The death toll is rising. And people in my communities are lying to themselves about its lethality. They lie from ignorance. From fear. Living in a deep state of denial and hopeless despair.
The ones who aren’t lying share memes and try to be informed and they are wearing masks. Trying to do everything, to get everything right.
It’s heartbreaking to watch.
For me, it’s not the deep tragedy of the dying. Which I see. I feel. But it’s not what wrenches my soul.
I’m steeped in death. I know its grip. I know its measure. Death is the brother who walks beside me. Waiting to embrace me when I end.
We all end.
What brings tears to my eyes is all of the people who haven’t been had to form bonds with death. Who are lost and can’t see past this. They keep looking for the mythic safety. The mythic future. And set themselves up to burn out. To collapse. They keep celebrating momentary triumph. And each time tragedy steals back that triumph they break a little bit more.
They are not in a place where they can hear what I would say.
So I’ll say it here. For whoever is still listening.
Life exists in the small moments of joy. It is only in the ever present now that we are. That is the only place you can be in for now. Listen to music contrary to a bleak mood. Turn off the news as much as possible, their job is to sell fear.
Once you have done all that you can. Let the rest go. It’s extremely difficult to acknowledge the lack of control. But try anyway.
And to the Nurses and Doctors and other Healthcare professionals, I know you’ve been taught that you save lives. That is where your heart is.
But what you really do is give people more time. Sometimes there is no time left. Sometimes that’s another hour. Sometimes it’s the rest of their life.
You are burning yourselves up, trying to win an unwinnable war. You can’t change the battle. So you must change the objective.
I know how unhelpful this feels. Let it sit with you. It’s a hard lesson to learn.
I have been trying to write for over an hour. For me, that’s a long time. Usually 10-15 minutes and an idea or seed forms.
All I can think about is something I already wrote. Just this mantra, over and over
“This is a broken world.
But You are not broken.”
I may be broke. I may be damaged. But this world has not broken me.
I find this repeating in my head often lately. I find it’s more true today than when I wrote it. It’s like past me was reaching out to future me with a truth that I needed.
This IS a broken world
But I am NOT broken
Waking up every hour
Nightmares playing scenarios through my mind
Drink some water and descend into something so real that waking is relief
Thankful that I am peripheral player in each
But deeper past people I know until I breach some layer
And indelible images which make mock of decency
Play out as if I am a camera lens
Unable to act
Six punctuated hours of sleep
Six different nightmares
There is more sleep in me
But my endurance for nightmares is spent
Love is layered
Built day by day
Until the inevitable bloom of forever
Love is layered
Hurts day by day
Until the inevitable decay of forever
Love is choice
Made with care and deliberation
What we feel may be immutable
But feelings are not love
They are but a single layer
It is in the accumulation
In the choice
Where truth lives
And I write of love because we are so distant now
Steeped in love
But so far away
It’s a pain that grows
Briefly assuaged by words on the screen
And the need which gnaws at the
I’m getting super stressed. Not because of the quarantine. I’ve adjusted to that. Gotten used to working from home in a t-shirt. Prior to this, outside of gym workouts, I haven’t worn a t-shirt in literal years. I’m comfortable. If I’m having a bad time of it, I go and hang out with my cat. I go outside and just soak up the sun.
I don’t have any of the social interaction stress. I don’t have to put on a false front. I don’t lose 2 hours a day to driving to and from work. I get more work done. I enjoy my work more.
But they are making us go back into the office. Effective Monday, May 18th. Because Americans are idiots. Because “the economy” is more important than lives. Because they only know how to fight the last war. Because politicians care more about their electability than the people they are supposed to be advocates for. And because corporations only care about the appearance of what is right and not the actuality of what is right.
So I’m stressed and not sleeping. I finally crashed Wednesday afternoon and woke up at midnight. Missing my posting deadline.
I hope you are all doing better. But, I’ll be honest, I can’t see how it will be better for a long time.
