Author Archives: Monsieur K.

Resiliency: A Moment In An Addict’s Time

If I made funny noises and ran around the room, I wouldn’t have to tell the therapist anything. I know my mother told him I wet the bed all the time. But no one else knows about the boy who said he would play doctor and stuck the stick up my rectum. And no one else knows about the baby sitter who had a boyfriend who did things to me with a banana. I was only nine and I lived in my head. It wasn’t safe. My mother went to therapy too. When I asked her why, she told me it was because I was sick. She told me I hated my father. I remember crying when she told me that and I made up my mind that I would hate her too. But most of all, it was me. It was me that I hated most of all. I just wanted to shut my mind off but the dials were inside my head. It was 1954.

If someone had said to me, in June of the year of my graduation from high school, that I would have a rat’s chance at being alive in the year 2005 I might have swished my tail at them, pulled at my whiskers and said, “The life span of a junkie, dipped in a vat of heated depression molasses, struck hard with a severe anxiety disorder that simulated heart attacks is guaranteed to be shorter than a man with a heart condition shoveling snow while gasping for breath in between drags of a Camel non-filter cigarette who’s idea of a rest break is a quick shot of cocaine and heroin administered intravenously, and then back at it again.” So then, the question is, “what kinds of events have been most stressful for me,” has many answers.There is a knock at the door. I go to it, see that it is a policeman, run to the bathroom with my two grams of pure amphetamine, think about flushing them because I am already wired tighter than Harry Harlow’s dangling monkey in the pit of despair, but snort them rapidly instead. Two hours later I am hooked to an intravenous flow of Valium. I sleep 36 hours, eat for the first time in days, then fall back asleep again. I wake up 20 hours later, they tell me I need to go to a drug program, I sign AMA papers and leave. Customers have been waiting.

Angela is a big dyke. She is loaded on codeine based cough syrup and Doriden, just like me. We are sitting on stools at a diner in West Orange, New Jersey. I watch her as she eats two more Doriden. Suddenly she falls off her stool, she can’t stand up, everyone in the diner is watching us, she is attempting to tell me something but I can’t understand her, a string of drool spills from one corner of her mouth onto my shirt as I lurch for the door of the diner, bearing her weight is a terrible chore, I can barely bear my own, I drop her, she giggles as I hoist her up on my shoulder again, we are almost at the door, I stumble and Angela pulls some more pills out of her pocket and attempts to eat them, I say “hey, you’re going to get us busted” and just then the plainclothes dicks burst into the diner with a bunch of bluecoats. I try to explain that my girlfriend just got sick and we’re going home, we just need help to get to the car and all of a sudden the handcuffs are on both of us, Angela is calling the cops “a bunch of pig-mother-fuckers” and I realize that we’re not going to be able to talk our way out of this. I have been eighteen years old for three days but I’ve been high on pills and cough syrup and heroin for almost a year and a half without missing a day. Seven bottles of Robitussin-A-C, a blank stolen pad of prescriptions and a pocket full of seconals and Doriden and all I’m going to get is a back-room beating and a phone call seven hours later. Angela lights her mattress on fire in her cell. It is 1964.

