< heroin >
#1


                         < heroin >
           
          watching Mike      
          late at night          
          in the barracks      
          in the vacant sergeant's room      
                  
          his face in the light from his candle      
          (a Virgin Mary votive  
           from the Mexican grocery)      
          holding his tiny Pyrex beaker over it      
          "majored in chemistry", he says      
          dissolving his heroin
 
          Jeff and i bum a little      
          roll it into our joint      
          (the grass we get down here is so poor)         
          the moist powder makes the joint sputter     
          (but it works just fine)      
                   
          the vacant sergeant's room...      
              
          i come here to sit, to write          
          to fuck some guy i met at the PX      
          to come down from acid      
          to listen to Jeff play his guitar          
          (his hands, his fingers as they move)      
          to watch mike          
          slowly      
          carefully      
          dissolving his heroin      
              
                - - -    


posts that follow apply to this uncorrected version:

                         < heroin >
           
          watching Mike      
          late at night          
          in the barracks      
          in the vacant sergeant's room      
                  
          his face in the light from his candle      
          (a Virgin Mary votive  
           from the Mexican grocery)      
          holding his tiny Pyrex beaker over it      
          "majored in chemistry", he says      
          dissolving his heroin      
          ("always add a few drops of lemon juice")
           
          Jeff and i bum a little      
          roll it into our joint      
          (the grass we get down here is so poor)         
          the white powder makes the joint sputter     
          (but it works just fine)      
                   
          the vacant sergeant's room...      
              
          i come here to sit, to write          
          to fuck some guy i met at the PX      
          to come down from acid      
          to listen to Jeff play his guitar          
          (his hands, his fingers as they move)      
          to watch mike          
          slowly      
          carefully      
          dissolving his heroin      
              
                - - -    
almost terse
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#2
they usually use water to dissolve it .

the pain of injecting lemon juice in to the vein must be excruciating.
and it's usually done on a spoon over a flame

it does have a coolio capture of the drug scene on camp.


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#3
That second stanza is surprisingly evocative, even pious. I don't know, it really captured me.

This may not be the place for this discussion, but I've never heard of putting lemon juice in heroin before. You learn something new. To me that sounds like something that would seriously damage your circulatory system... but of course, I'm no expert in either chemistry or biology, so.
PS. If you can, try your hand at giving some of the others a bit of feedback. If you already have, thanks, can you do some more?
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#4
ha! yes! one of the problems with poems is that they usually don't have enough footnotes. and while i can see mike doing his mad-dope-fiend-scientist as Julia-Child-chef act as he added lemon juice to his soup you can't since i didn't take the time to add that to the poem but maybe someday... but anyway, mike was a good chemist: many chemicals (including drugs like morphine/heroine/etc.) aren't very soluble in water until you react them with an acid to make a water-soluble salt. mike knew someone who could get him really cheap mexican heroin (lagarto?) but one of its defects was that a lot of the heroin in it hadn't been converted to its salt form. normally mike would add hydrochloric acid to it to convert it all to the salt form and then add sodium bicarbonate to the mixture to neutralize the left-over acid (and sometimes he'd clean it up as well by using ether and setting his car on fire). but every once in a while (too often) he'd end up needing some that he hadn't made yet and that's when he used lemon juice for acid. the trick is to use just as much as is necessary for the reaction so that there's no acid left over. if you succeed, it's smooth, if not, it stings (but it still works). pyrex beakers are much better than spoons as you can make a more dilute solution which is easier on veins, they don't spill as easily, and they look cool and scientific instead of vulgar and junkie-drug-addict. anyway, that's what mike would have said. i just borrowed his stuff to put in joints as i've always been superstitious about injecting anything that wasn't made by one of those big, legit pharmaceutical companies (not that that's sure-fire either).
almost terse
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#5
Probably "brown heroin", or "Mexican Brown".

"Brown heroin is a less-soluble form of heroin that is commonly smoked rather than injected or snorted. Less pure than white heroin, brown heroin is a base (not a salt) and as such is less powerful than other forms of the drug."

The other forms of heroin are generally very water soluble as they are in a salt form. They are often heated to separate, or break out, the heroin from the cut used. Generally they can be broken with just water but it takes longer and risk leaving some behind stuck to the cut. Heating helps break these substances down.

In Ray's story I would suggest that the Heroin being used in Mexican Brown which is in a base form (which is an oil like the general forms of THC and can only be ingested through heating, which is why pot brownies work) and can only be used by smoking it. If one wishes to inject it, it has to be turned into it's salt form, making it water soluble.

More than likely Mike's heroin was "Mexican Brown". However, in order to smoke it, it would have to be the powder before he had used lemon juice on it and it would not be white.

Ray,

I would suggest making mention of it being "Mexican Brown", and then footnote that it is heroin in a form that cannot be injected until it reacts with acids, making it water soluble. Or you can have Mike explain to someone why he is doing what he is doing, or even as a flashback (not the LSD kind). As addicts are very obsessive about the drug, it would fit in quite normally.

Dale
How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
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#6
Yes, you're right, looked it up as well, definitely sounds
like "brown heroin". Especially when I read that it's hard
to tell by the color because "brown heroin" varies in color
from brown to yellow to white.

And yes, mike was absolutely obsessive about the drug!
He could go on for hours about any of its many aspects.
From chemistry to ways-to-get-rich to how-it-felt to
dressing-the-part... Smile

i debated keeping the lemon juice reference in because of the
atmosphere it adds, but, being almost as obsessive as mike, i
decided to take it out because it's a distraction. And i changed
'white' to 'moist'. One could still get picky about white not
smoking as well as brown but at that point i'm pulling out my
poetic license as well as realizing that mike could probably
have given us idiots baking soda and we'd still have gotten high. Smile

Changed from:
...
"majored in chemistry", he says
dissolving his heroin
("always add a few drops of lemon juice")

Jeff and i bum a little
roll it into our joint
(the grass we get down here is so poor)
the white powder makes the joint sputter
(but it works just fine)
...
To:
...
"majored in chemistry", he says
dissolving his heroin

Jeff and i bum a little
roll it into our joint
(the grass we get down here is so poor)
the moist powder makes the joint sputter
(but it works just fine)
...

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almost terse
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