Tempered


fomented, divided, abandoned, regained
humbled
we are still children yet

what will tomorrow’s trials teach us?
who will fall?
who will flourish?
what pain will bear
what art?

life does not get easier.
we will have days even worse than this,
enough to tear our souls apart.
unquenchable anger.
unfathomable loss.
we will bend, burn, bellow
and
survive.

if we can listen we can learn

emerging
from each successive conflagration
never victorious
but wiser, truer
more grateful
aligned in the sudden extremes.











Free Space

 

amazing
in this tiny place
enormous emotions

the stimulation is small
home is all we are
where nothing can touch us
safe

still we twitch
wage battles
wound one another
cry hysterically

when the chaos butterfly
flaps its wings indoors
the storm concentrates,
inescapable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Day by Day

Day #206: I saw a bug on the wall of my cell today. I named it Mercury, because it ran so fast. Can’t say I blame it. Haven’t seen it since.

Day #211: The moss is coming along nicely. I’ve broken it up and tried to get it growing in other parts of the room. The door-facing wall gets more light, really? I can’t tell, but the moss knows the difference. I’m becoming a moss master gardener. I could grow moss in any dank location. 

Lichens are harder to empathize with. 

Day #224: Scraped my fingers on the wall. I already knew that sharp rock was there. I’ve memorized every inch of this cell, and should have known better. I lost my focus because I got angry, having just dropped my bread on the floor. Must be more careful with my bread. Also need to be more cautious of sharp edges.

Day #225: Finger scrape might be infected. Washed wound, did the best I could with what I had. Spent all day not touching anything with it.

Day #226: Finger wound seems to have dried up. Swelling is down. Good, good.

Day #227: Scab peeled. I am fascinated. Can’t stop watching it heal.

Day #251: Moss has produced a single delicate white flower! Enamored. I sit by it all evening, until it closes up for the night. I watch it sleep. It’s like a friend.

Day #252: Flower fell off.

Day #301: Although I haven’t seen any more flowers, the moss is prolific. It’s cozy in here. 

Day #343: I’ve started to get a feel for the lichens, successfully transferred bits of it here and there for decoration. They’re not so hard to understand. Strong, strong, but brittle. They can endure the most brutal environments, living off of virtually nothing. Grow age rings, like a clam. They don’t seem to be doing much, but after you’ve been in here long enough you get a feel for their rate of growth. They live too, but in slow motion. Slower than trees. They prefer stone because they have more in common with it. 

Day #407: Been looking hard for flowers all this time, to no avail. 

Day #389: The mosses have been shriveling up, except for the few strongest patches. I think it caught some kind of disease?

Day #478: All the moss is dead. Watching the lichens grow. Funny, how I used to think they were slow. They’re downright entertaining.

















My Very First Poem – How to Find a Wife

 

Let’s go back, back into the misty reaches of my parents’ basement, to rediscover the very first poem to spring from the mind of a five-year-old. An epic adventure about the search for love.

Do I detect hints of greatness, even then? Or was it just sexism? Whichever it was, you can blame the classics.

 


 

How to Find a Wife
by Sarah Silvey

There was once a man who had no life,
He didn’t have as much as a wife!
So he sailed, night and day,
And would always hear his mother say,

“If you shant have a wife,
A soul shall kill you with a knife.”
His mother told him such strange things,
Like giant toads with devils wings.
She liked to give him such a fright,
And somehow convinced him his father was a knight.

He tried to show her he outgrew that now,
She still even called him her little cow,
But his real name was David, David Bough.

David found women miles around,
But none sank his heart down to the ground.
So he sailed on, and how many he found? None.

David heard from a crazy man,
That on the beaches there was sand
And on the sand there were pretty girls,
With goldielocks and golden curls.

So he went there and found it true
With pretty eyes, the darkest blue.

Then he found one,
And love was true,
With pretty eyes, the darkest blue.

Her name was Rose
Which fit her so
And her hair was made of gold
You know.

But all her beauty ruined her fate,
For all women she knew were full of hate.

She married David
Which improved both lives,
for other women knew men couldn’t get Rose
And David, of course, had a wife.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Finding new support styles

 

I thought I wasn’t the type to lean on people, but I found myself reeling when that support was lifted.

We are not islands. Why rely on yourself when you can make other people responsible for your health and sanity? They are usually happy to help.

Here is how I’m regaining my balance.

 

 

Old habit: running with a friend

New habit: scheduling remote exercise with a friend

 

I am not especially reliable, especially where exercise is concerned. Having made a promise to a friend is one of the few things that get me out there and moving, and I’m always glad when I have done it.

When isolation began, I really foundered in this area. I was afraid to go outside, I was too depressed to get moving. Exercise videos on youtube were a lifesaver. Doing a video alone is painful and grating and you’re relieved to be done. Doing them with somebody else on videochat makes it hilarious, and you want to do more.

Now I’m pushing my friends to schedule exercise time with me. It’s good for them too, they love it, I’m sure they’re very grateful (heh). Even just going for a run while keeping the phone to my ear and talking to somebody else running, is oddly comforting and connecting. We could both enjoy the beautiful things we saw outside, and describe them to each other. Proximity being no object, I can now run with a friend who lives in Kansas City who I rarely get to see. I have a feeling I’m going to keep doing this even after lockdown is lifted. I have more workout companions than ever!

 

 

Old habit: making cookies with my sister

New habit: making cookies with my siblings over Facetime

 

It’s nice, because more of my siblings can get involved this way. It’s fun to just set your phone on the countertop and get out your ingredients, compare recipes, show off your freshly baked cookies, eat them together.

 

 

Old habit: walking to a cafe and getting a treat

New habit: making myself a special beverage

 

It’s just as gratifying to sit down with your own cold-brew coffee or iced chai latte. There’s a little work involved, but think of the preparation time as a luxury. You don’t get annoyed at the work involved in drawing a bath and lighting up candles, do you?

 

 

Old habit: brush then floss

New habit: floss then brush

 

Yeah, this has no bearing on the topic. It’s just something that I learned. Apparently, if you floss BEFORE you brush, then the gaps are opened up between your teeth, and the fluoride from the toothpaste can get in there and work its magic. This assertion is still being personally tested by me, but it makes sense. Once upon a time, I didn’t believe in fluoride, and my teeth rotted. Now I believe in fluoride. I pray to fluoride every night, I perform the fluoride ritual, and it answers my prayers. In fluoride there is strength.

 

 

Old habit: eat all the bananas as fast as possible

New habit: once they are at perfect ripeness, bananas can go in the fridge

 

Yes, 80% of my coping habits are food-centric. Hush.

 

 

Old habit: spending an entire Sunday with my sister and her family

New habit: calling somebody at least every other day

 

In order to get the same quantity of people-hours into my week, this is necessary. If I skip too many days in a row, I find myself drifting.

 

 

Old habit: when the walls are closing in on me, get out of the house

New habit: turn into the woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper”

 

There is a squirrel in the walls. I have been battling it for months but I’ve been driven to new levels of insanity by its scrabbling and nibbling right above my head. If you see a crazy lady in pajamas stalking her roof with a knife, look away.

Headphones help. Fantasizing squirrel murder helps. These are not healthy strategies. I’m still working on this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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