Category Archives: Essays

I’ll Get Back to You – NaPoWriMo/GoPoWriMo Challenge, Day 17

I’ll Get Back to You

if I don’t answer
your tweet, text, IM, or zoom
I’ll get back yo you

My perky, well-rehearsed, 7-takes to perfect, scripted voicemail message will cue up, giving you the illusion that I am not here; but, the truth, and we both know it, is that I am most definitely here, distancing myself from the world, from you, from eye to eye, flying-spit conversations, brushes with warm infection-riddled flesh, the scent of soap, putrid perfume, mouthwash and body odor stinging my nose. We have been practicing social distancing for a while now, but I am not very good at it, no not at all.

I remember when telephones had party lines, rotary dial disks that softly clicked, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, after each spin, one familiar ringtone and strobing busy signals; a time when no answer always meant someone wasn’t home, probably out shopping or working, living life. We had lives then. There was a certain comfort in that certainty, except…

“The coroner said she had been dead, from natural causes, for weeks, no one knew, no one but the cat…”

Still, we felt no urgency to connect; we’d just try again later. We were close in our isolation. We had rocking chair front porches, neighbors with first names, easy routines, Friday nights at the Dairy Queen, church on Sunday mornings. It was enough, until it wasn’t. Voicemail machines crept into our quiet lives, pagers hung from our belts and we mobilized.

These days we are never truly away, living life, doing, being. We are wired, on call, day and night, accessible to each other, robo-callers, spammers, phishers, work, and lost souls with wrong numbers, where not answering our phone is a willful act. No, I don’t want to talk to you right here, right now. Yes, it’s personal. I need a break. I’m busy doing something; it doesn’t matter what, anything. It could be anything or nothing at all. But here’s the rub, the grim reality of techno-enlightenment…I feel guilty, cellphone on mute, rumbling, rattling off the table, when I don’t pick it up immediately to say hello.

if I don’t answer
not trying to be distant
well, maybe I am

~kat

For today’s NaPoWriMo/GoPoWriMo Challenge, Day 17: “Move backwards in time away from modern contrivances as podcasts. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that features forgotten technology.”


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 12 April 2020

Coronavirus, sheltering in, social distancing. It’s hard to think about, write about, talk about anything else these days. But for the first time in my recollection, the world is united in its battle to contain the virus. I cannot remember a time when we shared a common adversary like this. Sure, there are issues that should unite us globally like climate change, poverty and hunger, world peace. Depending on our leadership, countries pick and choose their cause célèbre in posturing and political gamesmanship, but the virus is no respecter of geography, rank or status. We are all vulnerable; we are all affected.

We’re living in a “new normal” they say. I’m not entirely sure we will ever return to what we all considered normal normal. But that is okay with me, because here in the U.S. we have been devolving into an increasingly polarized nation where social distancing has become a way of life, each of us retreating behind the walled fortresses of our respective tribes. If there can be a silver lining in a pandemic it is perhaps this. We are all rallying now behind the heroes in this battle. The healthcare workers, the grocery store clerks, the delivery drivers, the restaurants who continue to feed us, take out or delivery, the first responders, the teachers who are finding new ways to engage our kids, the warehouse and factory workers who keep us supplied with essential needs. Heroes are the people who get things done and keep things going. And it matters not our politics nor our religious persuasion, nor our station, when we hear about another soul stricken, most of us pause, our hearts pricked in common sadness and for those that do, we say a prayer for those fighting for their lives and those downed in battle. We have said it before, we are more alike than we are different. These days we’re getting a hard lesson in that fact. And it’s caused us to be a more compassionate, kinder people. But for grace, because of it, we are all in this together. We need each other now, more than ever.

So do I want the old normal back? Uh, that would be a no, as long as we are able to maintain the bittersweet side effects that a global tragedy like this leaves behind. It gives me hope for us. I have always known we had it in us. It’s a beautiful thing to see!

But before I go, let me tell you about the photograph above. I took it through my window last night in the wee hours. The moon was muted behind light clouds, its beams streaming through the tall trees. It was so bright that it woke me up. When I took a closer look at the photo, “she” emerged, with a bright heart guiding her in the darkness. There’s a huge dark heart below her, but one barely notices it. The light averts our attention upward.

In the Christian tradition I grew up in, Easter was a big deal. The passion of the previous days leading up to a triumphant Easter morn. Of particular interest to me as I’ve grown older and a little wiser is the role that Mary Magdalene played. The face in my early morning photograph reminds me of her. Surrounded by darkness, consumed by love, I imagine her journeying to the tomb that darkest of mornings. She had no idea that dawn would emerge, a miracle. Still she pressed on. We don’t know how this is all going to end, but one thing I do know, thanks to my night visitor, no matter how dark it may be, love will guide us from the darkness to the dawn.

Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind. If the fates are willing, I’ll see you next week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 12 April 2020

they all learned they were kindred then
psychotic, frenzied,
as (they) paused for a prayer
an invisible foe looming
trees bend with the wind
whistling
the greatest cure for all is love that’s deep

~kat


A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 5 April 2020

nightfallI used to live for weekends. We all did. During the week, 40 odd hours were not our own. We belonged to businesses, our bosses, the offices and cubicles, the worksites and workplaces that paid the bills and if we were lucky, we managed a few pennies to tuck away or spend on the glorious weekend. Our time. 

But these days many of us find the lines blurred between work and home. Our weekend destinations are shuttered. We are rattle around in our houses forced to find new ways to entertain ourselves. 

It’s hard not to write about this strange new normal we are all living. I suppose it is only normal to write from what one knows, and for me, for now, sheltering in, working from home, waiting for the storm to pass is what I know. 

I used to think of myself as solitary, contemplative. I liked being at home, keeping to myself, but for daily conversations with the Muse and snuggling with my furry housemates. But when forced to shelter in place, home changed. It feel less and less like the sanctuary I once loved. 

It takes effort to find new ways to notice my surroundings and to appreciate them. In fact, I am finding that there are all sorts of things I’ve never noticed before. Every moment is an opportunity to find the hidden treasures that have been here all along. I realize before this new reality, I had been living a superficial existence, content to exist on the surface of the familiar. But oh, the things I’ve missed in my busyness! I shall never take my freedom to move about in the world for granted going forward. But I have also fallen in love with the home that shelters and sustains me; the place that grounds me, where I can lay my head to sleep, the place where my soul keeps. 

Happy Sunday. Stay safe and well. Peace…


Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 5 April 2020

i’m just listening to the wind
kitsch, in full, on crude display
crimson flushed, vexed by this calamity’s cruel din
it is quiet, oh so quiet, but for chattering birdsong, and rustling
don’t believe in everything you see
my mind won’t let me go to sleep

~kat


A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.


Sunday’s ReVerse – March 29, 2020

We will be forever changed when this storm passes. And pass it will, though some of us will not live to see it. My hope is that those of us left behind emerge from our seclusion with a new appreciation for each other, gratefulness and respect for the heroes in our midst, not celebrities or athletes or Marvel masked characters or high level politicians, but the healthcare workers, the first responders, the restauranteurs who are keeping us fed, some delivering to our doors, the grocery store clerks, the delivery drivers, the mail carriers…those who press on and serve us at a distance and in our time of great need. Thank you. Thank you all.

Staying inside to stop the spread, as so many of us have been called to do, is such a small price to pay to help us all arrive safely on the other side. We will all be forever changed. Hopefully, we will emerge a kinder people. We are truly in this together.

Stay safe, stay well, be kind, breathe. Today’s reVerse, gleaned over the past few months, kind of says it all. I’ll leave you with that! Peace to you my friends. Peace. ❤️


Sunday’s ReVerse – March 29, 2020

gentle dark descending
through shuttered curtain slits,
Until next glimpse…
each day, the simple gift of life
death looms in the shadows seeking
in silver and want
morning’s icy breath lingered
if only for a season
but here behind these looming walls,
soft blush of blooms on the breeze
on pause, love draws near…from a distance
causing me to sigh
soon comes the dawn

~kat


A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.(or in this case, the last several months).


A Life Dismantled

A Life Dismantled

sifting through the decades
of accumulated stuff
must haves in the moment
diamonds in the rough
for those timeless treasures,
only bubble wrap will do
shake the dust and cobwebs off
comfy well worn shoes
gently slip the photographs
from old broken frames
happy memories mingling
with faces with no names
shedding all the dross
that held me in the past
so to travel lighter
with only things that last
yet another chapter waits
its pages to be penned
each day, the simple gift of life
to live full to the end

~kat

I must admit this downsizing thing has truly disoriented me. I find myself clinging to routine, the easiest thing to assimilate to my new surroundings. But I have yet to find that sweet spot, where words flow like honey, where my eyes see things in ways that only an artist and writer can. I’m learning to live off the grid, with its big, starry black-mantled silence, and amber sunrises over distant mountains in the morning. For now they only manage to take my breath away. There are no words apart from the few sing-songy rhymes I manage to eke out. I know she’s in there…somewhere in the recesses of my mind…the muse who so relentlessly pursued me amidst the clutter and cacophony of city life. But here in the country? She must be cavorting with the faeries, giggling from behind downed tree hollows at my dizzy dry spell. I had every intention to start January 1st, full steam ahead. Part of the issue, I think, may be that I still need to unload the stuff we left behind and sell the dark, drafty, century old house I called home for over a decade. I need to be free of it. And so, I will drop a line now and again until I regain my footing. Peace and love to you. Until next glimpse…❤️


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