Home, sweet home, Madison, WI and Lake Edge UCC. What a lovely reception for us both – you’d think I’d have a more uplifting poem today, but I felt compelled to put this entry in.

This is a cautionary tale… any teen who thinks Pharming is cool and that shoving substances up their nose is fun should think twice. I know; I’ve been there, and this entry is, sad to say, all too true, from many years ago when I was incredibly stupid (and, of course, immortal – weren’t we all?). Parents, talk to you kids. Cop to what you did and let your kids know what’s out there is King Kong compared to the spider monkey shit we did.

NIGHT SHIFT AT TONY’S

Silence of the grave.
The dissipated, pasty-faced coke dealer in his lair: A
hermetically sealed apartment.
No light, save lamps; no breeze, stale air.
No windows open, lest the cool breeze
of Venice Beach disturb piles of priceless product.

It’s all about balance, really.
Delicately spooning precious powder
from bag to scale, wordlessly persevering
during each transaction. Accuracy rules.

Tony’s in the zone.

His place stinks vaguely of chemicals and
days-old takeout – plus a trace of evil.
I mule for the whole crew back at work.
He accepts the cash, hands over the stash.
I smile; he grits his teeth and says take the back stairs.

Tucking the baggie in my bra, I make my way back to work
behind closed doors. Tamp the coke onto the mirror,
razor it into proper sections; every granule counts.
I obsessive-compulsively trustworthy,
entrusted to split the parcels.

Why do I make the run? Because I’m so disgustingly honest.
I fill, never spill, never nick off the till,
and emerge with portions of potion for
my anxious co-conspirators.
We scatter like roaches for hidden dark corners and
restroom stalls, emerge smiling,
frozen-gummed and destined to perform at peak
for at least an hour.

Once Tony cut the stash with laxative and we all
spent our high on the toilet, but we still went back for more.
We paid good money for this slavery and couldn’t make our way past it.
Not in those days, the blinding midnight sunrise of Colombia on Westwood.

Then there was Sam, shaking hands spilling his stash.
He ended up snorting it off the filthy men’s room floor.
I mean, really.
How low can you go?
Try cocaine and you’ll find out.

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil