Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Addict's Almanac

Tye Doudy writes a weekly column for Portland's Street Roots newspaper about life on the streets as a heroin addict. The incredibly powerful and gripping column, called Addict's Almanac, began as a six-week series in August 2008. The columns were picked up by other street papers in the U.S. and in Europe, generating huge responses, positive and negative. On July 24 of this year, Doudy picked the column back up and now writes weekly about living on the streets, the people he meets, the violence he encounters (and is often part of) and wrestling with his addiction.

In the first column in the new series, Doudy describes meeting "Ashes" and going back to his squat to score.

Ashes ...is about as trustworthy as a rented snake, and he is the closest thing I have to a friend at this moment.

My first question is, of course, is he holding and second, can I get him to kick down a little something. Even a rinse would set me straight and buy me some time to make a plan. No junky wants to give up any dope ever, but I have some leverage as he has no hustle and he knows I will make some money today...

In order for me to get the fix, we first have to go back to the squat he shares with some other scumbags under the Jackson Street overpass...The squats that line the freeway overpasses are like catch basins for the refuse of the city. The mentally ill, sexual deviants, illegal immigrants, wanted fugitives, hardcore drunks, prostitutes, crusty train-hopping kids, tweakers, junkies, the unlucky, and the unloved. We all have called these places home. For a night, for a week, even years for some. It's easy to fly below the radar here. No rent, no responsibility, and nothing to worry about besides where the cops are and where your next fix or your next bottle is coming from.

My next fix is coming from Ashes and he is unrolling his works from a piece of leather he had up his sleeve.

Doudy's column offers a rare insight into a world that is very seldom seen first hand. His voice is both in your face and humble, poetic yet poisonous. It's not easy reading, but anyone interested in what's happening just out of view on American streets should check it out. You can keep up with the series at the Street Roots blog.

1 comment:

wurm said...

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"get it." I can be reached at wurmstar@gmail.com