Julian George ~ Everyone Loves Heroin

Heroin is a moth­er drug. It puts you in the warm safe­ty of the womb where everything’s fine.           – Tom Verlaine

Everyone loves hero­in. Opium, mor­phine, lau­danum (those were days), methadone, codeine, Robitussin, the whole far-flung fam­i­ly and look­ers-on and hang­ers-on, fucked up or fol­low­ing the beat of a dif­fer­ent drum­mer (right next door, the tom-tom club), nod­ding off on his snare, crash­ing into his cym­bals, we love them to death.

Bird loved hero­in. All those cool jiv­ing goa­teed bereted gold­en armed hep cats loved smack because of him. Got high as kites but nev­er scaled his heights. When the shit hit the fan, the white ones fled to Sweden, the black ones land­ed in the can. Like Icarus, Bird fell to earth fly­ing too close to the sun, at the Stanhope, 5th Ave, by gum. Legend.

Keef, I’m look­ing at you, mate, sprawled out on a chaise lounge like Madame Récamier, stoned. You claim you nev­er caught a cold on horse, coat­ed in nar­cot­ic warmth, nev­er mind the Helvetian blood trans­fu­sions. Now you’re A National Treasure. A World Heritage Site. The Universal Studio Tour, Dracula in Cocksucker Blues.

Lou Reed, your Song of Songs near­ly turned me on. But for stick­ing a spike into my vein, I’d have gone up to Lexington 1,2,5, instead of alight­ing at 8th to cop some coke.  (No one told me about rid­ing the drag­on back then. Bummer.) Just as well, com­ing of age in the plague years, body bags uncer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly dumped in Potter’s Field.

The girl next to me in line for Clash tick­ets loved hero­in. Or her boyfriend did, don’t get your hopes up she didn’t need to say. (The boyfriend wasn’t there, scor­ing pre­sum­ably, or sell­ing his bony ass or rob­bing an old lady. Worst case, he was trad­ing junk bonds at Salomon.) After so many hours of expos­ing her pasty white skin to day­light (she only came out at night), she start­ed to wilt. I got to go, she said, pan­icky. I told her I’d keep her place. She didn’t return. Go fig­ure. Got the tick­ets, though!

Amir, Pathan war­rior, Eton rifle, leap­ing tall moun­tains in a sin­gle bound. Amir, hero­ic drinker, for­ni­ca­tor, all those aca­d­e­m­ic wives, those mer­ci­less Marthas mar­ried to poor, poor piti­ful Georges. Amir, hunter of tigers, wran­gler of pythons, Laocoön, Laocoön, drop dead drop of a hat rooftop declaimer of bardic verse, Indic, Homeric, Alexandrian, Gandharan, pop­py of the val­ley, Golden Crescent, a for­get me not – who pos­si­bly could? But who betrayed whom? Me? You? (Don’t answer that if you can.) Who snuck off to the lit­tle general’s room every five min­utes to sniff skag? No won­der you agreed to join me at the Anthology Archive to see Yesterday Girl, the shoot­ing gal­leries of Alphabet City a few mean streets down, Peter Pan in Neverland. MIA.

Be that as it may, giv­en our lot in life, cra­dle to grave, why wouldn’t you want a taste?


Julian George’s writ­ing has appeared in Perfect Sound Forever, Postbox, New World Writing, Slag Glass City, McSweeney’s, Panoplyzine, Ambit, The Journal of Music, Film Comment, Cineaste and The London Magazine. He’s been in the wine trade, trans­lat­ed at the UN, flogged junk at an auc­tion house and worked as a car­er. His nov­el, Bebe, comes out in October in the UK.