Pan-dem-ic

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pan·dem·ic

/panˈdemik/

adjective

  1. (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.

This was never meant to be a page to write about this thing called, “pandemic”. It was meant to be a place for poetry. Where thoughts and feelings flowed like warm water over delicate hands. It was meant to be a place to reflect summer love and the scent of honey suckle and all things fluffy and nice. It was my sacred space to be a writer of weirdo proportions.

Here I am. Here we are. COVID-19. Pandemic. There is nothing poetic about either of those words (or realities). Truthfully, today I hate both words. I don’t use that word very often, hate. As someone who writes words are important to me, so I don’t like to use the word hate. It is harsh, unforgiving and jagged. It hurts but I truly and with much sincerity hate COVID-19 and this god forsaken I don’t even know what to call it besides, pandemic.

It all seems like a bad fucking dream at this point, one that I can’t wake up from. I followed it from afar, discussed it with my friends over drinks after work, lightly talking about how scary it was. Total and absolute ignorance when I think back on it now. In my mind it was a long flight away, in another part of the world. I see now, I was apathetic to the reality of it. It was already knocking on the doorstep of almost every country in the world.

I have lost track of time. I know I started a new job on a Wednesday and by Friday my boss was discussing that we might have to work from home for a few weeks starting the coming Monday. That was I don’t know how many weeks ago. I do know every day has felt the same, progressively worse actually. I get up every morning and think “today, I am going to have a good day”. By dinner I have usually questioned if I can handle things and my ability to cope, have cried and usually become totally enraged by something. All extreme in feeling and nature and not who I am on a “normal” day. It is wearing. I toss between desperately searching for gratitude as I feel like an absolute douche bag if I don’t or I just want to call it like it is and be an absolute douche bag and drop f-bombs in the hope I will shake this god forsaken feeling of groundhog day out of my system.

I stopped watching the news, I have to, I can’t handle it anymore. My system is on overload. I am someone who knows how to deal with system overload, and I am not dealing with this well. This concerns me. I don’t feel like I am being a good employee, a good mother, a good friend, a good anything really. If humaning was a class I would 100% be failing right now. For Christ sake I can’t even seem to consistently take a shower and brush my teeth these days. I just wake up and think, why? I have lost all sense of purpose in my life. I hate it. I hate COVID-19 and this thing called “pandemic” can kiss my ass.

I wonder, maybe this is the gift in this bullshit (sorry for swearing so much, it makes me mildly feel better). Maybe, I am supposed to take this unbearable discomfort and do something with it, like feel it? Maybe I am supposed to question it? Maybe I am supposed to remind myself of all the things that I am missing so badly, what I wish I could do, the hands I want to hold, the people who I so desperately just want to sit in the same space with and squeeze their face because I love them and miss them. Maybe all of this is here to clarify what really matters in our hearts? Or maybe I am just losing my god damn mind. At this point, both feel equally possible.

I don’t know the answers. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason and the greatest gifts we often receive come during or after going through some of our most difficult times. Maybe I just think that because I need to in order to stay positive and move forward? I don’t know. I don’t understand why a whole world must go through this collectively? Maybe we all need to learn together? I don’t know. I write when I don’t understand because it is the only thing that slows my brain down. During times like this, to me it feels like everything is painfully slow but my thoughts and feelings are screaming, competing almost to sort things out and make sense of this total an utter bullshit (which I don’t understand!). I like calm and order in my world and I like to understand things, it makes me feel safe. Right now, none of what is going on makes me feel safe.

I know how shitty I felt today. How incredibly hard it was to muster up an ounce of gratitude for anything. How hard it was to talk myself in to “everything is going to be OK”. I didn’t’ smile once today, I didn’t laugh, I didn’t think “oh gee I am really looking forward to that”. That is a horrible feeling. So, I wrote to try and shake off this shit thing called “pandemic”. I figure someone out there is probably feeling shitty too and it makes me sad because I know it sucks. Sometimes knowing someone else feels just as shitty as you do helps.

I don’t understand all of this. I do know it doesn’t make me want to write poetry. Who knows maybe by the end of it all we will find something more beautiful than poetry because of it? I hope so.

Thanks for listening.

A.

Evening Wish

Man collecting the stars and putting them in a wheelbarrow.

Laying on my back I looked up for a moment

If only I could be

That star so far away in the distant sky

Peacefully shining on its own and quietly offering light

Enjoying the safety of a simple existence in the middle of the night

~Alisa Hutton

Ms. J. Doe

Jane Doe

Today I looked in the eyes of a woman I did not know

Laying quietly across from one another in a hospital corridor

Twice my age, quietly breathing the end of her story

I looked in her eyes and they seemed to mirror my own

I saw fear, sadness and loneliness in my reflection

Hers, the same deep brown as mine and tilted in similar bend

Yet, they were somewhere else

A place I didn’t know, a place that made me uncomfortable

As we laid quietly in our separate but shared space, I thought is this what it is all about?

Do we eventually end up in a corridor alone?

No comfort of love, no familiarity of a life known or lived?

No hand holding ours, no last I love you?

Does our story end with a stranger in a hall, the only comfort our own?

I couldn’t help but feel my life had been deeply scratched for a reason unknown

Something of this was meant to echo

Was it meant to reverberate a space?

Is it meant for me to open or close?

I really don’t know

I hope she could feel that I saw her life beside me and I felt her soul

I have to believe in the end

It is about something more

Than being alone in a corridor

­~Alisa Hutton

Wonderland

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I I sometimes wonder if I read Alice in Wonderland too many times as a child. Perhaps too many rainy days spent outside as a 6 year old? In the quiet looking at the water rushing down the street creating great stories of wild, river adventures in my mind. While all the other kids were playing kick the can in the August heat there I was laying on my back in the grass forming animal shapes in the clouds. Watching neighborhood kids build tree forts while I sat on the cement contently drawing my pictures on scrap pieces of paper with my broken crayons.

Always observing, quietly watching. Not understanding it all but unbendingly curious. When life became noisy, felt unfair or hard I would make my own wonderland. Diving in to my vivid imagination full of color and magic. With a delayed blink I could transport myself to a wonderful place where the flowers grew better, the grass softer and greener, and the sky always bright blue with fluffy white clouds. Rainbows around every corner. Everyone smiled and was full of love in my wonderland. Hearts were so big and full you just had to stop and say hello to them.

With a delayed blink I can still transport myself there. I wonder, was it protective nature or early wisdom. Do we have imagination to make the world feel a little less lonely and harsh? Or maybe we have imagination because we are the people who are supposed to create a more magical world? Maybe we see it so others can believe a better world exist for them too?

Either way, I like my wonderland.

~Alisa Hutton