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Occupy Reality

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About this blog

your favorite mod's soapbox and megaphone

Entries in this blog



Won't be restrained, 

Can't be sustained, 

Found shelter in daydreams;

Sweet shade.

Relief from the sun,

And life under a gun

Who listened the last time

You prayed?


The best of all worlds is a fantasy, 

Clarity born from insanity,

Accept my ideals and my vanity,

Defiant, I'll stay how I am. 


With joy in disorder, 

With pride in my scars, 

I admire the people

Who have gone way too far.


Harmony blesses the ashes, 

Debris, the wreckage,

The storm surge

Of infinite seas.

Walk away, drift away

And be free. 



I’m a radical
Never apologetic
Wear the anarchist aesthetic
I will not grow apathetic
I’m a nonbeliever
In the gods of the elite
Faith is not my crutch
And it does not make me complete
I ask nothing from the state,
I will protect myself
Consumerist plague will spread
You’ll be decaying on the shelf
But I refuse the designation
Human resource or commodity
Won’t stand for degradation
Yes, I do see how things ought to be
But I’m more than an idealist
Human nature at its realest
Begs for freedom unrelenting
It’s in these words; I hope you feel this
Without fail I am dissenting
I am questioning, not repenting
My words turn vitriolic
When the time has come for venting
Our lives are not for sale
But so much time we do spend renting
And for our tireless labor
All the laws they’re implementing
Show so much disrespect
See, the state syndrome infects
The virus subdues your will
Soon you’re glad to break your neck
For elites who won’t care less
Matters not if they’re impressed
Status quo: their throne secure
Their towers rise over the mess
So I’m a radical
Revolutionary spirit
If a voice can shatter windows
Hope the ruling class can hear it



The number of the day is zero. 

Zero people have died from an overdose of marijuana, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms or kratom. Despite this, prohibition continues. The millions of deaths caused each year by alcohol don't seem to motivate anyone to try to ban that.

Zero cases of transgender people going in the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity to commit sexual assault have been documented. Despite this, persecution of transgender people continues. Countless assaults, rapes, murders and suicides have occurred where transgender people are the victims and bigots are the perpetrators. 

Zero paid speeches to Wall Street criminals have been released by Hillary Clinton, who made hundreds of thousands of dollars off them. Despite this, she still wants your vote. Bernie Sanders has scarcely made a few thousand dollars off paid speeches to regular citizens and has donated those payments to charity. 

Zero Christians have been persecuted by the United States government. Despite this, the 75% Christian majority of the USA still insists they are the victims. When was the last time secular people have ever tried to legislate who a Christian could marry or what they could do with their own bodies?

Zero scientific evidence exists that vaping is even remotely as harmful as smoking. Despite this, the FDA passed oppressive regulations which will devastate small businesses and cause many people to go back to cigarettes. Because of the Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies, the United States government has a vested interest in people continuing to smoke. 

Zero civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan whose families were murdered by US drone strikes have been paid reparations by the American government. Despite this, drone warfare continues, killing far more innocent people than enemy combatants. Neither President Obama nor Congress have been held accountable for the bombing of a hospital last year. 

Zero officers of the NYPD have been prosecuted for the murder of Eric Garner. Despite this, his family continues to fight for justice. How can any person with a conscience think summary execution by strangulation is an appropriate penalty for selling loose cigarettes?

Zero bankers and hedge fund managers in the US have been prosecuted for bringing the economy to the brink of ruin in 2008. Despite this, countless Americans are jailed for victimless crimes like possession of marijuana or peaceful civil disobedience. Our tax dollars funded their undeserved bonuses under Bush and Obama, and the people have not seen repayment by these billionaire pigs. 


Zero justice happens until the people fight for it. Stand and fight. 



"Explain yourself, explain yourself"

The chorus of the empty minds

"Restrain yourself, restrain yourself"

An inquisition's all you find


Since when is a person's life

Anyone's but their own

Why should somebody different

Ever have to feel alone


Someone's scapegoat,

Someone's problem

Someone's fear

They can go to hell

There is nothing wrong with you

Know that,

You owe that to yourself


And you owe nothing to the government,

You owe nothing to the preachers

The judgment of mass media,

Police, doctors and teachers.

Who you are and what's your name

And for what you wear, have no shame

In the starless night, you'll be a glowing flame.


There are friends you don't know,

And we'll fight for you

We have no judgment to pass

On what's right for you

We have your back

But you're strong on your own, too

You will see

You have the power to set yourself free


I want to thank everyone who has read my poetry and lyrics. I write for myself, but being able to share it means a lot to me. So I want to share the full collection of my self-published writing. Most of it, you guys have already seen. But it is organized into two nice little word docs which you can share anywhere you want (something I definitely appreciate!)

Now, I hate to sound like I'm e-begging, but I am an unrecognized writer with a low paying day job about to get married and move to another country. So if anyone appreciates my writing and wants to make a contribution, I have a PayPal set up. If you don't want to or can't contribute, sharing this with your friends would also be cool! :) 

Recursions, Volume I: https://www.docdroid.net/h04tyfb/recursions.docx.html

Recursions, Volume II: https://www.docdroid.net/mxtIn3r/recursionsvol2.docx.html

Contribute: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=7X3MU56NYRQDW



Here and Away (Lyrics)

Could I come inside for just a few?
Missed my last chance to talk with you
Seems like the months are rushing by these days
And other days, they’re dragging on
And all of us, we’re dragged along
Eleventh hour bell tolls, find your place

Can you see the wishes unfulfilled?
Behind my eyes
Racing heart and body holding still
Do you wonder why?

Did the old neighborhood decay?
And when those paint chips fell away
Did you catch yourself feeling like sand?
I think the winds are picking up
And everything they’re lifting up
Might rearrange ways we don’t understand

Can you see the wishes unfulfilled?
Behind my eyes
Racing heart and body holding still
Do you wonder why?

Now I see the wishes unfulfilled 
Behind your eyes
You won’t tell me what it means to you
I wonder why… 


Half a Century Too Late

I was born in the wrong decade,

Half a century too late

There's still of piece of me that's lost

Somewhere in '68


And I feel like a relic

'Cause the left is all but dead

The fires of change are cinders now

The protesters have fled


I belong with the revolutionary

Millions untold, unsung

I belong in San Francisco

With a blotter on my tongue


And in the swirling psychedelia

I'd know those who came before

Who swore on their humanity

To never go to war


I wouldn't just burn my draft card

I'd torch the recruitment office too

SDS and Weather Underground

To my comrades, I'd stay true


But I was born in the wrong decade

Where it seems the left is dead

I could sit and wish it weren't so

But I'll stand up and fight instead


Enemy of the Week

Soft targets everywhere you walk

Airports, night clubs, city streets

Tolerance might get you killed

Don't you fall for their deceit


What's going on inside the mosque?

Do they pray there or conspire?

Barbarians are at the gates

They want to set our land on fire


This enemy of the week broadcast

Brought to you by cable news

Don't trust your Muslim neighbors

They may hold radical views


So forget, forget that your wage is shit

That you're uninsured and poor

Forget that Wall Street owns you

Cause we're marching off to war


Who's going in your bathroom? 

Following your kid inside

Are these people transgender

Or some predators who lied?


If you don't bake a cake for gays

They want to send you off to prison

You used to have religious freedom

But now they're persecuting Christians


This enemy of the week broadcast

Brought to you by the corporate press

The sodomites say they want rights

But you're the one who is oppressed


So forget, forget your kid's school is shit

And that table-scraps are all you get

Forget that you can never win

And blame the ones who live in sin


Cut the cable

Change the channel

It's all lies,

There is no substance to their panel


Latinos, Muslims, gay and trans

Whatever convenient scapegoat

They're not your enemy - they're your comrades

So unite, you're in the same boat

Slaves to the ruling class pigs! 


So, you've started a post-hardcore band but have no idea what to name it. Fortunately, I'm here to help. 

Let me start with the most obvious question. Do you want your band to sound brutal, yet emo? 

Yes: Your band's name is Suicidal Scream

No: Okay, so do you want your band to sound purely brutal without also sounding emo?

Yes: Your band's name is Homicidal Scream

No: Hmmm. You think an ancient and ominous sounding yet totally made up word might be the way to go instead?

Yes: Your band's name is Acronophlaxis

No: Would you rather a band name with unnecessary punctuation? 

Yes: Your band's name is We. The Exiled.

No: Do you want your band's name to look unreadable on a cool t-shirt? 

Yes: Your band's name is Suicidal Scream

No: Find a new genre. 


This is a parody of the bleak and depressing nature of popular TV shows. I would have included some Breaking Bad references but this wasn't a serious writing endeavor and I put this together in about 15 minutes. 


