STAYING POSITIVE WHILE STARING AT THE BODY COUNT

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Venting frustration
Failed attempts at normal
But normal, escaped, is now
Free-range
Arranged on social media
With intermittent WTFs

 

I’ve overheated
I’m angry
It’s Florida

 

Housework –
I’ve ironed clothes that wrinkle
Wishing life and virus could be
So smoothed

 

A Grocery run –
New hunting and gathering ritual
Homemade masks to protect
From the angry uncovered faces
Staring at my NY plates with disdain
As if my name were Wuhan
Rather than Hot Mess

 

With five-o’clock wine
I watch the sunset
Tossing its diamonds
Upon the waters of Newfound Channel
Week five:
Quarantined in paradise

ON BIG PINE KEY:   QUARANTINED WITH WORDS

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     My words,

They’ve marched in on dreams,

Printed conversations with those

Who’ve mastered their form

They’ve fallen from my tongue in hailstorms –

WTFs after reading NYT’s homepage

     Today, I am stuck at the intersection of

“If only” and “Where to now?”

30 minutes ago, over coffee and sunrise

I knew where I was going

 Now, not so much

     We walk the dog

I look for the cardinal who had

Been singing his bright red song

For weeks now

He’s gone – beating the lockdown

Finding a mate who loves his music

     But I am still here

Quarantined in paradise

Wrestling with each letter

Clanging demands

Words; unheard cries

Unraveling the earth

Before it dies

 

 

QUARANTINE: Week Two

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Like our electronic toys

The world has a reset button

When we ignore her overheating

She admonishes with flames

When we foul our nests

She sends the oceans in retort

And when we ignore the world’s health,

Its inhabitants’ well-being,

Choosing to chase vicious luxuries

Because – we can

She sends the enemy invisible

The virus incurable,

Barely namable

Scoffing dreams and schemes

Our world has reset

An algorithm for stimulus

Six-degrees of separation

Leaves room for empathy

We leave food for the hungry

We drive the immobile

We care for the sick

We handsomely tip the daring

Souls who venture into the

Empty streets of commerce

Bringing food to those of us with money – to eat

But, the natural world wants us

To open our eyes

She wants us apart enough

To see those lives

That will never change – even with

A conquered virus

She wants us to see the fallacy of

Putting profit before people

She wants us to see those

Who have always been

Quarantined by poverty

In spirit and in purse

Yes, the world has reset.

Sadly, the culling

Won’t be equitable

 

Reset people

Reset!

 

The Beloved Monster

lake

Walking against the wind

Off the lake slows my pace

I consider the remnants of

The coldest February on record

The receding snow

Pulling back from last night’s rain

Leaving molded columns of

Autumn’s leaves

Along the road

Heaped dirty and waiting huge

Ice & snow mounds long since

Spent of fun and wonder that

Came new last December

March is here with its uneven

Message: promises of what might be

The patches of green

Slicing white winter

Mocking romantic winter havens

Warmth upended with

The old wooden mailbox

After the passing of

The beloved monster

Patron saint of the winter road:

The snowplow

THE POLITICS OF EBOLA: GOD’S PLAN, AND I TOLD YOU SO

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Last week I was stunned by the unkind comment of the stranger next to me as we filled a container with donated cans of soup at the local food bank. The comment came after a polite discussion that almost lulled me into dangerous camaraderie with this woman whose conversation segued from motherly pride in her daughter’s nursing career to her idea that Ebola is God’s punishment. “Whoa!” I put up my hand and responded with the usual; where was God when….(insert any historical scourge here). I pointed out Nazi Germany’s contribution to earthly scourges but, after a few days of contemplation, I know there is not much I could say to this woman and others like her who make their stabs at somatic immunity by volunteering in local food banks and presuming to know what God has in mind for believers and non-believers. And maybe my discomfort comes from my own questioning about a belief system that asks me to suspend belief in reality; a reality in which I live. The reality here is that Ebola is not new and as long as it stayed in some faraway land punishing others for being… well, the “other,” Ebola remained that terrible disease plaguing those sad people in that faraway land. Ebola is here, in our face, live and in living color (cue the hysteria).

