Saturday, December 27, 2008

Datura Stramonium: To Dance with the Devil

Sun ablaze

August heat
Beads of sweat
Fleshly dew

Steady hike
Upon the trail
Through the pasture
Amid green meadows

Insects play
Crickets chirp
Butterflies dance
Innocent choreography

On purple flowers
Of feathery palms
Gracefully adorning
Poisonous pods

That incubate
Wicked seeds
In spiky armor
The Devil's weed

Once ingested
The netherworld
Displays its horrors
Ten-thousand fold

Fears take form
In ghastly fashion
Terror personified
Soul's violation

Gills to breathe
Housed with the mad
In aquatic sphere
Of cryptic lunacy

Open rape
Asylum incarceration
Flesh-eating roaches
Parasitic hallucinations

Upon return
To the light
Forever changed
Paranoia's blight

Harmless dance
Of butterflies
On nectar sweet
Of madness divine

september 8, 2oo7

In late August, 2007, my husband and I hiked some pasture fields in Virginia, directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway. I counted some 30 thistle plants with seed pods, which brought to mind datura.

Though the thistles that day weren't datura, the image was intriguing. This poem was born..

Betwixt the field thistles butterflies danced. I thought they probably do the same with Jimson.

Inside datura's spiky pods, rest devils' seeds. I thought, "How ironic....the beauty, grace, and freedom of the lepidoptera feasting on sweet nectar beneath which lurks such a powerful potion of darkness."

I danced with that potion when I was 15 years old; it was a 4-day sleepless nightmare of hellish hallucinations (an understatement). Sometime I may come back to this post and fill in some detail...and maybe not. Suffice it to say, verses 6 through 9 in the poem are a peek. Each was as real as life itself.

One of my hallucinations while intoxicated was of 100s of black cockroaches crawling over my body, a fanciful flesh feast. Not suprisingly, it took me over 20 years to rid myself of a dreaded, horrific fear of roaches.

I got a job at a science center as a presenter in the rain forest area. One of my presentations? Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Upon our first introduction, I took a deep breath and allowed them to discover my hand. Over time I became friends with the little fellows. After multiple encounters, the terror ceased. I'm still not fond of roaches, but neither am I terrified. ;-)

Hint: Don't dance with this devil; the price is too high. To learn more, just google jimson weed.


Links to two memoir pieces I wrote about my dance with jimson weed:
Part 1: A Green Hornet and Blackbirds
Part II: Witch Doctors and Roller Coasters



George said...

Carol, I've read this one over a few times the last few days and find it fascinating, what an ordeal to go through...

oneperson said...

Thanks for reading and commenting George. Yes, it was an ordeal and not one I would recommend. But I would recommend a hike along the Blue Ridge Mountains. :-D


dom said...

I can relate to this well. I tried jimson some 15 years ago and had an "adventure" myself. The memories still haunt me and fascinate me at the same time. Occasionally I have to seek out others who experienced it and went through it. Thanks for sharing your story.

Oneperson said...

Hi Dom,

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and commenting.

I sit here staring at your comment wondering how and what to say. Sometimes there are no words appropriate other than, "Yeah, I get it."

It took me a over two decades to even be able to calmly discuss my experience with Jimson weed (and with other psychedelic drugs). Prior to those over two decades, when and if I tried to discuss such, I would become agitated and start to feel I was on a bad trip. I would even have to leave discussions when other people began to discuss their daze of "getting high." (Their experiences never included Jimson weed.)And, certain scenes in movies...I'd have to dismiss myself as well.

At the time, I never told folks who were present the real reason I needed to leave such conversations or movie scenes.

Now, at 51 years old, over three decades later, those daze seem like another life time.

Sounds like you are doing o.k. with moving through the haunting.

And yes, I also understand the "fascination" aspect.

I have various memoir-type pieces written about some of those daze of experimentation. I'm sure you would be able to read between the lines. ;-)

If interested, you can read some of them at the link:
drug abuse search - toss & ripple.

And I'd be glad to discuss the subject if you'd like to. Just let me know. :-) You can privately contact me via Twitter here: @1person.

Thanks again Dom. :-)

To life...