An original series by HBAMC:

Westeros has fallen to the White Walkers. These icy abominations roam the cold, gray and desolate land. They feast on the flesh of the starving few survivors who remain. No one is safe.

The producers have promised tonight’s episode will be the darkest yet, and that fans will be so disturbed by the final scene that it will make the time when baby Judith was crucified outside the gates of Mereen look like the scene where Brienne was forced to euthanize Sophia by strangulation after she contracted Greyscale by comparison.

We now return to No Hope.


Snow flakes and the smell of burning horses battered Rick of House Grimes as he staggered on up the mountains of the Vale. Cradled in his arms was a pregnant direwolf, the last of its kind.

“Pity that you have to give up that poor creature to Lord Negan” said Abraham. “He’s probably going to make those pups fight to the death once they’re born.” Abraham coughed into his glove and looked at his hand to reveal drops of blood there. His cancer was worsening.

“I can’t care about a few goddamn puppies!” Rick growled. “Negan has Michonne and is going to sell her to the pleasure house of Myr if I don’t bring him the direwolf. There isn’t a choice!”

Arya Stark, following behind Rick and Abraham, felt her feet going numb with every step. Black, necrotic frostbite had already set in on her toes. She continued the journey despite the maester’s warning that amputation would be required. The words she wanted to say were getting caught in her sore throat, but finally, with much pain, she made her voice heard.

“Rick, you need to listen to me.”

A white walker emerged from the dead trees to their left. Abraham drew his M16 and approached it. Once it got close enough, he bashed it over the head until it collapsed, for he had long run out of ammo.

That distraction taken care of, Rick glanced back, shrugged his shoulders and told Arya “I’m listening.”

“I was on the road for a long time with the Hound after my family died. I hated him. When he was dying, I didn’t even have the sympathy enough to put him down. See, I was convinced that this world was an awful place. But I was wrong. We don’t have to live like this. We don’t have to kill people. Let’s go into Negan’s holdfast at night when everyone is asleep and rescue Michonne. We can keep Fluffy and take her somewhere safe to have her puppies. No one else has to die. Do you hear me? No one else has to- “

Arya’s words were cut short by a crossbow bolt through her neck. She fell to her knees, choking. Every spasm of her throat made more blood gush out until the snow all around her was crimson and she fell face down into it. Rick and Abraham reacted with muscle memory, drawing their swords; they knew it was too late to save Arya.

A chubby faced man with a shit-eating grin on his face emerged as if from nowhere.

“Sorry about having to shut up that little wench. Just wanted your attention. Still, what a pity. I bet that girl would have been a warm sheath for my sword on a winter night. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ramsay Bolton, the trueborn Lord of Winterfell. Littlefinger told me you have a direwolf I very much would like to have.”

Abraham stared Ramsay down and then bellowed out a question.


“Oh shit. This ginger just had to ask a question. Bad idea” said Ramsay. He snapped his fingers and an army under his command came forth from every direction. Also present was a battered man, emaciated and missing most of his fingers.

“Reek, I want you to take the direwolf. I’m going to cut her womb open and feast on the pups before they take their first breath.”

Reek nodded his head in obedience, though he had tears in his eyes. Ramsay turned his attention back to Rick and Abraham.

“I’d fancy killing you both, though I’ll leave one of you alive to go tell Negan that House Bolton rules the Vale now and that I’ll cut off his stones if he chooses to defy me. I guess all that’s left is the decision of which of you two will be flayed living.”



Alphabet Acrobatics

Awake and alliterating, actively anticipating
Attacks from actors actually non-factors all are aggravating
Back off bro, the bullshit bores me
Been there, seen that shit before, g
Crawl out of your crap-hole,
Crown me king you’re shaken to the core, g
Devastate and drag you downward,
Don’t even try, you’re drowning coward
Elevate the evil East of Eden with electric power
Found my fire, fit to fly, fuck with me not
Get going, guys, Schrödinger’s God dead and alive
Hell is hungry like a hippo smokin’ hash and way too high
I am illuminated with the illest instincts
Jaded, just a joke the jabs I’m making
Killer karma, kraken waiting, kids I ain’t kidding
Lose a liver, lucky to be living
Maybe I’ll be more than a mercenary
Makin’ dollars all the way to the mortuary
Never need no more you think now, not so down on
Overrated, old outdated options, oligarchy orchestrated
Pricks in power press their chances
Please, no need to punctuate it
Quit this quick or get a quote
Ravaged, ragged on, plan revoked
Sit down for this one, some bars I spit
Set fires and send out some smoke
Time out guys, I need to take a break or take a toke
Understand, it’s ugly how I’m so damn underrated, still
Vicious as V with a vendetta, haters turf is now invaded
Violent as my voice can be, 
Wake up to the words I’m working and see
Why ever in the fucking world would
“X” as a letter be so annoying, X-tremely
X-tend my creativity, don’t call that cheating
X-pect that shit from me
You can just get back now to
Your yammering, yakking, yelping and yapping
Zone out, my last line’s thrown out
Zig-zag to the zeitgeist of rap that I’m zapping. 