We first-world (as opposed to third-world) inhabitants are quite predictable in our approach to life; we live our comfortable lives (some more comfortable than others) consumed with the daily familial and material concerns of the species. Oh, we read the headlines as we pass from one engagement to the next but no headline gets our attention like the local headline giving us the exact location and identity of the killer who has been knocking at our door for decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1994 Richard Preston introduced a generation of readers to The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, a non-fiction thriller that frightened even Steven King who, according to Wikipedia said the first chapter of The Hot Zone was “one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in my whole life. ” Preston’s book paints indelible images of people in the throes of hemorrhagic fevers and bursting vomit-bags of black bile on transatlantic flights. (After reading the Preston’s book in ’95 I have seriously changed my original position on monkeys as sweet and adorable pets). But Preston’s bestseller did not act as wake up call for the “free world”; shaking our collective shoulders and encouraging us to answer the door. No, it was not until the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, according to Slate.com, that serious research spending occurred at the behest of Dick Cheney whose fear of America’s vulnerability to attack by enemies using bioweapons (as if airplanes were not enough) prompted the Project Bioshield Act. And here is just another story from the file of tragic irony; were it not for the vicarious warriors – those men who fight wars with other people’s children – and their projection of retribution, we would be living with an even worse prognosis for survival.

It is Monday morning, our favorite team has lost the game leaving fans with nothing but hindsight to tell us that America has, once again, been caught deaf to the knocking of humanity. Had we listened to those doctors on the front lines fighting diseases (diseases that know no politics or religion) we wouldn’t be in this heightened state of terror. Had we studied the past, listened to our hearts, and reached out with all the atomic weight our country can muster (especially in times of war) to assist a world far less fortunate, we would not be at this intersection of moral chaos and panic. We allow the scourge of Ebola to continue by proclaiming it a part of “God’s” plan – a passive aggressive approach that did not work with the aids virus. As a country we need to read, reason, and understand. After reading the story of the Ebola virus in The Hot Zone we should have understood Preston’s terrifying conclusion: EBOV will be back. And so it has.

WHAT DOES NOT DISTURB

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We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric but the quarrel with ourselves – poetry     ~      Yeats

 

The hungry brat-god

    Squatting over a world

   Pushes his toy soldiers off to war

    After his milk and cookies

What would happen if

    The woman in his life

    Told the truth?

There are no Kings

    No Queens

    No rulers in the forest

    No language

    No plan

    No god

    Just nature

And its vaguely menacing

    March of days

    Blooming seasons in line

    With our attraction to ruin

 

THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

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Under the weight of

Human imperfection,

The world is perfect

It keeps spinning – faster in hopes of

Shaking itself free

Of our dreams and wants,

Violent footprints of darkness

Refusal to satisfy

A world where peace has not a

Prayer

Unless as heat

That leaks from the sky

Mournful, fiery tears

Burning in our ignorance

As we race blindly

Beyond the trees

Perfect with rings

Barking our history

Trumpeting our future

LOVE IN SPRING

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Urgency is consumed

By beauty

    Nature dressing

    Slowly leafing

   Nether parts

Forcing the urgent

   Lover to work

    Peeling her petals

    For nectar

That which

   Keeps the world

   On its axis

    Even as he is still,

    Cradled

    In her arms

    Face up

   Under downy-warm skies

 He dreams

    Youth tangled in nights

    And limbs

 Images

Impossible to share

Who will understand

    In light of fear?

 Consider:

 The world is no more

    A fearful place

    Than before

 Rather:

     We have grown

    More fearful.

Still he dreams

     Fearless

Nature laughs

Slipping into something

    More comfortable

    The mornings after

                                                                                                                                                                   G. Davis-Feldman 6/1/2014

Eugene Feldman: 1921 – 2014

Dad at dinner closeMy father-in-law

 Lucidity – blinking and broken

Has declared his life a night

A forgotten dimension

So fast

Where did it go?

92 years inside

The forest of human travel

Following the script

Of human hand

The hand that sent him to war

To love

To fatherhood

To the hearts of those

Who would wash his sluggish body

Wrinkled, tissue depleted

Immobilized by an angry destiny

And landscapes of untold design

And still he wondered why?

As the answer awaited at the forest’s rim

Where the path – well- trodden

Called – he is moving there now

Beyond that forest

To the open sky-filled field

Where the flowers will wildly bloom

In the spring of his step

Steps – light and inoffensive – like him

A child in this fractal world

Enfolding unto himself

Even as Nature reclaims him

Her son

Guiding him on that path

Swaddled in linen

Looking ahead in painless

Expectation