illness

CORONA

(mid 16th century: from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’)

This world will descend with us all wearing crowns,
our fear made of chain mail, ensuring we drown –
this royal, rich cluster-fuck the claws of a hound
pandemically torn; endemically bound.

One planet, one people, an abstracted art –
our hope stripped in layers while the illest depart.
Socialised distance the end where we start:
with sanitised hands we are bonded apart.

And yet, it is loneliness more than disease
that will whisper goodbye as we land on our knees,
extinction unmasking the death it will seize
as we slip well away with perpetual ease.

But we cannot forget how to smile in defiance;
we must find a cure and resume an alliance.
Our infinite strength is historically timeless:
let us fearlessly roar in the face of this virus!

© Tamara Natividad | pisceanesque.com | Written 21 March 2020

JEZABEL

My cat just died in my lap.

She was lots of fun when she was young, but then she started to get fat, and then got fatter than that… she got bumpy and her spine curled up and then her bumps got lumpy, and she started to appear weighted down and went less and less on our beds and kept more to the ground when she got too chunky.

She limped and she wobbled and her head bobbled and in her later days her breathing got faster and I didn’t think she’d last much longer, but, nevertheless, she didn’t weaken – it appeared she got stronger.

But clearly I was seeing it wrong. Her breaths became shorter and she stopped eating and kept her eyes open, and all the while she was staring and looking and shaking and no longer interested in the noise we were making as we called her name.

I picked her up many times and she roused from her waking dream but she didn’t seem to want to ‘be’. I desperately wished I could help her, release her, slow her breathing and give her peace and ease her.

And then she got colder, and when I held her it was like I was holding a boulder.

It hurt her to breathe. I could see her pain through her fear and I gently told her over and over that she can pass… I was here… and before long, her breathing slowed and then she spasm’d, and as I held her I knew she was close to the chasm, shaking and numb in my hands.

She tried once more to stand but she spasm’d again and her jaw grew wider and I could almost see right down inside her as she laboured to breathe while her heart gave out.

I cried when I looked through her eyes as she looked back knowing it was her time to die, allowing me to watch her once bright spark in that final moment subside.

I counted to 5 and I told her it’s okay to not be alive.

I’m sure she knew what I’d said as she rested her tired body on my skirt and lay there bravely, blissfully dead; a part of me journeying with her as I stroked her lifeless – but beautiful – feline head.

© Tamara Natividad | pisceanesque.com | Written 7th April, 2017

THE RIDE

 

Faced again with options,
– I am –
thumb sore,
from hitching a ride
to any direction
I’m taken:
partial nudity
framing the high risk
beneath these threads –
allowing nothing
but neglect
to course through these veins,
closer than a man’s knife.

Nothing but dis-ease
can stain like old graffiti:
stubborn and unwelcome,
and impossible to wash away.

It beckons to take my life
– this weed that chokes me –
but I know better than that:
it’s already gone.
What little of me remains
is always outside searching.

– red lights –

– red eyes –

– bloodied hope –

So I’ll take their word
– these men who stop to ogle –
and their banter,
and I’ll take the seat they offer
while I push their oily hands away,
just to sink back
for a moment
into the stubborn stench
of leathered history –
into the cosy
but broken seats
of the ride I’m taking now
– not the ride of my life,
but the pick-up
to another stop.

And as I sleep with eyes wide
and ears open
I search within

for freedom and peace

– an end to it all –

But it’s their cigarettes and coffee
that keep me breathing.

 

© Tamara Natividad | pisceanesque.com | Written 19 October, 2011