observations on life

The definition of “poor” from Mrs. Bond’s dictionary at iworkforcats.com

Poor:  When you have or earn less money than you need in order to have decent housing, enough food, and/or medical care.  Not being rich is NOT the equivalent of being poor.  When you are poor and have or make no money due to any number of circumstances, you take whatever job you can get, say, working in a factory for 10 dollars an hour, or waiting tables, or loading trucks.  And you may very likely have more than one job.  You live in a trailer or subsidized housing (if you’re lucky enough to not be among the homeless). If you have children they get free lunch at public school.

You buy your kids’ clothes and your own at Goodwill.  You take the bus to work.  Your kids take the bus to school.  When the kids get home from school, they entertain themselves until you get home; that may also be true on weekends if you work that shift.   And they do chores.  They don’t belong to scouts or sports teams, because you cannot afford the uniforms.  They don’t take lessons in anything, because you can’t afford it.

You buy nothing for yourself, ever, because if you have any money you spend it on bills or on things your kids need.  Your kids may get medical care because they’re kids, but you don’t.  You may have medicaid if you’re lucky.  You cry a lot.  You feel defeated and hopeless.  You know you are one crisis away from becoming homeless, and/or losing your kids, and/or ending up in jail for something over which you have no control.

Being poor is hard, and it’s debilitating physically, mentally,and emotionally.  (That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing for which that can be said.)  You have no choices about anything.  You work until you are exhausted.  When your kids are old enough, they work, too.  You get old before you’re old and die before you should.  And sometimes you hope dying will come sooner rather than later, because it will be so much easier.

“Keep watch with those who work or watch or weep this night.  Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted. Guide us sleeping that we may rest in peace.” The Book of Common Prayer 1789

observations on life

I am feeble and sore broken

How do you say succinctly that you are in such excruciating pain that it is making you desperate and panicked?  That you can’t stand it for one more minute?  The thought of looking beyond the next moment requires you to be quick.  Quick.  “I am afraid,” Martha Manning said, “afraid of managing the desolation of each second.”  “All these potions make me big for a while, but the sweetness of their promises melts like kisses somewhere inside myself.  And I become small again.  So small that I can’t find myself.  All I can find is my fear.  The fear that my daylight is truly past and I am destined only for night.”

I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.    Psalm 38

I have written these words here before.  I have felt like this many times, through many years.  It will never be gone.  I have no hope that it won’t happen again; I know it will.

I’ve posted this here before as well.  But it keeps coming back.

A View to Eternity

A familiar tender spot, the old wound
Nags me. A pain unresponsive to any
Anodyne except that which is also so likely to
Aggravate it to a more unbearable
Degree. It feels so much better at first
And then, inevitably, the elixir turns to
Poison, only deepening the ache.

I know this, and yet I cannot stop.
Each time, I am hopeful and expectant,
Thinking, oh, a chance–this could be it.
This could be the cure that makes the pain
Abate forever– but it doesn’t take long.
Presently, before I even have the full effect,
The new opium deserts my veins, satisfying only itself.

In the dream, the disfigured woman trudges up the old stone steps,
Discharge from her oozing sores leaving slick puddles
Into which I unavoidably step as I follow her up the stairs.
I see we are approaching an overlook–a window–
In the ancient wall the eroding stairs ascend.
The worn down woman doesn’t hesitate, but simply
Steps off the ledge of the window.

“It will never be any different” she says, as
She uses the last of her strength to mount
The ledge of the overlook
And without stopping even to admire
The view, she simply steps off
Into oblivion, finally, surely, doubtlessly
Finding the elusive cure.

It was a real dream, dreamed at a time like this, when the pain was unbearable, and I knew it would never be cured.

observations on life

Too depressed to whine

There are so many days that I feel so overwhelmed by the stupidity and uselessness of most of the world that I’m too depressed to even complain about it.  I know that’s hard to believe, for those of you who think I complain too much.  (Yes, sometimes I complain too much, but how I wish there weren’t so much to complain about.  And this–if you don’t like hearing me complain about being too hot, I invite you to go fuck yourself.  Why is it fine for millions of people to complain constantly about how cold they are, but if I say I’m hot, I’m being a whiny bitch?)