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March 7, 2021

Mourning # 16


Mourning # 16

 

I do not deserve to live above ground

surviving in the blue the green

yellow orange and burnt red skies

touching hard and soft earth with my soles 

and the birdsong!

 

Burial and cremation, roughly the same

either way down to the molten core

that black hole that sucks us all in

very slowly so the world won’t collapse.

the birdsong!

 

‘Better you than me’ is a song no one

should sing, a national anthem played before

every shift change at the Covid ward.

my eyes are so tired, my tears are so lost.

the bird.

 

---- US Republicans have an anti-mask platform.

They have called the coronavirus a hoax.

They hold superspreader events to infect those present

and anyone they encounter. Many have COVID,

some have died.

 

Luke Letlow, 41, was elected to Congress from 

Louisiana in a runoff, he died of the bug before

he could be sworn into office. He is survived by

his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow and two young children.

 

His family released a statement: “The family appreciates

the numerous prayers and support over the past days

but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected

time.”

 

A special election will be called to fill the seat.

 

 

March 6, 2021

Mourning # 15


Mourning # 15

 

What would you say if we met

in the ICU, or at a funeral or wake

in a parking lot, masked up and

distanced, I only see your eyes

and your body under your clothes

if you were attracted too, equal, 50/50

the ideal match – let’s have sex

have you had a swab or the vaccine?

have you tested negative in the last 14 days?

have you been exposed to anyone

who has COVID even with no symptoms?

do you now or have you ever had

the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

you know, I think I’ll wait

for sex love attraction touch anything

until this all is all over if ever

like Ken and Barbie dolls

more valuable

in the original plastic-

wrapped cardboard boxes.

 

---- Holly Figueroa O’Reilly writes today:

My husband has been feeling poorly

for a few days and decided to go in

to be tested for COVID-19. Instead,

we just found out that he has AML:

acute myeloid leukemia. Or I should say,

‘he’ found out. Alone. They won’t let me

visit him. Because of COVID-19. 

You probably don’t know my husband 

and for that, I am truly sorry that you haven’t

met the best man I’ve ever known. This is

a guy who opted to work with COVID-19

patients in the ICU instead of tele-health

because he couldn’t just sit by and watch.

For months, he spent 12+ hour days in the

ICU taking care of COVID19 patients.

He left his practice (he’s a sleep medicine

specialist) in order to volunteer in the ICU

because they were short-staffed. He watched

people die without their families.

            He held iPads up so families could say

goodbye to dying COVID19 patients and watch

their family members take their last breaths. He 

stripped off his scrubs in the garage and showered

before coming up to see his family at night,

if anyone was still awake.

            I could go on and on about how amazing

he is, but I’m completely broken. Please spare

a thought for my hubs tonight. He went from 

thinking he might have COVID to getting a bone

marrow biopsy, chemotherapy, and a minimum

4-6 week hospital stay within the course of a few

hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2021

Mourning # 14


Mourning # 14

 

Sadness, emotional pain

D.W. Winnicott believed that sad crying

was “the psychological root of valuable

musical experiences in later life”

a sad face is indicated by small pupils,

in Spencer’s Faerie Queene sadness is

“a marker of spiritual commitment”

seasonal affective disorder (SAD) associates

lack of light to sadness as serotonin

levels drop. Prolonged sadness can

become depression unless it does not. A

traumatic event like a break-up or firing

can cause sadness, as can the loss of

1,950,000 people (so far) worldwide to

the hungry beast.

 

---- Erika Becerra, 33, couldn’t wait for the birth

of her second child. She died 18 days after giving birth

She never got to hold her baby. Erika was healthy,

had no underlying conditions. Her son, Diego, was born

healthy. After the birth Becerra’s oxygen levels dropped

and she was intubated. She died on December 3.

She had had a baby shower in October with her husband

Diego and young daughter, Erika Guadalupe, but was never

able to hold her newborn son, Diego. Erika Becerra, a

strikingly beautiful woman, was described as “selfless

and caring.” Her brother told CNN while sobbing, “For her

other people’s happiness was her happiness.” She could

have been infected during a prenatal hospital visit. Death

from COVID-19 in pregnant women is considered “uncommon.”

No one else in Erika’s family tested positive for the virus.

She was 33.

March 4, 2021

Mourning # 13


Mourning # 13

 

Before I slip into the dimension of mist

so thick I can’t see my arms or legs

before intubation ventilation compensation

I want to say one last word: not blame

or love or regret or stay home or

mountain top or sunset or rosebud

 

I know what not but not what

 

surf’s up, rock ‘n roll, peace out

the name of my first cat, remember that?

I get one chance, why waste it?

sex, money, fame, I want to live …

I want to learn how to fly …

maybe if I wrote it on my hand …

if I only had my glasses …

I don’t wear glasses …

 

---- Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, and her husband Paul Blackwell, 61, of Grand Prairie, Texas died of the novel coronavirus within minutes of one another holding hands. Holding hands like they had been for 30 years of marriage. They felt ill and missed a family Thanksgiving for the first time. The next day they were hospitalized. Their sons, Shawn and Brandon, remembered their final struggle. “It did give us some sense of closure that they both went together.” They all said goodbye by video chat. Then, at the end, the nurses moved them together so they could hold hands, and they let the sons, Shawn and Brandon, come in in hazmat suits and hold hands with them too after the parents were taken off life-support. Their souls departed together on December 13, 2020.

 

The Blackwells were both educators at the Grand Prairie Independent School District. They were due to retire this year to enjoy their 20 grandchildren. They are mourned by former students and colleagues, and a large number of friends and family. Paul was black; Rose Mary was Hispanic. They died holding hands.

