“Philip Seymour Hoffman” by Nick Flynn

Last summer I found a small box stashed away in my apartment,
a box  filled with enough Vicodin to kill me.  I would  have sworn
that  I’d  thrown it away years earlier,  but apparently not. I stared
at the white pills blankly for a long while, I even took a picture of
them,  before  (finally, definitely)  throwing  them away.  I’d been
sober  (again)  for  some years  when  I found that box,  but every
addict  has  one— a  little  box,  metaphorical  or  actual— hidden
away.  Before I flushed them  I held them in my palm,  marveling
that  at  some  point in  the  not-so-distant  past it seemed a good
idea  to  keep a  stash of  pills on hand.  For an emergency, I told
myself.  What kind of emergency? What  if  I needed  a root canal
on  a  Sunday  night?  This little  box  would  see me through until
the   dentist   showed   up  for   work  the  next  morning.  Half  my
brain  told  me  that,  while  the other half  knew that  looking into
that  box  was  akin  to  seeing  a photograph of myself standing on
the  edge of a bridge,  a bridge  in the  familiar  dark neighborhood
of  my  mind,   that   comfortable  place   where  I  could  somehow
believe that fuck it was an adequate response to life.

 

Nick Flynn, “Philip Seymour Hoffman” from My Feelings. Copyright © 2015 by Nick Flynn.

“Glass” by Kim Addonizio

In every bar there’s someone sitting alone and absolutely absorbed
by whatever he’s seeing in the glass in front of him,
a glass that looks ordinary, with something clear or dark
inside it, something partially drunk but never completely gone.
Everything’s there: all the plans that came to nothing,
the stupid love affairs, and the terrifying ones, the ones where actual happiness
opened like a hole beneath his feet and he fell in, then lay helpless
while the dirt rained down a little at a time to bury him.
And his friends are there, cracking open six-packs, raising the bottles,
the click of their meeting like the sound of a pool cue
nicking a ball, the wrong ball, that now edges, black and shining,
toward the waiting pocket. But it stops short, and at the bar the lone drinker
signals for another. Now the relatives are floating up
with their failures, with cancer, with plateloads of guilt
and a little laughter, too, and even beauty—some afternoon from childhood,
a lake, a ball game, a book of stories, a few flurries of snow
that thicken and gradually cover the earth until the whole
world’s gone white and quiet, until there’s hardly a world
at all, no traffic, no money or butchery or sex,
just a blessed peace that seems final but isn’t. And finally
the glass that contains and spills this stuff continually
while the drinker hunches before it, while the bartender gathers
up empties, gives back the drinker’s own face. Who knows what it looks like;
who cares whether or not it was young once, or ever lovely,
who gives a shit about some drunk rising to stagger toward
the bathroom, some man or woman or even lost
angel who recklessly threw it all over—heaven, the ether,
the celestial works—and said, Fuck it, I want to be human?
Who believes in angels, anyway? Who has time for anything
but their own pleasures and sorrows, for the few good people
they’ve managed to gather around them against the uncertainty,
against afternoons of sitting alone in some bar
with a name like the Embers or the Ninth Inning or the Wishing Well?
Forget that loser. Just tell me who’s buying, who’s paying;
Christ but I’m thirsty, and I want to tell you something,
come close I want to whisper it, to pour
the words burning into you, the same words for each one of you,
listen, it’s simple, I’m saying it now, while I’m still sober,
while I’m not about to weep bitterly into my own glass,
while you’re still here—don’t go yet, stay, stay,
give me your shoulder to lean against, steady me, don’t let me drop,
I’m so in love with you I can’t stand up.

“Glass” by Kim Addonizio, Tell MeBOA Editions Ltd.

Stop

I know a sickness
So ancient and cross
No crucifix
Could ever fix enough
In the basement of a church
These people, they talk
There is a line
That must be walked
If you wanna make it stop
Then stop

I know a place
Where the future is denied
I know a hand
That twitches inside
For some of us the glass
Is filled with lights
But if the honey
Makes you sick
Honey, there is a line
That must be walked
If you wanna make it stop
Then stop
Stop

Slow down
You don’t have to talk
Lie down
Breathe
Stop
Slow down
It’s not your fault
Look around
There’s so many of us
So many of us
You are not alone
Ever
Ever
Ever

Stop

Call in the backup and the backup comes
Nobody can help you if you won’t
Inside your chest your heart is just hurt
Behind your eyes a need replaced a want

I know a sickness so ancient and cross
A crucifix can never fix enough
I know a past when the future is lost
I know a line that must be walked

There is a darkness and there is a light
And there is a choice.
For a balance to be made every night
A weakness must be found
If you want it to stop
Stop
Stop

Stop” by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, from Cardinology

Thank you Dede for introducing this song to me when you introduced yourself. You’re a star. The honor really is all mine. 

***

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Why Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Is So Scary : The ever-present danger of relapsing” by Seth Mnookin via Slate.com

“There’s not much separation between my having a drink and my ending up alone in an apartment with a needle in my arm.”