The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson



One of the brightest people i knew was a methadone addict

Jimmy Walker,
Edgar Rd , Elizabeth
my next door neighbor
Another man sat on his porch,
not playing with puzzles but, carving walking sticks....
with its a "rainy night In Georgia"
playing in the background
Jimmy walker
was a bit younger than my father,
he knew my family forever.
We become neighbors when I brought a house in Elizabeth with my wife Pam.
Two houses less than ten feet away from each other.......
Mine was  a handy mans special, his a shanty.....................
Jimmy and I became fast friends, more like a wise old uncle
he was.
I was the strong pig headed buck, too strong and opinionated, a cop in fact.
He was a methadone addict,
forever 25 years with heroin before that
in fact he was a addict his whole life, it seemed.
But with methadone he led a life of sorts.
I spent many a day picking him up and bringing him inside his house.
I have a fear of needles an unnatural one in fact.
But still I was there.
For money he would carve these beautiful ornate walking sticks.....things of beauty in fact.
He would sell them to the pimps and drug dealers for 75 dollars a pop......
beautiful manly
tacky things
they were.
But the things this man knew, the way he could read people He could read your weaknesses and strengths then
Recite people stories at afterwards.
Break politics down quickly and easily.
Dissect the whole system.
Extort money from every social agency,
ward off
other junkies who came around
and even cast a spell or two.
He held me attention many a day
telling me about crooks and cops.
About addiction about my addictions about keys and secrets and cures....
We always barbecued in those days and Jimmy always got the first plate.
My wife adored him.
His son who I went to school was ashamed of him we called his son the grasshopper or jiminy cricket.,
. He would come around and call him names. And humiliate him.
But in judging the father...... he never saw himself.
 his power came from these confrontations.
From keeping someone down. keep himself up.
I couldn't understand it.
So I gave jimmy an ear and he got his voice back
and the secrets I learned............perhaps that is why I am still here.
His son was a fool. never knowing that the kindness of his love could have redeemed his father. Could have brought him back maybe but it would be in the trying that true righteousness would be won. He was a church goer, but lord knows junkies don't have a right to hear the world of god. That is for the perfect only.
His son was
more concerned with appearance in a world that really doesn't matter

it just doesn't matter.
The things Jimmy knew of, the things he had let go of........
He knew history and dirty tricks and deeds,
he knew love, was a womanizer in fact.
He used to run three girls at one time, three pretty whores, I met one of them, but her beauty was long ago lost to the drugs that ravaged her body and soul.....
They all died from drugs or their new pimps
...they were his witches he said and he never recovered from their deaths.
He knew
about the way thing used to be...about racism about white folks, black folks
he was the William Buckley of the methadone world.
He could be lucid as a professor or as messed up as any park bench wino.
But Jimmy never lost his soul, his soul was immune to the drugs, it fled when he shot up and returned when he recovered. It simply hid in plain sight.
I never felt better than Jimmy never felt superior to Jimmy. In fact their was always something that I thought he knew that he would never tell.
My father used to say that when Jesus returns to earth he won’t be found in the churches but in the pool halls.
I could see it always.....this soul of Jimmies this light
Jimmy kept me honest as a cop and he kept me human...........he paid no attention to me being   a cop
had no secrets from me.
He couldn’t understand the difference between a cop and a criminal
in fact he said they were one and the same.
We moved to Englishtown leaving jimmy
it broke our hearts.
The kids missed uncle jimmy who would buy them sweets and watch them play in the backyard like a watch dog
like a father
like a grandfather.
He gave up methadone, and took up drink, but not too much.
But when the poisons finally left his system and
the drugs that had been holding him together,
he died one year later.
His girlfriend ruby told me a year later that he died asking about me, he said I was his son.
And I was
ole Danny boy
I like the snow it kills the germs.
I loved that Book  "the thorn Birds"
Carve some new walking sticks for the new pimps.........

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