Letter to Hillary

Dear Hillary,

Please accept this open letter

From someone who knows the country's ill

And wants it to get better

Believe me when I say

That I'd want to believe in you

You say you could inspire people

I think that could be true

A woman in the White House

The day would be historical

But there are things you need to tell me first

Straight questions, not rhetorical

I'm still waiting for you to release your Wall Street speech transcripts

The Republicans will never, that truth is known across the planet

Don't hold out for your rivals in the GOP, that's no excuse

The banks have them on a leash, we know, it chokes them like a noose

I want the Democratic party to differentiate

Solid progressive action is needed to delineate

Lately, can I even see the contrast? Hardly.

Dems and Reps two factions of the Capitalist Party

What will you do to rein in our debtors and creditors?

What exactly did you mean you called black teens super-predators?

Can't you see the consequence of alienation, degradation?

Bill's owed most of the blame for the mass incarceration

Now as for your foreign policy

Libya is worse off now, that's a fact

Why shouldn't I bothered

How you voted on Iraq?

I want to see good judgment and restraint

In a time of crisis

You fell in line with Bush

The man who caused the rise of ISIS

Please tell me, if you're strong enough

To rise up for a fight

Why can't that fight be in Congress

For healthcare as a human right

I don't see you tell the truth these days

All I see you do is pander

And I don't think that will change

So now and always I'm #StillSanders 


The Gas Mask

To this face, 
The gas mask is a most permanent fixture. 
Does it not serve to intimidate?
Pay no wind to that wanderer – 
It has kept pace in a predictable pattern;
It will never harm another.

Respiration is taken for granted,
But there remain those thankful for breath.
Such a potent cocktail worth its allure…
May the floodwaters stay with us
Once the storm has passed.
Settle in. 

The afternoon had slipped under shadows
At just one particular angle;
Winds that gave the kiss of summer.
Deconstruct it down to the molecule
And know the pieces were still in place,
As is the gas mask now.



It's as romantic as depressing

Seamless as the second guessing

To be drifting on the wind but not to fly

What was frightening now is boring

Flash of lightning, rain is pouring

A revenant is not afraid to die


It's the full circle of the weather

Shedding of the scales and feathers

And the emptiness inside a crowded place

Bells are tolling for the deadline

Here's a stampede for the headlines

And a meaningless attempt to keep the pace


The weight falls upon the living

For the dead take their misgivings

To the great hereafter, they assimilate

The swan song fades to static

The renewal's automatic

And there's pity for whoever can relate


Maybe Knot (Lyrics)

Let me tell you, I collect scars like a pro

And it's hard to admit what I just don't know

I'm always chasing the thrill of the minute

Try to fill the void but I lose myself in it


You think it's nothing 

I know it's nothing to you

Should I argue like I got

Nothing better to do

Well I don't, well I don't

And you know, and you know

I know how to waste

My time like a pro


Can you untangle my maybe knot

Help me hold on to what I've got

I'm beaten down and I'm not

Sure I'm proud that I fought

Can you untangle my maybe knot


Let me show you, I can turn sorrow to art

But it only sells after I've fallen apart

It's not like I don't wish I could be stronger

Still sometimes I think I won't try for much longer


You say it's nothing

I wish it was nothing to me

Move along, don't you have

Something better to see

Well you don't, well you don't

And I know, and I know

You know how to waste

Your time like a pro


Can you untangle my maybe knot

Help me hold on to what I've got

I'm beaten down and I'm not

Sure I'm proud that I fought

Can you untangle my maybe knot


More Rap Lyrics

I'll go to hell before I go to war

Don't answer to no Senator

Your kid's 18, go on send yours

Come on man, what you waiting for? 

