$ick

in this day and age
dealing with health insurance
worst disease of all

—Terri Guillemets

“All complaints about life today will be ignored unless they are submitted in the format of elegant haiku poetry.” ~Dr. SunWolf

Weekly feels

Saturday:

Sunday:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:


Images in the public domain, modified t.g.
• Saturday — Zandrie by Marian Edwards Richards, 1909, illustration by Harriet Roosevelt Richards, published by The Century Co., contributed by New York Public Library, digitized by Google Books, books.google.com
• Sunday — Happy Days by Oliver Herford, 1917, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, published by Mitchell Kennerley, Internet Archive, contributed by University of California Libraries, digitizing sponsor Microsoft, archive.org
• Monday — Wellcome Collection. ‘A young woman of Vienna who died of cholera, depicted four hours before death.’ Coloured stipple engraving, c.1831. wellcomecollection.org
• Tuesday — Happy Days by Oliver Herford, 1917, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, published by Mitchell Kennerley, Internet Archive, contributed by University of California Libraries, digitizing sponsor Microsoft, archive.org
• Wednesday — I got this from an old book years ago but haven’t yet been able to find my notes with the source; oops.
• Thursday — Woman in Sacred Song, compiled and edited by Eva Munson Smith, 1888 edition, published by Arthur E. Whitney, digitized by Google Books, books.google.com
• Friday — Wellcome Collection. ‘Skeletons dancing.’ Etching by R. Stamper after Christopher Sharp. 1700s. wellcomecollection.org


Flight path

I look out my office window
working too late, again

The half-moon is round
with a glowing halo —
I know it’s pollution but
my heart sees fairy dust
or the happily ever after
romance of a bedtime story

And next to the bright moon
with its fringe of murky light
soars a large airplane
with its lights flashing
and I can hear its engine
even with my windows closed
(it’s hot outside, otherwise —
you know darn well —
I would open them!)

The plane’s lights —
red, green, white orbs
of unsightly technological safety —
are ruining the beautiful night sky
and distracting me from
my dusty fairy-tale moon

Yet maybe
at last
I realize
what’s been
obscuring
my poetic vision

I always seem to focus
on that beautiful moon
and the romantic dark sky
but ignore the 737 monstrous
hunk of metallic civilization
hurling itself through the night,
followed by a second aircraft
and then a third and fourth,
as if the airport is shooing
all her noisy little children
out of the house to play —

And even though that airplane
is hideous and loud
and aerial anti-serenity —
      it’s life.

And what is poetry —
      if not life?

Perhaps it carries
newlywed lovers
who were finally married
after COVID cancellations,
leaving on the honeymoon
they saved up years for —
and in that plane
is just as much fairy tale
as that beautiful-ugly
dust veiling the moon.

—Terri Guillemets

Desiccated

I write of only 3%
of the landscape
around me —
the green trees
colorful flowers
amazingly adaptive
dryland wildlife
and blind myself
to the rest of it —

but it’s time
to take a good look
and acknowledge
my selective seeing —
the 97% is dull
barren, stark, harsh, hot

out my bedroom window
there is a plain brown
block walled fence, my
neighbor’s white-metal
shed roof, off of which
glares the sun so brightly
it’s blinding, not a speck
of green in sight, except
one small weed emerging
from dusty gray rocks —

yes, there is a lizard
on the wall, doing push-ups
in the morning sun
and I watch him
with fascination
awed with nature
I forget the surrounding
urban desert ugliness —

until suddenly I wonder
where will he get
his next water?
surely from someone’s
yard watering system
but where do we  get
that precious water
for our thirsty homes?
and how much longer
will we be fortunate
enough to have it?

our city and county
allow so much over-
development, it feels
as if they are slowly
killing us, overcrowding
us, not caring about
our quality of life
nor the lizard’s —

but maybe, just maybe
we Phoenicians are
simply outright foolish
for trying to live here
in our air-conditioned
fortresses while the
city dries up around us

—Terri Guillemets

Hopeless?

creature after creature
loses its home
or goes extinct

earth herself
thanks to us
is on the brink

man-made
in the end doesn’t
mean what we think

man-made
means the same as
man destroyed —

WE  are the weak link.

