A New Hampshire Addict

Weaving Day- Michelle Shocked
Weaving Day-
Michelle Shocked

Sometimes there are little ghost towns with in the little villages. Small nuances, distorted realities of how life could have been. Burbs, set amongst small town chatter of even smaller small talk, discuss the ‘stuff that brings matter to life.’ Often, these shanties are often refered to as, rehabs. Tired stretches of road that hold a promise to the end of self imposed misery.

My posse frequents one such group of forgotten cottages , the Last House on the Road. The Last House is an old old old administration building. It had been part and parcel to an orphanage, that became a monastery and eventual, a catholic school. The drunks it current houses may know nothing of the vast history, other than, its tiny little well manicured cemetery devoted to townies, orphans from centuries past and occasional, nuns that have moved on to meet the maker.rehab recreation

I had attended a ‘low income’ rehab. I had no choice. I had no money. I had no insurance. I had no soul!

The day I entered rehab…after several weeks of detox and dubiously looking at what I had made of myself, in the non-breakable mirror; only one promise needed to by made and paid.

The action had not been to remain sober ’til my dying day. The plan had not been for a speedy recovery and devote myself to the betterment of addicts everywhere.

The promise had been simple:

I promise to pay back…Farnum Center…at least one dollar a day…until my room and board in recovery…has been paid back.

Honestly, the point had been simple, the sober powers that be knew most would not be able to ever pay…in full, what it costs to sober a dunk up and/or ween an addict off. To me, a dollar sign could never replace what rehab gives to those who are willing to let go of their will power. To be handed back a life. Whether you began your descent into the madness of addiction at 20 or 65! When clean and sober…everyone is returned to new born baby status. And, to be able to begin anew is a gift that has no price tag.

Back to the story at hand…the ‘promissory vow’ of one single monthly dollar in repayment, was the addiction counselor’s way of bringing the ‘small child’ back to adulthood. That by agreeing to payment…the addict has begun the teeny tiny steps towards making amends!

The State of New Hampshire has decided to revoke funding to ‘rehabs that tend to attend to the uninsured’! After next month, the 60 thousand dollars that aids to the functioning of non profit recovery centers…will be gone. Generally speaking, only the rich shall survive. After all, I’ve been ’round the recovery block a year or to…most who need the help the most…are not working, stable persons with insurance. Typically they are, unemployable but filled with talent, young people without support (because addiction is a family disease) and with holes in the bottom of their shoes.

How do I know? That had been me.

When I walk…meditate at the Last House…it helps me to not forget. The Last House is now part of a working farm which is part of a piece of N.H. Forest and Nature conservatory. The wonderful owners of the farm have allowed for the recovery center to take over some of the old and need of repair…buildings of history.

The dogs and I have seen crying young twenty somethings…suitcase packed…awaiting a ride…postponing the inevitable. Cabs from several towns over have sat outside the female housing unit…running in idle…again awaiting to whisk a recent ‘quitter’ away.

But…we have also seen small community gardens erected by persons that are participating in twenty eight to as long as you need, programs. We’ve passed groups of smiling faces on the dirt road that leads to the corn fields. They are happy, at ease and have a slight hitch in their ride. Their stride displays a promise to keep on keeping on…but is doing so with uncertainty.

My last day at rehab…we attended an outside meeting. The meeting hall filled with smoke. That should tell you how long ago I got sober. Coffee cups over flowed the card tables. Blue and gold velvet special message signs for special people… hung off the walls of particle board. It had been a lonely but lively room in a Unitarian basement.

As we, a crowd of graduates from the class of fall term 1995 Farnum Center, a plane flew overhead. It had a tailored lettered kite dragging behind…

nh is for quitters

‘We are here for you…Call today!’

Immediately, for I had been traveling in a pink cloud since the booze left my system, I realized that my conscience contact with my Higher Power…was receiving an answer.

The plane had been advertising a special for new car buyers. It need not have mattered. It could have been a sign for male enhancement. It had been a sign nonetheless.

The times have been rough. The times have been noteworthy. The days and nights filled with moments of being human…again.

The thing rehab promised me?

Life would be conducted sober and semi serene…It would not be easier!

Shit if I know what I would have done without detox and a program. I recall, at the time, my choice had been rehab or running a kitchen at a dude ranch in Montana with a bi-sexual couple…that wanted to make nice nice.

...there are some who say, you can look too hard.
…there are some who say, you can look too hard.

