I am a curse. I am not boasting. It feels like the posturing of those old bluesmen and their 60 minute man fuck fest boasting of their supernatural boners that never go flaccid as they leave through the back door, or enter by it, I suppose. Whichever, whatever, it really doesn’t matter at this point in time, not after everything. Not after I built my safety on the back of a man that sent me a last note telling me he still loved me, a note that I threw back in his face by calling him a mean pathetic old drunk. I had been pushed past exasperation. He kept drinking, sobering up, smoking crack, coming down, calling me begging for help, and then talking total gibberish down the phone in between threatening to kill ever motherfucker that ever was and the horses they rode in on, including me. I would put the phone down and block him until he calmed down and sobered up and swore blind he never did or said such a thing. I consider it a blight on humanity that the hospitals he rocked up in repeatedly over the last ten months, never got him a psych evaluation nor kept him in.
He was not capable of looking after himself at the end. He was not able to stay safe. He could not cope. He could not live. He needed round the clock care, and some help. He asked for it, but they only ever treated the immediate issue of his extreme drunkenness or the DT’s, and never looked at the brain tumor, nor the stroke damage, or the obvious schitzophrenia and psychotic breaks he was having. Medicaid patients deserve psychiatric care to, for their own sake, and for the rest of society around them. Instead they are criminalized and demonized and left to rot until they finally die, and the chattering classes breathe a sigh of relief that another problem is gone and over with, and off their accounts and caseloads. Fuck them. Fuck this world. Fuck all of it. People, people! These are people, not human trash spoiling the view!
I spoilt many a vacation living in the campgrounds, and insisting that vacationers didn’t let their dogs and kids play and piss and shit in my spot I had paid for and called home. They were outraged. Their vacations were worth so much more than my living. They took all the best spaces that they reserved for a few nights in August, leaving us with nowhere to live in that time, pushed out to parking lots and national forest land, while they sat with the electric and empty houses. The stress of summer was always compounded by the relief of winter which also saw unbearable living conditions as the weather worsened. As the wet and the cold drew in so did Billy’s depression. Billy was busy spoiling the landscape ten months after I left for the shelter and this beautiful city on the Bay. I suspect nobody is particularly sad he is gone apart from me, and a couple of friends he had left. Just happy his rust bucket is in the scrap yard, and his drunk self is not lurching round the parking lots that we used to sit in together, drinking tea and giggling over rock trivia, hugging and living and breathing and trying to be the best little freaky family on the road that ever there was.
In the end it got oppressively unbearable for me. It distressed me and scared me. I am still scared right now. Scared of his crazy friends. Scared of the man who he told me had cut him. “It’s bad, Detroit,” he said. I called his friend. I called him back. He didn’t answer. His friend said he just saw him and that he was fine – fuck that guy too. Liar. I believed him because I wanted to. Because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. Because I was too worn out, and because I never really believed that Billy would die. I had reason not to believe he was badly hurt: he also told me there were aliens on the roof and that he spoke to Jim Morrison. He told me his friend’s dog could talk and had a New Jersey accent, and that he smoked something, but he had no idea what it was. Mighta been crack. Mighta been weed. Always the joker in the pack of lies he sometimes peddled in an effort to get out of perceived trouble. He would slyly laugh as I exasperated tried to find out what the old stroke patient had done, and where he was so I could send the cops to him for one of their many and useless welfare checks. He told me he was ok. I asked him where he was and he wouldn’t tell me. I presumed he would call me up the next day and be drunk and happy again. He never did.
Billy could never remember the violence of his words and empty threats. I can never forget them. I will never forgive those who should have helped him, for not restraining him. He was arrested for drunk and disorderly and drink driving. I screamed at him down the phone that he could have killed someone who wanted their life. He didn’t remember. They let him out again and even gave him his driving license back. He failed to show for his court date: a stint in jail would have saved him. “Catch me if you can!” he cried to me! They didn’t even try and lock him up for his own safety, and that of those around him. It is a blessing he never hurt anyone else. I would call up the cops and beg them to restrain him. I would talk to the nurses at the hospitals. I would beg them to stop him. Nobody had the tools or the desire to do so. I couldn’t. I am barely on my feet. I did everything I could to stop disaster. Instead all I got was the sad fact that the last thing I said to him was mean and exasperated and disbelieving and then he died. Fuck me too. Worn out by his mental illness, his drinking, his amnesia, his deteriorating mind and body, worn out by worrying about him all the time, I snapped. I never got the chance to make it up to him. “I still love you” was the last thing he wrote to me. As ever I am the bad guy and he gets to be the sweet one. As ever I am evil. As ever I can’t get the opportunity to take it back. I am starting to realize that my last words to people will never be kind ones. I never manage to make it to a point past frustration. I always end up snapping, and then they die. Die with bags of gold paint stuck to their faces. Die with needles in their arms. Die die die, and here I am alive and fighting and never, thankfully never to this day, obviously, not dropping down fucking dead.
I get mad at people not trying to live. I get mad at them for refusing to survive. I get mad at their inaction. I get infuriated by their self destructive actions. I get infuriated because I love them. I get angry because I know their bullshit, because I have pulled it myself. I know when they are not even trying. I know when they are pretending to make the effort to live. I know when they are faking it and going to leave me crying bereft upon the kitchen floor with my head in my hands wondering how I am going to survive their loss. But that is never how it seems, that is never how it feels to them, and I suspect they die thinking what a fucking bitch I am, before they take their final breath and are glad to be rid of me.
