Been A While by Ian Gordon Galbraith

Here’s a slice of my life:

There’s a super moon tonight with an eclipse and I’m hoping we can see it but I love you enough to hold you close and then also to let you go.  I don’t pimp a butterfly, you know?  There is so much to write about.  the junkers next door who gave the dog urn that you use as an elegant ash tray even though it usually stands proudly on your desk like some grim chalice of unknown power.  There is the time we found the dog and we almost adopted him but his mother came and took him away.  Was that symbolic>  I hope not.  I like you.  You make me nervous.  It’s the best.  People have started photographing me, us, I don’t know what it is or what’s up but it keeps happening.  usually in coffee shops.  Doesn’t seem fair, shouldn’t that be a safe space?  People are strange.  I am a lover.  I am fighting desire and oppression I am practicing detachment but I love you all too much to give you up.  Is this the beginning of something or will my life finally end.  I’m twenty-five, they say I’m just starting but than again, I feel so much older than I used to.  It’s disgusting how much I miss you.  I’m never angry anymore but sometimes I don’t feel like… still I won’t give in you know?  I’ve yet to sit down and write.  I get poems out, or spit songs that could one day be good yet right now they still are doing the whole semi- sucking thing.  And I think about all of you back home and I wonder what you are going through, is everything alright in San Diego and Orange County?  Is LA being kind to you?  Will Newport make you feel satisfied and whole after a lifetime of insecurity and depression?  Does the spectrum pay you enough for the lifestyle you like to live?  It seems like you are always spending.  Mangos and ice cream, beauty products, cocaine.  Always the cocaine.  And then there’s you in west Hollywood and you out in north Hollywood and you out in Inglewood suddenly and finally maybe leaving for good?  Are you out?  Are you leaving?  Jack be quick, jack be nimble, I love you too.

What can I say what can I do?  I left my native land and went to the north to fight against something.  Capitalism?  Convention?  Maybe I’m still just at war with myself.  Hopefully not at war with love, feeling it, feeling fine, so good, so good, so good, almost, yes, divine, divine, amazing, ecstasy…. please let me be the only one for you.  But I forgive you if I am not enough.  It is enough.  I can stay here, I can move on, I can do both I can do nothing, let me sing you a song.  I can get better I will get better, don’t let me do no wrong.  Tomorrow when I wake up, let me be a better one.  Godspeed you me, godspeed you you.  I should capitalize more.  God is watching.  God is me, God is you, I am God, I am Buddha, I can do anything.  Those words from a cancerous professor who pretty much just hated me.  Said I tried to hard.  I tried to kill myself but not hard enough.  I am still alive and I always will be but you’ve got to outlive me because I really love you.  Do you get it?  Don’t give up.


Ian Gordon Galbraith


Excerpt from a Novel

                        How Harry Got His Fix

A Short Story by Ian Galbraith

            That one Friday we all did heroin old Harry didn’t make it out alive.  We were all hooked on the stuff except Harry because Harry had only done it a few times and the rest of us were just tossed on it.  I did it everyday.  My dealer Tommy did it every hour.  His buddy Calvin never stopped doing.  Throwing Harry into that mess was a bad idea.  Someone should have thought better.  I guess if there was a god he would have done something about it right?

            So we were there at Calvin’s and just shooting up and smoking cigarettes.  I felt great, fully loaded and floating down memory lane with Tommy.  He was saying it had been like forever that we knew each other and we were reminiscing on it all.  Really I’d only known that kook for a year but you know how it goes with dope, time just flies.  Harry was in the corner with Calvin tying a knot round his arm and getting ready to spike up a vein.  Then out came the needle and it went right on in there and Harry did not feel no pain.  He sank back on the floor and mumbled something about being the next Lou Reed before he started convulsing. 

            Harry rolled around on the carpet yelling and screaming like an animal.  I was too stoned and loaded to do anything at first.  We all were.  We just sat there with our mouths open.  Finally somebody said something.  Calvin turned around,

            “Guys I didn’t do it wrong or nothing.  Man I fucking swear—“

            Calvin was starting to get pale and sweat began to drip down his face.  He began to fidget with his collar. 

            “Holy shit!”  I said.

            “He’s dead.”  Tommy said. 

            None of us spoke.  We just looked at him. 

