Negotiating peace

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.

_____________________

Sonnet 10

Wooden heart

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.

Weight

Sorrow weights my chest like lead: breathing
is hard. Today I can cry for a minute or so
and then that is over. Sorrow teething
tearing at me from inside like a crow’s
beak sharp pointed poking grabbing tearing
winter break approaching everyone goes
insane buying drinking drugging bearing
the cost into the New Year deepening woes
I miss the dead: father sister mother
Read my mother’s journals when I am ten
She writes about art and us and other
friends dead. Her voice clear again.
My mother is my age when she dies.
Her younger voice: memory smiles and cries.

Sterling too

I grow up with sterling.

My mother has a set of sterling. It is important to her. It is an emblem, a badge. She does not have as extensive a set as her mother.

My sister and I know the silver is special because of our mother. We like the tiny spoons best. They are silver with gold on the bowl.

“Can we use the special spoons?” we ask. For ice cream.

“Yes,” says my mother, smiling.

We run to get them, the small spoons, heavy for their size. Silver is heavier than stainless steel. The spoon also gets colder than stainless steel and tastes different. We eat our ice cream with our special spoons very happily.

We know that the silver is sterling. I don’t know what that means for a while. It means it is not plate. Plate? But these are spoons.

My mother shows us the stamp on the back of each spoon. “See? It says sterling. That means it is silver all the way through. Plate has silver over another metal.” She shows us the back of another spoon. The bowl has a worn spot. “The silver has worn away. And it does not say sterling.” We both study the two spoons and weigh them in our hands. The plate one is lighter. My mother is scornful of silver plate.

My mother is an artist and goes to museums. She comes back from one laughing. “They have an exhibit about homes and decoration. There is a room with tv trays and very few books and wall to wall carpet and a large color television. I thought it was so dull and ugly. Then I went to the next room. Oriental carpet and books and a guitar and no television and art!” She laughs. “They have me nailed. I am such a snob and it looked just like our house!”

We do have a tv but it is the smallest black and white that you can get. And my father knocked it over one night. Now the picture is cup shaped. The top of heads are wide and swollen. Neither of my parents care enough to get it fixed or replace it. They spend their money on art supplies and books and music. Friends visit. “What is wrong with your tv?” I look at it in surprise. I am so used to the deformed picture, I stopped noticing long ago.

Once we are at my mother’s mother’s house. My mother tells another story. “I found mother sweeping to get ready for guests. She swept the dirt under the edge of the rug! I said, “MOTHER! What are you DOING!” Mother just looked at me and said, “It’s a poor mistress who doesn’t know the maid’s tricks.” My mother’s mother did grow up with servants. But not here. She was born in Turkey because her father was a minister, running an orphanage and school. My grandmother lived there until she was sixteen and the family was exiled from Turkey at the start of World War I.

I give my mother’s sterling to my niece, after my sister dies. My children are not very interested in sterling. That is ok with me. Things change and values change.

I still have some special spoons, and think of my mother and father and sister when I eat ice cream.

___________________

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sterling.

Qia and the dark

This story is part of a series about a Balint group for angels. Balint groups are groups for physicians to get together and talk about cases that bother them. This often means facing their own biases and discriminatory feelings. I wrote this in January 2022. The current estimate of Long Covid is 10 to 30% of non hospitalized people. Which is huge and terrifying.

___________________________

“And really, it looks like at least half the population will get Omicron. The question,” says Qia, “is how much Long Haul it causes. If it causes 30-50%, like Delta, we are in serious trouble.”

The angels are silent.

“Do you think it will?”

“I am hoping for under 10%.” says Qia. “But of course I do not know.”

Silence again.

“Why do you go to WORST CASE?” snaps Algernon. His wings rustle.

Qia blinks at him slowly.

She thinks about it. “It is the safest place to start.”

Algernon frowns at her. Another angel slowly nods.

“If I start in the worst case scenario, I can face it. I have to think about it, work through it, plan for it. Then I can back off and hope for one of the less horrific scenarios.”