 

 

 

March 3, 2021

Mourning # 12


Mourning # 12

 

Remember the shopping list as today

we’re allowed to go out to a grocery

write it down, my English teacher

used to say, then at home put the

books back in alphabetical order and

the meds by date of expiration

the dread will still be there

there’s no palliative for the black dread

hanging with the weight of souls in

purgatory unable to translocate because

they died off-time – part “natural”

causes, part intentional incompetence

i.e. murder – one Poirot could never solve

there is no solving, even shopping is

no solution, it just must be done.

 

---- John Garvison, 95, had chronic obstructive

pulmonary disease, a pre-existing condition

yet after a week in the hospital with COVID symptoms

he had improved enough to go back to his nursing

home, his son Paul drove him, the next time Paul

visited his father he had to wear a full hazmat suit

his father did not recognize him and died soon after

John had worked in social services with adopted

children in Santa Cruz, California.

The obituary Paul wrote for the local paper began:

“His death was due to neglect of the vulnerable

by the Trump Administration, which had consistently

downplayed the dangers of this terrible disease.”

 

 

March 2, 2021

Mourning # 11


Mourning # 11

 

I couldn’t stop crying if I wanted to

my relief check did not arrive

our town is in extreme lockdown again

yet the virus cuts down people like

wheat under the reaper’s scythe

my country’s taken over by madness

threatening charging good to fight

we’re already fighting, out of breath

I’m still shoveling mud out of the basement

and the landlord’s kicking me out on the curb

since I lost my sweeping job at the gym

I sit on the carpeted step

and get weak, weakened, break down

get down, wet-eyed.

 

---- Pamela Caddell had no funeral, that was the deal

her husband, Richard, wrote a plea for the newspaper

“It was her fervent wish that everyone take this horrible

disease seriously.” Pamela and Richard met as teenagers

while she worked as a carhop at a root beer stand

they married and had a son and a daughter, Pamela 

worked for many years as a nurse and then as caregiver

for her sister Debbie who had lung cancer, Debbie got

coronavirus first and died, then Pamela followed her

she was 71 years old and had been married to Richard

for 53 years, he now lives alone with the couple’s elderly

dog and is having trouble adjusting, “She never took away

from people and her greatest satisfaction was helping …

That’s the type of person Pamela was, and people should

know that. And she should not be dead. She should be

alive.”

 

 

 

March 1, 2021

Mourning # 10


Mourning # 10

 

Transcending Grief

let’s transcend our grief

stepping-stone the stages

move on and forward out of the valley

of a thousand tears – that’s enough

don’t make yourself sick over it

he/she/they would have wanted you

to get on with your life, remarry

find a new partner at Christmastime

online or maybe at a grief therapy group

hi, I lost my dog

hi, I lost 400,000 compatriots

let’s go get coffee, then into bed

to seal our release

the end is here (the beginning too).

 

---- Rosemary Collins was a choir director

at her church and at Clearwater High School

in Florida, she had classical voice training

she sang arias and musicals, she loved

music, she died on December 22 of complications

of the coronavirus, just a few days after

showing her first symptoms, she was 51.

Silence.

 

February 28, 2021

Mourning # 9


Mourning # 9

 

If I could decide I would not eat pizza

again tonight, I mean I would, I will

but I wish I were eating only healthy

wonder foods prepared by a private chef

and I would not smoke drink or watch

television or obsess on sex or sports

video games or sweeping the garage.

I wish I had more self-control:

I decide – I do / my life – my rules

except then they invite me over and it

seems bad to say no – to friends

to ads, to spiritual mojo. I do

not wear a mask when I go out, I

should but it’s uncomfortable, and

how can I not hug my aunts and uncles

I may never see again?

 

---- Isai Morocho was a Junior at East High 

in Madison, Wisconsin. He died 

from the novel coronavirus. 

His school district office released

a statement … heartbroken … tremendous

loss … impacts us all … take precautions

His principle said … caring friend …

ready smile … great sense of humor.

As if they filled in the name on a form

did anyone know Isai? His friends:

great smile … very funny … good student

good brother to his little sister … his writing

was outstanding.

That could be the real Isai. When he read

his essay he made the class cry. There, that’s

somebody special. His aunt warned the public

to wear a mask as she said Isai always did.

GoFundMe page for funeral costs.

 

 

 

February 27, 2021

Mourning # 8


Mourning # 8

 

All the prayers of the Buddhist monks

the Zen monks, the Benedictine monks

and nuns too rising like yellow smoke

from the fumaroles of a nearby volcano.

 

Sports is two teams, right? Us vs. Them

Only one can win, right?

 

The prayers that black people die

that Don Jesus Trump will establish his realm

and that slavery returns under the

Confederate Flag (like in a movie). Plus

concentration camps. And dead

grandparents.

 

On top of this contest snow dumps a load

a heavy load of coronavirus on the stadium

just as we were praying for our squad

to win to fight in glorious battle.

Unless there are no winners

 

---- Jesse “Jay” Taken Alive, former chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, 65, advocate and protector of language and culture, died of COVID-19 a week after his wife also died at the Indian Health Service Hospital in Fort Yates, North Dakota. They leave 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren. They were married 45 years. Jay Taken Alive was a passionate leader for tribal sovereignty, defense of tribal lands, fighting drug abuse and suicide devastating tribal communities, promoting higher education for young Sioux and supporting the protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline before his death. Taken Alive met with Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and gave her the Lakota name: Maphiyata echiyatan hin win, which means “woman who came from the heavens.”