I’m weaving down Interstate 91 with 70 bags of heroin and 9 bottles of methadone with 90 milligrams in me in my pick-up truck. I side-swipe a car and I hear the horn blowing and I’m wide-awake now with my foot pressed to the gas pedal. I can’t even look at the speedometer because I’m swerving in and out of the traffic so fast. I’m in the moment because I know that if I get caught I’m going to back to jail faster than you can say, “you’re busted mother-fucker” and I’m still in Connecticut but I’m turning off 91 onto Interstate 84 and I slow down to the speed limit and I’m so frightened that my foot on the gas pedal is doing the bounce-bounce beyond my control. I’m not high anymore, or if I am I’m not aware of it. I pull into a rest area and run in, piss, grab a coffee, and head into Peterborough, New Hampshire, where my wife works the night shift at a group home. The four older women, they called them retarded back then, are asleep and my “buddy” Ritchie is waiting in his truck outside. I told him not to wait, that I would call him, but you know how it is, I had asked him to keep me company for the ride to New York City, but he had other things to do but he’s been waiting for me right there for hours. 20 of the bags are his, he gave me the money in advance, his money paid for his twenty and twenty of mine. The women are sleeping and Sascha tells us to keep it down; everybody is dumping dope in the cookers, I tell them to only do one because the dope is killer, the best on the streets of the city and now the best in Peterborough. Sascha sneaks a second bag into the cooker, and I’m feeling the rush and finally leaning back to relax, when I hear the death rattle and Sascha drops to the floor. “Richie, Richie, help me,” I yell, and I pick Sascha up and she’s not breathing as Richie grabs his dope off the table, looks at me with heavy-lidded pinned eyes and says, “I’m outta here,” and he is. Cold showers, beating on her chest, wiping the puke she’s choking on from her mouth and trying to get a breath in her; she wakes up, says I’m all right and her eyes roll up all white as she drops to the floor again. I pick her up and shake her, throw the door open and drop her in the snow; she jumps up, she’s knows she’s in trouble and starts to run around with a wild expression on her face but then she drops again like a beheaded chicken and I drag her back in, I don’t even notice the cement walk is ripping her nails out of her bare feet until later, I do CPR and pray; I can’t call for help with fifty bags of heroin and I’m not gonna flush them. It’s three hours later and she’s breathing normally. She looks at her feet and says, “Fuck, what the hell did you do?” and I just look at her and tell her “I told you to only do one, but you never listen.” “Why didn’t you just let me die, it would’ve been easier,” she says and I tell her “You didn’t act like you wanted to die.” It’s 1984 now.

I skipped the part in 1986 where, twisted on methadone and benzo’s, I flipped my pick-up truck and Sascha broke her back. I had a major head injury but that’s what I started with since I was a child.

In 1998 on December 7th, no one was there to bring Sascha back. They found her alone in a bathroom with the needle still in her arm. On December 8th I turned 53 years old.

I didn’t skip 1991 where I got hit by the pickup truck doing 65 miles an hour on the shoulder lane while I worked on my motorcycle. That’s in another story I call Getting Fixed in South Carolina.. The guy holding the flashlight for me died instantly. I smoked a Camel non-filter while I waited for the ambulance when I wasn’t blacked out.

I’ve had one or two really good counselors, quite a few that didn’t really measure up and some that just filled the room. I’m a counselor myself now. There are those that say I’m good. I don’t know what they say behind my back. I hope I help.

I still remember what I used to think when I was sick. Actually that helps me as a counselor because when you say you’re not ready to quit shooting dope, I know exactly what you mean.

The biggest obstacle I ever faced was my mind.

What makes me hopeful about the future is how much I have changed in the face of adversity. What scares me most about the future is what I can’t see yet.

I can count on my fingers. I can count on my teachers. I can count on myself, but only if I’m there. It’s 2005 now. It’s almost 2006, but I’m not there yet.

When God Blinks

When God Blinks*

“taken from records kept by Nazi’s at the Death Camps”

I

In A Jewish Home in Poland, 1942

It is I Moishe, hiding under the stairs. Those men
they search the house. Bruce, whom I told to stay
hidden no matter what, is only five and did not
listen. He has crept out from under the stairs,
a young boy, his tears are enough to show
me that, for him, the game has gone on
long enough. One man, a German who
worked at their medical clinic has
taken Bruce by the arm, walking
him away like one would do
with bad boys, takes out
his gun and presses it
cold and deadly to
my brother’s neck,
fires it, then
I, Moishe,
ten years
old, I cry
out with
tears.

