2020 #39

I’ve only written four songs in my whole life, but I’ve written those four songs a million times…[Bob Dylan]
Photo by Barry Feinstein

I think it’s getting worse.

A friend of mine, that I’ve known since I was 15 has COVID…

If I could delete the internet, I would.

How do I write about this?

GA is full, they are shipping patients out.

I think it’s difficult for people to grasp. Because they can’t see it. HIPPA keeps you protected. On both sides.

Four counties around us are struggling with capacity as well. They’ve almost had to close hospitals twice this week.

But people still don’t want to wear a mask.

Our Gov finally made it mandatory.

People say things, like, I just don’t think, surely, the government shouldn’t have to tell us what to do here.

But it’s already clear that evidently, they do.

My county, Dekalb is 1,195 cases etowah is 1,194

That means we have as many as Gadsden ….. let that sink in. We may have, maybe 30 or so icu beds altogether for these areas…

We are fucked.

We already lost this.

I’ve worked through the whole thing, 19 weeks. 133 days. My store has all been tested twice… not because they were sick but because they were scared. They voluntarily got tested. My people are scared. Teenagers. Not even old enough to vote or buy cigarettes.

I can’t be scared. I have to set the tone for the store. If I’m calm they will be calm. If I’m scared they will be scared. If I’m terrible they will be terrible. But they are scared.

I see it. They’ve cried in my office.

They’ve seen everyone leave for vacations. Refuse to wear masks. Give us reasons and theories. That this is a hoax. But now, people are going to start getting sick…. and our hospitals are going to be full. And there’s no where to go.

I’ve been marking the floors so people know where to stand. I’ve been making sure everyone has access to sanitizer and gloves and masks.

I’ve done everything I know to do.

I’ve lost people in my life

I don’t want to lose more people.

I remember when the tornadoes came, how people were scared and numb. I remember how we all banned together and helped each other. How we rebuilt.

I remember 9/11 I remember the sense of community we all had and responsibility.

How we came together. With the world and loved.

We wore T shirts that said Army and I love NY

I believe, I still believe in this state. I believe we can come together again and do what must be done. I don’t have the answers, I don’t know, this has been new and changing for everyone. But, we all can do one thing . Mask up. Social distance.

I’ve been writing more letters and trying to stay home more. I slept for four days on vacation. We all are tired.

Grant that I shall not seek so much to be consoled as to console. To be understood, as to understand. To be loved as to love, with all my heart….with all my heart.

I’ve breathed that prayer for as long as I’ve remembered.

I just want to be good. I want to be there for those I love. For my community.

I want to be good. I don’t want to change into some bitter thing.

Endure

Times are the times

The resilience ….

Not everything can be changed

But it can be endured

——-

I hope you kick a hole in the sky

I hope you create your life

I hope you create your own light

I hope….

——

I had a dream once

I was having dinner with the devil…

He smiled

And he looked at me

And said

“We’re just the same…you’re just too sad to see it…but I’m in you…”

“All of these people, you try to give meaning to…they’ll leave you…because I can give them immediate gratification…all you have is expectations. People are selfish. You’re selfish. In your vanities. In the fact that you believe you’re alone. And that you’re somehow, different.”

I remember seeing the shoes of a politician walk across the platform.

The devil smiled… and said the real show was about to begin.

——-

Your heart might be an empty street

One you don’t recognize

All the trees have died

All the houses are empty

——

It’s your resilience

It’s your hope

Keep moving

Keep walking

Even when you see the devil inside

Just keep going

Endure

2020 #11

Oh child, why are you so distracted by every drop of rain?

You were called, to a much higher platform…

Rise, rise to this platform.

You were called to stand with gods and giants.

With lightning and thunder…

Do you not understand…

The energy released by lightning heats the surrounding air to 50,000 degrees F ?

You can not be touched by negativity…

The rain, is meant to wash you clean…

Do not try and have an opinion on every drop that touches you.

Your calling is higher than that.

The night they burned the mountain

Maybe

We just want to live

Don’t want to die

Maybe

We just want the chance to cry

To grieve

To ask the questions why

Lately

It fills the bones

This pain

——-

A lifetime of remembering names …

Can we believe the truth

Do we really want to know …

——

Maybe we are all the same

We just want to live

We just want to cry

We just want to dream

To ask the questions why

——

Maybe nobody knows what’s going to be

But we can believe the way it ought to be

Stand by me

Stand by me

I think together we could make things

The way they ought to be

Walls

Will my heart stand tall?

Can you hear my call ?

When the mountains fall ?

Will you be there ?

When the wall comes down

Could we reach inside

And over this

Can we reach

Better days

——

Now

We’ve been young

We’ve been old

We’ve been bought

We’ve been sold

Can we reach inside

And over these walls

Can we talk tonight

——

Will a heart stand tall

Will you hear my call

When the mountains fall…

Could we reach inside

And over this …

So, things are opening up. Here’s what to do.

