Missing America

miss america 24

1924 was a good year, just look at how the roaring ’20 saved fabric…Susan B. Anthony legacy would be cemented on August 24th, 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Why ’24 over the other years though?

  • Lenin died.
  • The first gas chamber execution. Skip O’Hare. went ahead in Las Vegas which coincided with Bob’s all you can eat chili smothered burrito night and the Edison funnel, deemed a failure after Mr. O’Hare merely vomited everywhere. Instead he electrocuted an elephant again, to fall on Mr. O’Hare. Due to a bum leg ligament, Franz, the elephant fell into the crowd, killing 7 onlookers. The sick Skip O’Hare demanded a new trial on the 7 latest victims and would live another 14.8 years.
  • Hitler is sentenced to 5 years fir his role in Beer Hall Putsch, serving only 5 months.
  • J.Edgar Hoover becomes head of FBI.
  • George Mallory slowly became a human Popsicle, sadly before Sal. the shaved ice guy from Philly could douse him in cherry syrup.
  • Native Americans are granted US citizenship if born within the USA….not a joke.
  • My favorite: Toastmasters is founded.
  • First Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is held.
  • Dec 30th, Canada craps out a hockey team, and calls it the Boston Bruins.

What does any of this have to do with Miss America 1924? Ruth Malcomson  was from Philadelphia…and she WON! Modern miracles do happen.

Miss America 1924 - Ruth Malcomson (2)

Miracles happen. I need one but fact of the matter is God went above and beyond in my case of them.

those knees tho

Between miracles though we have these bookends, the above: Those bare knees. Hearts race, the quicken pulses producing a faint dew of perspiration of men everywhere within eye contact of this vixen from 1921 and below:


Sacajawea’s cousin Sits on Hay (©1931) finishes a disappointing 43rd. One judge commented her outfits were nothing but “harlot” quality all night long.

She faded off into obscurity, and that was alright for her.

A friend told me something the other day that made it easier- “you hsve a legacy, on these blogs, and the memoirs. Michael, they are incredible, their word, your experiences, those things have helped people get through things. That God saved your junkie ass alive along enough to finish is many things, a miracle for you, a blessing for us.”

People tell you something like that and it’s impossible to not be amazed, to be humbled and honored. I did it right this time around, and while the cancer thing certainly qualifies as in need of a miracle for healing, my heart has rejuvenated, and my soul fully mended. For those gifts, what can I even say? The goodness inside of me, that chunk o’ God inside us all- grace allowed me to sweep the wreckage away from it, while I mended a lot of it, I needed a friend here to rehabilitate my ego, another to resuscitate my connection with Him, while others alleviated the pain I created.

The miracle has so many facets, so many players involved, and seemingly from all of the randomness comes an order. How else do you explain any of my beautiful life, a life I endeavor to keep being thankful with each new day. One more chance to give back. For all of you who took the time to read this, thank you- there’s one miracle in itself, you made it through the whole thing.

PEACE and Love,


Cancer Diaries: What is That Creeping Behind Me?


Angels represent refined earthly wants and desires, and that allows writers to slap “pure” in front of just about any word to heighten its sense of value and universality.

Truths…those absolutes that play out the same way, over and over in life.  Not everyone is going to pay taxes, so that cuts the cliche down to 50%, and really, Michael Jackson is still alive in so many of our hearts, music turned into data or perilously preserved in vinyl grooves, so is even death a certainty?

Legacies…memories with the brain’s Play button pressed in someone’s head, somewhere, right this minute. Since I just wrote it, I’m thinking about seeing him a few nights ago, on a Motown tribute concert, singing Billie Jean, all those sequins refracting light, the one glove, and of course, those dance moves. Because you just wrote it, you’re thinking about him right now too, but maybe you don’t like his music, maybe you think him having Mr. Bubbles the chimp for a pet was inhumane, but MJ left many marks.