Shame on the state of New Hampshire. Shame on the powers that be. We have per ca-pita, the largest under aged addiction to alcoholism than any other state. Perhaps, New Hampshire will see their own sign. Perhaps, it will continue to come in the form of meth overdoses and prostitution and child abuse. Perhaps, the state will continue to have to pay for those addicts in other ways and forms.

Celebrate Mediocrity?!

During these times, the mid-term elections.  Or, as some have coined it, the National Day for Celebrating the Mediocre…Whatever and/or however, you call it, on this particular day in November, we choose to embrace the things we could have not done well.
“I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”  ― Mark Twain
“I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
― Mark Twain
For example, whilst on a visit to Virginia Beach I had chance to read up on a local hero –
John Wareing!
Never heard of him?  Well, he is yet another example of erecting erections to those who have striven towards mediocrity!
John Wareing had been from Yonkers, New York.  He had been a seaman.  As many had been when they were recruited or inducted to fight for our country.  Nothing new there!  We all did/do what we have to do!
At some point, John had been given the unofficial title of ‘the Navy’s Strongest Man.’
Okay, so John had built himself some muscles and pumped himself some iron.  Didn’t  Arnold (you can see Russia from here) Schwarzenegger plump himself and his ego up, as well?
Mr. Wareing eventually went on to become a local television personality.  He pulled trains with his teeth.  Punched out trees and what not.  Eventually, this local celebrity took his show on the road with a singing monkey and a fistful of ‘unbelievable’ stories!
John has an erection somewhere between 19th and 21st street…Viriginia Beach.  Most notable of this statuesque statue?  His Mr. Atlas attire and his notable wedgy.
Closer to home…We New Englanders do not let a chance at celebrating pedestrian behavior go…ever!

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you're any wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”  ― Edward R. Murrow
Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you’re any wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”
― Edward R. Murrow
Take Daniel Webster.  Or, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, take Daniel Webster please!  Take him to another town.  Take him to Massachusetts!  Take him to the local casino for a drink!
Just get him off my town taxes!  I don’t want to pay to restore his homestead.  I don’t want to pay to erect a museum in his honor!
As far as I can tell…Daniel Webster told good ‘stories’ and could schmooze the schmucks well enough to earn him the title of Secretary of State several times over!
So what!  Hillary had been pinned Ms. Secretary of State and she has had to endure a lifetime of blowjob jokes!
So we erect and elect mediocrity.  This mid-term elections politicians, big oil and those with the money, have spent a record-setting 3.6 billion dollars on bullshit homage to humdrum persons!
Here in ‘you can’t get there from here’ land…we have one that comes from another state…couldn’t win there and decided to try New Hampshire on for size.
We have another who should be out buying her prom dress and not discussing her disgusting views on women’s rights.
There is another who claims to be just like you and me.  Of course, that would be just like you and me…If you and I were sitting in front of an ethics committee trying to example how half a million dollars just appeared in our bank account!
I had taken an art class in college.  I needed it to get that piece of promised paper.  I had to have it to celebrate my mediocre attempt at scholar-dom!  I had actually won honorary mention during the fall semester’s art exhibit.  My locally renown art teacher spoke of my talent…
‘It is so…So…So…primitive and raw’
“Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation.”  ― Edward R. Murrow
“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.”
― Edward R. Murrow
I knew of what she spoke!  It was childlike and I should pick up my paint brushes and go home!
Maybe this midterm, midstream, middle of the road, election year…we should wipe the slate clean.
Tell the current set of non representatives to take their signs that are littering of our byways…and go home!

How 2 B Brave…by my Cat

How to be brave without really trying by my cat?


I’m not Mrs. Doolittle but I wish I were!

A rainy night in a northern town brought this pillow talk question:

‘ If you had to choose one animal out of all the animals in the house…for whatever reason.  Say, you found yourself without a house, shelter and means of support.  Which one would it be?’

Awful I know.  What a way to go to sleep?  Can I choose another question?  However, it lead me to the topic that has tattooed itself to my thoughts today.

My house is full of brave, caring and wonderfully charismatic souls and here is why:

Excerpt from the book Distant Voices/Distant Rooms

Suddenly a phone rings at a not so distant animal shelter, an

anonymous call. They usually are. No one really wants to get

involved, step on toes and what not.

Unexpectedly, this quiet little situation has become an all out

emergency. That is when the animal shelter worker is called

upon—then and only then, when the situation is out of control.