Super-pacs made you a super-whore

You get bent over more and more

A gangbang of big oil

And the weapons manufacturers

My rights are dying, I endure

This fight is mine, I'm fighting for

The downfall of the wicked

Who ignite a trillion dollars more

And all this gasoline they pour

Should be poured on their banks instead

Their penthouses and 12 car garages

Yachts, golf courses, kill 'em dead

All the circuses and bread

All the high-priced poisoned meds

Won't stop the riot, you can't quiet

A people risen from the dead

Everyone who for far too long

Was lost and starved and bled

Will make their stand with bricks in hand

'Til the world hears what they said



AUTHOR'S NOTE: This poem is intentionally exaggerated to an extreme degree. The words represent an emotional sentiment about the world and do not convey my literal views. I write from an extremist perspective which I do not actually hold to, and my intent is to be provocative - not to glorify violence. I believe in peaceful change and compassionate justice - interpret this poem purely as a work of fiction.




The pickup artist was picked up by a meat hook through his back

His victims felt no pity, hell no, not one little bit

His corpse was thrown into a cesspool, stuffed into sack

That rapist died realizing that he was asking for it.


To the gallows a broken, terrified arms dealer did stare

The noose looked so very eager to hold him

War survivors missing arms and legs had gathered there

"You are sentenced to death" is what they told him.


The pungent stench of decay coursed all through the air

A thousand klansmen corpses rotted in a shallow grave

The message to the survivors was quite clear - beware

"It's time you hooded, cross-burning rats learn to behave."


A cop who shot four homeless men was dragged into an alley

The friends of the unarmed dead had no intention to forgive

They stripped off all his clothes while they read his murder tally

Naked on the streets that murderer would shiver, starve but live.




Heart's Insurrection

She's my miracle

No other way to say it

Her song is rapturous

No other way to play it


So desperate for a fix of hope

Craving that pure psychic dope

Any light to pierce the tunnels I'd dug

To say I was a wreck would be too kind

An apocalyptic, twisted mind

So tempting to give up with a shrug


Yet she made me feel deserving

Against all I understood

Her eyes were the first mirror

Where I knew I saw something good


This is not just romance, no

This is revolution

A fiery insurrection in my heart

It's so strange how my life turned out

Forgetting all I'd known about

I embraced it all coming apart


Now she's my miracle

And her touch feels divine

Having her is surging joy

And she'll always be mine 




Anna, you are everything to me. <3


Time to Talk (Rap Lyrics)

My fellow Americans, time for us to talk

To lift the fog of war from this path that we walk

See the life that once was, now a mere outline of chalk

Convict the killers of every last political bloc

You're desensitized to what taking a life truly means

When war is waged through the safety of murder machines

Would you believe that a fucking hospital up in flames

Is a United States drone, not just the hunger games?

Our dystopian world may seem too unreal for fiction

Life without parole for nonviolent drug convictions

Let me tell you the point of DEA interdiction:

It's meant to perpetuate drug addiction

El Chapo's on the news, but there's more bad karma

For the soulless cartels of corporate big pharma

Who want you swallowing prescription pills every day

If you're hooked, all the better, all the more that you pay

Cuffed and booked, all the better for the CCA

Private prisons are the slavers of the modern day

The incarceration lobby writes legislation

To jail a man for undocumented immigration

To take his whole family and lock them up them too

Kids in cages in Texas, yes it's goddamn true

And Donald Trump taking it to the next level

Hardly hyperbole at all to call him a devil

Racism is what keeps the ruling class on their thrones

How long until Muslims don't even feel safe in their homes

To the ignorant masses I fear there may be no

Point in asking them to rethink San Bernardino

For once a jihadi shooter and the whole fucking nation

Acts as if one massacre changed the equation

Charleston was terrorism, innocent black lives extinguished

Weekly atrocities and for only once we distinguished

Aurora, Isla Vista, Sandy Hook - "Shit happens!"

But if ISIS takes credit then it's time to take action

I'm not sure I can even call them hypocrites

Are they malicious or completely oblivious?

So tell me America, in these times of great strife

Do you truly know the value of a human life? 


