Quarantine and Me

I pocketed a scream.
This ‘other’ within myself

rabidly watching the news,
pacing in quarantine, and

quarreling, and silent, and
eating the honeybuns, and

the sour cream and vinegar chips,
and the pepperoni pizza bites.

Infantile steps, tracing
the perimeter of the yard –

Hurried, humbling, dignified
dreaming of six feet

apart hedges instead of stickers,
in the grocery store aisles.

Admonishing –
never to have suffered, gone hungry

or homeless, or be without.
The penance of the stay at home orders 

mangles perceptions and forfeit denials.
Put away cell phones and turn off

the television. Sing and dance, and
be unburdened into freedom.

Sleep a little more or a little less
and the winds of anxiety

will change colors and
let the Lords will be done.

Essay/Review of the novel Night by NetaQ

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We think we know of the horrors of the Holocaust, but this first-person account is more than compelling. It captures you by the throat with such descriptive words, shatteringly normal words, that I find myself perturb and wished that the author and survivor Mr. Wiesel was not given those words by God to reveal his experiences. 

This book was highly recommended by a colleague. I was told, “you have to read Night right now.” I knew of the subject matter and decided that I was not mature enough at that time to read and not allow the narrative to overwhelm me. Now ten years later, I still feel that I am not strong enough to absorb this incredibly horrifying story. The tenacious, insidious, and slithering descriptors shook me to the core and occupied spaces within my emotions that I didn’t even know existed. 

I cried for the little boy, Elie. I cried for the mothers and fathers, boys and girls, uncles and aunties who lost their lives. I cried for the inhumane treatment and our deplorable and seemingly ongoing human condition to spread hate and fear. And, I cried for the German people and their enablers, who watched this happened under their very own their noses and their hearts were not moved and their limbs were paralyzed, and their mouths were seemingly sewn shut by their own hands, with neatly closed sutures made of primitive plant fibers and needles of wood or bone.

This historical account should live on in perpetuity. We should never be allowed to forget that in our humanness, we can love, and hug, and give life, but within our physical and emotional selves, we could also become polluted and excavate that ‘other’ part bringing forth anger, and fear, and paranoia, and hate, warping the mind and transforming us into painless apparations of ourselves, insular to our dialogue, seeds of negativity, and modes of conduct. That treacherous part of ourselves that feeds on depravity, ego, and delusions. We can become a society of erased dreams, only sated by death, lust, or greed: From human to the alien, feet running without gravity.

In his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance speech, Mr. Wiesel said,Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. And then I explain to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent when and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”

I highly recommend that everyone read Night by Elie Wiesel. Do not depend on second hand or third-hand accounts of the Holocaust or the sanitize internet snippets to understand this truth. Mr. Wiesel’s powerful and soul-piercing memories could not be written by just anyone. We escape today into the bowels of our microwave society self medicating to soothe away the negative and entertain ourselves into our bubbles of oblivion forgetting that history tends to repeat itself. 

We must never forget, for in the vestibules of our hearts, we are capable of so much more.

 

Writer In Motion – Week 0 – Brainstorming

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When I decided to participate in the WIM writing experiment, it was a daily leap of faith encouraging my inner muse to be brave and to believe in myself. I knew the prompt was coming, but could not have imagined or visualize such a beautiful setting. Moments of apprehension ensued. Can I do this? Can I write a short story of 1,000 words – reimagining, interpreting, or otherwise, the details or nuances of this picture?

My Process

The brainstorming process for me starts with that familiar feeling that takes hold of my mind and body, imagining myself becoming – another me, a character, an object, a deity, an apparition.

The image depicted with its otherworldly glow, dark and bold and shadowy greens, spectral mountain ranges, shrouded trees, undergrowth, with bursts of light white flowers – all setting the stage, illuminating a structure, against a placid skyline – intrigues the senses. 

How does it make me feel?

The emotions evoke thrills my senses. My gaze is captivated by the distant echoes of the mountains, yet my feet sink into the brush, the undergrowth, my hands caress the limbs of trees, and the satiny leaves smooth and velvety to touch. My senses parse the details.  

