AirBNB

Just read an exciting article about AirBNB’s plan of matching homeless refugees with people willing to share their homes for a few days to a few weeks.  They will be eventually be setting up a foundation to do these type of things.  They already have done similar work in the case of fires, floods, and other catastrophes but this is a departure from their usual fare.

I thought about how families have exchange student for a year or more and wonder why this can’t be something done on networks such as these.  Not for as long, but as a service in emergency situations.  I know there are informal cases in domestic tragedies but this is different.  People would have to be vetted on both sides. Still, it is an interesting possibility.

I find Trump’s attitudes toward refugees, particularly Muslim ones, as well as his immigration policies and treatment of muslims and xenophobia within this country frightening and personal.  If a Muslim mosque gets destroyed, pay the same consideration paid to churches.

But here are solutions, operated by both private and public sectors that can do a legitimate service, and have in the past.  I applaud the work they are doing and hope the people of this nation rally round programs such as these.

Catching up

I’m at work now so may have trouble finishing this in one sitting.   I am moving tomorrow, or I’m supposed to be. Still waiting for the Section 8 inspection to happen. If they don’t today, I won’t be moving until they do. Talk about being on tender hooks. I’ve packed most everything, rented the truck, and hired guys to move with but it could all be screwed up.

I’m also going through an appeal at Social Security which is happening right now. They made a lot of mistakes but I’m paying the price for my errors.  Because I’m on SSDisability, I can only earn a certain amount. There were some times I went slightly over the limit and have to pay that back. $17 K for a lot of years. It irks me they couldn’t do it when I wasn’t  this far along. I am hopelessly bad at math and finances.

Finally, I’m facing  knee surgery in a fe w weeks and more in a couple of months later on my neck. So I am a bit overwhelmed by life at this time.

I haven’t written in a while and wanted to explain.

Demon Lover

You were my demon
always controlling
demanding your opinions
become mine

Rewrite my script
no longer my Mother’s
dictates, my Father
following meekly behind
making her choose,
decide, direct –
didn’t she ever tire
of all the wretched decisions
in her impossible world.

Yet here I was
meekly following
with a stirring of resistance
that refused to rise
to the surface –
just let him make decisions
then he has the blame
when they fail.

I was so culpable
gullible, tortured,
yet wielding
the whip –
demanding his choice
falling on my own sword.

The pattern continued
for so long
now broken,
but so are the dreams.
I am responsible,
but I lost so much
to gain myself.

Independence versus Compliance

I have lived life both as an independent person and one who relied on others to make my decisions and create change in my life.  People like my Mother who forcefully made my decisions, paid money to eradicate my debts, and made it easy for me to not stand for myself and my children.  An ex- husband who controlled everything in my life.  For a long time I looked to others for solutions to my problems and I can now declare independence beats passivity every time. My experience is not reflective of others; I just know passivity kept me a prisoner and made me sicker, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Years ago I was severely depressed and went to Western Mental Health Authority in Torrington, CT.  I tried some classes, counseling on financial matters, and was a phone counselor on the Warm Line (a service for the mentally and emotionally ill).  The classes made me feel worse because I saw people who I knew were so much more problematic than I doing better than me because my depression overrode everything else in my mind.  I had trouble relating to others in the programs.

But the Warm Line made me feel better because I had a Psychology background.  The down side was the same people called again and again, sometimes several times a night. I felt I was holding their hands over the phone lines but that I wasn’t making any effective change in their lives.  I didn’t hear recovery.

Slowly I was learning and progressing.  It took time and an experimentation of different psych meds.  I moved across the country, driving on my own, thinking I would have the connections I so sought with my children.  But I landed in a place where I lacked support, my children were busy building their own lives, my daughter was in Africa and my son was engaged to be married and very connected to his fiancee’s family.  Given that I’m shy and an introvert, it was tough going for a year.  Then I found a housing community for those over 50 in another town and began rebuilding my life.

Unfortunately, I became very ill with a 5% chance of living only with major surgery.  My body went septic and most major organs shut down.  Most of my intestines and my gall bladder were necrotic, I was on life support, and was put into a medically induced coma which ended up causing some traumatic brain injuries.  After three weeks of coma and another couple weeks in the hospital, I was moved to a rehabilitation center as I had lost all muscle memory and had to relearn to move every muscle in my body – every finger, toe, arm, everything was still.  No independence at all.  Not able to make any decisions on my own.  People had to feed me, clothe, me, bathe me.  I had a colostomy bag for a year which was a whole trauma in itself.  I was a slug.  My son came every day during that time to make sure I was following the decisions of doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapists.  Being stubborn, I fought this waste land of a body.  I tried standing and walking too soon, joining the Frequent Fallers Club.  So I had to learn that stubbornly acting against the wisdom of others in this case was working against me.

