[written December 6, 2012]
Eurydice, my frozen gut, this heart that rots
before the flesh is ready. Pale blue fog slips
through the space between humans and sky;
the trees curl toward me, softly, murmuring.
The feeble doorknob crackles beneath my
touch. Something stirs in the corner of the
room, peripherally, but there is nothing.
A broken chair swathed in your white tunic,
a dove wing left rumpled for months. A cloud
of fruit flies drift above a putrid bowl. The knife
splits the pomegranate, a cluster of succulent
rubies. I suck a bitter seed from my tooth:
the taste of acid, the venom I would have sucked
from your heel, if given the time. Tonguing the
hot honey that spits from your womb. Your bar
of maple soap molds sour on its porcelain dish.
The pale vegetables break me down. Today,
the birds are silent; I have nothing to sing. And
I know, I know I brought this upon us. I keep
returning to the last view, where you never stopped
falling—the tunnel’s maw that faces the cold
core of the earth, where even I can’t reach my self.
Every morning, I still feel the ache in my throat,
your mouth on my ear, your swollen fig cupped
in my palm, find your hairs in the linen. Somewhere,
I am spilling a cup of rain ten thousand times, hoping
it will reach you. I know the crunch of hot stones
won’t sound close enough to dry leaves. The sun
must be an echo of a myth. Do you paint your eyes
with soot, keeping them open out of habit? Do you
sing in the caves to forget your sorrow, forever
idling for the debtor who is always paid? I wrap
a broken lyre string around my knuckles, pour the
soft blood into the river. How does the spirit bleed?
Will the water still bend for me, toward you, carrying
a thin red string, the spool a white finger, revealing
itself to you: a pocket of light in the gutter, an
unspeakable stream of questions? Will your face
look too much like my shadow? Do you blame me
for my doubt? I wake up in the night, my voice
thrashing wildly, like a bird caught in a chimney.
How I’ve wanted to choke this very neck that sent you
hurdling back, rumpling into smoke like a burning
manuscript, but not up, not out of the mineshaft.
So I kindle the fireplace with pages of sheet music,
all of the food left in the cupboard: a grain of salt,
a trickle of honey, a dusting of cumin powder,
one sunflower seed. What more can I possibly give?
This house’s wooden beams are buckled under
the weight of this lack of you; these empty hands
are the hardest to lift. They sit in my pockets like
stones when I walk down the ancient cobbled street,
look no one in the eye, marvel at the women’s
long tresses of onyx, pewter, gold, amber—wishing
just one of them could be the back of your head.
When you’re prepared and you’re just facing momentary stress, mind over matter is helpful to focus on what you want to happen. That’s because the body handles momentary stress quite well. Stress signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, the fight or flight hormone, which produces an immediate boost of energy and focus that is great for getting stuff done. Cortisol also suppresses non-essential functions, including the immune and reproductive systems and impacts mood, motivation and fear.
Evolutionarily this stress was short lived so the energy lasted for a short period of time and then the body returned to normal.
But today many people live with constant overload at work, sleep derivation and family responsibilities, which the body interprets as stress. Add illness or another stressful situation and the stress becomes chronic.
With chronic stress, the body is constantly flooded with cortisol, which can lead to anxiety, depression, sleep problems, cognitive impairment and weight gain. That’s why when you are completely fried you are have difficulty concentrating and are jumpy. Long term stress can also impact the immune system and cause stomach problems. Not fun.
During these periods, you can’t think yourself out of it because the brain is literally not working properly. Stress impairs brain functioning. It’s not your fault, it’s biology.
Ignore anyone who just tells you to think positive. The best thing you can do is to take care of your body so that the stress response calms, your mind clears and you improve the body’s resilience. Go back to basics.
so so important
Moonanum James, Co-Leader of United American Indians of New England, at the 29th National Day of Mourning, November 26, 1998
The National Day of Mourning is an annual protest coinciding with Thanksgiving to remember the genocide and continued oppression and suffering of American Indians.