose) and stained the apartment carpet. Laughter without restraint followed, then bank statements were viewed. Office visions resurfaced. Something . . . more, different, needy, poor. Egalitarian empathy set the stage, while the scent of adventure broke a leg . . . or a primate femur. Do good! I haven’t been slapped in ages. C’mon guys, let’s cut the red tape, it’s the Humble Jungle Foundation!
City slicker business in a land of leaves as witnesses. A favor to the flora, yes, but a savior to the fauna. They came in droves as they heard the word, mostly elephants and gorillas. A cross-continental operation such as this requires a full safari outfit. Volunteers are in vogue. Maybe a bridge was built, or perhaps a portal was opened. Lifestyles shifted for certain . . . with esteem. Inside and out Smiles and hugs. Sincerity and compassion. “We’re part of the solution!” was a common and shared thought. Indeed, no arguments could be posed against the new stewards of my sub-canopy playground orphan friends. Grime was involved to their liking, but it was always tea time (or, at least, animal jamboree). Contentment was present, and it was, by no means, an ascetic existence (as the undertaking of any helping hand endeavor is often assumed to be). I must admit, however, that it was a rather selfless project. There was little publicity given in human broadcasts, and none was ever sought. They were probably buried behind their crude rain bungalow huts by the scarce, loving locals, as one by one, each fell away in gray to a soothing symphony, which never fades. Really, that’s neither here nor there . . . but I was.
I had found the earth camp to be an ideal setting for quelling some of the more unpleasant symptoms of my vagrant state/vagabond title. For reasons in vain, I was chained during daylight to intersection algorithms (left to fend with a pocket knife), but was let loose with the moon.
Exhausted, starving, and frigid, I naturally gravitated towards the path of least resistance (that is, to say, the aforementioned), and found myself nightly at the foot of a (burning?) banana bush, both exalted and exhumed. I savored the divine nectar of the fruit trees and exulted audibly as the humid calór enveloped my spinal chord. Like always (and soon enough), I was no stranger. My encounters were limited to other species (rhinoceroses, for example). Elephants were also friendly and even assisted in the regular lumber chore construction maintenance of the place, but it was the gorilla children with whom I become most familiar.
As the depths of my esophagus snarled with envy at the material world, my lonely heart cried out to the young apes, while my disposition remained timid. I felt no need to make the usual impressions while they stayed blissfully ignorant to such silliness. We took the liberty to laugh and roll and wrestle and cuddle/keep each other company. Unconditional companions. Now, whether they were pure delusion or not, holds no concern from me. This was, I believe, my first taste of light in a long time . . . and it was, in fact, dawn. Automatic awakening. Busy fishermen scuttled atop inlet ice water. Craftsmen flipped on their buzz saws, and blackberries hung like dew drop fixtures amongst the lush greenery of the moist soil coastal cloud forest (more pines than vines this time). I had no bearing on these surroundings. I was a recluse and could not walk. A true journey is never over . . .
Dead space blackness. A suspended birdcage lantern illuminates nothing but itself and its contents: the shrine of a delicate and sickly influential sprite. I was her servant and keeper, making sure to incessantly sustain the mistress in her appetite for indulgence. In this case, routine perpetuated more out of necessity than pleasure. Some call it addiction. She was cloying, and I faithful, though delivering daily her saccharine exuberance in a sterile syringe was not always easy. Pearl flake cocaine was always the target (it being superior to alternatives and the apple of my own desire), but it was occasionally unattainable, and thus, desperate measures were taken; straight sugar substituted. She was tiny enough so that it would retain her satiation, and with each injection she exploded in shrill delight, “Zu-zroop!” She glowed brighter then, and one could see the patterns of oriental rug/tapestry. Hear the hum of space age generator. This was no peon appointment. I was fueling vicariously a movement of mindless social webbing, documented digitally on handheld for convenience. Colors, buzzers, no delay. Quick! Take comfort. Laissez faire, laissez. Fuck the bliss drops off my forehead. Suffering is out of style. Teach me more of Tokyo. A new bloodline of neon fever. It’s a splash to splatter your brains over chatter. Mini Malibu.
Gator splash carnival lights emerge from the swamp. My old playmate has the steaks ready. It's time to cut my lip off, but I'll have to wait. My face will just have to change.
Pills-like-skittle kids, and their guns like fun swords. It's just a game! Who gets both X's first?
Then the infinite system becomes apparent . . . these are nobody's resources. Lay them to the side for some quick conversation, and resume when the apparatus of freedom and beauty is designed.