MJ…I hear it, I think Michael Jordan. Just my most popular internal search result. The man was the flat out the best to ever play the game. His competitive spirit the thing that should be envied, from playing baseball and gambling, to out-dunking Dominique back when the NBA mattered.

Add up those first 4 paragraphs, you obviously reach the sum of MFJ, the author of this blog, me, physically being consumed by cancer, an unknown quantity of numbered days remaining, who values the one sole truth of love being the answer, and wanting to leave that mark on someone in this world.

I mean clearly, that’s the inside picture from my exact thought process- as one word suggests the next in sequence, albeit my order. A progression where I am denying a very important certainty, we all die. The difference is- I know my time is just about up. Doctors tell me this and the searing pain in my chest remind me there just might be some veracity in their claims, proving they are indeed fortune tellers. Tomorrow there might be a radical discovery curing all malignancies, because a team of doctors have been in the Amazon (which, in this rare case, is NOT a vast place of consumerism, where you can buy Shoestring Theories), find that the feces from a rare moth larvae pulls the plug on this unchecked cellular aggression. That or God is sick of my fucking ‘Cancer Diaries’ blogs.

Bingo Michael.  Enough is enough. I mean, I have given you the PERFECT opening to reignite the halcyon days of Tinderfish, OurTinderTime.com, – that collection comedic genius- that was pure (<- see what I did there?) sophomoric humor at its most sublime. So, you’re going to wrap this blog up, and go edit your Tinder profile:

Ladies, I respect your honesty: that you are not on an app that brings people together based on solely on attraction to fuck and have one-night stands. That somewhere in those right swipes, love blooms. I really want that too, but I have terminal cancer. Do you think we might be able to wave that rule you have  though, because I’m dying – and I know Vanessa Williams is on the money, because I want to Save the Best for Last too.

Enough God, I will not stoop to that level or shut up about my illness. I mean, you’re the one who writes this story line, so at least let me fill in the some of the blanks. That people in similar situations can share exactly how some of this feels, that type of sharing is vital.

I’ve become obsessed with my phlegm. Is that a fleck of red in there? Is that some of my once healthy lung? What exactly is happening on my insides and more importantly, this- you gave me so many shots at dying before- is a shitty way to take me out. I mean it-why did you waste all the time from even my last overdose in 2014 to now. It could have just ended then. My guardian angels would have gotten some extra time off, or re-assigned to someone who had enough to offer he wasn’t just killed off 2 years later.

I am angry. I am sad. Both because I am scared.

I shouldn’t be mad, I should be celebrating life. But I’m in my own panic.

I’m sick of this.

I can’t fall asleep because I might not wake up.

And well, I have more shit to accomplish.


I’m invested in Star Wars– I have to make it to 8 & 9. Give me that. A legacy. That humor deflects, it never changes the truth. The greatest truth in life- love, for my fellow human being- that is pure. That is joy, to help another human being, to unknowingly pull someone back from the edge so that one day, their faith outweighs their fears, and something beautiful is created.

Never stop living Michael. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t become paralyzed. Be grateful. Be kind. There’s work to be done.

Peace & Love,

Cancer Diaries: Afraid to Sleep?

vintage nurse

Mitt Romney, paraphrased at the 2012 Presidential debates, said something like, The emergency room can provide adequate health care to those who don’t have health insurance. Yeah Mitt, you’re deadly wrong.

A little history as to what I am calling Mt. Cianflone (elev 4.12825″ above sea level), i.e. the chondrosarcoma on my chest.

PLEASE NOTE: I’ve not seen scan images, but being a formal health professional, I don’t want to since it is easier to live in naive bliss. Plus, my imagination can get a brief workout, as I am confident Michael Jr. is none of the following: It is NOT the leftovers of my long lost twin I  only partially consumed in utero.  Nor is it the accumulation of Swedish fish and Five Guys’ burger ‘juice.’ It does not deflate when poked with a safety pin or syringe.

