Tag Archives: illness

Upright Midnight


Upright Midnight

Our night’s rest should meander, releasing us to dreams,
but my sleep took me on a trip down other sorts of streams
with rapids, eddies, waterfalls that jarred me rough awake.
I think that just one night like it is all that I could take.
Whenever I lay prone, I had another bout of coughing—
with one hack executed, another in the offing. 
I could not lay my head down to soothe myself to sleep.
Instead I slept bolt upright, my covers in a heap
around me on the sofa as a cough jarred me awake.
Sleeping upright on the sofa does not sweet dreaming make. 
I longed for my soft bed and former slumbering meanders
through crisp rows of wheat stalks and banks of oleanders
in search of something still unknown, a peaceful all-night search
for those soulful comforts I never found at church.
My mother’s laughter once again, my father’s joking ways
waiting just around the bend of this nightly maze.
Instead, I’ve barely three hours sleep in between my wheezes—
my dreams propelled by cyclones instead of gentle breezes.
The cold germ is not neighborly. It visits when it pleases
and brings unwanted hostess gifts of drips and coughs and sneezes.

As you may have guessed, I’ve come down with a miserable cold. Two poems in one night, one while I was still trying to stay in bed, then another after I moved to sit upright on the couch which at least furnished a half hour of sleep now and then between the coughing bouts.  The prompt today is meander.

The Spring Cold Blues


The Spring Cold Blues

While I should be off-to-sleeping,
instead I’m coughing, sneezing, seeping.
My poor throat is scraped and raw
and herb tea sipped at through a straw
doesn’t seem to help at all.
Tissues rolled up in a ball
litter the table and the floor.
I cough, then blow, then cough some more.
I sweat and shiver and sweat in turn.
Sometimes I chill. Sometimes I burn.
I can’t lie down lest I should cough.
Propped up on pillows, I fall off,
knock tea to floor and break the cup.
No energy to mop it up.
So, with my head still in a fog,
I sit up straight and write this blog.
If I were horse or sheep or cow,
I’d know the secret of just how
I could sleep while still erect,
but since I’m not, I still elect
to sleep while prone whenever I can.
Tonight, it seems, that’s not the plan.


Hey!  Just realized this is my 4,000th posting!!!

Election Night and RBBB


Election Night and RBBB

The world is broken.
Even the little dogs cry out in sleep.
The darkness drops its tears
on the tile roof
and my heart misfires,
its electric messages
out of their normal path
and back again, trying to establish
some order.


I am heartsick tonight, both literally and figuratively

Post-Migraine Depression

Disclaimer: Yesterday I suffered my first migraine in sixteen years or so.  I had just been telling a friend how long it had been since I’d had my last one and the best way to overcome them when suddenly, a few days later, when I was standing on a ladder putting away material in my studio, I grew dizzy and would have fallen off the ladder if I hadn’t had a chair back and file cabinet to steady myself on.  Soon after, the migraine descended, along with the nausea and this time with a shortness of breath that was probably psychosomatic but which made me feel as though I was going to suffocate.

What was worse is that there was no one around–no one in my neighborhood–no one I could think to call.  When I tried to think of someone to email or Skype, my mind fogged and I couldn’t figure out how to type the letters or who exactly to call–just to have a sense of presence.  I was too sick to talk and could barely even stand the distraction of calling on Skype.  Nor could I figure out how to actually make the call.  Luckily a friend who was about to leave on a trip to another town and who was already connected to me by Skype, contacted an old friend and she called me and talked me down a bit, poor thing, talking for ten minutes or so without relief.  All I needed was some soft distraction so I did not think about not being able to breathe.

Today just the slight edge of a headache is there. Enough so I dare not bend down or chance seeing a bright light or smelling the odor of Jacaranda, which I am afraid is what caused the problem this time, but I have started thinking about old age and being alone and vulnerable and all of those things I’ve never really thought of seriously before.  When I tried to write something else entirely, what got written was the rather self-indulgent piece below.  My impulse is to put it away and to write something else, but I also have a curiosity about whether others might have the same feelings sometimes so I just might have another look at it and print it with the understanding that when such things are written, they sometimes serve as their own antidote.

Or, perhaps the extreme of what I wrote is simply priming the pump–a surge to get me going.  Well, I’ll have another read and we shall see.  If I do print it, I’d appreciate comments–lots of them–no matter how negative.  My grandmother used to say a Dutch phrase when she was feeling sorry for herself, “Mama Miet mi Dote!” (Mama might be dead.) It became our family’s saying, only my mother (her daughter-in-law), who didn’t understand Dutch, said “Mama Milk My Goat.”  My dad thought this was funny so never told us differently until I went to college and tried to use it and got blank stares from all those who didn’t know the phrase I thought everyone used.  It was then my dad ‘fessed up.  So, “Mama Milk My Goat.” Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself in the ditty below, but it helps to rave sometimes and tomorrow is another day.  For now, I’m lying low for one more day.

Post-Migraine Depression

My life is growing narrower, the walls are closing in.
I don’t care where I’m going or care where I have been.
I never thought life would wear out or that I’d tire of it,
but suddenly the life around me does not seem to fit.
We’re schooled to be cheerful and to make the best of life–
to emphasize our happiness and overlook the strife,
but somehow everything has changed. Perhaps it is the weather,
for suddenly I feel my life is on too short a tether.

I think I’ve worn my old life out but cannot seek a new one.
I’ve simply not the energy to try again to do one.
So I shall lie abed today to contemplate my fate–
to have a look at what I do and what is on my plate.
I need to feed the dogs and then to feed my own self, too–
to dress myself and try to put each shoe in front of shoe.
My grandma was a martyr and perhaps I am the same,
but I don’t try to make this into any other’s blame.

I simply feel that I must stir the pot up once again–
take off on an adventure someplace I’ve never been.
Find a niche and fill it and live a simple life.
Try to find diversion without turmoil or strife.
To inspect the Caribbean or a tiny town in Spain.
Live alone in solitude with nothing to explain.
My family is scattered and has no need of me.
In terms of obligations, I am really fancy free.

So if you do not see me later on this blog,
just know that I have gone away and slipped my usual cog.
Perhaps I’ll be beach combing or traveling out to sea.
Perhaps I’ll be investigating what else I can be.
My life will soon be over and although I’ve had the best,
I feel that I need more of it before my final rest.
Or, I may not stir at all. I guess I must admit,
perhaps my need is satisfied by contemplating it.