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« An Interview with Rachel McKibbens by Jennifer L. Knox | Main | Auden's Ear for Yeats (David Yezzi) »

July 07, 2010


love this!

So do I! Thanks.

Here's to No Mas Productions. (Is Roberto Duran on your board?)

Here's to 'em. This is one of the best things I've seen on the interwebs!

I remember the very first 9and only) time I took acid, in the west coast seaside town of Southport, Lancashire, 13 miles North of Liverpool, February 1986.

A third of a microdot I'd been offered by Mike, a teenager the same age as me, who'd turned up unexpectedly to a pub where myself and another person I used to hang with, Dave, where having a drink.

I didn't like Dave, but in those teenage days we find ourselves in situations like this; being with people we call freinds who aren't really. I didn't want to take it, but at the imploring of the other two I relutantly 'dropped' it, and within a short space of time, I just wanted to be away from them. I got very paranoid about Dave and ran off from him, as he ran after me shouting for me to stop, and I climbed onto the roof of a small concrete shed in the back garden of a house to escape him.

As I sat there looking eight feet down onto the concrete path, crouched on the edge of the roof, a thought occured to me, that should I let myself tilt over and fall off the edge and drop eight feet down onto concrete, in the act of stretching my arms, I would be rendered into flight. I knew it was an insane thought, but the usual rules of reality were wearing off as the acid took effect. A drug we hear and read about being so cool, by generations of people au fait with taking drugs, man.

I remember debating with myself, some part of me urging myself to do it; to fly, and a slither of logicality working against the craziness, that won out as I climbed down, deciding against what would have been a very tragic accident should the drug have got the better of me. If I'd taken half the microdot or gone completely nuts on a full one.

The next wave of lunacy was feeling two primordial forces of light and dark wash over me, and a choice of walking to the beach (dark) or the lights of the town center, the acid making it seem some mystical orange tint to the street lamps was revealing an important secret of the universe to me in some ineffable knowing wisdom too big for anything as petty and puny as language, to capture.

I must have been peaking around this point and very vividly recall thinking: God, is this it? - and becoming very scared that my intellectual state had been fundamentally altered and would remain forever trapped in how it was.

Taking it with people I didn't like, the falsity in the relationship with Mike and Dave, was the setting-off point that set the trajectory and tone of the experience. By the time I'd reached the town centre, knowing how it felt to be insane and very very frightened, I rang home, a small rural hamlet five miles out of Southport, and when my mother answered the first thing I said was: Is there a history of insantity in your family? To which she replied: Where are you?, naturally very concerned that her son had rung out of the blue asking such an odd thing, realizing I must be high on some kind of drug that is being lauded here as 'cool' by the hipsters and presented as a benign and implicitl in the mesage: Take drugs, they are good for you. They'll make you a creative interesting person, just like the guy in the cartoon. As I read it at least, reminding me of a line from the Amiri Baraka poem from his arch 70's Marxist phase: Dope.

Wasn't it cool, wasn't Slavery cool?

I told her where I was in the centre of Southport and she told me to wait. That she'd be there in twenty minutes, but by this time my mind had dissolved into illogicality. I saw a police car and though knowing it was a cop, similar to thinking I could fly from the shed roof earlier in the trip; I knew for a fact it was really a taxicab and not a cop car. Being thus, I went over, opened the passenger door and as I climbed in said my address, as you do when getting into a taxicab - naturally expecting the cop-taxi-driver to drive me home. As I did this, the policeman driver reached over and grabbed the arm of my coat, an expensive flying jacket my then girlfriend had bought me for Xmas. Thinking he wanted to steal my jackt and a physical coward by nature, I stepped back out of the car saying 'have it, have it. I don't want it', and the cop got out of the car, radioing for assistance as I backed away from him repeating 'have it, you can have it', and things quickly spiralled out of control. Within twenty seconds the sirens of a police wagon signalled the arrival of six police officers and before I knew what was happening, they were bundling me into the back as I, high on lsd, thinking some cosmic horror was being enacted on me, resisted, roaring at the top of my voice,h and unbeknown to me at the time, my sister, mother and father in two cars, watching everything having just arrived to see their sibling and son carted off by the cops after recieving a phone call from him in an agitated state, asking if there was a history of madness in the family.

When we got to the cop shop, we were taken to the desk and I will never forget the the six or seven police officers crowded in on me, their faces looking to me in my drug crazed state, the faces of pigs; cold and detached, knowing only that they had a radio call for emergency back up from a colleague and had brought in myself to establish what was going on.

Then there was another wave, that brought eloquence and lucidity, as I learnt that the reason the cop driver acted as he did was because the week before he'd had a nutter do the exact same thing as me, climb into his car, but unlike me thinking it was a taxi, had tried to stab him.

I remember explaining myself to the knot of police-officers in the cramped space, spinning some yarn about it being a mistake, and their faces melting from porcine, detached and inhuman, focussed on me, to becoming jovial and relaxed as they switched attention to their colleague, thinking it was him who had over-reacted because the incident a week before with a real nutter, had knocked his normal responses out of whack.

They accepted my claim it was all an innocent mistake and things were looking up, until the next wave came and I asked them: So, I can go then, there's gonna be no charges?. They said yeah, everything's cool, there's no problem, and on that I asked again if I could go and when they said I could, shortly; I grabbed the keys off the desk, turned round int he cramped space, stuck the keys in the door and tried to unlock it. This ruined any chance of them letting me go and it was six of them again with pig faces carrying me into a dimly lit cell. One dull blue light and four small walls of very thick concrete.

As I lay there I got it into my head that the door was going to open and my girlfriend would be standing there in a silver fur coat, with an armful of gift-wrapped presents, saying 'Surprise!', and this is would be the denoument of the acid trip.

Gradually over the next few hours the drug wore off and they released me. Unbeknown to me my mum, dad and sister had been there begging them to let me go and rather than get the loony doctors in to section me, as they first wanted, they did so.

Just take acid kids.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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