What it is though: I was born with what my family called bone spurs, one of which was under my left armpit. Dormant since birth, this calcified lump suddenly erupted about 5 years ago, becoming built up little by little, until it became a noticeable entity. It looked like I could only afford one boob in an augmentation, and this surge in growth I blamed on the Fukushima reactor meltdown. I was also getting very high at the time, a few years into a ‘this time it will work,’ multi-year love affair with heroin. I knew it was there, I certainly understood that it was a tumor of some kind, but that is where my curiosity ceased.

By the time I added cocaine to the routine, another year or so had passed, and it had grown noticeably. (Another shameless plug ALERT: Shoestring Theories (BUY ME) in fact begins with a trip to West Palm hospital. which is where I had this mass first scanned. I was told it was an osteochondroma, a benign bone tumor. However, if it grew in the future, I needed to get it checked out. It grew, I didn’t have it checked out. It stopped growing, then it made an attempt to really gain some attention, or finally make me pay it some mind.

Why I had avoided this for months:

  1. It was benign, I would get it cut out when it physically bothered me.
  2. I was fairly new in recovery, and didn’t feel I was ready for major surgery, the pain, and the pain killers.
  3. No insurance, if I could just make it til January 1st, I could afford this and not just be swept along from one cancer place to another.
  4. Couldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck

I was in a place that even missing one week of work would set me back because I was trapped in the Delray halfway house scene. Paying week-to-week rent, all that it takes to derail the locomotive is one unexpected expense and next thing you know, you’re getting thrown out over not paying the rent. Let’s just say, where I was staying, they were not flexible when it came to the money

All this has left me where I am at this moment, coming to an understanding that all the support in the world does not change the intimacy of my relationship with death. I have my good days, where my smiles are genuine. I feel it deep down inside- this path I am on has a beautiful outcome, be it survival or not. I’ve said it before, writing Shoestring Theories, if it reached just one addict or family of an addict and helped them get the truly awesome gift of recovery, then confessing all my sins was well worth it to help spur that change.

Today is not one of those days. The pain level is intense, every breath is a cacophony of high pierced wheezes that deafens as I close my ears. Days like this, where just trying to roll out of bed seem super hero feats of strength and mind control.

Worst of all is this new anxiety that attacks me at night- I am afraid to sleep. There’s this loneliness with sleep these days, unexplained, crushing. My eyes close but the lids are spring-mounted. Irrational fears hold thought veto control, am I afraid of not waking up? Or being startled conscious by sharp pain? Would company ease my mind?

I hope this feeling and I divorce quickly. It is absolutely draining, it’s soul-devouring and my first true ‘doomsday’ emotion. In the meantime, I patiently wait for exhaustion to take over. Somewhat ironic fatigue is lazy and can’t show up even on the same night.

Prayers please. Peace and Love,

The Cancer Diaries


Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. ~Socrates

Not feeling you right now Socrates. By no means am I arrogant enough to say, I’ve got this, it’s not my time. Maybe it is. It’s a weird position to be in, knowing you have to both be prepared that death is a possibility, and at the same time have to fight my ass off to survive. I hesitate to start a blog series based on this subject, I am not out to depress friends and family, but this is a recovery blog at its core, that every once and a while drifts from that center.

My diagnosis is that I have a chondrosarcoma that has metastasized to my bones and lungs. I spent 10 days in the hospital to find this out, and have spent the past few days being referred by my referrals. I’ve finally landed at the doorstep of a University of Miami orthopedic oncologist. UM is the best around, so I am excited and trust this is whose hands I am supposed to end up. What’s hard for me to get out of my head is the doctor who told me “It’s bad.”

Do it big or go home. My medical background is a curse right now. There’s a line in my first memoir, Long Sleeved Summers, that says something like, I wish I had bone cancer so that I could be an acceptable junkie. Come on God? Really? Was there a genie present when I wrote those words? What about my other two wishes? For those who don’t know bone cancer pain sucks. It’s a slow, progressively shitty ride to the end.

