Fertile Soil, by IZ THE WIZ 1998
"I was having a hard time breathing and my heartbeat was irregular. I hadn’t been feeling well since Thanksgiving. Two friends from England had come to New York to bomb, but I wasn’t going this time. I asked my wife Kate to call 911. I got the emergency room. My lungs had been filling up with fluids, fluids that had surrounded my heart and caused severe strain. The following morning I was given a room and after being picked and probed for what seemed like hours by every doctor in the facility, I was diagnosed by kidney failure. Both of my kidneys had failed and the toxins that are normally filtered were poisoning my entire system. As I lay in bed, I couldn’t help wondering if I had just paid the ultimate price to be the best there ever was. Did over 25 years of writing do this to me? Whatever foreign matter I exposed myself to had to be filtered through my kidneys, and they had given out because of something. Was it the cement dust, sewage, filth, steel dust, or asbestos? Was it eating habits or the stress of everyday life? Was I addicted to spray paint? Or was it everything combined? It was time for a comeback, but not a graffiti comeback. I started to pray for the strength to get better. Family and friends were very supportive during these worse times. I didn’t eat solid food for weeks. I went 260 plus pounds to 165 the day I signed out. After being in bed so long I had to learn how to walk again. I started physical therapy and had to re-learn how to do the everyday activities all over again. I felt it was time to learn new eating habits and to be serious about it. I bought a book called Fit For Life, which still helps me with my diet. I learned the importance of balancing the types of food I eat. I have fruit for breakfast, a starch and vegetables for lunch, and a clean piece of meat and vegetables for dinner. I could go on and on about improper eating habits, but I’m still learning and improving. You don’t change 35 years of bad habits and addictions overnights. I’m not even sure if this is why I became ill, but I know it didn’t help. What I am sure of is that the medium I chose to express myself artistically and the sacrifices I put into being the best there did me in. That’s why I laugh at those self-proclaimed “kings�?. I was labeled the king by my peers, (the truth IZ the truth), but that didn’t help me my health any. I didn’t know I was harming myself by not wearing a protection gear all those years. Instead of packing a mask I took an extra can of paint. All those nights in Grant Lay-Up and other places, SACH and I would hit from Saturday night to Sunday morning, whole car after whole car. All those throw-ups in the mid-‘70s with Rustos, 120 throw-ups a night, minimum. That’s a lot of paint, toxic paint. These days I’m busy making this art form legit, but thank god that I can still paint a burner once in a while. Only now I bring mask and use it! Years ago, I used to think it was funny – blowing the nose two days after bombing and having cascade green, marlin blue, dune tan, sandalwood tan, red, purple, or whatever color I used, come out. You want to have a long writing career? Be smart. If you don’t believe me, BLADE about the high levels of lead he and COMET and the other members of The Crazy Five have in their blood. Eat right, take care of your body. It’s the only one you have. Don’t worry about looks, wear a mask."
IZ THE WIZ, The Master Blaster