Do I want to be there? What would it feel like? Would it feel cold, hot, humid? Would I see only dark, gloomy, or aggrieved circumstances in a blight infested coverage? Or would it be a feast for my senses, a buffet of nature’s best courses? 

Would my ears hear the torment or laughter of the crickets, battling bullfrogs, or the mating calls of insects, musical, comparing them to the lyrical cadences of Reggae or the Beatles, or the foot-stomping Soca rhythms? 

Would my nose discern the different scents that permeate – the dank dirt, mosses with that weather-beaten rain scent, or some honeysuckle or peppermint geranium, hoarding secrets in the undergrowth.

Would I feel comfortable just standing in the rain, soaked, arms out in praise, face upturn, and welcoming the drops with tongue outstretch? 

Could I be renewed in a place such as this?

Gain energy from the elements, the purity, sanctity of this space, regain a part of myself, be nourished… or would visiting this place be the impetus to seek revenge, gather for the coming storm, sow seeds of further discontent, or depressed to diminish.

Who, What, When, Where, Why?

My characters are now taking form in my head – a couple – with problems of course – conflict – human vs. human, human vs. nature, human vs. self. A midlife crisis? This time last year I visited Canada. What about the undeniable beauty of Albany, New York. Yes! My first time passing through Albany I was astonished at the beauty of the region and how nice the people were…

Would my MC experience a rebirth, some transformation? What would they sacrifice? Ego, dignity, career? What would they gain? Love, career, ego, independence, freedoms…

Secrets – confusion. It’s all about secrets. Those we hoard believing that they are only ours to share. Secrets we do not dare share to explore. Secrets we would deny to our last breath while standing on our pedestals of shame still judging and abraiding to keep… secrets.

I love a happy ending or a satisfying ending. I cannot wait to see where this goes… all love is madness and madness is human. This is my mantra for this WIP.

 

Believing in Whiskey and Milk

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Shame curdled
bone-deep and bitter
the before –
the after

Everyone wants to be wanted
needs to be needed –
to a whole

She prayed, she told me
that you crawl over the
Bay Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge
and just keep on moving

To Staten Island, or Manhattan
Or into Brunswick, New Jersey
Why Brunswick?

Memories are buried there
mountains of pain
too hard for you to take
the easy way

You don’t know pain, she cried,
believe me,
you are not the only one to succumb

you are just one step,
a tread, a stone paving away
from someone else’s pain –
prove you’re sorry,

the stain on your neck and shirt color
Saturday stompings and jitterbugs
soothe with your favorite beverage

Fumes ignite as you breathe out
the morning after, and something
whimpers in two-inch heels
and starts walking, walking, walking

 

 

 

 

Fear, Fears, Fear by NetaQ

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Fear Paralyzes

Fear Hesitates

Fear Doubts

Fear Judges

Fear Hates

Fear Binges

Fear Blames

Fear Cries

Fear Fights

Fear Harasses

Fear Quarrels

Fear Limits

Fear Curses

Fear Drinks

Fear Sleeps

Fear Destroys

Fear Silences

Fear Shutters

Fear Stunts

Fear Kills

Fear Robs

Fear Incites

Fear Constricts

Fear Demoralizes

Fear Procrastinates

Fear, fears, fear

 

Found Out by NetaQ

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I follow a lie
Down the street
Pitter-patter
I hear its heartbeat

Where are you going
What news, pray tell
You’re sure everyone knows
Why don’t you ring a bell

You saunter, waver
Your void gaining strength
Now with confidence
Sermonizing an offense

That blue chastity belt
I wonder at your path,
Circling and weaving
The frayed Ceiba, froth

My legs thrust true
Denied my course
Dependant on your gravity
Showing little remorse 

 

 

In Me by NetaQ

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Trust in the mysteries of images,
Imagination as a vestibule of trues

Your authentic self simmers
To capture all possibilities

In me, I sense an awakening
Was it foretold?

The truth festers
To breathing wild

A source confides –
To a broken stone

Why?
A man-made repository of need

Granite?
Seeking wisdom to disprove

Such recriminations –
The source again is fruitful

To gain is to lose
Nothing is ever more than

What is lost to time’s
Voracious appetite