MANDATORY SENTENCES OF AMERICA

 

 

Every loneliness is a prison wall in which you know there is a trap door—if only you could find it.

 

You run your hands over its surface until your palms chafe, your nails break while you try to slit the seam between the wall and what might be a window.

 

You approach everything as a clinician: diagnosis and ailment.

 

From the outside, you appear filled with movement, but internally you are still, numb to external stimuli, yet watchful.

 

You feel a split between the body and mind, and you observe them in orbit, thinking you might learn something from their action.

 

The lamb knows all it knows through awareness of the patterns embedded in a generalized state of risk.  The lamb’s way of sensing is a clear-minded sensing of the world as it aligns against it: demystified, dependent, and with brutality intact.

 

*

 

For two hours each night, a grandmother prays the rosary, calling on the Virgin Mary to offer her children and her children’s children protection. Both a method of protection and a solace, it is a way of transmuting the energy of worry into a spell of security.

 

America’s praxis: How much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown.

 

*

 

A line of worries connected by a chain or string can be called a rosary, mala, komboskini, misbaha.

 

Energy can be transformed, but neither created nor destroyed.

 

If you have tiredness, brain fog, lack of motivation, among other symptoms, you should first have a thorough evaluation with a medical doctor.

 

Anemia, sleep apnea, autoimmune diseases, infections, hormonal impairments, mental illnesses, heart and lung problems, and kidney and liver diseases are just some among many medical conditions that could cause such symptoms.

 

*

 

Loneliness

 

 

1.

     a. being without company

     b. cut off from others

2.  not frequented by human beings

3.  sad from being alone

4.  producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

 

*

 

You hem, dart, darn, patch, line, pleat, hem, selvedge, and stitch women’s undergarments with scarred hand and with a flat bed industrial sewing machine. You cannot hear your neighbor over the din.

 

You shuck, slice, mop, mix, roast, stack, wash, clarify, marinate, scald, shred, parboil, and thicken for 14 hours a day, seven out of seven, aside from two non-consecutive days off every third week.

 

Your life confined to a 12 x 10 foot cell.

 

Or have been out of work for weeks.

 

Your face reflects blue light from the TV screen.

 

*

 

If the workup from your medical professional comes out normal, consider a fundamental question: Why would your adrenals be drained? Take a better look at what types of stress might be affecting you. For many, the hectic pace of modern life is to blame.

 

*

 

Loneliness, or a lack of companionship with one’s fellows, is not a personal problem. It is a maker of problems difficult to diagnose or name.

 

Rootless black peony, roots pulled away from dirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[With lines from Anne Boyer’s “When the Lambs Rise Up Against the Bird of Prey” and “Is Adrenal Fatigue ‘Real’?” from the Harvard Health Blog.]

 

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Marie Scarles is a Brooklyn-based poet in the midst of a move to Philadelphia. The former associate editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Marie will be starting in the MFA program at Rutgers University–Camden this fall.

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