Ozzie Ausband

January Rain

Duane Peters- no stranger to damage & pain.
Winter 2002. Revolving lights of red and blue pierced the fog of my overdose. They were shining through the haze of Percocet and vodka. The shimmering lights of the police and paramedics were lighting up my narrowly-escaped demise. I heard the beep, beep, beep, of the EKG machine and the hiss of oxygen as muffled voices came to me like a distant dream.


I tried to focus my eyes and saw the rainy street; its greasy asphalt reflecting all the attention back onto me. I saw concern, disgust and frenzy on the faces of those nearest. I had become truly lost. I hated waking up … and hated them, hating me. “Ugh! Not again”   I moaned to myself. I was living in a broken dream. I hadn’t become a tenth of what was expected. You see, I know about the element that is everything.

I’ve known its intimacy for so long, I hardly know anything else. I loved it… as it pissed its fake comfort down my spinal cord. I needed its soothing cloak of security.  It left me dying on oily asphalt. My life:  a cracked mirror. It boiled my blood. It filled me with throbbing hunger. There is little on this earth that compares to the hell of opiate withdrawal.

It called to me daily. It whispered lies and showed me a thousand magic lanterns. It was Himalayan in its heights.  Once awakened from a peaceful stupor, I noticed my guts  in a knotted mass. It felt like shattered glass was under my skin. I bathed in sweat-soaked desperation.  I loved and hated its purring chemical voice. The favorite slave.

Thankfully, those days are long past. I no longer feel the need to numb myself to my existence. If you feel the urge to escape, remember that it can become a crutch. I know. It becomes everything to you. Then, your blood wakes you up. The darkness calling . You too will become ‘truly lost.’  There will be no comfort in skating, no comfort in love or family, no sexual urge, no comfort in God. There will only be the sordid existence of the pipe, the bottle or the pill. I am neither preaching nor grandstanding. I have lived in an ugly place. No longer. I am sharing my experience. If it helps to be self-disclosing and brutally truthful… then perhaps it can assist one other person. I can only hope. Put the crutch away, get help and go skate. Thank you MRZ for the image. -Ozzie