All Photographs + Text Copyright 2012 Christopher Keeley

I have a vague memory of my first experience of Marijuana. I was about 13 years old. We were in the Catskill Mountains, staying at my grandmotherÕs house. Dr. R had been renting my grandfather's fishing lodge. He had a son Michael R. Michael R. built a cabin in the woods. I was already addicted to cigarettes.

One night as we were sitting around the campfire, Michael R. and his buddy, whose name I cant remember made us promise not to tell and they would share with us something special. So they breakout a corncob pipe with some Marijuana.

Michael explains that the weed is going to make us laugh, give us the munchies and make us scared but that it will give us a good feeling. Now some people don't get high the first time they smoke. I got high and extremely paranoid, because we were in the woods, which were pitch black. The Catskills has a deep forest and the spirits there spooks even the Native American Indians that they never settled in the Catskill Mountains.

Michael R. would tell us ghost stories, like the story of the Midnight Rambler, Rolling Stones song about a murderer, took place in the Catskills. Also stories of spirits in our house and the haunted house on Red Hill. Also the story of the headless horseman.

The friend of Michael R. was from Pelham New York, and had these stories of being in a halfway house for drug addiction. He mentioned that one task was to scream so loud that you would break a light bulb and wearing degrading signs. I didn't understand any of this and never imagined that marijuana could be that bad. I also was already indulging in a little alcohol use and actually huffed glue.

We promised never to anyone about the marijuana and vowed secrecy. By the time I got to seventh grade I was smoking marijuana daily at Princeton Jr. High. I have some stories to tell about at Princeton but I now am getting memories of Uganda where my addiction completely progressed to all the time marijuana use.

In Uganda, I had a Swedish friend, Esbijorn B. who was about a year and a half older, but was placed in our grade at the Lincoln School. Esbijorn had no father and a liberal mother. He also had this Ugandan kid deliver shopping bags of weed to the school including a giant Chameleon that looked like a prehistoric animal. Now we would find regular sized chameleons on the coffee trees after a good rain.

I remember Esbjorn had this Frank Zappa poster in his room Zappa Crappa. I was listening to the grateful dead Anthem of the sun, American Beauty, Steppenwolf, Credence Clearwater revival, Iron Butterfly and Santana.

So Esbjorn was my best friend, and I got high with him. Every weekend we would go to this hotel nightclub and drink Waragi, which was Ugandan Rum and mix it with coke. I was spinning because I would consume about four drinks and these had about 4 ounces of alcohol in each drink at this hotel. We would hang out at the hotels during the week too and get high on the roof. These night clubs had these cabaret acts like fire eaters, sword swallowers. drumming and dancers. We were kids in escatasy because we were under age behaving like adults. The poverty and discrepancy in wages made us like we were big time because we could afford these drinks as kids. We could also fire up joints with no one paying any attention.

I remember sabotaging the pay phones because one of the four phones had a broken lock and you could slide out the tray that had the cash in it. So I disabled all the phones except the broken one with the tray catching all the money by unscrewing the ear piece unplugging it so no daily tone was auditable. This enabled me to have a little spending money. About two weeks into this Esbijorn was pulling out the tray to catch our loot and the tray was so full that many coins fell into the lobby floor making a notice that drew the attention of the bell captain and were busted and banned from the hotel.

One day were on the roof, Idi Amen was swimming in the Olympic pool below and I was dared that I couldnÕt throw my Yo-Yo and make it into the pool from the roof. I tossed the yo-yo and it hit the bar. I was an idiot because the barman and the pool staff knew it was my yo-yo because no one else had a yo-yo like it. I was banned from the pool, which was embarrassing because we went to this pool as a family and my parents had no idea of my activities.

There was an American family that was also staying at the hotel and they had been living with the pygmies. The boy was about puberty age and he had long hair. The pygmy boys were going through a circumcision rites passage. The boys would stay in the woods without clothing and food for two weeks before they would be circumcised. The American kid was in great fear because he was partially circumcised and the witchdoctor wanted to make sure he was a boy and if he were, he would need to go with the other boys into the woods. Now they couldn't show the witch doctor that indeed this boy was a boy because he was only partially circumcised and the witchdoctor would finish off the job. I found this fascinating because I was impressed by the fact that the parents were also smoking marijuana with the pygmies.

I also encountered my first hippies in Uganda. This was 1971-1973. I remember this one hippie that I bought a first class movie ticket for to see the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Shaft, or Little big Man. Not sure which. But this hippie was so high and I gave him a joint. This particular hippie had llond waist lengnth redhair with a beard and sandandals. I know I blew his mind being a 14 year old punk with some powerful weed and being American myself. He was probably wandering to the East African Paradise coast of Melindi where a famous known hippie community was being established on the Island of Lamu. I believe the hippies were kicked out of the caves on Crete in Greece and ended up there in Kenya and in Goa India. Now I could buy already rolled joints for 10 cents a piece and they were the size of a large cigar. It also wasnÕt cleaned weed, just rolled from straight buds, seeds and all. One person couldn't finish of these bombs.

The kid with the pygmies also turned me on to cloroxing jeans meaning putting Clorox on jeans thus making them white. I however didnÕt dilute the Clorox and when I cane back I had shreads with a button and zipper. The Clorox ate away my prized jeans.

Also in Uganda you got get ten dollars to one, meaning that if you had dollars the African currency wasnÕt worth anything and on the black market you could trade you dollars in and get 10 dollars worth of schillings for one us dollar. I didn't have any dollars but it good to know, as I was fascinated with the criminal aspects of life.

  • Chapters of the Paradise Life Book

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  • The Disappointment

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  • Three Nasty Letters.

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  • Hardest Laugh

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  • Thanksgiving weekend 1974, my first Acid Trip.

  • Instances of Trouble Two

  • Instances of Trouble One

  • Ride the White Pony

  • Paradise Life

  • coincidences 1

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  • journal september 1995

  • Catskill Mountains Photographs - Trees - Spiritual gathering place cultivating a heightened awareness of the connectedness of, and spiritual essence in, all things. A Journey outside ordinary time and space into a parallel reality.


  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Moment, Light and Sympony 2007

  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Moment


  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Light


  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Symphony


  • Georgetown glimpses of memory January Photographs


  • March on the Capitol to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 2007

    Washington DC

  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 1


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 2


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 3


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 4


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 5


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 6


  • Martin luther King Jr. Holiday Washington DC Photographs


  • Martin luther King Jr. Holiday Photographs Washington DC


  • Orlando

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    Orlando Florida

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    copyright 2007 Le Poulin
    © Le Poulin 2007
    New York City Angelina + Brad
    peace and love Edward

    New York City

  • Chris at the Argo Bar drinking a Tuborg soda water wearing a WaxTrax t-shirt circa 1991

    Sifnos Island

  • Looking in the mirror - Sara cannot see herself as beautiful

    Portland Oregon

  • Antoinette lost her leg while intoxicated stumbling and tragically falling down into traffic

    New York City

  • Three days after a Suicide attempt

    Portland Oregon

  • New Years Day Washington DC Photographs


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  • Selection of Favorite Photographs


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    -- HON. TOM LANTOS ( November 02, 1990)

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