Normal is a false front
A dream held out as tangible
Flaring to smoke when we touch it
Dreams make the world go round
But make sure its your dream of a better life
Not their dreams of another yacht
Which you buy into
Voting with your dollar
An American terminology
Even now I here it whispering
Not just products but politicians
Corruption at a level so fundamental
That it’s systematic
We two party system and vote with our team
Rather than with our conscience
And all the while they whisper
Normal is a new car
A new drink
A nostalgia trip designed to make you feel comfortable
Normal like it ever was
Normal like that is what you want
We normalize exceptionalism
As if yacht dreams were true
It used to be a chicken in every pot was prosperity
Now its a Tesla and smart watch
One feeds the body and keeps the mind ready for a new day
The other says more is the way to go
It’s that siren song of new and better
That dream of the future
We mortgage our present for the intangible
All while we are assaulted that this is normal
That the consequences of our reality are not what’s real
It’s all fake news
The mantra of the child
Sitting in the corner
Eyes squeezed shut
Screaming over and over
Who are you gonna believe
The man trying to give you a normal life
Or your lying eyes
Nostalgia is a lie
Normal is a lie
What was is never again
And the only way forward is with
Hearts heavy but accepting
Don’t allow yourself the cozy warm blanket of normal
It’s made of asbestos
The past was never the place we remember
Try not to forget
I want to say that we’re all in this together and that we’ll get through it together
But I find my faith in humanity has faded
As my contact with those people who make existence worth living has also faded
As the pure loneliness caves in my walls
I find myself seeing the self delusion for the bare knuckle fear it is
I see the desire to categorize people as other
To separate and in separation create the cult atmosphere of us vs them
I see the herd mentality breaking systems which were never envisioned to sustain assault by the herd
I see greed eat philosophy so much that the philosophers give up on philosophy
Instead calling out the hypocrisy of cloaks of gold draped over “common man”
I see rebellion fomenting but leaderless and rudderless
Just a stampede waiting to break
I see people living for a past that never existed
Yearning for a truth that was always built on a lie
Prosperity begins at the bottom not the peak
You ask me to drink from some stream you dammed
Calling it trickle down
While you swim in your lake
Too much for you to ever use
Too much even for you to invest in people and ideas
So much that even if spend every waking moment finding worthy causes, you still accrue more wealth than you spend
How then am I to ever get my fill?
If all I get is your scraps
This delusion that you will someday be rich so you safeguard the wealthy is directly making us poor
Burning our infrastructure for profits
Voting for less say in our own prosperity in the hope that those greedy enough to take more than they will ever need will share that prosperity with us
Delusion upon delusion
I once thought that in humanity there was hope
That the craven depths were outweighed by the glorious heights
That the predominance went to beauty
Sold to whomever promises magic beans to be delivered at some vague future date
And not today’s magic beans but from when magic beans were great
We’re making magic beans great again
Don’t you believe me?
I’ve got hats
Working from home and staying inside fucked with my head. I thought yesterday was Thursday all day. Which resulted in me not posting.
Everything is stressful and those things which used to be recreational are now mandatory. I’m isolated and it’s killing me. Emotionally and mentally. Not physically. I spend most of my time working or sleeping. I’m only eating 2 times a day if that and not even snacking.
The stress I thought I had handled ratcheted up last week when my employer fired not furloughed people like it promised. Now I and everyone are just waiting for the blade to drop.
There nothing I can do that I’m not already doing and being helpless is not my strong suit.
We stand as trees
Proud and varied
Close but still breathing
Nestled in our branches the edifice above
Creaks and groans
Held above by log and lies
The soft peace of a life without struggle
Ok is good enough
The sky breaks through
Once tall and safe
Shifting shivers bark
Fear begins to sway
Waiting for our turn
Waiting to break
Or merely to fade
As hope fails
As last light
And into the unknown
Shiver in fear