The experience forged an independence of spirit in me.  Every day was a struggle  and even though I was still battling Major Depression/Bipolar, I couldn’t let it claim me.  I had to get better.  I had to believe that God had saved me for some purpose or I wouldn’t be there.  I learned to walk first on bars, than on walkers, then on my own.  No wheelchairs.  I was responsible for my own steam.  For a long time a walk of any length once I left the rehab, required a walker which was embarrassing but essential.  Sometimes my legs would just give out on me, especially embarrassing in church, although there were a lot of prayers sent my way from both coasts. But I got better and after a year I was rid of the colostomy bag – a miracle, there was only enough space left in my intestines for them to be connected.

Now I prefer the life of an independent person.  When I do turn to others’, it is for advice but the decisions are mine.  I am financially responsible for myself.  I work part-time in service as a caregiver to others even though I still have disabilities impeding me.  I don’t appreciate being told by others what to do but I will listen respectfully then make my own determinations.  As I stubbornly didn’t let others  control my life, my relationships  improved.  I work hard to keep a lid on the Depression even though I feel it within me at all times, it does not dictate its’ force upon me.  Activity helps. Working helps.  It is an esteem builder, even though my job can be very difficult.  I just need to be aware of my limits.

Independence has given me a life worth living, one with purpose and meaning.

Parting

I combed her hair,
each strand lovingly placed
again and again,not quite the hundred
strokes I was told
as a child.
Washed her and changed
her sheets
Massaged her body
with lotion sweet
caressing each limb.
Gave her a manicure
and pedicare
in a color she particularly liked.
Spread her fingers out
not in the clench they’d been in
for days and days.
Shut her mouth.
Sprinkled kisses
many times upon her brow.
Then opened the door
and let the funeral home man in.

Remember Me

When drafty, cold sheets
embrace you –
clean, cool air
your only companion,
wrapping bracing arms
about you . . .
remember me,
remember me.

When the only touch
lies in your own caress
and you rock back
and forth,
holding yourself,
loneliness a cloak,
ripped and tattered,
shabbily contenting an empty husk,
remember me.

As you wake with a start,
and reaching down,
feel shame
and a touch of disbelief
as your sheet
sticks with a tackiness
born of dreams . . .
Remember me.

i drank the nectar
of deep, warm recesses –
then you were gone,
leaving an empty cup
tilted over, with rusty edges
on your stand.

One morning I was held by
the savoring sweetness
of sexual desire,
next choking on a
bile of bitter rancor,
spitting out bits
of broken dreams.

So when the time comes
for you to yearn, plead,
beg for fulfilment,
wavering shadows in
the dark becoming
your only company . . .

Lick the drained cup
for the dregs of what was –
will never again be –
do this in remembrance
of me.

Glassy mirror

A curse carried heavily,
a bane weighing down
harsh truths –
brooking no means
of escape –
pushing me into black
rages of rabid,
green jealousy leaking
onto pure, clean surfaces.

Avoidance has no safety valve,
However the attempt
to glean a measure
of self-respect
was played – no hope
existed for exorcising you
from my mind.

My demon in black,
fiery splendor . . .
captivating, tantilizing
with a mysterious
seductiveness long
I have sought to gain.

All that was hated
but secretly worshipped
from distant reaches
was yours to possess . . .
desire and passion, holding souls in
calloused hands –
lightly tossed
in scrap heaps or charnel pits
never thrown away.

Wanting those trophies
to hang for all to se –
stuffed members from
a vanquished race.
While huddled on the sidelines
I watched one after another
fall by the slight
of your blade.
Envy burning
as each writhed, screaming,
squirming, crying for more.

Running in fear as
the blade turned toward me.
The journey has gone to
far reaches you may never know.
But now scales are balanced.

Contained within myself –
an identity all my own.
I prepare for the final meeting –
a battle of power,
flip sides of the same coin
embroiled in locked embrace.

Fiery black now lies
within and no more
will your subtle charms
devastate in blows
wounding feminine pride.
The war of hating-loving myself
has ended – you can be you –
not a mirror into
the glassy waters of me.
 

Mocking Masks

Glazed figurines
of marblesque perfection
in skilled arrangements
cold and impersonal
(number please)

Nodding heads at
wrong moments.
minds spinning –
a hundred questions
flooded with fear.

Speaking at one
while eyes flick
upon each new member
a few pennies worth
of measuring up,
a dime store delight
of tasteless fantasies.

Masks carefully applied
to stunning perfection
concealing humanness,
replacing warmth
with mock conviviality.

The place where I dump the stuff that's inside my head.

Geetha Balvannanathan's Blog - Isis Tratum

Poems, thoughts, healing, other art works (pictures, songs and videos not made by me belong to their authors, the rest being mine) © 2010-2046

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