Day 001: Fury

It feels like swallowing a hurricane of razor edges.  Every single day.

Our Covid numbers keep rising and people keep dying and I am imprisoned in my house by the selfish choices of strangers. 

Excuse me for saying so, but our personal “rights” end when those “rights” put other people in jeopardy.

We do not have the right to drink and drive. We do not have the right to stand and dance in the middle of a freeway. We have to wear a shirt and shoes to get into most stores. We can’t scream fire in a crowded theater. (But we shouldn’t be in crowded theaters these days anyway. ) Certain vaccines are compulsory. I couldn’t get into Uganda without a Yellow Fever shot. We can’t pursue our liberty and happiness at the expense of other people’s lives.

I thought one day I might write a dystopian novel.  I just didn’t think I’d have to live it, and then write it as a memoir.

Welcome to the pandemic purgatory that is Florida where our leaders protect their own political futures at the cost of the lives of their people. 

I truly don’t want to move.  I don’t want to leave behind my dear friends. Or the graves of my parents.  But neither do I want to join them 6 feet under prematurely.

I don’t want to uproot and start all over.  Even the thought is exhausting. I don’t want to become displaced just so I can keep breathing.  But those choices may be made for me. 

Because neither I can tolerate an unending reality confined to my home so stressed I could spit nails.  I refuse to accept that as my future.

I’m giving it 24 months, 730 days.  I think I can stare at these walls that long without losing what’s left of my mind.  I hope. 

These days will be filled with relentless purging and saving every penny I can… while working my butt off to build enough steady, sustainable income that will allow me to move to a place probably 2-3x as expensive out of state.

Unless by some mercy the situation improves here. But given the entrenched lies and political power plays, I doubt it will for at least the next decade.

That will be my focus.  That will be my escape plan.  That will be my survival strategy.  Anger and fear and loathing and frustration can become its fuel.

And I’ll be writing about the journey through this dystopian hell for the next 2 years as a practice to gather the remaining threads of my sanity.  I mean that’s what writers do. We process by splatting our pain on a page so that it might remind you that you aren’t alone in yours.

Not for a second. No matter how isolated and frustrated you feel.

I will be unapologetically outspoken. I will talk about uncomfortable topics. I will tell you exactly what I think of the monster of Christian nationalism and cultural evangelicism. I may use adult adjectives with great degrees of intention. It will be raw and messy and you can choose to walk away at any time.

I’m done mincing words or dancing around sensibilities or trying to be nice. D-O-N-E. Our self-centered independence is weaponizing what would already be a bad situation and turning it into a horror movie.

I’ll be writing from this hell in which my 2 shots gave me no antibodies.  My doctor said the shots didn’t work on me.  So if I get Delta or a worse variant, I’ll very likely die. (And if you email me with trite platitudes about faith and death, I will reply with the full force of my honesty).

Last week’s non-Covid sinus infection gave me walking pneumonia, so…

Welcome to month 20 of my 2020.  Hopefully, I’ll one day find life again outside my walls.  But regardless, perhaps these words can make a difference anyway.

Here’s to… day 1 of 730 in the diary of a public health refugee.

counting breaths

This poem was written May 26, 2020 shortly after the death of my mom. I still can’t get through reading it without tears taking over.

But in the middle of so much loss so many are facing in the face of this pandemic, I felt it might be an encouragement to know you aren’t alone. You aren’t. Not today. Not ever.

counting breaths
dm perry

we get the news, 
the findings are in,
and so it begins, this dance with
endings

first, we count years, 
then months and days,
then hours,
and finally... we 
count
breaths.

life rattling in bones and flesh
too tired, too weary to
contain it.

we count breaths,
measuring their rhythm
the rise and fall
as
i pray silent
SCREAMS to
heaven

OH GOD, PLEASE LET IT 
BE BRAXTON HICKS

but wait, contractions?

is this rattle the end, or the
universe expanding, contracting, 
surrounding,
as a womb
bringing forth

push, don’t
push.
crowning,
is it here yet?

you breathe,
struggle to break free,
to let go, to be,
to become

and then the waiting

between

breaths.

still, you hold on
through the night till
the dawn
hanging on
to the cocoon,
to the womb
of what was.

clinging to the edge
of realms till you know
i'm not alone.
you're not 
leaving me to be
swallowed by need
or fear 
or on-my-ownness 

morning comes
with the keys,
exhale here,
take your first breath
there

born free, broken free, above
brand new

and now i count breaths

breaths wracked with sobs.
breaths that rail
at the empty spaces.
breaths held
because my heart
is aching, stretched
open, it’s breaking

i count breaths

then moments and hours

time stops
caught in the spin
cycle of what used to be,
wave after wave
pulling me under
WAIT. just breathe.

find air.
breathe again.

days,
one runs headlong
into another
and another
until days
feel like weeks
and weeks like months,
but wait.

it's only been 14 days,
336 hours

breathe.
i’m counting days now.

soon it will be weeks,
then months, &
god-willing,
years.

because in the middle of
that long night, in that
liminal space between
worlds,

there counting breaths
as time rushed and 
stood still,
as it froze
we both let go…

and in letting go,
we learned
to fly.

the fractured land

broken ground bleeds
injustice, 
pain pulsing red
from fractured clay
fissures,
cliffs, canyons
divided       so      wide
so deep we grieve
lurch forward halting
come be, re-member
together

no longer weaponize
comfort 
or turn words
into knives 
to stab the silence

tumbled in chaos,
cacophony staged
locked in echo chambers
algorithms the chains,
shackled to screens in
the matrix we made

this uncivil war between
red, white and blue
while hope dares to breathe
fractured facts scatter
in discontent’s winter,
contagions rage

alternative truth unashamed
house of mirrored illusions
trust eroded 
like sand standing guard 
in a storm surge,
battered by winds
blown in circles we spin
the power flickers and dims
but the gas light is ON...

...until...

we turn it OFF

and begin
again.

—dm perry
1/20/21

Written in response to the lies about election fraud that gave rise to the Capitol insurrection. I pray now with this new administration we can begin to see truth and trust restored.