I got the New York sick. I got a job and I start tomorrow. I hope my nose doesn’t drip. Ten bucks an hour, it should be the minimum wage. It is for me. I’ve budgeted for the year. I have a budget, how queer. The youthful days of excess lie behind me. I started working at fifteen. I made two dollars less an hour. Putting in twelve hour days opening and closing a bagel deli. That’s five hundred fifty dollars a six day week, cash in hand, fuck the fed. Where is that money? With my habits I am surprised I am not dead. No rent, as a son I was rude. No need to pay for food. Drugs, alcohol and high school. Next, I was a waiter. A waterfront banquet hall on Longisland. Weddings and bat mitzvahs. I went in at five pm and was lucky to get out before three am. Tips, shift pay and wages averaged a take home of about two hundred twenty a night. I know it’s true, if all you know are reflections on a cave wall, you converse with shadows. The shadow of the money I earned left a great debt that I cannot articulate. I was born to money and by puberty lived in modern poverty. I knew not how much it meant, I was happy to earn it and ecstatic in my spending. I graduated high school at sixteen and the next decade is a blur. Designer drugs, terrible cocaine and alcohol. I have to say alcohol because I can only classify my drinking as an almost scientific experiment. The distillation of poisons by the human body. I was a character in a Steinbeck novel adapted to the screen by Bukowski. Odd jobs off the books. My flat was a flop house for the pained rebels of that rich suburban town. Literal mounds of cocaine on a silver platter, to please the ego of the dealers. Pills and heroine from the musicians. The writers drunk.The neighborhood street urchin recycler lived like a king on our empties. We smoked marijuana in blunts as if we were sharing an iron lung. Oh to be a junky, a rebel outcast. Oh to be young. I escaped death and a wet brain. Others did not. Too many to name. Dead and gone and only their parents feel the weight of blame. I still hate my mother. Just like my brother. She told me this new job would be a new start. The same thought I had before in my mind now perversed. I cannot start, I am finished.