—Terri Guillemets

Aaahhhhh!

The only thing I want
a subscription to
is the winter chill and
an evening view of Venus
and those are totally free!

The only thing I want
to pop up in my face
is a beautiful flower
in springtime bloom
and that, by the way
never gets in my way.

I just want to read a recipe
not look at a baker’s dozen
hyperenormous photographs
and read a culinary novel
so now please can I cook?

I don’t need to know
the fifteen best this
or 36 surprising thats
it’s free (with purchase)
but hurry, only 2 left!
Bah, no thanks. Is there
an app to make it all stop?

I’m not made of attention
time nor clicks nor money
so I am logging myself off
from the world to walk to
the grassy park with a book
and enjoy a nice simple day.

—Terri Guillemets

Inflame them to madness

P. Des Maizeaux, 1734:

      “Whosoever contributes, especially with success, to enlarge the Understandings of Men, and to mend their Hearts, is entitled to the Friendship and Protection of the Governors of Men, I mean of such as would truly answer the noble end of Government; who, if they pursue their duty, and consult the honour and improvement of human nature, will chearfully and generously promote whatever has that good tendency. And they who practice different Politics, by cramping the human Soul, possessing it with false awe, and debasing it through Darkness and Ignorance, do not deserve, but rather disgrace and forfeit, the glorious and endearing title of Magistrates and Protectors.

      “True and extensive Knowledge never was, never can be, hurtful to the Peace of Society. It is Ignorance, or, which is worse than ignorance, false Knowledge, that is chiefly terrible to States. They are the furious, the ill taught, the blind and misguided, that are prone to be seized with groundless Fears, and unprovoked Resentment, to be roused by Incendiaries, and to rush desperately into Sedition and acts of Rage.

      “Subjects that are most knowing and best informed, are ever most peaceable and loyal. Whereas the Loyalty and obedience of such, whose understandings extend not beyond Names and Sounds, will be always precarious, and can never be thoroughly relied upon, whilst any turbulent or artful men can, by dinn and clamour, and the continual application of those Sounds, intoxicate, and inflame them even to madness, can make them believe themselves undone though nothing hurts them, think they are oppressed when they are best protected, and can drive them into riots and rebellion, without the excuse of one real grievance. It will always be easy to raise a mist before eyes that are already dark: and it is a true observation, ‘that it is an easy work to govern Wise Men; but to govern Fools or Madmen, is a continual slavery.’

      “It is from the blind zeal and stupidity cleaving to Superstition, ’tis from the Ignorance, Rashness, and Rage attending Faction, that so many, so mad, and so sanguinary evils have afflicted and destroyed Men, dissolved the best Governments, and thinned the greatest Nations. And as a people well instructed will certainly esteem the Blessings which they enjoy, and study public Peace, for their own sake, there is a great merit in instructing the people, and in cultivating their Understandings. They are certainly less credulous in proportion as they are more knowing, and consequently less liable to be the Dupes of Demagogues, and the property of Ambition. They are not then to be surprized with false cries, nor animated by imaginary Danger; and wherever the Understanding is well principled and informed, the Passions will be tame, and the Heart well disposed.

      “They therefore who communicate true Knowledge to their species, are true Friends to the World, Benefactors to Society, and deserve all encouragement from those, who preside over Society, with the applause and good wishes of all men.”

—Pierre Des Maizeaux (1673–1745), Dedication, The Dictionary Historical and Critical of Mr Peter Bayle, Second English Edition, Volume the First, MDCCXXXIV

Slam–bang

there is a big hospital nearby
there are several, fairly nearby
fortunately, I don’t need one
right now —
but I’m grateful to be close to them,
that they’re close to me, just in case

so are the firefighters
and the grocery stores
and post offices
and best of all, libraries!

and
a whole lot of people —
for better or worse

all because I live in a big city

it’s convenient —
and it’s annoying

It’s 4:47 a.m.