Victimless Crime

I am sovereign over my blood, bones and skin

I was not born with a bar code carved in

I am not a human resource owned by the state

My liberty will never be up for debate


They try to tell me what I can't inhale

They tell me what I can't drink

They tell me what I can't swallow

And what I'm allowed to think


But I refuse to pay for a victimless crime

I won't kneel before their gun

The state bites like a vampire

But my blood is schedule one


I am sovereign over my unchained mind

Not one reason to submit that I can find

I never once asked for protection

But my voice can spark insurrection


Fear is the first instinct

Of the old reptilian brain

So freedom dies when fear is spread

And no one dares to complain


There is a cage for every victimless crime

Guarded by a loaded gun

But my veins will poison leeches

Because my blood is schedule one


Freestyle Rap

(yeah it's not actually freestyle cause I took the time to write it but fuck you)


I'm blazin' like self-immolation, settle scores with a 12 gauge, I'm knee-deep in the shell casin'

When I'm awake, I'm movin', when I'm pacin' I'm racin'

I can't be complacent 'bout these dollars I'm chasin'

You facin' down someone who don't let nothing go

I'll pull the guns, fists and teeth if we throwin' down, bro

If ya get knocked in a coma, you're fuckin' better off, yo

Reality sucks, I've done enough drugs to know

And they stuck with me like a stalker fan at a show

Still got HPPD, I watch the phosphene lights glow

Every night in bed when I'm alone with my head

That's a scary fuckin' place dawg, place that bet

So brace yourself to go down to my base-a-ment

And witness what I dream up in the time I'm wastin'

Y'facin' a pscyho off his med-cation, all 'cept for

The dankest fuckin' weed that I'm lacin'

With enough angel dust to embalm an angel

Leftovers for my enemies when they get strangled

And tangled in barbed wire with they skin all mangled

So hail fucking Satan and Mr. Bojangles



The original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/us/kratom-an-addicts-alternative-is-found-to-be-addictive-itself.html

An Altranet writer named Owen Poindexter stated in an article challenging misconceptions about marijuana that "We must shred the lies that underwrite prohibition." Indeed, we must. Victory for the prohibitionists in the early 20th century unleashed decades of consequences for marijuana users and gave a foundation to America's War on Drugs which has destroyed countless lives and wasted countless billions of dollars; although the financial impact as nothing compared to the human impact of many productive and peaceful citizens being ensnared by the criminal justice system, and many epileptic and cancer suffering people being deprived of legal access to the one medicine which could vastly improve upon their quality of life. In 2016, the prohibitionists are at work again - targeting and demonizing kratom. 

Kratom, its scientific name mitragyna speciosa, is a leaf from the Pacific and East Asia with medicinal properties known to that region's people for thousands of years. Although it is not an opiate, it acts on certain opioid receptors in the brain which results in pain relief, a sense of well-being, and depending on the strain either mild stimulation or relaxation. Many communities in the United States have formed around tea bars which provide kratom in the form of tea or powder alongside kava - a different ethnobotanical which is also popularly consumed for its desirable effects on the mind and body. The New York Times had a lot to say about kratom recently and not a lot of science to back it up, because there isn't much room for objectivity when sensationalist fear is the goal. I will address the faulty claims of the above article. 


"Three shaky months into recovery from heroin addiction, Dariya Pankova found something to ease her withdrawal. A local nonalcoholic bar sold a brewed beverage that soothed her brain and body much as narcotics had. A perfect solution — before it backfired.

Ms. Pankova grew addicted to the beverage itself. She drank more and more, awakened her cravings for the stronger high of heroin, and relapsed. Only during another stay in rehab did Ms. Pankova learn that the drink’s primary ingredient, a Southeast Asian leaf called kratom, affects the brain like an opiate and can be addictive, too."


I find it extremely dubious that this person was not aware of the opiate-like effect of kratom, for this is stated on the websites of all major kratom vendors on the menus of every tea bar I've frequented. The article does not state how this recovering heroin addict was introduced to kratom - how could she have decided to try it without being told by others recovering from opiate problems about what effects kratom has, or researching it herself online? There is no reason for one to try it if they do not have at least a basic understanding of it, and no reason for The New York Times to imply that in-depth information on the nature of kratom isn't one click away on the web. 


“It’s preying on the weak and the broken,” said Ms. Pankova, 23, a Brooklyn native who received treatment in Delray Beach. “It’s a mind-altering substance, so people like me who are addicts and alcoholics, they think just because it’s legal, it’s fine. It’s a huge epidemic down here, and it’s causing a lot of relapses.”


An alternative perspective of another kratom user is mentioned in this article, but the negative testimonies are given the spotlight. I am not going to fault a recovering addict for having her opinion, but I will fault The New York Times for highlighting these unsupported anecdotal claims. As you read on, you will see a strong theme of kratom allegedly being the cause of relapse into opioid abuse. 


"Worse, some of those experts say, kratom can lead some addicts back to heroin, which is cheaper and stronger."