“You are WEIRD.” says Algernon.

Qia is annoyed. Her wings go bat and blood red.

“Word.” whispers a very young angel.

“WHY?” snaps Qia, “WHY NOT face the worst?”

“Most people never do,” says the moderator.

“What?” says Qia.

“Most people never face the worst. They don’t want to. They are terrified. They are scared. They do things to avoid thinking about it. They skip that step and just go straight to hope.”

Qia glares at her. The moderator smiles and her wings go black as pitch.

“We aren’t PEOPLE. We are ANGELS.” says Qia, nearly snarling.

Algernon laughs. “Yeah, well, some of us do not want to think about the worst either. That is Gawd(esses) job.”

Qia is doubly pissed off to be crying. “No, we have to think too.”

“Qia, I agree, but it is hard.” says the moderator. “That is why you have the job you have. Because you are willing to go straight to the dark.”

Qia has her face in her hands.

The angels surround her, soothing, and start to sing.

Chronic pain #I forget

The CDC has a new set of recommendations for chronic pain.

I will write about them. I have to read them first. Hurts too much, right now, the election, and all the pandemic fighting. Stress people and you see what they are really like.

My church has melted down into a huge fight. I was in a chorus singing instead of being in a meeting. Apparently there is a group that says brown people have “taken over” the national organization of the church. Um. Hello. That is discrimination. Does the color of the skin matter if it is a good leader? Why are people insane? I filled out a county survey on drug use today. I know we have methamphetamines and heroin in our high schools because patients have told me. But then I get to the race question. What race am I? I checked OTHER and wrote HUMAN. The race bullcrap is NOT SCIENCE. I haven’t done any genetics testing. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT RACE I AM THOUGH I LOOK WHITE.

It is important for medicine in that there is proven discrimination with less screen health services offered to “brown” people, whatever the heck “brown” people means. I wish the heavens would turn us all the same color over night. Or perhaps blind us. That is not nice of me and I do not care.

I am glad that this horror came out in my church. Because now the discrimination is out in the open. And the committee has sent out a message saying NO. We WILL stay part of the national organization. We WILL not give in to this discrimination. AND I SAY HOORAY AND BLESSINGS ON THEM.

Here is the new CDC set of recommendations for chronic pain: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/rr/rr7103a1.htm . You can read them yourself.

I read to this sentence so far: “Approximately one in five U.S. adults had chronic pain in 2019 and approximately one in 14 adults experienced “high-impact” chronic pain, defined as having pain on most days or every day during the past 3 months that limited life or work activities (5).”

Part of me is horrified and part of me is calm. Because pain is a part of life. Pain, love, joy, fear, it’s all part of our emotional evolved systems to survive, right? If God is love, God is also pain and fear. It is not a split. It is both.

This song is a love song. But to me, it’s a love song from heroin to a woman. One lovely day, a place where there is no pain. There will be pain on the return, the withdrawal. I have patients say, “You need to get me pain free.” My reply was “I will not get you pain free. Pain free is dead. Or at least, they can no longer tell me if the next form hurts.” In this song, “she won’t let on, that the feelings have got so strong.” Addiction, opioid overuse.

I took the photograph of Elwha yesterday. He is my relaxation mentor.

gently

I try to be so gentle with you
trauma drama boy

I know just what it’s like
though mine is not the same as yours

you run away, though
again and again

saying that you would never try
to hurt me ever

that is a shut down
really

since you disavow all intention of hurting
you do whatever you want

your attitude is that if I am hurt or sad
it’s my own fault

you take no responsibility for failures
as a friend

trauma drama boy, you run away
once more

and this time
I’ve had enough

This time
I let you go

Beloved bless you and keep you
for the days you have left

sending love
goodbye

silence

You are silent.

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?

Maybe.

________________

Dreams are funny. Fox bats ARE the largest bats in the world, but they do not have stripes: https://allthatsinteresting.com/giant-golden-crowned-flying-fox.