I spend a long day wrestling with love arguing with myself back and forth I am no angel descended from above Those undeserving of my love make me wroth yet my core argues that it still loves them and agrees their cruelty’s beyond the pale I snarl and cough and choke on bitter phlegm Defend my self staying far away and hale My core agrees I shall not tolerate abuse Forgive yet we despair we’ll ever reconcile They show no guilt nor shame for their misuse My core says let them be: she is so mild Negotiation done: Agreed. I may love those who I love But I leave contact with them to the angels and Beloved.
Heart of wood, by the sea
What do the spirits say to me?
His heart is stone not wood you see
And he’ll never come back, never come back, never come back to me
Tree torn from land by flooding water
bark and branches torn asunder
thrown back to the beach stripped and bare
bleached and dried lying there
grass and sand and stones on strand
I wonder how much a heart can stand
This doesn’t really fit today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt. I was looking for another photograph which fits and found this one.
I chose measly for the Ragtag Daily Prompt because there is a measles outbreak. Great. Another outbreak? Yes. Parents are behind on bringing kids in for Well Child Checks and kids are behind on immunizations, so measles.
Measles is way more infectious than Covid-19 and is spread by coughing and droplets. Per the CDC: “Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.” Read here. Immunizations are at 18 months and age 4-6, two shots. That will make the vast majority of children immune but not quite all. No immunization reaches quite 100%. Measles unfortunately can have some awful and serious complications including death. If your child is behind, get them immunized as soon as possible!
If some has the measles, the rash, they are measly. That is one of the definitions of measly.
Measly weasely You are so teasely Your heart has a rash Our friendship is hash You toss me like trash Your heart just smashed You are so measly Weasely teasely
I keep wondering if the earth is annoyed at the way people are behaving. Perhaps she has said, “Release the Kraken!” But the most efficient Kraken turns out not to be a giant monster attacking New York City, but Covid-19, influenza, measles and strep A. Invasive strep A is out there too. Having had strep A pneumonia and borderline sepsis twice, I very much do not want invasive strep A.
It’s the little things that get us, right? Viruses, bacteria. Measles is a virus, like influenza and Covid-19. Strep A is a bacteria. I had very bad influenza in 2003 that put me out for two months. I read about influenza and thought, oh, we will have another pandemic and in fact we were overdue. They come about every fifty years. My children heard quite a bit about it. My daughter said she wondered if I was a little nuts until the ebola outbreak and then she decided that I was probably and unfortunately correct. The only surprise for me was that it was a coronavirus instead of influenza. That and that humans behave in very interesting and often dysfunctional ways when they are stressed: and the same ways as in the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic. Logic flies out the window replaced by panic, magical thinking and rumors and people happy to take advantage of others. Selling fake cures, refusing masks, refusing immunizations and denying that it is happening at all.
I miss people at this time of year, only sometimes then I remember things that make me not miss them after all. That ambivalence. Love can be pretty complicated. Then I started thinking about what specifically I miss and then it morphed into this poem.
I really miss your hands: send them to me. Send your heart too since you don’t use it. You don’t see me or even look. I’ll take those eyes. I miss your voice: send your tongue and larynx. Bellows to mend, better add your lungs. You eat too much protein, I’d care for those kidneys. That brain is not too bad, I’ll admit. Ok, I’ll take it too. Those feet and ankles and shins and legs are nice to walk with. You really aren’t kind to your liver: I would be. You can’t stomach me. Hand it over. Most people don’t value their intestines nearly enough: I will. You chose not to listen to me: abandoned ears, finder’s keepers. You surely won’t use the bits that are left. Give them to me. I may not reassemble you correctly but it will keep me entertained. Piece meal.
The photograph is from January 2022, on the east coast.
“The band is invited to Arizona. We’ll be on the radio. And I am trying to set up a recording.”
She keeps her eyes down. Tries not to hope. She has time, she could take time off. She has saved so much vacation, hoping. They would have to have someone stay with the kids.
“It’s going to be a great trip. I haven’t spent anything from the last big sale yet, been saving it for something like this. I was hoping we could record.”