More math and morbidity! So finally all the cats are rounded

up. It is difficult at best because they had been promptly

removed from the living quarters by the elderly couple about

a year ago. They were placed in a dirt basement. During this

transition, many natural “things” occurred. So it is difficult at

best to dredge up the cats, two and a half years later, because of

the confined space.

Out of the flea-infested, ringworm-satiated, flat worm contaminated,

roundworm-polluted, parasite-ridden basement,

are Have-A-Heart traps, one at a time. Many domesticated cats

are simple enough to contain to a basic cat carrier. However,

these are no longer domesticated cats. They have been without

socialization for quite some time. And even before that, the

kindness and the light of day had been sporadic. They arrive

at this little hole-in-the-wall shelter, a non-profit animal welfare

organization based solely on donations from donors that want to

believe in “no kill” shelters. At this tiny little shop of horrors, the

long and tedious process of entering descriptions, dispositions,

weights, ages, sex, etc., begins. This is a long and tedious

process, but it must be done for statistics, statistics that aren’t

usually handed out to the public.

All anyone really knows and can be sure of is one thing: Out

of these forty domestic short hair and domestic medium hair cats,

all with varying tones of gray fur, many will have wished they

never left the basement. The fact remains: most of the elderly

couple’s cats will not have the ability to fight off common feline

illnesses such as upper respiratory infection, flea anemia, Calici

virus, feline HIV and what not. These unsuspecting animals

have been inbred to the point that there are outward appearances

of disfigurement and internal disfigurements as well. This clan

of brother and sisters, mothers and uncles, fathers and daughters,

this brood will be wiped out before the entering of their “live”

data is completed!

On any given day, at any given animal shelter, when a

phone rings, an animal will have just been “put down” for many

reasons. The most commonly used rationale: they were put down

because they had been un-adoptable.

I found myself questioning this whole who are we theory.

Who are we to know what is adoptable or not? What gives us

the right or privilege to take a life? I found myself met with the

same curt and thick-skinned response; we kill the few to save

the many…

In the shelter business, if you’re lucky enough, you can do

the actual “putting down” of an animal on sight, less mess, more

cost-effective. The tool of demise is frequently known as blue

juice, and in fact, it is a mild blue liquid, a pretty tone really,

that is if you’re into that sort of thing. Blue juice is actually

what many anesthesiologist use for sedation. Little known fact!

The quickest way to euthanize a cat is an injection directly into

the heart. Some say, it’s the most humane. I, personally, never

injected but I held the victim.

I wonder which makes you feel worse. Ruth has held the

needle, injected,

and held the victim, sometimes, all by herself.

Obviously, it would be best if there are two staff members in this

process. Often times that would only happen in a perfect world.

Sick, injured, feral and unappealing cats do not come from a

perfect world. And they most certainly don’t keep bankers’ hours!


We are fooling ourselves into believing that there are No Kill shelters.  Until the day that there is no illness, no aging and enough volunteers/adopters to go around the world twice…there will only be Low Kill.  And, that is only with the help of Trap, Neuter and Release Programs.

Animals Save Lives Everyday…it’s about time we returned the favor!

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All the participants in this post had at one point or the other been slated for an animal green mile.  Either due to behavior, age, health and/or lack of shelter space.  They are currently being home schooled.

Meaning, they are at home schooling me!





Fruitcakes at Wal-mart?

the Bridge too Far
the Bridge too Far

The beautifully sedate city, Concord, inhabiting the mundane state of ‘first in the nation primary’ New Hampshire, in the late 70’s and early 80’s seemed oblique to a young and restless youngster such as myself.

the NORM
the NORM

Yet, there were a few townie characters to which I owe my vivid imagination.  One such customer, Norm, traveled with a shopping cart, an old army sleeping bag, a de-fluffed down jacket and several empty cardboard boxes from the nearest liquor store.

Mind you in New Hampshire we provide liquor on almost every street corner.  It is funded and administered by the state, so that makes our larger than life addiction problem…okay!

Norm had been homeless, so my father had said.  He had once been employed by the same state that now offered him free cardboard boxes…so they say.

‘And, something just happened, and he’s been down here at the tracks ever since.’

Words of notoriety from my father.

Thought of Norm today when I received a correspondence that will soon follow this soapbox tirade.

this Lands is Your Land
this Lands is Your Land

Thought of Norm.  Thought of my father not buying anything not made in America.  Reminisced on my own plight with lack of loving from Obamacare.  Glanced at local photos of a main street that no longer exists.

