No matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love.— Gregory David Roberts, author of Shantaram, a novel.
I came across a laptop computer in the ruins of an old farmhouse in Lake Ninevah, Vermont. When I booted it up, these stories opened up. It seemed as if some junkie was spinning tall tales but I thought you might like to have a look at one alternative reality, so I put them into print.
These stories were all told, during one time period or another, at a dope house which everyone thinks is in New York City. It is really in Cynosure. You can look up that word in the dictionary and it will give you an idea as to the nature of the area where the heroin house is located.
Being violently opposed to long introductions, especially when I am the one writing them, I shall bring this one to a close. Let me just say that I believe that these stories are true. Why do I accept, as truth, words that appear to be written by a dope fiend?
It is because I, with my mind’s own eye, have seen the face of Ar Lain Ta. I also believe in Demons and Angels.
By Marc D. Goldfinger, July 21, 2015.
TALES OF THE TROLL
Junkies, Angels & Demons
by Marc D. Goldfinger
This is a book of poetry written while I was in prison in 1982—’83. Although my writing style has changed much and I felt a compulsive need to alter many of these poems as I typed them in for this collection, I resisted. The reason for this is simple. Poison Pen is a reflection of where I was during the years this was written. To be true to myself, to what I was, whether pretty or ugly in the mirror of these times, deep in the passion of my addiction to heroin, I present myself as I was. In the world of poetry there may be many who find fault with my style back then. To these poets, I say that Poison Pen is my truth. It is my testament to the inferno from which I emerged scathed.
There are those who might say some of these poems are politically incorrect. If you are one of those people, I suggest you get into a time machine, travel back to 1982 and ask to be let into Maximum Security at the prison and confront me there.
We’ll talk it over.
I have no apologies for what I was. It was my path at the time.
I have no apologies for what I am today.
Written in Salem, Massachusetts in what they call a sober house. 18 September 1999.
Free Love You can love me the way I am You can leave me the way I am I’m not changing for you I’m just changing.
Written in West Boylston, MA in what they call a house of correction from 1982—’83 by Marc D. Goldfinger
Almost visiting hour. I wait. Hoping — As they call Numbers. No names here.
I had a name Once, A long time ago. I was free Once, A long time ago. I knew laughter Once, A long time ago. I saw you Once, A long time ago.
They call numbers, But not mine. No number. No name. No visit. I can’t laugh in the mist.
by Marc. D. Goldfinger from his e-book Poison Pen.
Marc. D. Goldfinger. Poison Pen. 101 pages, e-book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.
First Printing 2003. Printed in the United States of America
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following publications in which these poems have previously appeared.
What I Do — Pegasus, Spring, 2002; Junkie Love — Poison Pen, Writings From Prison ; The Way She Shakes — City Of Poets ; This Love — The Buffalo News, 3/5/98, Ibbetson Street Press, # 9 & The Rites of Wolves ; The Butterfly In The Box — City Of Poets & The Rites of Wolves ; Significant Other — City Of Poets ; Free Love — Poison Pen, Writings From Prison ; An Ode To My Batterer — Ibbetson Street Press, # 11 . Many of these poems have also appeared previously in the Spare Change News which is put out by the Homeless Empowerment Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
For Mary Esther Rohman, who knows me better than any human who walks the Earth
What we wait for sleeps in our substance. Doctrine, being what it is, put on paper, hardens, becomes inflexible. The love of the heart, the Voice of the Spirit always changes, forms itself around us and within us, never hardens. Even those whose hearts have appeared to harden, within, underneath that brittle crabshell beats the Core of the Living Spirit. We become what changes us. The true church has no head, only a Heart.——-October 19, 1999
The Ibbetson Street Press prides itself on publishing poets who bring their unique perspective to their work. Marc Goldfinger, an ubiquitous Cambridge area street poet certainly fits this criteria. Marc has been many things in his fifty-seven years including a heroin addict, the editor of Spare Change News, a homeless person, a political activist, but most consistently a poet. Marc’s work touches on his hardscrabble life and his often nefarious milieu. Even though Marc Goldfinger often hawks his poetry chaps right near the august gates of Harvard Yard, his poetry is far removed from the academics and academia. His is a voice that needs to be heard and Ibbetson Street is glad to be a conduit for this unique artist. — Doug Holder/Ibbetson Street Press
The pdf version of this book. I will send you the pdf to your email adress after receiving your payment.