So the great debate, some people will not welcome me when I pick up 18 months, because a medical professional has me on narcotics. The doctor is well aware I am an addict. I am not a martyr. I am not just going to writhe in pain. I can barely sit up or lie down without them. I take them as prescribed and I am not looking for needles or crushing them up. Don’t get me wrong, it awakens those thoughts, because what’s the point right?

Wrong. Any fight is winnable, unless you throw in the towel, give up by giving in in this case. Heroin has always wanted to kill me, and circumstances went that it took the rather slow approach. 17 years is a long relationship, to spend with someone who seemingly does so much for you, some of you get that. When you get it though, that she sucks all your innate goodness, that she disconnects you from God, it’s not worth throwing that away.

There’s so much running through my head, quiet moments when I cry, let my guard down and understand life’s countdown just got a little nearer than is comfortable. There’s moments of resolve, that I’m too young for this shit, that if anything, I am a survivor. Then there’s the peaceful balance, what will be will be. That if I stay in that fit spiritual condition that book talks about, I won’t wast my time, whatever it is, that I will continue doing what I can to help the next human being. It’s not about me and my problems, it’s about altruism. I sat in my own shit for too many years, and I’m not about to do it now over something that is ultimately in God’s hands.

He has my back. No matter the outcome, he’s got me. That’s my comfort. I don’t think there is anything even close to that level of solace available, everything in its right place. Oh, and in case he forgets me, which he never has, I’ve got hundreds of people reminding him, and for all of that, I am thankful.

Peace & Love,

Procrastination Remedy


I’m dying, let’s not sugar coat it. Not in the sense we are all dying, but as in, I’m at the deli counter of life and fell for the Take a Number ploy. I’m in a line now and these mother fuckers behind the counter are moving efficiently. This never happens, what the hell? What I need is for some people ahead of me to not know what they want, to get some samples. Take your time Ethel, Boar’s Head makes a lot of  crazy varieties of turkey. Stop being so plain boring. 

Speaking of diversity, what do I want when it’s my turn? Maple? Salsalito? Should I do turkey and ham? That changes everything. Dammit!

This isn’t real, something happened to the script. Did I miss a re-write? Did that director feel some kind of way and have to have things unfold his way? Was I just a lot of back story that tested poorly with screening patrons? Pace. Things need to move along or people lose interest. Why else are there vines? We live in an ADHD world and I have something that takes a little longer than 15 seconds to explain.

I’m dying, and not alright with that, but the facts are what they are: metastasized cells in my lungs I can deal with, but the bones? That’s the number I have to take to get service, even if I am not even hungry. Some people asked me why I put a pocket watch and a skull and crossbones on the front cover of Shoestring Theories, so I’ll just go ahead and tell everyone- it’s a symbolic representation of life, for me. I’m living on borrowed time. We are all in a sense, just seems others take out a larger line of credit than I did; no, wait, I’m thinking I maxed out at the store of overpriced dreams, and spent recklessly on the most foolish illusions. No bank is willing to extend me any further, and my firebug nature caught up to me, there’s only so many banks and Indian (wigwam kind) payday loans out there to scam.

Live and learn. That used to apply, but the time has come to build a new bridge and hope that is spending the rest of my life and the best way possible. This blueprint is from the last lesson I learned, another taken completely to heart- a lot of people care. I had a steady stream of visitors at the hospital, a virtual flood of digital love and prayers, and private talks where friends and family don’t like how this blog commences. It hurts them. A leech on society and trust, now people see my inate goodness.

Borrowed time, because I shouldn’t be alive. 18 months ago I literally clawed and crawled  my way into rehab, far beyond broken, only fixable by the supernatural. God put the right repair men in my life, the best in the business, because I needed to let go, I needed to stop trusting the wrong voice in my head. I had to get well.

That transformation happened for me, not overnight, but it happened.

