Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair and Post-Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side – Rayya Elias


He was fourteen and I was two, the oldest and the youngest, the two that would always be synonymous as opposites.

My mother, for her part, became a seamstress, mending the rips and tears of other people’s lives as she let mine fall to the wayside.

At home, I got into bed with rock and roll in my heart and Sophia on my lips.

It was intoxicating and sexy, mind-exploding—it took the razor-sharp edge of reality and blurred it, turning the world into a beautiful, loosely rendered watercolor.

I was recording in the studio, and, with Lana’s support, I started connecting to my heritage. By having the woman whom I loved appreciate my culture, I also started to look at how my character had been shaped by my family and my country’s history. How rich and valuable my past was and that in fact it had made me who I was.

The drugs fed my broken heart, and my broken heart fed the need for drugs.

My life was like a garbage disposal unit: Everyone who came in got sucked into the whirlpool that ended in obliteration.

One of the sayings my father always repeated to me was, “know who you are, Binti, because this is where the foundation of your character is.”

Then came the rush, cocaine first, cold and bright and picture perfect with edges so sharp that my vision seemed neon.

One of my favorite sayings has always been “the truth has legs, it always stands.” This is my truth, and it may not be pretty, but I own it.

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