re:verse : Edie Sedgwick’s “The Siege of the Warwick”

I guess I should call this, “The Siege of The Warwick…”

but, left alone with a substantial supply of speed I forgot that I was heavily addicted to barbiturates and I started having strange compulsive behavior.

This was after I was done, well, I was shooting up every half hour, every twenty minutes on the half hour, thinking with each fresh shot I’d knock this nonsense out of my system, this physical disability I began to notice, namely convulsions, which lasted eight hours, during which I entertained myself while hanging on to, head down, hanging on to the bathroom sink, with my hind foot stomped against the drawer, trying to hold myself steady enough so I wouldn’t crack my stupid skull open.

I entertained myself by doing a tape and making up five female voices, all different personalities – a really fabulous tape. I can’t remember the details of it now, and it was lost in one of my fires, but it was quite brilliant, I think.

At the end of it, when I realized that I had to get barbiturates in order to stop the convulsions, something was zingy in my head.

I just kept thinking, “if I pop enough speed, I’ll knock the daylights out of my system and then none of this nonsense will go on. None of this flailing around the room and sweating like a pig,” and, woof… it was a heavy scene.

And when I finally cooled down enough to an extent where I thought I was calm and cool and collected – far be it from the reality – but comparatively, I was in pretty good shape.

So I flipped on a little muumuu, ran down barefoot, taking the stairs to the lobby, and my eye caught a mailman’s jacket, and then a sack of mail in the hallway, and before I knew what I was doing, I whipped on the jacket, flipped the bag over my shoulder, and flew out the door, whistling a happy tune, got halfway around the block, and suddenly I thought,

my G*d! This is a federal offense –– fooling around with the mail.

So I turned around and rushed back and – bam: the manager was there and he just … ordered me in the back office, standing there.

And so I began to articulate it as cautiously as I could, and inquire as to what i might be able to be held for. Not one of them would answer me. They telephoned an ambulance from Bellevue, packed me into it: five policemen. I wasn’t much of a match against them,

and was rushed to Bellevue – which is one of the most insane institutions I have ever walked the hallways of –

I proceeded to tell the doctors, while I was back in convulsions again – which was really a drag – and I proceeded to tell all the attending doctors and nurses and students, that I was heavily addicted to speed and barbiturates, that I’d run out of barbiturates, and that I’d over-shot speed, so that I was in this state of confusion.

I could speak sanely, but I behaved… all my motor nerves were going wild, crazy, flipped out, insane motions, so I looked like I was out of my mind.


If you just listened to what I had to say, it was sane, but if you looked at me, you wouldn’t bother to listen, and none of them did. Oh, God, it was a nightmare…

finally, about six big attendants came and then held me down and put me on a stretcher and I … they just terrified me, just their force against me, and I got twice as bad. I just flipped, and I told them that if they’d just let go of me, I could calm down, I could stop kicking and fighting and being so terrified, but they wouldn’t listen.

And then, they started this nightmare, telling each other what I was going through, what stages of hallucinations of, you know, hallucinations, I was in, how I imagined myself an animal of a sort.

All these things totally unreal to my mind, and just guesses on their part … oh, it was insane.

and then they plunged a great big needle into my butt and bam – out I went for two whole days, unconscious…

it was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever been through.


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