II

I Search For Jews, Poland 1942

You ask how I could do this, do these deeds
every day? Take for example the young
Jew, you say only a boy, just five years
old. But little boys grow up to be Jews,
men of strange clothes and habits, it
only looks like a boy, but it is less
than human, so I take it by the
arm, walk the Jew away from
the stairs, take the gun
out, press the barrel
to the Jew’s neck,
fire once, wipe
the blood
from my
gun.

III

The Jewish Gravedigger, Lomazy, Poland 1942

The heat is oppressive on this day in Lomazy.
I dig this giant pit with others while my wife
and son wait, guarded by Germans on the
athletic field, where we once ran and
played. The Germans have brought
us all out and they stand and walk
about, posturing and posing for
photos. I know they mean to
kill us, but perhaps if I dig
this grave for my friends
and relatives they will
let me and my family
live. Perhaps if I dig
they won’t kill us
all. I will pray
as I dig that
God will
not let
this
be.

IV

The Jews In The Pit, Lomazy Poland 1942

The damned Ukrainians have become too drunk to shoot
straight so now the lot of shooting the filthy Jews in
the pit has fallen to us. We have been ordered to
climb down into the pit where the Jews lay with
heads shattered like melons by those bullets
of the Hiwis, some of them still thrashing
about because the drunken bastards
have not shot well. We’re too good
to climb about in the blood and the
muck. We have decided to make
the Jews just climb in and stand
against each wall inside the pit
while we stand on opposite
sides and kill them with
our crossfire. Every
half-hour we will
change and give
our comrades
a turn to
kill the
Jews.

V

The Old Man’s Prayer

Dear God, I am old and have served well, I have kept
the Sabbath and the High Holy Days, fasted on Yom
Kippur, eaten unleavened bread on Pesach, why do
you make me run under a gauntlet of German
clubs to a pit dug by my sons where I will be
forced to lie face down on my brethren,
fellow Jews dead or screaming, to have
the cold gun placed to the back
of my head. Maybe to
die well, Lord,
that is all I
can ask.
Amen.

*First published in Jewish Affairs, Winter 1999. “After The Holocaust” Print Media Association of South Africa

Cane, Step, Cane

for Mary Esther, A resurrection

She walks on the beach
alone, a solitary walk. The cane
is in her right hand. She bends

close to the water, picks something
out of the sand. She is out of
my clear vision now, blurred

with my glasses off, I still know
it is her. The cane is a part
of her. It was a part of

her mother too. Sometimes
when she walks ahead of me
I can see her mother

appear suddenly, then she
becomes my wife again, yet something
has shifted, in time, this place

is new for the both of us. In the
villages of Viet Nam family members
die, but they never leave. I stare

out at the ocean. There are
shadows on the water, spirits
walk the beach, step, cane, step.

Breaking The Piano


For Princess Diana, R.I.P.

Things don’t always break
up as easy as anticipated. The metal,
the metal springs at the heart
of it cause all the trouble. Or the wood,
or the keys, not the hammer or
the instrument of destruction. Killing
what we don’t want anymore, or killing
what we want so much, even the
photographers keep a record of the
dying of the music. Running

her to ground in a tunnel
screaming fly motorcycles or sledgehammers
in the underground of some unknown
cellar, things never break up like
we thought they would. How many
to build a piano, how long, how
many to build a kingdom, the keys
of ivory will not play this
tune. A piano song

for the princess, just this piano,
sledgehammers on ivory, this is
how we break, not easy but
hard under the earth, dark tunnels
dark basements dark minds. No one
knew this was coming, not the piano,
for her it was all a surprise, the crash
is the last tune she plays. The sound
of it will ring in dark places forever
long after it is gone. Memory

plays the heart like a hammer, this
is how we play the piano. Hard,
in the dark place, wanting it we break
it down into shatters, then carry
the pieces off into places, put them
in memories where the dust
falls like snow.

