I like to see empty bottles when I walk into a room in the morning. I like to see empty cigarette boxes, and loaded ashtrays, and bongs, and pipes, and litter. But most of all I like empties, dead soldiers…lying everywhere, upright, on their sides, on tables, chairs, rolled to a stop against a wall, anyplace. If I am lucky, there will be a person in that room sleeping, or maybe two…on the sofa for example, or curled on a blanket, with a lover, on the floor. I like to pass slowly through the warm stillness of this scene. Sometimes there is sunshine…and in the case of sunshine, there are few forms of wreckage which appear more beautiful in memory.
Not so long ago, at G’s place, it was exactly this way. I had done coke. A lot. Thick lines.
Permission for me to do this had been given years earlier. I gave it to myself. The situation was gracious. A New York City actress whom I was fortunate to know had some friends who were coming up from Philly to party. We all ended up in an apartment overlooking Amsterdam avenue, a corner place above a bar, with a window right on the corner, like in a storybook, like in something a person would make up for a web page.
Of course, the things that are true never seem true. It doesn’t matter. I’m telling this anyway.
This, too, is true: I was offered coke, in massive lines. And I accepted. I sucked them right off the coffee table with a soda straw. Not so much to prove that I was a man, to prove I could let loose, get crazy…but to give myself permission. From that moment on, I could decline coke with complete confidence, having done it before, knowing what I said no to…
I also had permission to use it without fear.
I have no claim to foresight, but there was one thing I knew early. I knew it would not get easier to do crazy things as I got older. Later in life, if I were to do anything crazy at all, I needed to have established the possibility beforehand…as early as possible, in fact.
As a young man, it was my work to create a mental catalog of permission cards for a variety of deviant behaviors, should I ever need them. The only way to make a card was to do the thing listed thereon. And that was how I went about it. I did Things. That is the gospel fucking truth. The only wisdom I had at 19, or 20, or whenever it was, if you can call that wisdom.
Now I do not advocate the use of cocaine. It is expensive, and there are better ways to accelerate your heart beat and alter the flow of things in your brain. Many cheaper drugs have lead me to far richer experiences. And the other true thing about coke, besides the drain, is that it makes you want more…
More coke. A permission card that glows in the dark.
The night before I walked into the living room at G’s place, which was strewn with bottles, ashtrays, party fliers, sleeping humans, I had pulled that card…
And maybe burned it.
(A Front Door: Enter Nothing You’ve Seen into the search bar.)