I have said it before but I have chosen to live simply.  I need little or am in want of much.  To the unfocused eye; tattoos, piercings and Birkenstocks adorn me like a liberal.  Perhaps, maybe even a democrat if my voting record came to surface.  Most likely, politically correct for many see me as a lesbian.  And Christ knowns lesbians are nothing if politically correct.

If there is one thing that I know I am…frugal and lacking in social grace when it comes to stupidity.

1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.


2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!


3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.


4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target +Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.


5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world’s largest private employer, and most speak English.


Low Budget Housing
Low Budget Housing

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.


7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only fifteen years.


8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.


9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.


10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had five years ago.


11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)


12. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart.


Mind you, I am not upset.  Dazed and confused and concerned…yes!  Does Wal-Mart cause a stir in the papers from time to time…shit, yeah.  But doesn’t the U.S. government?  Perhaps, instead balking this the world’s largest employer…we may want to ask for a few lesson plans!


Dear Mr. President and all the lame ducks/current voting members of the legislature.  I now announce you, at least a majority of you, corrupt Beavis and Buttheads:

 a.. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broken.


b.. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broken.


c.. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broken.


d.. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more.

land of the free
land of the free


e.. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.


f.. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broken.


g.. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.


You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.



Norm, townies, artists, hippies, gays, Caucasians, blacks, Hispanics and whomever else is in this melting pot….we’d be better off with Jimmy Buffett and his friend Warren running the show!

We spent ninety jillion dollars
Tryin’ to get a look at Mars
I hear universal laughter
Ringing out among the stars

Fruitcakes in the galaxy
Fruitcakes on the Earth
Strut naked towards eternity
We’ve been that way since birth



Pushing the Stranger from the Bridge

There had been a slow and steady purpose to her gate…get it?  The gate?


breaking the rules and not counting the costs?
breaking the rules and not counting the costs?

The gate could have been easily seen as the devil’s P.O. Box in downtown HELL.

The iron wrought fencing held in the ghosts that held her back.  Haggard and hung up wet the day could not end soon enough.  Wind at the front and at the back.  Poker in the front liquor in the back…ha, ha,,  dead ole Grand Dad would say.  The thought of Grand Dad and poker made her sicker.

Great Aunt Sister Ignatius never seemed real.  A paper thin doll met in the lime light of urban white ghetto life.  If that be true she, catholic girl starting much to late for goodness and piety…’why had this been so hard?’

The streets of Waltham ebbed and bowed out not so quietly in the rearview mirror of the Passat.  Mother crying, sobbing and holding on to sanity.  Father roughly making nice nice with Grand Ma Ruth in the front seat.

Words like, she was a good woman, she’ll be missed and try not to spill the coffee on the seat.

She, me, myself and I, catholic recovered felt the raw vindication of Irish drunken ghosts!  The funeral, the wake and the whole fucking boat load of shit on a seedy suburban street made everyone sick.

To this day the smell of worn leather and sidewalk piss makes me sick, she, me and myself, the stranger in the rearview mirror.

Through the barren decayed streets of humanity to grandmother’s house we go.

Why was it every time someone died it all had to come to in end at a little Italian restaurant?

One more condemned by poverty bridge and the suicidal meal would begin…

“It was here!  Right here.  Dad had wanted me to buy him cigarettes.  I had been young you know?  I had done something wrong.  Said the wrong thing.  Spoke the wrong word.  I knew what would be waiting for me at home.  It was right here!  On this bridge where I first thought of jumping from life!”

I looked over to her my matronly support.  She, me, myself and I had no words for the stranger I witnessed.  I just knew that it was there I decided to never let anyone see the stranger in me.

Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and
Show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They’re the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on

Though you drown in good intentions  You will never quench the fire
Though you drown in good intentions
You will never quench the fire

Well we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised
That you never saw the stranger
Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?

Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then
You’ve done it, why can’t
Someone else?
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself

Once I used to believe
I was such a great romancer
Then I came home to a woman
That I could not recognize
When I pressed her for a reason
She refused to even answer
It was then I felt the stranger
Kick me right between the eyes

Well we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised
That you never saw the stranger
Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?

Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then
You’ve done it why can’t
Someone else?
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself

You may never understand
How the stranger is inspired
But he isn’t always evil
And he is not always wrong
Though you drown in good intentions
You will never quench the fire
You’ll give in to your desire
When the stranger comes along.