By The Throat

“for my mother, who was still alive”

My addiction has me by the throat
in the neck of my mind. Do crime,
do crime, it says, get some money.
My therapist tells me that’s the voice
of my father. What I want to know
is why the fuck is he walking
around in my head? I’d like to stick
a gun in my ear, pull the trigger,
blow him out the other ear
but the bullet will take me
instead. I can see him smiling
right now, sitting with his dumb
bimbo bitch by the side of the pool
at the condo. I have to remember
what the truth is, the truth is
it’s all in my head, when I take
heroin the voice shuts up for a while
but the shouting really begins
when the dope wears off. Then my
addiction has me by the throat, but
this time I’ll stick my finger down
my throat, gag that mother-fucker
right up, puke his punked piss-ass
onto the sidewalk and walk on
down the road like he was never there.
Wear him off like the dope that he is.

An Average Day in an American Court

There were 38 people in court
for failure to insure, unregistered
vehicle, false plates. Economic
crimes. At one point a person
stood in front of the judge on a
revise and revoke. Means to have
your sentence reduced on the grounds
it was unfair. He had a dump
truck for a lawyer. That’s a prison
term for public defender. You

figure it out. The guy, in cuffs
before the judge, asked, “Your
honour, I would like to speak
with my attorney before we proceed.
I haven’t had a chance to talk
with him yet.” The judge, turned
to the attorney and asked, “Would
you like to speak with your client?”
The dump truck

replied, “Why would I want to?”
There were 38 people in court
for failure to insure, unregistered
vehicle, false plates. Economic crimes.

It was like a stage
show. Everyone knew their parts.
We were told to be there promptly
at 9AM. At 10:20 the judge strolled
in. Every bench filled with people
waiting. The court personnel doing
the dance of the powerful in front
of the American
peasants. Preening their badges,
rattling papers like sabers, the judge
in black robes like a medieval priest
chanting the litany of oppression. They
made over 20,000 dollars in fines in one
mourning. The judge

will retire to his back
room for lunch, lift his robes high over his
varicosed veined legs, expose his miniature
penis and do a slow dance for the American
people in front of a shuttered window. He knows

the system is in default. It does not matter.
The clerk of the court comes in, tells
the judge it is time to return
to the courtroom. The judge smiles, points
to his penis and, as the clerk
gets to his knees, the judge says,

“Let them wait.”

What Would You Do For A Fix?

 

And she asked me
“What would you do for a fix?”

I thought for a few moments.

I was this kind of addict.

For a fix
I would steal from my mother’s purse
For a fix
I would take my sister’s coin collection
For a fix
I would desert my children
For a fix
I would spend years in prison
For a fix
I would risk hepatitis
For a fix
I would shoot toilet water
For a fix
I would draw up puddle water on the street
For a fix
I would steal from my relatives and friends
For a fix
I would break into places to steal
For a fix
I would drive a car with no brakes
crash into other cars and injure people
For a fix
I would drive hundreds of miles every day
on bad roads
in blizzard conditions
For a fix
I would slide into an oncoming car in
a snowstorm
bounce it into a parked car
then see the dope man up the street
leave the accident scene to get the
dope
and then stop nearby to shoot it
while the police closed in
For a fix
I would steal my parent’s car
For a fix
I would spend the rent money
For a fix I would spend the money meant
to feed my family
For a fix
I would fuck old men up the ass
For a fix
I would sleep with people that I did
not care for
For a fix
I would take the money out of the pocket
of an unconscious man on the street
For a fix
I would sell dangerous drugs to novices
For a fix
I would break a promise to you
For a fix
I would tell you anything
and I did.