            Harry was on the ground.  A needle was sticking out of his arm, a thin trickle of blood coming from where it entered his arm.  His skin was turning white, his eyes were rolled back into his head and his tongue protruded from blue lips.  Harry was dead. 

            “What do we do?”

            “I dunno.” Tommy said.


            “We have to pick up the body and move it.” Calvin said. 

            “Yeah.”  Tommy said. 

            “The cops?”  I asked.

            “The cops can’t find it Tommy.”

            “Your right Cal.”

            “You know what will happen if they do— right Tommy?”


            Calvin walked over and took Harry’s wallet out. 

            “We’ll split this.”

            “Keep it.”  Tommy said.

            “Yeah man its your house.”

            “Your not going to tell anyone are you Ivan?”  Calvin asked.

            “No.” I said, “No man.  Never.”

            “Get his feet Tommy.  Ivan, get the door.” 

            “What about the blood man?”

            “We’ll get that later Tommy.”

            I opened the door.

            “Toss me the keys, I’ll open the suburban.”

            We hustled Harry’s body into the car and I felt numb.  I’d know Harry for eight years.  It felt like a while.  Time flies when you’re on dope.  I felt like he’d been my friend for an eternity.  We did the high school circuit together.  Kept in touch through college.  Shit.  I was the one he first used with.  Some of this was my fault.  Maybe all of it.  I kept my mouth shut though. 

I thought of how Harry had been asking how he was going to get his fix today, like was it a shot or a pill or was he going to have to smoke some tar.   I told him we’d figure it out when we got to Calvin’s. 

            Well he got his fix all right.  A straight death trip through the eye of the needle.  Fucking hell.  What were we going to do now?

            “Alright lets take him out to the desert.”

            “No dude that’s going to cost so much.  And what if we get stopped?”

            “Fuck off Tommy- I’ll pay for the gas then!”

            “Hey Calvin—“

            “Ivan get some tarp from the garage.  The blue shit.  We need to wrap him in it.” 

            “Dude go- go get it yourself.”

            “What’s with you assholes?”

            “My friend’s dead Calvin.”

            “Lay off him Cal, I’ll get it.” 

            We closed the trunk and Tommy went to get the tarp.  Calvin lit a cig and scrutinized me from behind his tired, sunken eyes.  Finally he spoke,

            “What’s your deal?  You think I killed Harry tonight?”

            “No man.”

            “You know I didn’t.”

            Tommy was coming back now, Calvin turned to face him.

            “You know I didn’t— Tommy— Ivan— we all killed him.”

            I couldn’t say anything.  I was numb.  My tongue didn’t move in my mouth.  My gums were dry.  Felt like they were bleeding.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest wild and erratic. 

            We killed Harry.  He had a girlfriend and a kid.  We killed Harry.  No one can ever find out. 

            “Fine,” I said, “We killed him.  But your finger was on the trigger Cal.”

              Tommy covered him in the tarp.  Harry looked like a bunch of camping supplies.  He didn’t look anything like a dead junkie. 

            “It’s gonna be like this, were taking him out to the desert, we’re digging a hole, and we’re going to burn the body.”


            “I’m sorry Ivan.  It’s the only way.”

            And that’s all there was too it. 

And Get behind me satan

Los Angeles to home
To home to cocoon
To sleep and dream
And perchance die
To home to ocean
The cool surf
Poseidon get your trident off me!

Get behind me satan!
I’m not here to drown this time
I’m not here to drown
I’m not here to drown
I’m not here to drown

I’m a log in a bayou
Just rotting away
I’m not here to die
I’m not here to Dance

Alligator get off me!

I stab that cretin with a scimatar
Some moistened bink
She gave it to me
Now I’m governor
Of pales verdes or something

The ocean shimmers in the night
Fuck off these stingrays!
You killed Steve Erwin!

I said get behind me satan!
I said get behind me
I said I’m here
I’m not here to die
I’m not here to drown already
I’m not here to lay waste

My avarice has become me-
No more
No more

Let the rust fall and corrode
And get behind me satan!
Put down your trident Poseidon
I am not your odyssey
I am not your homer to suffer
I am not your bastard prince
I am not your Jon snow
You may let me go
You may let me go

And get behind me satan