three hours ago, the windows vibrated
under a circling police helicopter

a few minutes ago
the clattering A/C
that needs to be fixed
jolted me awake

I dozed back off —

this time it was a stray cat
there are so many of them;
I know them all by name —
Old Lived-In Orange Tom
Marked-Ear Kitten Gone Fat
Dirty-White Tuxedo Guy —
some of them like to jump up
on the sill, be loud, cause trouble

this morning, interrupting my dream,
it was Scraggly White Gray-Heart-Nose
yowling, prowling, howling, meowing

That’s it! just can’t get back to sleep
may as well get up, even though I’ve only
had maybe 5 hours — five disturbed hours.

it’s still dark out, and for the first time
in several months it’s noticeably cooler
outside than inside, even with the air on
and the just-past-full moon is up
she’s bright and snuggling with Mars —
Venus, Sirius, Orion, all shining for everyone
and for no one in particular

I step out of my front door, lock it,
and am not even out of my own driveway
before a car speeds by, knocking me over
with its noxious old-car gas fumes
and buck-the-system black exhaust

I look up at the sky, what I can see of it —
nearly every house has bright lights on
shining directly into my eyes, and the
street lights — piercing, glaring, persistent

I’ve made it almost next door
someone is out smoking, I can’t see them
but I smell the strong nasty smoke
and cover my nose with the COVID mask
from my pocket — odd, in my youth
I used to love breathing in the scent
of cigarette smoke — thought it was sexy
now it chokes, it offends, it irks

onto the next block, another smoker,
invisible too — do tobacco lovers hide
in the shadows on purpose?
my grandmother used to do that;
after she told everyone that she quit
we accidentally caught her smoking
on the dark side of the house, but
we didn’t let on — it’s hard to let go of
our addictions — shadows let us hold on

second house in on the second block
a big way-louder-than-legal motorcycle
leaving its driveway, its rider doesn’t see me;
I stand aside and wait as it roars out & away

it’s not even freakin’ 5 a.m., folks. on Saturday!
I came out here for quiet, fresh air, skygazing,
a pleasant walk in cool early-morning “solitude”
but the air stinks, there are so many lights —
oh, and did I not mention all the irritating
sensor lights that pop on unexpectedly
into my face, just when I think I’ve found
a nice dark-house reprieve — bam! — they’re like
the damn ads and email newsletter pleadings
on nearly every modern web site —
catching you unawares, blocking the
entire screen, at the cursor’s slightest
sign of movement — blinding us
like all the sensor lights, blocking
our enjoyment of whatever else it is
that we were trying to do

third house in, second block
the rooster. someone’s backyard city-rooster:
I look at my watch, a 5:00 crow on the dot.

I try to stop being annoyed
try hard to focus on the positive
try to figure out which dim little star
is above Venus, it must be one in Leo —
that’s my husband’s sign

my husband, still sleeping. heavy sleeper.
sleeping 8–9 hours straight through
nearly every night, it’s his superpower
I kinda hate him for it —
if I get more than 5 to 6 hours, and
waking several times at that, it’s a
miracle. light, light sleeper, I am.
I want to sleep, I try to sleep. I can’t.

my husband, who even though he’s sleeping
I already know exactly what he would say
about my quandary, my HSP city annoyances:
— Sleep in later.
— Just stay indoors.
— Join a gym and walk on the treadmill.

he just doesn’t get it. never has.
Flash! another sensor light in my face —
Screw it. for the first time ever,
I’ve given up on my morning walk.
it’s only been a few minutes
and the weather is gorgeous!
but I am going back inside.
How can people live like this?
with so much constant noise
and so many bright obscuring lights
and so damned much artificial stink

heading back around the corner to my house, I hear
the mini-siren warning bloop of a mile-away ambulance —
did I mention that I live close to a hospital?

—Terri Guillemets

Talons

Owls are hunters
Humans are mechanical separators —
separating by metal machines
      meat from bones
      life from death
      fat from essence —
but in Nature, where Man used to come from
a long time ago — remember it? —
none of those things is separable.
      BRAIN  from  SENSE

—Terri Guillemets