She is wiping the counter slowly, over and over.
“That sale was amazing, just when I needed it. Debts paid and caught up.”
She works in the local government. Steady. It gives them health insurance. Secure retirement. Nothing spectacular. She turns to the sink, to rinse the cloth. The counter is clean enough. She isn’t going to think about it any more.
“That is great.” She tries not to hate the band. “At work–“
He is behind her and hugs her. “You are so great, here for me. We are going in three weeks. February. Perfect time for Arizona, I can’t wait for some sun.”
She tries to feel comforted by his hug and yields to it, as always. She is silent.
“Now make sure you don’t let the kids talk you into giving them too many things while we’re gone.”
He kisses her head. He lets go and gets his guitar and coat. “Have a good weekend. I have to practice.” He is headed for the trailer, in the next county, alone for the weekend, to immerse in music.
I am reinventing myself now. After my fourth pneumonia, oxygen continuously for a year and now my fifth pulmonologist since 2012. He did not have much to offer. An inhaler but “We can’t be sure that it will keep you from getting pneumonia.”
Well. So with ME-CFS, myalgic encephalopathy chronic fatigue syndrome, now what?
I am at a fork in the path. At least three forks.
Try to do a micropractice, working with Long Covid people. Who either wear masks or I do not see them. I would have to convince the hospital district that it needs me.
Write. I am doing that, but really focus on it and work on publishing. I have so much art from my mother. She did not really enjoy selling it though she loved having shows and would dress up.
I could focus on publicizing and selling my mother’s art.
There is a trunk from my grandfather. I could focus on that. He states that he wants it published. Grandfather, you were a piece of work.
I could just lie around and travel and play with the cats and make music.
Focus on music. I have written a number of songs. Apparently being hypoxic makes me write songs. I think they are peculiar and wonderful too. Flute, voice, guitar, piano, bass. Hmmmm.
Something else. Who knows what will appear? I am doing art too, the two large sculptural pieces in my yard. A fellow doctor scolded me about one. It’s the one with a logging chain and an oxygen tank, attached to a tree. The title is “Tethered”. Now, why would a local doctor object to that? I have some small pieces too that involve found objects and especially feathers and small stemmed glassware.
Many forks! Now I just need more spoons of energy!
I have neither roots nor wings nor love. I lie: friends gather round to talk each day. The early dark slides over from above. No one to warm my bed, for no one stays. The dark creeps up a sickening horrid thief. I have no heart to stay awake at night. It’s barely five; why this flood of grief? It’s only in the morning I’m alight before the morning is even close to dawn. Wide awake I clamber from my bed. I stretch, the teapot sings and I just yawn and wonder why the night brings on such dread. I tell my friends that now I’ll date a tree. He never leaves and he will stay with me.
I try a little more but I am tired. I am tired of drama, trauma drama. I dream and dream and dream. I dream that my ex touches a live bat. The bat changes in my dream, from a tiny brown nose bat to a huge fox bat with fur and stripes. It is unconscious.
“Don’t touch it! You touched it! Now we have to take it to the Health Department!” I am eyeing the bat and thinking of throwing something over it. A container. It’s huge.
My ex laughs. “No we don’t.”
“Yes we do! Rabies! It could have rabies! If we don’t take it in, you’ll need rabies shots!” Poor bat, I think, it will be killed to test for rabies.
My ex keeps laughing. “I’m not going to be tested, I won’t have shots, and the bat is fine!”
“WHAT!” I say, “No, you could die!”
I wake up. What was that dream about? Oh. It’s about you, refusing to test for Covid after being exposed. You said you would hike with me. “Not if you won’t test,” I say, “I can’t afford to get Covid again, I can’t be around you for 15 days if you won’t test.”
And you go silent.
And I try a little more and I let go. You will have to break the silence if you plan to keep your promises. Will you or won’t you? I am supposed to trust you. But people say trust me, and then sometimes they are drunk, and lying, and you can’t trust them. “I will never hurt you,” is a lie. Try this instead: “I will try not to hurt you and I will listen if you feel hurt.” And change, maybe?
Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.