SICK (audio version)

Due to popular demand below is an audio recording of my text SICK. Unfortunately it's not the version of the reading recently performed in London with friend and artist Martin Bladh, but it is as close to a live performance you're likely to get at present. There does exist two small video clips of my London performance which I'll try to convert and upload at a later date.

Enjoy, and a new Memoires post will be with you very soon...

Shane... X


Sick. We were sick. We lay in bed, wrapped up in filthy blankets, smoking, sometimes fucking, doing animal things, you know... like being sick.

Sick. We were sick. Sick in bed. Sick in life. Sick by life. Sick. And we made each other sick.

Sick. Watching TV for days on end, sweating furiously but too bored to pull the covers off. Filthy feet. Filthy legs. Separated by a valley of cigarette ends. Stuffing our faces full of fatty, greasy foods. Shutters down. Apartment crawling with bugs. Toilet blocked. Sick. We were so fucking sick.

Sick. Not dope sick. Life sick. Diseased by pasts and visions and sounds and leather belts and erect cocks and murder. Sick. We were made sick by all these things. Sick. Sickened by cunt. Wet mushy drunken gang-banged cunt. Sick. We were sick. I was Sick. She was sick.

Sick. Locked in the apartment, blankets up against the windows, dust in the sunbeams, Repulsion looping on the DVD player. Sick, the room smelled of sick. Two diseased lovers with open welts, leaking abscesses, strange bumps and sores and scars. Sick. The days made us sick. Fresh air made us sick. We stopped answering the door, muted the TV, and silently gagged when the buzzer rang. Sick. We looked at each other in terror, sick, a mirror of ourselves, sick. And in the bed we lay, puking up milk and yoghurt in our sleep, choking to death on the trauma of the life we had seen. Sick. That's what we were: Sick.

And outside, the grimy, slick, lit up city became a hostile place. We concocted stories and plots, sick sick things, of a world of enemies encroaching upon us. Sick, we listened through the walls, eyed neighbours through the spy-hole: big, warped, looping faces, coming in, examining our door, the apartment bugged. Sick, the postman working for Interpol. Sick, police surveillance in the building opposite. Sick. We invented laws, sick laws, laws that said the flat couldn't be raided between 3 and 5am. So we'd rise, sick, in the early hours, cracking eggs and frying sausages and bacon and cabbage and bread; stuffing our mouths full of sandwiches dripping oil and ketchup, then, climbing back into bed and pulling the blankets tight around our necks so as we couldn't smell our own arseholes. Sick. The times were sick. We were sick. The hours were sick, and they dripped on by.

Sick. We slept like the sick: feverish, groaning and tensing up, our hair wet with sweat and stuck to our brows, mucus, dribble, crying through dreams, clenched fists and ugly faces. Sick. We were sick. Saying, “It hurts! It hurts so bad!” Drifting off into worlds of black, The Sins of our Fathers seeping out our skins. Sick. Ravaged by life. Sick. Sick to the bones. Turning grey. Fingers dark yellow. World shut out. TV on. Lines of bugs filing up the bin bags. Insane erections leaking watery cum. Tampons kicked to the bottom of the the bed with the socks. The flies gathering. Death getting near. Sick. We were so terribly sick.

Sick. 114 missed calls. 33 new messages, battery low, notes under the door, sick:

“Where R U?” [sic]
“Called to read lekky meter. return monday @ noon” [sic]
“Sis, Are You OK? Call me.” [sic]
“Your shower's leaking into our apartment!” [sic]
“24/7 Plumbing emergency services: need access ASAP!” [sic]
“Whats happening? Please answer phone. Getting vry worried!” [sic]
“Monday noon. Called, no answer. Please leave meter reading on door.” [sic]
'Domino's Pizza Wednesday Special. Half-Price. Free home delivery' [sic]
“Sis, I know your there. if you don't give sign will call police!” [sic]
“Ceiling and bathroom carpet ruined. phoning agency. It's raw sewage! PIGS!!!” [sic]

Sick. We did what we had to do: sent a text; pushed the notes back under the door; held our livers and crawled back into bed. Sick. We were made sick and we spewed it all out. On the floors, into bags, on the blankets, on each other, we were sick. Bright yellow bile, lumps of intestine, slithers of liver, black jellied blood. Sick, our kisses were sick. In the 69 position we were sick. Sucking and licking and bobbing like children, retching on each others pleasure. Sick.You tasted of curdled milk and fresh-smeared shit, and God knows what I was to you. Sick, our future was SICK. Our love was SICK. We were SICK, doing animal things, you know... like eating grass, getting better by being SICK.


indiazi said...


I came across your blog in a moment of prayer to google, in hopes of finding something to help me understand the drug that took my friends life.

I found yours and have spent the better part of the morning hours pouring over your writing.

Your mind is beautiful. I'm grateful for the way you write such thoughtful narration of your life.

