Author Archives: Jeff Opfer

About Jeff Opfer

Jeff is a carpenter and freelance writer born and raised in the Reno area.

To My Sons

My heart feels like a bomb from the pressure of my devotion.
As if it would burst from intensity of emotion.
When I see a game or book that in your childhood you knew,
tears stream down my face, thinking how fast you grew.
You’ve watched my every move, learning more than what I’ve taught.
I pray you don’t inherit the demons I have fought.
I wish I could give you everything, and spare you both every sorrow.
Instead I must trust from seeds planted today,
you’ll reap abundance and joy tomorrow.

If A(ddict)=L(eper), then T(ough Love)=H(orse shit)

I have something I want to say to the majority of people I’ve interacted with of late: fuck you. I am weary to the bone of being treated like a fucking diseased pariah for the heinous crime of being a recovering heroin addict. I’ve been in medication-assisted treatment for over two years. The clinic I go to provides counseling and other services, and my attendance there has reduced harm from my addiction and brought increasing stability to my life. I’m a fairly honest person–I’ve been open about both my drug use and my recovery–but I’m quickly learning not to be. I was stopped about two weeks ago for not having plates on my car (and my moving permit was expired by one day), and then I was arrested for DUI because I told the highway patrol dick that I was coming from the methadone clinic. I am at a stable dose, meaning the methadone I take causes zero intoxication, but apparently driving dead sober on methadone is illegal in Nevada. I told a family member about this when she asked how I was doing and she responded, “I hate to hear that you still have to use synthetic drugs after all this time (sad emoji). Wish you well (kissy emoji).” What an arrogant, ignorant, and falsely righteous fucking statement. I get it; you can’t help how you feel, but you can help what you say. Keep your fucking dip-shit beliefs to yourself, please. Imagine I told someone, “Sorry to hear you still have to use synthetic drugs after all this time” to a diabetic or someone with MS. People would come unglued. If you’re thinking, “Well they didn’t choose to be diabetic” then fuck you too. I didn’t choose to be bi-polar and prone to addiction. Why does one person draw compassion and the other abhorrence?

Okay. I’m sorry for all the “fuck you’s” and such, but I find it very frustrating to be constantly treated like a second-class citizen by strangers, by the law, by family members. The most intelligent people I know are almost exclusively drug addicts and alcoholics or recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. Addicts don’t fuck up their lives because we don’t understand consequences. It’s not a lack of will power–I’d bet dollars to donuts me and the addicts I know can tough out far harder situations than most squares. If I could explain the mechanics of the problem, I probably wouldn’t still have the problem. Please, if you know an addict or an alcoholic, try to dial back the judgement and criticism. You could never be as hard on us as we are on ourselves, and frankly, your tough love is judgmental horseshit. If that’s all you can provide, then please just be quiet, and leave us alone.


My Muse is the Sun

My muse is the sun
And the stars from which I was born
My muse is my breath
Through which I am awake
My muse is my mother, my sons, my family and friends
Whom I deeply love
My muse is my father
Trembling in prison for life
My muse is my pain
My muse is sorrow
Tears shed in years of silence
My muse is this pen—-
scratching on the page
whispering solace
My muse is the Way—-
planted in me with martial love
by compassionate Masters
My muse is the sun

Succumbing to Serpents

I reached for you—-
panicked
like a man sinking beneath quicksand

I lashed out in pain
no better than a wounded animal
yet trusting by virtue of
your steadfast compassion
you’d see my anger for the sorrow it was

Instead, like a viper you struck
fangs pierced my mind
venom snuffed out my tiny flame of hope
for human connection in
this reeking, mental miasma

I’d been there for you so many times
you’d needed a friend

Yet you left me to sink
Alone
into myself
clutching my snake bite
in utter disbelief
and despair

I survived—-
my belief in your love did not

Thinking Aloud

Let the Divine
move through the body
move through the mind

Let Love encompass all
banish darkness

Everlasting love
earned by living hard

Am I losing my fucking mind?
or is everyone else around me?

A Dream

Write one
right now
unbowed, unclean, unclouded
desire
like
Hellfire

Know I will find peace
in spite of
a life of
violent
emotions

The First Union Carpenter I Ever Met

Rebar skeleton
sinews more like high-tension 
  cord: tiny, steel strands
flowing together into a juggernaut of 
  leanest strength
Hard hat spun
like backwards ballcap
young rebels maintain the
heart
Whiskey-soaked Copenhagen
   fat dips that would
give pharaohs 
  the Spins
Daytime, hung-over, weekday
 clever builder
ingenious tricks make his
trade magic
Nighttime, weekday, side work, I'm invited
He pounds beer and
I with him
He's had more practice
  We're both crazy
 and we drunkenly 
         relate

He tells me about cocaine paranoia--
hiding rubber bands choked
with cash and eightballs in the walls
       I imagine his mind deafened with the ringing 
    of those cocaine chimes
       and the slumping jungle bass
        of his heart eradicating the
location of the caches from his mind
See, he'd become maybe too good at cutting out sheetrock,
 mudding, taping, and matching the texture.

Goodbye


Knowing your love of artists,
I’d draw you pictures
of demons, smack, and flowers
Foolish, love-struck
Crazy just like you

I fell in love with you
when you promised to stab a man
in a street fight,
and he took three steps back

A bigger, more broken spirit
I’ve never known
A warrior to the bone
But I won’t chase you anymore—
I’m better off alone.

3/9/07

I went to grab a piece of paper and randomly read this page from my journal, describing a hospital stay after my first son had a stroke:

We just finished capturing Sam’s seizure activity on video tape. We heard some bad news last night. The neurologist is leaning towards a diagnosis of infantile spasms, which is a bad form of epilepsy. We still don’t really know anything yet. I feel positive about the future. I don’t know why; I just do. When I came back into the room last night, Lisa was crying so much her shirt was wet with tears. I knew I was in for bad news, so I think I went into survival mode. Lisa was on the phone with her mother I think. My mom was there too, doing what she always does in crisis situations: remaining calm. She told me what Dr. Schwartz had said. I nodded and absorbed it, feeling strangely detached. I hugged Lisa, told her everything would be fine and said we had to stay strong for Sam. She said that’s what her mom said. She calmed down, held Sam, and started playing with him and talking to him. That’s when I lost it. I sat at the table with a glass of beer I’d smuggled in and buried my head in my arms and cried. I cried so hard I had to go into the bathroom and shut the door. I sat in the door of the shower and begged God not to take my son. I apologized for everything, for laughing at things I realized just weren’t funny. I asked Him to take me instead of Sam if he had to. I think the only time I’ve felt a depth of sadness close to that was when we first learned he’d had a stroke.

Please God, Thy will be Done                                     
Preserve my Son’s Health
Let us Raise him Happy, Healthy
Strong and Smart.

Amen.

That’s enough journaling for now.


To a Loved One

I love you.

Are there three words more misused and misconstrued? Three words more powerful? Three words that can wound the betrayed more grievously with their hollow echo?

I don’t know, but I fucking doubt it. I’ve never spoken those words lightly, and I’ve meant them whenever I’ve spoken them.

I don’t believe a person can stop loving someone the way you can turn off the light, despite how much jilted lovers and estranged family members might pretend. And I know time is a slow-won salve for myriad heartaches.

But Death has taken many of my loved ones, and because of that, I’ve learned that not speaking to a person close to you due to some petty shame or trifling anger (and almost everything is petty and trifling in the face of Death) might be something you’ll come to regret until Death welcomes you as well.

If there is something you should tell a person who has ever been important to you, please just tell them.