A few words appear, then disappear in reverse.
We say it and don’t say it. We ‘Happy New Year’ and scuttle away as fast as our fragile bones can take us to the safety of isolation once again.
What do you even say when your country is falling to hell.
The melon sky simmers the last of the winter day’s sky into smoke as I close my eyes and dream of anywhere else.
It happens like this: you are repeatedly filled simultaneously with shock and dread. As you are trying to process the horror of the most recent trauma, you are bracing yourself also for the next.
And there is always a next.
And this is repeated for years and years non-stop. The relentlessness of cruelty. The cheering on of the madness.
What is even worth saying when you are so exhausted by the end of the day your stomach hurts and your eyes ache and everything around you is cold as the icicles you saw last weekend, formed into perfect sharp daggers by frozen rushes of water plunging through the trees.
It is not enough to survive. You have to try to do it minute by minute, focus on each heart beat, each update, each revelation more gruesome than the last, you have to cling to each, like stepping stones you grab with your fists or your teeth.
The angriest parts of yourself, the saddest, they cling. they try to move you forward in spite of themselves. In spite of you.
Try to hold on. Try to hold on, it has to be over soon.
But nothing ends anymore. Not around here.
I’m sick to death of counting down to things. Dates. Elections. Deaths. Infections. Decisions. Betrayals. Disasters we should have seen coming.
We should have stopped it. It should never have come to this.
And so a deep well of disappointment, of desperation for a time gone by, opens up inside to swallow the shock and the dread and the utter, utter grief. And you realize the abyss they threw you into is threatening now the last of your sanity, your will, your equilibrium.
And if you understand what I am saying here, if you know how this feels, people will tell you not to feel it. They will try to cheer you up, make you see the good things, they will try to force your healing before it is time.
And you can tell them all to fuck off. Because I will tell you this, above everything else, feel your feelings. The true ones. If they are honest they are hurting, aching, crying, screaming.
This has been an American tragedy over and over and over for years.
We got here by denial. We laid our faith down in a bed of lies and hoped someone else would save us.
I am not sure why I write this, maybe to document my experience for fear it drifts away from me, even though I kind of wish it would.
We should be most afraid that we may forget. They want nothing more than for us to forget.
I try to catch all of it. I try to write it into history, but my mind gets heavy and my spirit falls like frigid winter rain.
It is tiresome, you know? This waiting for the end.
Photo by Mike Palmowski