Marc D. Goldfinger beats the hell out of most writers working today.
— Sara Gran, author of Dope, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Group Inc.
For those of us who made it back, for those of us who did not return, and especially for those who loved us no matter what.Dedication to Spare Change News, 1151 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, because they helped to bring me back from the dark, lonely streets of homelessness and heroin addiction.
Marc. D. Goldfinger
Table of Contents
An Introduction of Sorts To My Life and This Book – page 6 Out Of Despair, Hope – page 9 The Junkie – page 12 Chains On Her Wrists – page 13 In The World Of The Addict – page 15 The Edge of Relapse – page 19 I Am A Heroin Addict – page 22 Strategies of Harm Reduction – page 24 Heroin: The Road Back – page 26 Heroin Addiction, Overdoses and The Use Of Naloxone – page 32 Addiction Is An Illness, Not A Crime – page 34 What Would You Do For A Fix? – page 36 San Francisco Musings – page 41 How I Found Out What A Detox Was – page 47 For Addicts Only – page 51 When The Enemy Is Me – page 55 Some Addicts Get High. Some Addicts Die – page 57 In Memory Of Tim Kelleher – page 61 In The Dead Of Winter – page 68 The Voice Of Addiction – page 71 The Benches In Front Of Libby’s Liquors – page 74 Living With Depression and Addiction During Winter – page 77 Trust, Confidentiality, & Compassion – page 79 Clean Needles, Saving Lives: The Cambridge Needle Exchange – page 82 The Hotel Central Square – page 86 Resiliency: A Moment In Addict’s Time – page 89 Recovering From The Disassembly Of My Life – page 93 One Man’s Story of Domestic Violence – page 98 Seasons of Denial – page 102 Early One Morning – page 105 Suboxone: A Positive Alternative For Heroin Addiction – page 107 The Flower Days – page 110 Collections – page 114
An Introduction of Sorts To My Life and This Book
In March of 1993 my wife and I were drifting from place to place, hopeless and hooked on heroin, looking for money anyway we could make it. I hadn’t worked an honest job since March of 1989, when I was escorted off the grounds of my last full-time job, because I had fallen apart emotionally and was hopelessly hooked on methadone, heroin, using benzodiazapene to boost the highs of both of them.
They call the mix of major mental illness and drug addiction “Double Trouble” in some quarters. What came first, the chicken or the egg? For me, it was major mental illness, not addiction that came first. I had been seeing psychiatrists and social workers since I was 7 years old and was constantly in trouble in school. At various times I was diagnosed with Major Depression, Severe Panic Disorder, ADHD and PTSD because of traumatic events that occurred during my life, both in childhood and as an adult.
I found myself totally disabled by my multiple disabilities. I was begging for money at Porter Square with a cup when I saw someone calling out “Spare Change, Spare Change, buy a copy of the homeless newspaper and help the homeless help themselves.” It was a woman and I walked up to her and asked her what she was doing.
She explained to me that I could go to the Spare Change News office, sign up as a vendor and get ten copies free to sell, then turn that money around and buy the paper at ten cents apiece, making 90 cents on each sale. Since then, because of printing costs and the price of paper, the price has gone up to a quarter a paper for vendors but the price to the public remains at one dollar.
My wife and I went down to the office, signed up, and we began our first honest work in four years. That was in March of 1993. The first issue of the paper came out in May of 1992. When I first began selling the paper James Shearer, who currently does a regular column for the paper, was the Managing Editor.
The paper has gone through many changes since then, and so have I. When it began it came out once a month. When I started selling it I was hopelessly addicted to heroin. Soon after I started selling the paper, I began to regain a sense of empowerment about myself because I knew it was honest work. I was giving a product for the money I was receiving.
