I've forgotten how many days I've been sheltering at home, social distancing, or whatever the hell I am doing. What I haven't forgotten is the feeling of walls closing in. Of the deep worry that clings to my stomach for the safety of my family and loved ones. I try not to dwell on the Covad19 statistics that are changing daily. I look at them from time to but i find it difficult to process in my mind that these are not numbers, but people. It's devastating.
We are coming through a period of the year that usually brings me down. SAD or seasonal affective disorder usually leaves somewhere between melancholy and out and out depressed. Baseball season should be starting and it usually ushers in a happier springtime and pushes the blues out of the way. But there is no baseball season and we don't know if MLB will play one at all this year. I'm looking for any positive sign of relief from the drudgery of the Covad19 daily sheltering from the world.
As crestfallen as I have been today, I did receive news of a poetry acceptance this afternoon. It cheered my up a bit, but these times we are going through cannot be erased by a whole trove of accepted poetry submissions. A part of me says poetry is so insignificant in light of a pandemic. On the other hand, it is the humanity of us all that is at risk, and poetry, music, literature and the arts is the sign of hope that we so greatly need.
It seems like it is all around us. Mostly on the two coasts, but closing in. I'm a believer. There are deniers and some not sure.
I'm trying to do all the precautions and isolate within reason, but as the numbers increase what is reason? My work is reducing the numbers in our office by rotating employees that will work from home so each of us will be in the office some times and home at others.
Disinfecting wipes are my friend, but it seems I am shedding friends at an alarming rate and there seems few if any places to find more available.
I want to stay out of stores as much as possible and I do a pretty good job of this but there are things that you suddenly realize you are out of, like shampoo. Or you need to make a trip to the pharmacy.
Writing is essentially an act of solitude in itself, but you can get up and stretch your legs and go some place to clear your head. My daily step count is way down. Mid-day and I'm under 1100 so far today. That's a sign of just how sedentary this has made me.
I found myself watching the TV series Homeland on Hulu. By watching, I mean binge watching for periods of time in the evening. This stimulates my mind a bit which is good but takes time away from writing which is not good. In the last 24 hours I have become increasingly aware of the opportunities this pandemic affords any writer, and that is to give witness to these times. This is good fodder for poetry, essay. fiction, you name it. So I will be looking for ways today, and moving forward, to make this connection with my writing.
In the meantime, I urge others, writers or not, to make good decisions among the choices afforded to us, so that we may remain safe. All of us!
Something We Held in Common
Michael Allyn Wells
Did I miss you
because you were not here
or because I only knew a concept of you?
Can you be angry at someone
you don’t really know
and love them at the same time?
Your name was all I had of you.
It was our name; something we held
in common when I didn’t even have a picture
of you to hold. So, I didn’t really have you.
I could not produce you
for parent-teacher night.
I could not explain
to friends what I did not
When mom sent me with a proxy
to Indian Guides, it was the longest night ever.
Neither of us wanted to be there,
sitting cross legged on the floor
thinking of senseless Indian names
for each other in some cute father son way.
And later, when he wanted to take your name
away from me – in exchange for his,
I would have no part of it.
Appeared in Boston Literary Magazine - January 2020
Michael Allyn Wells is an alumnus of the AWP Writer 2 Writer Program, Spring 2017 session. The poet makes his home in Kansas City, with his wife and three rescue dogs. Wells is an avid San Francisco Giants fan, likes wine white and black coffee. His work has appeared in Right Hand Pointing, Montucky Review, Nude Bruce Review, Remington Review, WestWard Quarterly, Best of Boston Literary Magazine, Vol. 1 & Vol 2, and Rockhurst Fine Arts Review, as will other venues.
I came into the new year feeling especially ready for it. The way things are in the world & our current government, one has to hope this year brings a lot of change and I pray for the better.
New years day I attended a yoga - meditation - plan for the new year workshop. You can read more about it here. I'm trying to map out my writing projects for the year so that I have some accountability for them. Today I did a free write , I have some reading to do.
On the up and coming, I have a new poem coming out some time this month. I have other work out for consideration and I hope to get some more out tomorrow.
Looking forward - albeit with the standard trepidation, to AWP20 in San Antonio, early March. The conference I enjoy, the travel to a new place - accommodations, etc. These are anxiety traps I get caught in and struggle like I'm smack dab in the middle of a spider web.
Last day of a three day weekend. Spent time critiquing some poems for another writer. It was enjoyable work with another very talented individual.
It's turned cold today and a bit of snow has dusted into the Kansas City area. The wind was strong earlier and snow was blowing horizontal. It was kind of pretty from inside. I will thin differently about it in the morning when I have to drive in to the office early.
I had my second cataract surgery last week so I was out of the office three days and with a 3 day weekend it's felt strange to be home so much. That will be coming to an end tomorrow. I still have a brief stretch before I can restart Yoga. Have a follow up appointment on Thursday.
My thoughts and heartfelt thanks to all the American Armed services that have served with distinction on behalf of our country.
Happy birthday to Sylvia Plath who would have been 87 today, had she lived. I wonder how many writers owe her as an inspiration for their craft? She was the first writer that I recall reading that had the ability to bend and shape language into something I recognized more powerful than just words strung together. What could she have achieved had she lived a full life of writing?
Michael Allyn Wells - notes & musings