Saturday, October 31, 2020

The sea is so big

Did I tell you that Oliver surprised me by coming home for a week? He did. It was so wonderful to lay eyes on that face, and I even hugged him. He's gone again -- back to Arizona -- and I'm feeling that strange melancholy that besets us when our loved ones leave or we leave them. 

How is everybody doing? You can be honest because I will, too. I'm not doing so great. I'm actively trying to do all the things that ease the mind and calm the spirit and give perspective and maintain equanimity and count your blessings and do for others and look outward and create in the face of fuck (as my friend Lidia Yuknavitch) says, but I went for a short walk to the CVS to pick up Sophie's poison and passed a dirty guy lying on the sidewalk next to his tent in what appeared to be savasana pose a grin as wide as his face his eyes closed. The CVS, like a lot of stores in my neighborhood is all boarded up in anticipation of the Day After the Election when, I suppose, extremists from any group might be out marauding. Speaking of extremists, yesterday, I passed a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and boys. They were dressed in their usual religious garb but also sported masks with TRUMP emblazoned across them. Strange bedfellows, I thought to myself and my tiny little mother mind™ mused on the concept of modesty which I'd experienced during my days teaching English literature to an ultra-religious Jewish sect earlier in the year. I wore the stockings and the long skirts, covered my clavicle and my elbows and my knees,  even when bent. Men of the faith, apparently, are able to sport the moniker of a grotesque con man who mocks disabled people and grabs women by their pussy, though, and it's like being Gulliver these days traveling through the streets both literally and figuratively of Terrible America, the arrogance and laissez-faire and people getting back to normal lamenting how Halloween is so different this year it's so hard for the children and on and on and yes, I know it's grief and loss and all of it is hard and even relative but really?

 "It is coming into election week in the U.S. I am here, on this side of the Atlantic, looking at the other side of that ocean. So much has happened in the sea between us: ships shipping enslaved people, hungry people, desperate people; ships going to a land they called uninhabited from a Europe that prefers to forget its history. As I think about how reparations and justice can be enacted, I’m reminded of an old Breton prayer: God help me, because the sea is so big and my boat is so small. "

Pádraig Ó Tuama
host of Poetry Unbound


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

On Repeat


(I sat down and wrote
The best words I could write
Turn, turn, turn again
Explaining to the judge
I’d be there on Wednesday night
Turn, turn to the rain
And the wind)

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

What it's like to be afraid

What's it like to face death every night? you ask. What exactly is it like I ask myself. Tonight. Every night, almost. Every time Sophie has a seizure. Every morning when I go to her room that short walk down the hallway to her room. Will she stop breathing in the interval between my comforting my attendance and my stance at the sink rinsing the syringe clear of the syrup (poison) I've shot into her day night day night day night day night day night day night day night day night. Will she have stopped breathing in the night and lie warm or cold in her bed? This is not morbid. I am not a soldier. The things I carry. What's it like to face death every night? you ask. What exactly is it like? I ask myself. I am not a soldier. I carry nothing but a syringe, a couple of pink pills, a white capsule, a cup of juice diluted with water. No arms but my own. I am not a soldier Sophie is not a warrior and this is not a battle. What's it like to face death every night? you ask (you have never asked). It's a song may the long time sun her gray face turned pink shine upon you my finger at her wrist all love her pulse furious surround you my hand at her brow and the pure light it's okay it's okay within you over and over guide your way on. It's the water rushing through the syringe at the sink afterward my head tilted. I am not a soldier Sophie is not a warrior and this is not a battle. I'm thinking not of crosshairs my perspective is the narrow tunnel of the hall the bed at the end and her small form. Focus.

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