When my dog was killed
I got high
When my girlfriend had an abortion
I got high
When I went to a movie
I got high
When the sun was shining
I got high
When it rained
I got high
When it snowed
I got high
When I went to prison
I got high
When I was set free
I got high
When my wife left
I got high
When I fell in love again
I got high
When she said,”If you ever get high
again, I’ll leave.”
I got high
When she left
I got high
When the probation officer said, “If you come
up dirty
on your urine test, you’ll go back to prison,”
I got high
When I went back to prison for a dirty urine
I got high
When it was time to go to school
I got high
When I was kicked out of school
I got high
When I felt sad
I got high
When I was happy
I got high
When I couldn’t tell you how I felt
I got high
When I didn’t want to get high
I got high
When I got married
I got high
When I moved to the country to get away
from drugs
I got high
When I moved back to the city so I could get drugs
I got high
When I found out that I was losing entire days
in memory
I got high
When I remembered what it was that I had
done while I was high
I got high.

In the beginning I got high because I liked it.
In the end I got high because it was all I had
left.
In the beginning I got high because I could fuck
For hours.
In the end I got high because I could not fuck
at all.
In the beginning I got high with my friends.
In the end I got high alone.
In the beginning I got high so I could dance.
In the end I got high and thought I would
never dance again.
In the beginning it was dancing dreams on the
walls of my mind.
In the end the rooms were dark and lonely; the
dreams were dead.
In the beginning I thought I had found a better
way of life.
In the end I got high and had no life at all.
In the beginning I got high because I was searching
for the way.
In the end I got high because I was searching
for the way out.
In the beginning I got high because I wanted to
open up.
In the end I got high because I wanted to
shut down.
In the beginning I would get high to get closer
to you.
In the end I was afraid of you and you wanted
nothing to do with me.

In the end it was like this.
If I was to approach the devil to sell my soul
for a fix,
(I would have done this had I known how)
old Lucifer would have laughed at me and said,
“How can you sell me what you have already
lost to heroin?”

I am convinced of this.
If Lucifer was to shoot heroin
he would trade all the provinces of hell for
one more fix.

I won’t get hooked.
I can stop anytime I want to.
This will be the last time.
God, if you get me out of this I’ll never do it
again.
I promise.
No, no, this time I really mean it.
Honest.

“What would you do for a fix?” she asked.
I looked at her, smiled and said,”For a fix-
I would do anything.”

Reprinted from Spare Change, Boston / Reprinted from Real Change, Seattle.

In this gripping collection, Heroin’s Harbour, Goldfinger offers us an intimate look at the world of drug addiction, as the “body, soul, and mind [are] interlocked in heroin hypnosis.” Told in three parts, as the protagonist descends into the deeper grip of addiction, he wonders “what decision was it…that made it too late to turn back.” The euphoria of the high is followed by a cascade of loss, betrayal, jail, armed robbery, near death experiences, broken relationships, terrifying bouts of withdrawal, arrest warrants, drug dealing, and death of loved ones. Even when he vows to quit, he is haunted by his addiction as he describes “the junk called to me and it knew my name” and falls back into the “dance with the poison dust of incoherent dreams.” As the drugs, like reptiles, slither into the corners of his mind, he knows that even after years of being clean, he will never be totally free. Click the book cover on the left if your are intresting in buying… THANKS 

Where I Live

Dark hawken figures walken on my skies
target my mind broken weight full freight
train rakes needlepoint on my back track
eyes not even open like a baby rat that

smells the cheese vomited by red dead
mother twitching outside the dole hole
this was the night the toad was crucified
died screaming forgiveness from the tips

of its lips saying, “even the reptiles need
gods of a sort and how do you know what,”
since I work in the place where hell meets
the crack in the pipe; where the needle

sticks in the cement of my veins; where
my mind burns on the hot tar in Central
Square; where my heart busts through
the windows of your whore soul; that’s

where I live motherfucker; come to
my place anytime; don’t leave your
illusions at the door; we’ve all paid
dues in hell for opiate dream scream

with your mouth so wide open the
devil can creep in. Get down on your
knees to the one hanging on the cross;
even our sins are victims of their own.

