Saturday, April 18, 2020

Angel Dust ----------------- poem by David Fewster


was the hip new drug in 1978.
Well, maybe not for the haute couture set,
who had their Fancy Dan “freebase”,
but for us, the lumpen proles.
I remember we (me & my roommates Doug & Brian)
were at a party at Greg Ross’ place,
overlooking the 405 freeway at Sepulveda and
everything was always coated in black soot.
If Charles Manson had a goofy,
possibly less-murderous little brother,
that could have been Greg.
Doug had met him in jail a couple months back,
when he got busted for drinking and being mouthy
on Venice Boardwalk.
(This is how we ‘social networked’ in our day.)
Greg became our go-to dealer for acid,
but the last shipment never came in,
and Greg owed us front money.
In lieu of the missing LSD, Greg offered to give equivalent value
in the new Wonder High, Angel Dust.
We figured we’d better take him up on his offer,
it was probably our only hope of reimbursement.
Taking us in the back bedroom,
he laid out lines of a vile-looking brown powder
(although not as vile as smoking it, I discovered,
unless one has an acquired taste for
dust-bunnies dipped in hot asphalt.)
I made a point of snorting the lion’s share,
as most of the money-owed was mine.
After that, I remember two things.
One is sitting in the corner, deprived of the power of speech,
yet smiling like an idiot, looking around at the mix of
bikers, burnt-out hippies, teen-age runaways & drunks an
realizing if  someone grabbed a ball peen hammer
and started beating me about the temples,
I’d still be wearing this shit-eating grin
as my brains oozed out over the carbon dust-covered floorboards.
“This is ‘total derangement of the senses’?” I wondered.
The other is standing alone in the kitchen,
because I apparently got the munchies,
but the only foodstuff was a jar of peanut butter
which I was eating with a fork when
Brian walked in, went “Well. Ok!”
and walked right out.
The rest of the night I only know second-hand:
blacking-out, foaming at the mouth, comatose,
to the point that our friend, who was nicknamed
“The Walking Scab with Boots” (not to his face however—
he worked at a chemical plant and was usually covered
with ulcerous lesions) felt impelled to give me
mouth-to-mouth (which made me a tad disgusted when
I found out later, but, to be fair,
he probably wasn’t too thrilled about the whole thing either)
before depositing my prone form in the back of his pickup
and carrying it back to our apartment
in the neighborhood east of Venice known as “Little Tijuana.”

So, anyhow, there I lay on my ratty sofa bed
in the front room/kitchenette area of
our squalid, motel-style complex
(Brian had the other sofa bed, Doug, being the elder,
got the bedroom--$240 a month,
which broke down to 80 bucks each),
my roomies’ drug-addled brains no doubt
vaguely worried by the thought that
I might up and croak on them,
when finally in the pre-dawn hour I found voice
and moaned “Where am I?”
“Home,” replied Doug.
in such a long drawn-out syllable of relief & joy
given our sordid circumstances that Doug and Brian
burst out in laughter that was some time dissipating.
In fact, my little verbal ejaculation became something
of a private catch-phrase for a bit,
a joke both mocking and acknowledging
a deep existential longing for us & our ilk—
strangers, hundred or thousands of miles
from our points of origin,
randomly thrown together, united
in our burning desire to wander
the streets of the City of Dreams.

I believe it took the better part of a month
for my brain to feel normal after this adventure.

Also, in case there is some perceived ambivalence,
these are what are fondly recalled as
‘the good times’—
We were 19, 20, & 21.

--David Fewster

Saturday, April 4, 2020

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