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Life Arts    H4'ed 4/25/22

What am I responsible for?: Another day. (followed by a reflection)

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The screen is blank. I have no words yet for today.
Weather-wise, it is so much like yesterday,
I could easily lump it with Sunday and Tuesday
Or lose it in "our week in ____." That would be so easy.


Thankfully I am not responsible for most of what I see.
I am trying to stay focused on what's important.
There are some things I can't look it.
It's too much. I blame it.


The incessant sound of the traffic, the sterile skyline.
The lack of butterflies.
My own lack of imagination
Is like an illness in itself.


Last night I was worried about something.
It's personal. I lay awake listening
To the sound of my own breathing.
Which finally reassured me and I slept.


I opened my eyes to sunlight
Trying to get to me through the slats.
So far I can accept what I have been given.
But I haven't done anything yet.


These words are cheap. My thoughts
Are in danger of spiraling out.
They are tired thoughts. I'm playing it safe.
I read about an older Ukrainian couple


Who escaped the filtration camp in Mariupol
With the help of a private driver
Who knew how to avoid the checkpoints
And now they are relatively safe in Lviv.


They escaped deportation because they were older.
Yesterday I asked my wife:
Do you think we would have left everything behind
And fled when the Russians were massing on the border?


(How dare I ask such a question?) But she said yes.
But then we began to think, Oh my god!
It would have been so hard!
It's the details of our lives that ground us.


It's the details of our so imperfect lives
That make us human after all.
The mycelia of myriad connections
That we hardly ever acknowledge.


But war destroys the mycelia.
And fear, and paranoia and greed and bad religion
And many aspects of globalization.
Just one little anecdote before I make my breakfast.


We were descending into Laguardia a few days ago,
Where we would be catching our flight to here,
And as we swooped down over the East River
We were noticing how all the little islands


Were so crammed with buildings
There was no visible sand or speck of green.
But then we passed over a golf course.
But that was no better. Sterile grass.


So here we go. Another day.
What am I going to do? What am I not going to do or think
To make my night a little better?
What am I responsible for?

................

In this poem, after a night of poor sleep, I am trying to be responsible for my words. I want my day to go well, to increase the chances of my night going well. There is nothing of the hero in me today. I need to clear the deck. I need to create the set and setting of my tenuous situation. Far from going with the flow, I'm looking for the river. I identify with anyone who got the hell out of Ukraine when Putin, fresh back from the Olympics in China, was claiming his 200,000 troops were just conducting a harmless exercise. As a Ukrainian, I would have been counting myself fortunate for being an old fart, old enough to pack up and get the hell out. I'm just being honest. I am in awe of the older couple who took a chance hiring a driver to sneak them out of the fallen city of Mariupol. They must have been peeing their pants. So, I'm not feeling proud. I didn't mention that we are in Florida, on vacation. Vacation or not, when it comes down to it, if we care, if the world / planet matters to us, if our time on earth matters, there is no such thing as a break. If we have a functioning conscience, if we're not sick that is, we have responsibilities, to each other and to ourselves, not to waste a single day. That is how I feel. I want this day to count.


(Article changed on Apr 26, 2022 at 8:23 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Apr 26, 2022 at 8:25 AM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of five nonfiction books, three collections of poetry, "Children to the Mountain", "The Last recurrent Dream" (Two Plum Press), "Conversations with Poetry (coauthored with Tom Cowan), and (more...)
 

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