Archive for December, 2017

Today four below zero, with a low of negative fourteen.

Tomorrow, seven below, with a low of negative twenty-two.

Shivery-braille-of-goosebumps-rising-under-three-fleece-blankets-in-the-morning cold.

A sandwich your chilled lunchmeat of self with a heating pad in back, the hot toasted breath of a space heater in front, garnished and condimented with four pudgy cats kind of cold.

Car-battery-dying-a-quiet-death-in-the-middle-of-dinner cold. Frozen blue corrosion like a blueberry slushie spilled around the battery cable terminal.

Cold snap means a heaving lake of ice tinkling a song of clear glass wind chimes and broken champagne flutes.

The nylon of your down coat crackles like brittle sheets of aluminum foil.

The cartilage inside your nostrils stiffens to hard cold rubber.

Your blood slows, your thoughts turn sluggish and you misplace your phone, despairingly search through the alley trash, raw and pink as any unfurred thing in the snow.

So much ache and sting; this numb, stale freezer burn.

Such a brutal hostage taking: this confessional spill of the body’s most intimate heat and light, this non-consensual vulnerability.

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Che Vuoi???

For the past month, in my Panda Planner, under “passion project” I’ve been writing down “Resurrect Blog???” I’m not sure what’s up with the question marks . . . perhaps it has something to do with too-many ongoing priorities, the constant feeling of overcommitment and overwhelm, the coming to terms with dwindling reserves of energy. Yet I’ve been stubbornly writing it down every week as something I want to do for myself: something I want to do for myself as a writer, as a person.

The question marks, though. They seem a little bit wistful to me. So much of 2017 has been conducted in Emergency Crisis Mode. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and surgery in April. Eight weeks post-surgery having to return to Wyoming to help my elderly parents (after they stopped speaking to me three years ago, following the publication of my book, Dandarians), followed by a mad dash back to Vermillion several days before the fall semester started  to hit the floor running in the most ungraceful possible way for a busy and chaotic semester: behind, unprepared, stressed, tired, preoccupied, cancer experience completely unprocessed.

At the time, I felt that the late start was worth it, though, because I thought that I’d managed to get things squared away for my parents well enough that they would at least be in a temporarily safe holding pattern: house much cleaner and in better working order, adaptive equipment purchased, contractor hired to make accessibility renovations, home healthcare in place. After my father returned home from the care center, though, where he had spent the summer rehabbing a broken hip, my parents immediately began refusing their home healthcare services, and in a matter of weeks, everything came unraveled: my father was driving again against doctors’ orders, my parents were both losing too much weight, they were having trouble with meals and bills and dates and prescriptions, failure to thrive, failure to thrive, failure to thrive.

My father went back into the hospital in early December, is now back in the care center, and my Japanese mother’s alone in the house again for the second time in their 62-year marriage. On top of a constant clusterfuck of professional commitments and deadlines, there’s now a veritable tsunami of daily problems that need to be solved: legal, financial, medical, domestic.

I’m the only child, and also now the only one in the family who currently has the capacity to think clearly, and it feels lonely.

Facebook feels hollow and lonely, too, in certain ways. I miss the potential for nuance, for complexity, that seems more possible in the blogosphere.

Resurrect blog???

I think of the ways in which blogging played a role in the genesis of my third and fourth books of poetry. Of the ways in which blogging helped me to write my way into becoming a budding essayist. Of the ways in which blogging was so formative to creating a sense of writerly/poetic community during times that I felt isolated or lonely in the SoDakian Tundra.

Everything right now feels so ???: the constant hideous uncertainties and instabilities perpetrated by a cruel and corrupt administration, ever-looming ecocide, coming to terms with one’s parents’ mortality, coming to terms with one’s own mortality.

Maybe the tentativeness of Resurrect blog??? is about feeling simultaneously embroiled in a flurry of overcommitment and hopelessly stymied/paralyzed. Feeling overstimmed to the point of numbness. Like the helicopter-wing thrum of dragonfly wings stilled in amber.

And it’s not that I wish for certainty, which strikes me as being much too rigid, and inflexible, anyhow.

Maybe I just want more quiet space to articulate my own ??? Or perhaps to see if any of you are feeling ??? as well. Or to hear possible responses to this sense of ???


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