Indeed, heroin is magnitudes stronger than kratom which causes me to wonder how this plant could be slandered as so dangerous. Please observe that such drugs as Suboxone and methadone which are intended for opioid and heroin abusers to avoid relapse are not blamed for the relapse in such a way. 


"“It’s a fascinating drug, but we need to know a lot more about it,” said Dr. Edward W. Boyer, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a co-author of several scientific articles on kratom. “Recreationally or to self-treat opioid dependence, beware — potentially you’re at just as much risk” as with an opiate.

Concern is particularly high in South Florida, where a rising concentration of drug-treatment providers has coincided with the sprouting of kratom bars. But kratom is now available around the country. Powdered forms of the leaf are sold at head shops and gas-station convenience stores and on the Internet."


If two different classes of substances are held to be equally risky simply because they act on some of the same brain receptors, please allow me to warn you now that coffee drinkers are at just as much risk as users of methamphetamine. And let us consider the potency of kratom vs. an opioid in detail: The highest single dose of the potent opioid pill Zohydro is 30 mg. A very low, marginally effective dose of kratom may be 3 grams. Kratom is one hundred times less potent than a very strong pharmaceutical painkiller, and that is the smallest possible ratio one could work out. 

And the kratom bars in South Florida are indeed thriving, though their customer base is not primarily composed of recovering addicts, even though many of those people have made life-changing progress in abstaining from opioids with the help of kratom. 


"Linda Mautner, who lives in the Delray Beach area, has claimed that her 20-year-old son, Ian, committed suicide in 2014 in the throes of kratom addiction, but Mr. Mautner was also receiving treatment for depression."


The New York Times neglects to mention that the treatment for this young man's depression included - you guessed it - antidepressants. Pills that carry a "black box warning" of potentially causing suicidal ideation in those under 25. 


"Kratom’s narcotic effects have been known for centuries in its native Thailand, which banned the substance decades ago amid widespread abuse."


Thailand did not ban kratom to prevent kratom abuse, Thailand banned kratom to encourage opium abuse, because the opium market significantly contributed to Thailand's economy and many were abandoning opium in favor of kratom.


"Meanwhile, kratom is sold somewhat under the radar. In Carrboro, N.C., a nonalcoholic bar called Krave serves kratom drinks under the name “ketum” to deter connections to the substance’s darker side, the owner, Elizabeth Gardner, said."


Ketum is the Malay name of the leaf, not drug slang or a code word. A direct quote would have been welcome here, as I'm sure the owner of Krave might have been more concerned with an unfounded stigma and harassment by authorities than with the ominous "darker side" of kratom. 


"Kavasutra, a popular chain of bars that sell kratom and kava, another plant-based drink, does not list kratom on its menu, but sells it regularly in bottles and small plastic bags of powder.

Kavasutra’s owner, Dylan Harrison, was once one of South Florida’s primary manufacturers and distributors of spice, a synthetic hallucinogen banned under federal law. He was released from federal prison in August 2014 after serving 10 months on drug charges. Several telephone messages left for Mr. Harrison were not returned."


The negative association of one particular person with an entire substance is garbage. Martin Shkreli, the big pharma executive who engaged in predatory price-gouging of the HIV drug Daraprim and securities fraud may be almost universally seen as a despicable person, but does that have anything to do with the efficacy of the drug Daraprim? Absolutely not. 


"Another South Florida resident with that experience, Robert Waina, said he had abused dozens of different drugs before discovering kratom three years ago. He enjoyed the mild high to the point that he found himself ordering bottle after bottle. When he tried to cut back, he couldn’t, and eventually suffered from such withdrawals that he had to go to rehab for kratom three times, most recently last spring."

 Rehab for the kratom use, or rehab for the underlying polydrug abuse problems which this person attempted to ameliorate with kratom? It is worth mentioning that opioid withdrawals can last for a very long time after discontinuing use. 



These were the most glaring lies, but not the only ones. Perhaps even more concerning is a key omission, a statement that should have closed out the article for The New York Times - "This report is sponsored by Big Pharma - our shareholders ask you continue to use and abuse our narcotic painkillers." 


Hail to the owner,

The new CEO's got

Our economy back in the black

Let freedom ring from the border wall

To the halls

Of the Department of Attack! 


We elected a man

With a solid plan

To hunt the terrorists down.

And round up

Every criminal

No matter what shade of brown.


Open season

On thugs 12 and up

His cops got their guns cocked.

He's gonna close down

All the mosques

In an American Kristallnacht.