It's visceral and palpable, but still airy and impermanent. Up for interpretation but screwed down where you need it.

I think that you don't want me to be sad for you, but it's hard not to.

Mostly because I want you to live and be able to transcribe the world through your experiences, since you do so with something so truly rare.

Being that I just lost a friend, a relatively new user at that (just over a year and a half), my heart goes out to you since it'd be amazing for you to have the light and life of that fellow you saw on the train, content with your life from a different vantage that you have under the visage and umbrella of this substance.

I guess I just wonder, do you see a life without heroin now that you feel the weight of its impact? Or are you resigned to it? I don't want to preach, and respect it either way, but it is something I wonder when I read your work.

Thank for being so candid.

Also, this poem is incredible. I love its cadence and mood. Especially the line about making ourselves better by being sick.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Indiazi and welcome! X

I never think of my life in terms of heroin or not... I think of it only in terms if I want to live or die and I want to live.
Whether they're days using Heroin or not I'm not fussed... It all depends on how my body feels and what it needs.
But I don't use everyday, and havent for some years now. My other obsession is writing and I cannot write when I'm using. That fact ensures I'm straight at least as much as I'm not.

How do I feel now? I've no regrets. I see it it a very different way to you. I often say "Heroin cured me as it killed me". It means that without having fallen into addiction when I did I'd be dead now anyway. So in that way, even if I die today at 38, far from heroin shortening my life it has actually allowed me 13 years of life I'd have never have seen without it. That's the truth there, and it's because of that that I don't view the bad side-effects as a negative. It's ni difference from someone who accepts to undergo chronic chemotherapy. They do so because if not they'll be dust before the years out, and yet they also know the treatment is extremely toxic and that it may kill the current cancer cells but may also encourage a more aggressive cancer in the future. So if in 15 years time, as a consequence of todays chemo which saved your life,
you die of a related cancer, you cannot damn the initial chemo. There's a price to pay for everything. And without all this my words would be hollow anyway. I'd not be the writer I am today if you take away the cost of the words. I pay for every word I write... They do not come to me for free. But I accept the price: I pay with my life to write the words I do. It can be no other way and I wouldn't want it to be either. X

laura said...

I've always enjoyed your blog. Followed for years but never commented. I've always been slightly disturbed by your posts, but in a good way because I could relate. This was truly disgusting to not only read but to envision.

Anonymous said...

That's cool. It's interesting hearing your work spoken as it was meant to be written, if that makes sense. When I first read your sick post when you first posted it after a while I stopped reading the word sick. I guess hearing and reading something can be like watching movie when you have read the book. Sounds good almost like a different post

Anonymous said...

Hey dude! I just found your blog today and I gotta confess, I've spent the last 4 hours reading it. I love your writing man, it's deep, meaningful and above everything else it is REAL! Like yourself I am a junkie, but unlike you I am a smoker, not a shooter. I like everything about your page man, o
I've said it before and I will say it again, lots of interesting shit can happen when you spend a lot of your time getting down, haha. From one junkie in California to another junkie across the Atlantic; keep writing, try to be happy regardless of every piece of shit life throws at you and stay the awesome person that you seem like you are! Oh yeah! Almost forgot. If you're ever in northern California, your first score is on me :)
Cheers! Tyler

Anonymous said...

Shane, you are amazing.

I first started reading you in 2011 when I was searching on Google for tips about how to score in London, after moving here from Oz and being off junk for a couple of years (incidentally, your advice to hang outside the nearest methadone clinic was a great suggestion!)

Had a quick 8-week relapse of three shots a day, a full bottle of Vodka, pizza and old Kubrick, Coppola and Scorsese films. Quickly realised I had to give it a rest when I failed my law exams.

I just realised I've spent a few paragraphs talking about myself and not your writing, but that seems like par for the course for a lot of commenters on here.

I still go back regularly and read The Argos Catalogue and To the End of Rotten Love, both brilliant. And there are still as yet undiscovered treasures on your blog.

Keep it up mate, I sincerely believe you are one of the finest writers of your generation. Very few writers can make me cry or punch the air in delight, you are a marvel.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey EJPW...

Welcome and thanks for your words and all the time you've given mine. Oh, if people only came here to tell me how great I was it'd be a pretty boring back space. So you're free to take up as many paragraphs as you like on yourself and life and thoughts, etc.

Hopefully the next few months will bring lots of new writing to this site. I've many texts almost finished and loads more in the works. If you're on Facebook join me or the Memoires page as in future there'll be many sneak and exclusive previews over there and updates on what may be coming next and news concerning press, books, etc. I'm just building up a bunch of readers there and once there's a worthwhile amount I'll begin the newsfeeds and updates in earnest.

OK EJPW... you keep well and keep reading and put the word around whenever you can (especially online) as that's the greatest help any admirer of my work can be just now. All My Best, Shane...X