This Is a Controlled Burn

Drive your children 400 miles away because they want to go back to their fathers. You understand and want it for them, too. Flames have licked through the plaster walls you’ve all been living between, and it’s time to go.

So you drive down Saturday morning. Leave late to avoid the rain, and because none of you can really get your shit together. You make it, though, and you still know this is right. But you sob when you leave the first daughter. Fucking bawl but not in front of her.

Number two is easier, because you’ve been slow-drip delivering a telephone soliloquy to that one’s other parent for months.

I’m not sure this is good for her. I want it to be, but it might not.

I’m trying. I think she hates me, and I get it.

You’re better at this with her than I am.

This one has complications, but there’s less fear in it. Because you’ve been to court for her, and you know the steps to How We Got Here This Time. This goodbye is like dancing. She hugs you and hangs on; you both smile and sway.

Sunday’s departure becomes Monday–you barely slept after you left your daughters. Drive straight to work and spend seven hours talking with your mother and customers at the bar you work at (again). She’s there (for an hour)  because she knows you’ve slept less than seven hours since you woke up on Saturday. You’ve driven 800 miles and are wearing a Ralph Lauren t-shirt from Goodwill that you picked up on the way in, because you didn’t bring enough clothes with you over the weekend (see Paragraph II above, RE: Shit Not Together).

After she leaves, your regulars treat you kindly (they usually do), but you really don’t feel like talking, so you find reasons to walk away. There are dishes to wipe, ketchup bottles to bring to the grill next door.

Go home and see more evidence of how surrounded you are by grace. Your mother has packed half of your kitchen and the bedrooms your daughters don’t live in anymore for you while you’ve been away. Somehow you’re going to move into a new apartment by Friday, and you know you will because you’ve finally started telling the people around you that you’re Not Okay At Present.

Today’s eyes look less like bruises than yesterday’s. You haven’t taken your medicine yet because it’s in the car, and it’s so cold outside. You don’t feel ready for that yet. You’ll get it soon, though, and swallow it. Then you’ll start doing the Things You Need To Do Today.


That Time I Pretended to be a Masseuse in Kentucky

I lit this candle today

for the first time

in years. I let it burn

while I said my Prayer

To the Hustle-Gods and The Universe (because

this candle came from Paducah,

from a barn where I might have died

but instead gave my first commercial hummer–

I hate that term, but it flows. I’d told him

I was a masseuse, then I rubbed him

with olive oil I’d scented

with cheap, drug store perfume.

He bought wax fuck-ups from a nearby candle factory

and poured it into glass and sold them for $3.

He gave me this one on my way out.)


My dime store Voodoo runs like this:

Today I lit this candle

that I haven’t lit in years.

It’s perfect. Serendipitous even.

So all hail  the hustlers,

the lunatics and queens

of making it all come

together. Bless those

saloon girls and the men who pay them,

the honest dealers who mean no harm

(like that one in Gary

who came to my apartment when he found out

I’d overdosed on his stuff.

I gave him a book on Egypt and cried.).

Thank you for all this grace.


Microdosing Mushrooms Hooray!

Happy Friday, loves. I woke up to an article about the government uncoiling slightly (maybe) on the medicinal virtues of psychedelic drugs.

“The FDA’s dueling portrayals of psilocybin as a scary fungal neurotoxin and a promising treatment for depression are part of a broader story about forbidden drugs, including MDMAmarijuana, and LSD, whose benefits scientists are once again studying with government approval after decades of neglect.”

Pure smiles.

It’s cold here in the suburbs today, but I have my kitchen window open a few inches anyhow. It’s become my morning ritual, part of the elusive and over-spoken-of “new normal” I keep trying to find. Right now, it’s this: two cups of coffee at my kitchen table after the girls have gone to school, and I roll the baby joint I’ll puff on for the day and start it. The youngest sleeps through this usually, and I use this time to organize my day.

I have an anxious mind. Some pieces of paper say I have a panic disorder; some say bipolar II. I say, I’m a part of the Sad Tribe. I say, sometimes if I get too cold, my brain will think we’re dying and send the fight-or-flight cocktail through me. Words float inside of me in water, and sometimes the current moves so quickly that there’s only noise. Whatever it is, I have a piece of paper, too, that says chronic PTSD on it, and the right strain of cannabis allows me to slow the stream.

And I am so grateful that I can do this without legal or psychological risk (All that talk about self-medicating? It’s true. We do that. And I’ve been self-medicating with cannabis since I was 13.). Sativas stoke my anxiety–Green Crack made me sob. High THC indica strains, preferably with a significant smidge of CBD, are my medicine. Gelato, Berry White, my childhood favorite Northern Lights–these are my current loves.

So here’s to a little more possibility in the world today–maybe psychedelics are next. Maybe as medical cannabis becomes more and more talked about and legitimized, the path will get cleared for other natural medicines to come back. The anecdotal evidence on microdosing (thanks to pioneers like James Fadiman) is encouraging.

(I thought about telling you all the story about the time I tried microdosing for mental health but just tripped on accident and then on purpose until it was all gone. But that’s kind of it. I’ll tell it another time. Hockey made me laugh hard.)