So simple, so complicated

It’s almost midnight when I come to the city. Late for most people, but not my friends.

Like any shaman, you bring her offerings. I browse the dimly lit twenty four hour grocery for milk, oil, and cigarettes. Her needs are simple and complex. These things are what she lives on, these and pills.

At her house we make a Paleo feast of chicken, eggs, salad, sweet potatoes, and of course chocolate. We bring it to her bed, food and caffeine. She rubs the oil into her skin, always emptying out poisonous tendrils (someday I’m gonna capture this on video – it needs to be documented). I sit cross-legged next to the bed swallowing chicken fat while she unravels my life. It’s so easy, so two dimensional and real. She pulls a thread here, tucks a thread there, and soon it all makes sense.

She’s had a premonition of my death. Near Texas, a sociopath, ropes and knives. I shrug it off – she’s predicted my death before. It’s because she loves me so much that she paints me into her own constant journey towards death and trauma.

Soon the pills make her nod out, stroking her face in her sleep like a junkie. We do the dishes and we talk in sweet whispers and then I leave.

I visit the dumpster. I always do. A different she, a real junkie, died here. I light a candle and I sit on the snow covered 4AM pavement and picture her alive. There was a summer in the village. We were tan kids, playing with sticks and telling river-stories. And there was the summer here. She wore strappy shorts and a butterfly tank top, and she pushed sleep into her veins with needles. We were medicine women living in the dumpsters of our culture.

She didn’t get killed. No sociopath. No drama. She just filled herself too empty with heroin. Sometimes I try to picture it, her death. She would have been in his car. It would have been her stealthy just-got-paid fix and she would have just nodded out, slumped down. He was young, entitled and inexperienced, I remember that. I think he would have just stared at her, confused and horrified to find this end result of a thousand generations of patriarchy breathing her last in his lap.

When the candle goes out I drive around for a long time, running the heat. It’s cold in the city of death.


  1. Hi Tara,

    I enjoy reading your blog, interesting to follow along with. I might be naive, but what city did you get to on your travels? Have you popped into Canada, or still up in Alaska? Take care, and good luck & speed with your laptop problems!

  2. I’m sitting on that concrete. I’m facing that dumpster. As much as my image may be of Chicago’s alleys; the images your words paint come out strong, gray, and hard in this piece. I can see the city trash stuck to the cement in places or huddled upon fences against the wind.
    Really good, Tara.

  3. Oh, no, the motion helps the stories shake out. 🙂

    I’m still in Alaska, Mags, but I never tell where I’m sleeping.

  4. “She just filled herself too empty with heroin.”

    I love that line. I can tell you understand where she was coming from… that deep emotional pain.

    Keep up the writing 🙂


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