Hail to the owner,

The new CEO's got

Our economy back in the black

Let freedom ring from the border wall

To the halls

Of the Department of Attack! 


He'll bomb grade school kids

In Raqqa before they

Reach the terrorist age.

If you observe 

Cinco de Mayo he might

Put you in a cage.


He's cracking down

On welfare whores,

Telling them what's up.

If these junkies

Want their kids to eat

They better piss inside a cup.


Hail to the owner,

The new CEO's got

Our economy back in the black

Let freedom ring from the border wall

To the halls

Of the Department of Attack! 



Point Nemo

Great expectations give birth to great stress

Don't pity the pariah who would settle for less

A legacy, a debt, a breathless race to success

One must first kneel down if they wish to be blessed


I've been living in a mad world all too familiar

Where every disappointment is deja vu

With nothing but dull nails, I've been digging underground for shelter

Like when I sank beneath the waves to see the darkest, coldest blue


I march with the procession of the flagless mercenaries

In step only with the tachycardia in my chest

A legacy, a debt, a breathless race to the mausoleum

One must first be no one if they wish to be blessed


Click Empty (Short Story)

A reporter once sought to discover the secrets of a famous street magician. This master of illusions had risen to fame seemingly overnight, from curious spectacles in public parks and on beaches to national television specials. The magician's most famous trick was a simple game of Russian roulette - the twofold gimmick being that he did everything in his power to convince his fans that the revolver and the bullet were both very real, and that the one in six odds had never and would never kill him despite thousands of renditions of the stunt. 

It was no surprise to the reporter who had finally snagged a private, one-on-one interview with the magician that he would be stubborn as any of his kind in refusing to reveal the truth behind the performance. Although, the magician didn't exactly refuse to answer. Instead, he gave the reporter the unsatisfactory equivalent of the "it's really magic" answer. 

"There is one real bullet loaded into a functional gun. I spin the chamber and pull the trigger. That's all there is to it" the magician said. The reporter wasn't impressed. But he was prepared. 

"It just so happens that I've procured a revolver and a bullet for this occasion. It's in my briefcase. Would you be willing to perform this trick for me, with my gun, right now?" the reporter asked. It seemed only fair, he thought, to play hard ball back. But the magician was unafraid and said "Of course. We can do it right now. You can even load it and spin the chamber for me if you please." The reporter hesitantly did so. He was once sure there was a sleight of hand technique in play, the replacement of the bullet with a blank. And if not that, could the magician somehow feel the weight of the bullet in the chamber and only pull if he knew it was not in the wrong place.

The reporter's hands were shaking from anticipation and bewilderment by the time he finished loading the gun, and he gave it a good spin. The magician extended his hand to take the weapon. "Keep your eyes on my hand" said the magician "and only my hand, so you are sure once you see you are no victim of misdirection." The reporter felt his chest tense up, and before he had time to brace himself, he flinched at the quiet click of the trigger; the barrel deep inside the magician's mouth. Death averted for the thousandth time. "There you go" the magician said with a playful smile. "Now, I'll be going." 

"Wait!" the reporter said, jumping from his seat. "Please, I don't want to expose you, I don't want to make any money. I won't tell a living soul ever, but I just want to know. Please, tell me your secret!" he begged. 

"There is no secret" replied the magician. "I play Russian roulette, and I win. I win every time because we're having this conversation. If I lose I never have to know I lost, so I'm guaranteed to always win." The magician left the disappointed reporter alone. 

"No one is that crazy" the reporter thought to himself. "There is always an illusion. He must have been spying on me, had an accomplice track me to the gun store. And he bribed the gun dealer to give me a rigged gun. But I picked it out myself without his suggestion. But, I had to wait 3 days. The dealer switched it for a rigged gun then. That must be it." How could he prove it though? He couldn't. But it made sense. 

"It's rigged. I'll spin this chamber and fire it and it won't kill me no matter what" the reporter said out loud to the empty room. He did so, with the gun pressed to his head, and it clicked empty. "It's rigged" he repeated to himself again, lowering the weapon, assuring himself over the pounding of his heart there was never any danger. Somehow, the gun was simply set up to not fire. The reporter decided to test this hypothesis by aiming it at the wall and pulling the trigger five more times. He only pulled it once though, because when he did, the revolver blasted out a very real bullet which tore a hole through the plaster. He fell to his knees, shaking, and vomited all over the floor. 

Moral: Don't do anything crazy unless you're that fucking crazy.