poet’s delight
take flight
land somewhere safe
somewhere called home
and know you’re not alone

My strongest, earliest memory of Syd is when he wasn’t Syd at all… not yet, I don’t think. He and I had just pulled off yet another proof of how stupid we could be by participating in a drug off. A type of russian roulette we’d come up with. One of us picks a drug, and the amount to imbibe. And we both do it. Next person’s turn to pick. Just he and I, because the rest of the crew is too wise to be so reckless. And the kicker; it has to be a legal substance.

I think it was Syd, who had a paperback encyclopedia of sorts—on legal highs. Morning glory seeds, nutmeg, banana peels… it was a pretty thick paperback.

So, yeah, we went around town to various pharmacies, nurseries; where ever we could procure such elements as listed in this book. And that evening, we set about to partake in our drug-off. First one to quit (or die?) loses.

Neither of us quit. We were that stupid. We smoked nutmeg, took 12 nodoze each, drank water that morning glory seeds had been soaking in for… I don’t remember. It was a night when I said, “Ohhh… my heart hurts.”, which was a literal statement. It was also a night when I was laying in bed as it flipped… vertically; head over heels.

Why’d we survive a night like that? I don’t know…

I also recall learning from Syd that friendship was more important then anything else this world would, or could, offer. That was a couple of years later, when we lived on Mt. Tam.

I remember the first rescue trip for Syd. He was holed up in a dive motel somewhere on the outskirts of Sacramento. Three days of straight, hardcore drinking. Blotted, smelly—all the accouterments of a bottom of the pit alcoholic. I thought for sure it was rock-bottom, and believed Syd would now be climbing out of the pit he had been digging for some time… perhaps continuing a labor started before he was even born. The sins of our fathers type of thing.

That was probably about six years ago; maybe more. He’s died several times since then… deeper and deeper he goes.

Sometimes, our best choice is to be crucified… sold out for a handful of coins and a kiss. The pain is so deep that sobriety hurts even more then… sleepless nights, homelessness, kicked, robbed, face smashed, hospitalized with tubes in one’s spine, lungs, stomach… I opted for sobriety a long time ago. I don’t fault anyone that chooses differently.

He’s still a brother. He’s still a friend. And I will love him until the end. Which could still be some time in coming. I’ve seen him rise up more times then I thought was ever possible. I am grateful Syd is a part of my life. I’ve been richer for it.