Perhaps Billy would have forgotten my anger I unleashed in a frustrated mess the very last time we spoke, I was furious he would not tell me where he was so I could send an ambulance to him. He could never remember the gravity of his actions, totally forgot calling Pig to rant at him, and causing my ‘husband’, my curse, to call me screaming revenge, driven to ever increasing circles of anger at the realization his property was fucking another man, and left him for the road, and her old boyfriend. Yeah, me and Billy fucked. We always had done occasionally throughout the years. He was my rare exception that I made. I hardly ever get attracted to men. When I do it is their mind that reels me in and their soul that keeps me yearning. I haven’t always been sexless and forgotten. I used to be a Lilith, a demonic entity that ate men for dinner and spat out the pips. I used to see myself as a dominating entity, a bitch with a strap on and a strong urge to make them my bitch. Autoandrophillic weirdness in my head, in my case – and I am speaking strictly for myself – born out childhood abuse and the recreation of myself as a sexual being that rejected those acts as pure violence, and instead took the bull by the horn and found my power. I should have found it in some goddess power of blood and creation, but failed to find my power there, despite spending far too long in occult circles once upon a time. I know I am a chick. I just sometimes wish I wasn’t. I think that is fair. I’m not asking for much, certainly not dominion over others language or spaces or culture. I’ve migrated into androgynous nothingness, eager to not be beaten up again. I failed. I still got knocked the fuck out by a dude this week. Billy would have been furious. He never knew.
Although Billy was my protector, as he styled himself, I definitely wore the pants in our relationship. Billy was my puppy. My twink. My bitch. My whore. He wore it like a badge of honor and with a sometimes grudging acceptance that if he wanted to be more than a friend that was just the way it had to be. I loved his addiction to leopard skin print. I loved the way he wore my scarves and my eyeliner. I loved his chin length bob and his William Shakespeare beard. He used to have these arms on him, forearms like popeye from working construction, his part time job when he was done partying, tripping, shooting speed, drinking to drown out the world, selling drugs and being a two dollar wine slut. His ex-rent-boy grin. He would occasionally do a killer switchblade and shark smile version, growling, “I was a green beret in Vietnam! 53 and 3rd…You’re the one they never pick!…No more of your fairy stories!” There was never a sight as cute as Billy letting his bisexual freak flag fly, in his drainpipe pants, and his smashed right cheekbone, his leatherboy hat over one eye, jauntily poised, and his whip curled under his leather jacket, wrapped around his right shoulder, speeding his balls off, barking the lyrics out like he belonged in the Ramones, or at least Rancid. Barking out the words like he belonged on the street, in the gutter, switchblade in hand, down the alleyways of his discontent and driven by the insatiable needs of his twin addictions to alcohol and speed.
We were an odd couple, a strange pair, unconventional sure, but tight and devoted to each other for many years. When he put the final nail in the coffin of our relationship, the tumor finally destroying his personality to the point that made it not bearable, him telling me to get out of his camper, and off his floor, and me calling up the big yellow taxi. PJ Harvey screaming “Don’t you wish you never met her’ in my mind. “You wished you were rid of me!” I yelled down the phone as he cried. “Well there ya go, Im GONE!” He half cried, half yelled back and was drunk before I got to San Francisco. “I wish I had never met you!” He spat back at me juicily through the wetness of the liquor and his own lush drunken lake of ethanol. There is a bottle at the bottom of the lake, and it has my name on it. He called it ‘Detroit’ written on it in thick black sharpie. He threw it down there with out friendship and any love and care we ever shared, as he turned quiet solidarity into urine and let it rip up the side of the poor beat up tin sides of the Beastie, the vehicle of my escape.
C’mon Billy! I yelled. Pull it together. We never had a child. We never had a tie that bound us conventionally, just two people, two drifters with a passion for music and a headful of ideas, and between us we drove everybody else insane. In the end it was a more adult and equal relationship, even if he drove me to distraction trying to save him. I failed him. He failed me. We saved each other. He would rather have had those years with me alive, than sitting in his ex wife’s house drowning in her apathy towards him. We laughed and sang and walked through forests. We drove those highways, we wrote our own stories. He left me his life. I promised to tell it. What a waste .What a waste. What a damn fucking waste of a beautiful person. What a waste of love. What a waste of a friendship. What a waste of time.
In the end I suspect there will not be many who are not glad to be rid of me. In the end he will be remembered more on 53rd and 3rd than he will as a human being with anything to give the world, other than The Finger. He was never free of me. I haunted his thoughts until the very end. I wonder if the last word on his lips was my name. I wonder if the last thought in his mind was of my fingers in his hair, licking his injuries and kissing his knotted busted veined arms. I left him. He was hurting. I had to, or else go under with him. He had a date with the bottle. It was time. He used to tell me how he would drive the RV over the cliff. He didn’t ever keep that promise, but then he broke a lot of promises. We never got married in matching Ramones Tees. We never we never we never….truly left each other.
We were just two Eros/Thanatos drive-by-babies passing in the Eternal Strange of the world we drifted through. I suspect my oldest friend is waiting for me just past the veil in the great beyond. I hope once I get there I get the chance to say I was sorry he was ever rid of me.
P.S. Please no snide comments asking if my son reads my writing. Clearly not. I asked him not to, and he knows I take no responsibility for his horror if he gets curious. He is always welcome to talk to me about stuff, and I am a person in my own right, with privacy and the right to a creative life and freedom of expression. I am NOT IN THE DAMN MOOD for judgemental shit. We have a good relationship and talk freely. He knows he can ask me anything he wants to and I will answer appropriately. I am not a slave to my motherhood. No one would ask a man that shit!