Jason Floyd Williams
the lost years.

Ray usually had some cash.
You see, his ol man had died
in a factory accident or was
beheaded in a car crash, whatever
happened, Ray & his mom got
a semi-cozy pension or
a pay off.
Plus, Ray had epilepsy, so he
got disability checks for that.
So he had money when
compared to the rest of
us burn-outs, us greasers.
Ray paid for the weed, &
normally Kevin, Pete, & gang
would fetch it.
The general alibi when they
came back w/ a mini-stash
was they got ripped off.
That’s why there’s only an1/8th
when there should’ve been
a quarter.
They were pinching.

I didn’t tell Ray.
I didn’t like Ray much.
He was a hanger-on.
He was a bur on the side
of our group.
But, all the dope was free
to me, I just provided
the place to smoke it–
My mother’s place.
She had her own worries, &
really didn’t care, much.

That’s how it went.

Everyone had some role
in the main event of
gettin’ stoned.

They were, however, a
nefarious group.
A gaggle of pirates.
In addition to table-spooning
Ray’s weed, they’d demand that
he smoke a couple bowls
w/ ‘em.
Severance pay, if ya want,
for gettin’ the dope.
The gang had all the
loyalty of drinkin’ birds–
Always teeter-tottering,
always laughin’ behind
someone’s back.

Things went on like this
for a couple years,
the lost years.
The defroster didn’t
work on those years.
Those years were warmed
in a marijuana-incubator.
It was a comfortable blurriness
that grew roots.

Two things got me outta it, though.
The first was my lungs began
to shit-out on me.
You see, I have asthma & hadn’t
been takin’ care of my lungs.
Also, I accidentially inhaled
some silicone-mist at a
Injection-press factory
I worked 3rd shift at.
I felt my lungs being coated
in that chemical-fog crap.
Like breadin’ a chicken breast.
Or paintin’ fingernails.

The second thing was the time
we were gettin’ high at my place,
in my room.
There were 6 of us squished
into my lil room, with the door
& windows closed to keep
the smoke in: A dope sauna.

We were just talkin’ & listenin’
to music inside–
The Wicked Witch’s filthy, crystal-ball,
all covered w/ flyin’-monkey shit–
when Ray suddenly flops over
& off the chair.
Like he died.

Then he starts shakin’ all
over the place–
A runaway bumper car,
a fish outta water,
an electrocution,
crashin’ into everything
around ‘im.

I didn’t know what to do,
I had never seen this happen
to anyone before, so I held
his head & tried to calm
his body.
I asked the other guys to
lend me a hand, & they all
took-off, like he’s a leper
w/ leakin’ abrasions.

So I tell ‘em to fuck-off, &
continue to cradle Ray’s head
like it’s an egg inches away
from the skillet, & eventually
he relaxes & seems
to be alright.

But I’m stoned & nervous & don’t
want an epileptic kid havin’ another
seizure, or worse, dyin’ from
somethin’ unknown, so I
called an ambulance.

As the ambulance traveled 30 minutes
through the dark & desolate back roads,
its red & blue lights briefly grazin’ the
Hitchcock-ish woods, Ray kept
talkin’ bout his hat,
where was his hat?
A broken record.

He continued this crap when
the EMT’s arrived, & kept tryin’
to go back in my room, & I kept
blockin’ ‘im cause that’s where
all the smoke was, & that’s
where all my plants were.
Two dozen lil plants all growin’
for me, all achin’ for the artificial-sun
in my closet.
So I managed to keep Ray outta my room
& convinced ‘im to go w/ the EMTs.
He does, but he’s bitchin’ & moanin’
the whole time.

Ten minutes after they take off,
the crew comes back.
They want to know what happened,
they saw the ambulance.
Well, fuck them, thanks
for stayin’.

My one regret later on ‘bout
this was that I didn’t
bust their teeth in.
Some friends.

Well, the dust-bowl marijuana depression
began to dehumidify,& I started
to cleave myself outta
that mess.

I began to dig into Literature
like an Archaeologist w/
And I began to substitute booze
for dope.

It was ‘bout 5 years after those
thugs left me alone with shaky Ray,
that I saw ‘em at a bar near
downtown Cleveland.
It was around 1pm, & I was drinkin’
between classes, & in walks
The ol mob–
Their arms were littered w/
Nazi tattoos & they had
all the Barbie accessories to
match: bald heads, suspenders, boots,
13 month pregnancy, beer guts.
Even the kid-brothers I remembered
orbitin’ around us back then, had
swastikas on their necks
& arms, like rashes.

I talked w/ ‘em briefly, &
that was too much.

They’re bruisers & bums &
I don’t want what they’re sellin’.