“Aren’t you pissed off God did this?
“Did what?”
“The terminal cancer Mike?”
“Why would I be mad at God for that?”
“Because man, you get clean and are just getting ready to celebrate a year and a half only to find out you’re going to die? Don’t you want to go get high?”
“No, I don’t get mad, and he didn’t sit up there and say, you know what Champ, let’s give that grandson of yours some ass kicking cancer.
“I guess.”
“Faith makes guessing non-existent. Seriously, here’s what God did do for me:

  • Saved my life. Repeatedly.
  • Have my family and so many old friends back in my life.
  • Brought a new, incredible group of friends into my life.
  • Freed me from attachments, which brings me peace.
  • Gives me exactly all I need every single day, the necessities.

I could go on and on, but this- situation- is not going to change my perspectives, it’s not going to give life to that sick voice that wanted me to suffer.”

I used to say I am one of the lucky ones. I am not, I am one of the blessed ones. Right now, with my diagnosis and prognosis, whatever, I am here one more day, and am going to make the most of the gift we take for granted.  Cancer is going to wreck me physically, but it is not going to destroy the peace inside me, it’s only going to strengthen and nurture the connection between God and I.

And those friends and family: I love you all. We’re going to get through this, and it’s going to be something to hold on to, remembering it for the joy.

It’s also gave me the title idea for this blog; it’s going to get me off my ass when it comes to writing.

Peace & Love,

Monogamous Prostitution and Other Love Poems


The process has started. If you have read any of the “Independent Breaks,” this is what it has become. Watch for updates. Hopefully Gabby and I can get this done soon! Oh, we need an artist for the cover. Inquire please, already know what I want.

No Shit, ‘Life Happens’


This chicken is my neighbor apparently. She did eventually cross the road, not to get to the other side, but to avoid a discussion with me on past lives and reincarnation. In particular, the question, “What did you do to live as a free range chicken in the 21st century?” I can’t be sure, but I think I saw a tear flow down her beak as she went clucking and pecking into the light of a rising summer sun.

There’s something I hear a lot in the rooms of recovery, “Life happens,” or its even worse sibling, “life shows up.” Really? Only a selfish addict would pretend life periodically visits us. It always seems to preface tales of present day problems. It annoys me. Life has been going on the whole time. For me, so many joyous times streamed by, now just dusty memories I couldn’t appreciate or downright missed, due to being enveloped by narcotic fog. Now that I am recovered, I embrace every day. I love that life is always happening.

Good and bad, I don’t use those terms. Life is a continual experience, a series of intersections, where we meet others. Some hitch and we take them along for the ride. How long they’ll be in the car depends on their destination. Enjoy the moments, the laughs, the opportunities to see the biggest ball of aluminum foil, and be sad to see them get out of the car. Some are with us the whole way, become part of our family not defined by blood, but by having my back no matter what and vice versa.
Others collide with us like a Silver Alert senior, hitting us out of nowhere, landing the car in the shop. While that vehicle is being fixed, we can get out and explore a new town if we choose. It’s a sit down in a diner, more lives mix, if I’m aware of the surroundings, if I get out and do. A great conversation with a stranger who is now a friend, every experience a teachable moment, a chance to pick up the tab for the less fortunate.

Too many sit in the waiting room, focused on the dents and scraped paint. They look at the estimate, and stress out. Recovery and steps are insurance, and God is a pretty good level of coverage. He’s got that bill. No deductible because we’ve already paid that.

Enough metaphors. Experience life. Being grateful makes me appreciate the small things that others do not have. Every morning I wake up in an awesome house. I have shelter while others walk the streets, looking for a safe place to rest their heads. Funny part is, I came back from Pittsburgh with nowhere to go. Weeks prior, I met a lady at my book signing, a complete stranger, that became a friend. Hmm…sounds familiar, no? She got me into the house. While it was stressful, I never doubted I’d have a place to live.

Life has been happening for a long time. Acts of kindness are everywhere, I endeavor to pay attention and help others. Moments of pain, times of trouble, I feel the emotions of those moments and absorb the lessons. They make me a better man. I don’t cry about those things, I cherish them. I grow from them rather than sit in the body shop of life, reading a 3-year-old issue of Time Magazine. Yeah one more metaphor.

Peace and love,