Disclaimer; I have no cred. I am not a professional. I am a writer. I have spent 20 years in grocery. You obviously can do what you want.

As things are opening up and restrictions are loosening. You may feel some form of emotions and a certain way.

Here’s my advice and just that, advice, mostly, so I have something to write today.

Don’t go to the beach.

Everything has to slowly open, it’s a process, but this also means things can still be restricted again and again.

While people are going other places and restaurants, this is the perfect time for YOU to go to the store and get some supplies (not panicking) but items that may have been out before. Grab a couple of extra bags of rice and beans and dehydrated potatoes.

Items you may just enjoy or crave for every meal. Olives, olive oil, canned tomatoes. A lot of these come from other countries…and right now it’s not a guaranteed supply. Especially for the fall. If those countries stay closed.

If you’ve made a garden, go ahead and get a few jars for canning.

If things go wrong and everything gets shut down again, you will already have your supplies. Yes, grocery stores will still be open, but if everyone panics again, that’s when supplies is hard to get.

If you get a little a bag of rice or what not every time you go to the store , you will have what you need if it gets bad in the fall.

If you have a little extra because you’ve not been spending? Invest it..

When the market is down, this is the time to invest. When things are bad…it can only go up.

If you’re having a hard time, emotionally. Just know, it gets better. We will be ok. What we are learning, Is community. A responsibility to eachother.

Everything is temporary, everything passes. When I went to the house and found my father had passed. When the storms devastated my home town…

When I was in the hospital several times …

It all passes. Keep your head. Keep your focus. Be wise. Be calm.

We will be ok.

I’ll be seeing you.

2020 #2

Someone once said healing and recovery are not linear.

Be soft with yourself

You do not have to be productive

You do not have to be thriving

It is ok to survive

This is the ultimate goal

Survive during this time

These are not normal times

They are extraordinary

So you are responding to something extra-ordinarily…

This is ok

This then is the goal

Not a great summer

A vacation

A calendar date

But to survive

Anything else will be a bonus

Be gentle with yourself

Three steps forward

Two back

Is still progress….

2020 #1

I remember when I was young

2020 seemed like it would be space aged

But it turned out more sci fi

And stranger than fiction

We didn’t get StarFleet

We got blade runner

Everyone’s experience is different

The essentials

Can only discuss among themselves

While drinking

Because it’s becoming part of them

And no one else gets it

While others stay at home

Some may be struggling

For food

For shelter

And others are ok

Enjoying this time

——-

I woke up this morning

I forced myself to get out of bed

In some strange way

I felt nothing at all

Strangely isolated from even myself

I fed my cat

And my dog

They both take naps with me

Looking back

I know I haven’t been to war

But it’s a different stress

A couple of months ago

People were not calling you a hero

You were nudged to go get a better career

Or looked down on

For not having ambition

Now

It’s these jobs

Nurses

Frontlines

They are this glue holding everything together

And they keep putting more and more on the table

But you wonder

Is any of this real

You work the same no matter what

You smile and you bear it

Every day you try and be better than you were yesterday …

And you worry about your team

——-

It’s not going to war

But it’s a mental war

Because you feel yourself changing

And you know when all of this

Is over

We all will be different

Some of us would have

Lost something, parts of ourselves

Jobs

Homes

Family

Someone we know

Someone we love

——-

Some of us would just be glad to be out again.

Some of us will be bitter

Some of us made more money than we ever have before

While others

Worked harder

And longer

For the same pay

Or

Our pay was cut

Raises froze

And hours cut

And some of us won’t have changed at all…

——

I stare into the mirror and I don’t see anything, anything at all. I can’t go to sleep unless it’s drinking myself to sleep….

I wonder if maybe all the things I thought were big deals were just my own bullshit…maybe I did fuck up my marriage, maybe I should have tried harder, maybe I don’t do well by myself, maybe I do use people and things and then throw them away…maybe I am my own enemy….

———

Some of us will be numb

Like a Veteran coming home

Because we didn’t stay home

We’ve been driving through the empty streets of our home towns

We’ve been watching our communities

Taking care of them

Since day one

Some of us will be numb

From what we’ve seen

And from what we had to give

And it will just take some time

For us to come back home to ourselves

Please understand

——-

I try to feel something

While I pour another drink

I watch the sunset and the storm roll in

I feel nothing

Night

I prop myself against the sunrise

And I close my eyes

Hoping I do not wake

———

I can not gather the strength

To face another day

Inside this night

Where everything stays the same

———-

The humm of the noise

The faces that float like smoke

The mind like bran

Just blows out

———

Don’t let me wake

Yesterday

Hold those thoughts

That keep me away

While the lights

Echo my lonely fears

In the streets tonight

——-

They say the world

Keeps changing everyday

But I wake in the night

I feel the same

——-

Maybe we’re so much older

Maybe we’re so much younger

Maybe we’ve been here before

Pour me a drink

Don’t let me go

——

The summer is coming

These clouds won’t stay so grey

We can’t live out our hopes and dreams inside yesterday’s