The Plague Days

First of all, the COVID-19 makes me rethink Senior Assisted Housing. I’m watching the death toll from Senior Assisted Housing, nursing homes & Veteran Facilities skyrocket. They are like petri dishes enabling the virus to leap from one human being to the next.

I’m 74 years old and my wife is 72 and I’m grateful that we haven’t made the transition to any of those places for elder care. When my parents lived in a Senior Housing complex in Florida, visiting them became a nightmare, even when there was no plague causing residents to quietly disappear.

What was bad was my father talking to me about how nice it was when they first moved there (several friends in their 50’s all applied at the same time) but years later many of those friends were sick and dying. I can only imagine what it is like there now. I’m grateful my parents did not have to live through this.

Maybe the idea of Senior Housing needs to be re-thought and done away with. Places like that didn’t exist in the 1920’s, just one-hundred years ago. It seems unnatural to group silver-haired men and women together without the support of the rest of the family living close by.

Across the street from where my wife and I live is a two-family house where grandma and grandpa live downstairs and their daughter and their son-in-law live upstairs with their children. It gives us great pleasure to see the elder citizens sitting on the front porch playing with their grandchildren.

We’re missing our adult children and grandchildren because our daughter is working in Cairo, Egypt with her family and our son is living in Honolulu, Hawaii with his family.

Living with the virus at our age is not easy. We hate to ask friends to shop for us, but we actually get nervous when we have to go grocery shopping. We’re both in our 70’s with pre-existing conditions and would not make the cut for a ventilator. When they pick and choose who gets to live, we would not be first in line. This is a terribly strange time.

But there are few people who aren’t touched in some way by the virus or the country’s response to it. It appears, according to the Boston Globe, that there is some kind of coverup at the Holyoke Veterans’ Home, where so many have died and are sick with the virus. Bennett Walsh, the man in charge who is suspended with pay, says he and his staff were in constant contact with the Secretary of Veteran’s Services and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health. Walsh claims, “We provided updates on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. These updates were by phone, text, e-mail, conference calls and official report forms.” Which raises some questions for Governor Baker.

I’m sure there will be an electronic trail showing who is telling the truth and who isn’t, but the tragedy is that there are so many elderly veterans who have paid the ultimate price.

Because I was homeless for a long time, and imprisoned for a few years, I especially remember feeling totally cut off while I was in prison and I knew that, if a crisis occurred, I would probably die in prison. In that instance, I got lucky and made it out alive. But my heart goes out to all those trapped in steel and stone, living in a giant petri dish of disease and loneliness.

Loneliness. That’s one of the most frightening aspects of this Plague; that when sick our loved ones can’t be around and people, like us, die surrounded by strangers in masks and costumes. I’ve reread part of Stephen King’s book The Stand and his story really hits the mark as Captain Trips, the Super Flu, wipes out most of the people his fictional world.

COVID-19 isn’t quite like that but I always worry that the coronavirus will mutate into a more lethal strain. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility in the world we live in.

To end this column on a lighter note (but still not a very good note), I wonder how come liquor and beer are regarded as essential but marijuana is excluded except for medical purposes? Governor Charlie Baker says he doesn’t want people from out of state coming in to buy weed at our local stores, but that’s easily remedied by having people show identification and if they aren’t from Massachusetts they can be turned away. No problem, right?

It’s actually very important to have marijuana accessible because our population of Veterans can’t buy medical marijuana since marijuana is not legal on the Federal level. They risk losing their Veteran’s Benefits if they buy medical marijuana. Baker should open the weed stores; if booze is essential, why not grass, eh? Also hit by unemployment, the marijuana industry had to lay off close to 8,000 people who could be hired back with a change in the law.

Well, I’ve certainly spoken my tattered mind on my thoughts about matters related to the Plague, as I work up my courage to go to the grocery store. I’m looking forward to the end of it, yet it doesn’t seem to end any time soon. And Trump—-well, no, I won’t even go there.