Theodore Berhanu Levine was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the summer of 1960, just a few months short of the disastrous abortive coup in December of that year. That adventurous beginning was followed by years of struggle with mental illness in Chicago and many more years in Los Angeles moving from countless hospitalizations to jail to vagrancy on the street and back again. Strung out on crack, Ted was 35 years old when he began to live the Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous program, and has been clean and sober ever since. As a child, he improvised at the piano an astonishing mixture reminiscent of Beethoven and rock and roll. As an adult, he’s known as “Fingers” and has issued a couple of CDs; he pulls out his camera now and then and continues to draw, paint and write poetry.
Ted Levine shares poems that truly reflect hope and exemplify ‘recovery.’ His life journey has included surviving the locked psychiatric wards, jails, seclusion rooms, being one of the nameless homeless mentally ill and struggles with the depths of substance abuse, to now; he gives the gift through his poems of the purist being of compassion and loving kindness. He continues to battle his demons; yet you will see in his poetry his human essence, a gift that most of those in the psychiatric profession know is within yet seldom is shared with the public. His is a full recovery back to his essence of pure love and compassion.