Sometimes people would say to me, “Get a job,” and I would say to them, “This is a job. I’m selling a product, not begging. And if you don’t believe it is hard work, try it for yourself.” Sometimes people would say, “Here’s a dollar, keep the paper.” Politely I would ask them if they approached The Boston Globe vendor and said, “Here’s fifty cents, keep the paper?” Some of them would smile, take the paper and read it, and in that way I would build my customer base.
In March of 1994, I kicked heroin for the first time since 1964, and stayed off, with the help of support groups, for almost four years. During that time I became the Editor of the paper in September of 1994 and, with the help of Linda Larson and Cynthia Baron, changed the release date to twice a month in November of 1995. At that time Linda was my right-hand person and Cynthia was a contributing writer for the paper.
Due to my disability I left the editorship in March of 1996 and worked part-time as a vendor and continued to write for the paper on a regular basis. In the beginning of 1997 Linda Larson became Editor of the paper and, soon after, Cynthia Baron became Assistant Editor. Linda had the longest reign as Editor of the paper ever, remaining as editor for over five years. Cynthia Baron worked diligently as Assistant Editor for longer than that.
Twice more I became Acting Editor, once for two months and once for ten months after Linda left to pursue a different path. During that time Cynthia Baron was the glue that held the paper together and we made a wonderful team. After I left again, due to a brief heroin relapse, Cynthia continued on until cancer made it impossible for her to continue.
I will always remember her courage in the face of adversity and how she didn’t understand the word “quit.” Although she has passed from this mortal coil, her Spirit lives on in me and in those others who loved her.
It is 12 years later since I first started as a homeless Spare Change News vendor. I am still associated with the paper as a writer. My life has changed in a multiple of ways. I separated from my wife in 1994. We traveled different paths but always kept in touch. She died suddenly in December of 1998.
I remarried in 2002 to a wonderful woman named Mary Esther, who has become the light of my life. I am comfortably housed today, yet I have not forgotten where I came from. I am treating all aspects of my dual diagnosis and have had my ups and downs. I am actively engaged in therapy and attend support groups regularly.
I will always be grateful to Spare Change News for being a major part of my life and a stepping stone towards becoming a contributing member of society.
Since I worked at the paper I went back to school and worked for a time as an addictions specialist. At this time I am just writing poetry, fiction and commentary while I focus on treating my illness. I never know what tomorrow will bring so I do the best I can to stay in today. Today is all I have. It is enough.
Copyright 2006 by
Burnt Hippie/Flower Day Productions
76 Unity Avenue
Belmont MA 02478
The complete 114 pages essay on format pdf. After your payment is done I will send you the pdf to your e-mail address.
Poems in English Edited by Tontongi and Jill Netchinsky. ISBN 10: 1-936431-01-7. ISBN 13: 978-1-936431-01-4. Trilingual Press, 2011; 320 pages. Trilingual Press, PO Box 391206, Cambridge, MA 02139
Joselyn M. Almeida, Ali Al-Sabbagh, Marc Arena, Soul Brown, Richard Cambridge, Neil Callender, Berthony Dupont Martín Espada, L’Mercie Frazier Patricia Frisella, Regie O’Hare Gibson, Marc D. Goldfinger, Calvin Hicks, Gary Hicks, Jack Hirschman, Everett Hoagland, Paul Laraque, Daniel Laurent, Denizé Lauture, Danielle Legros Georges, Tony Medina, Jill Netchinsky-Toussaint, Tanya Pérez-Brennan, Thomas Phillips, Ashley Rose Salomon, Margie Shaheed, Cheo Jeffery Allen Solder, Patrick Sylvain, Aldo Tambellini, Tontongi, Askia M.Touré, Tony Menelik Van Der Meer, Frantz “Kiki” Wainwright, Brenda Walcott, Anna Wexler, and Richard Wilhelm.
For more details on the content of The Anthology of Liberation Poetry look at thepreview pdf.