Still working on the grant application. And kind of caught in a maelstrøm of insecurities. I keep wondering when I will reach the other end of this “crisis”, or just learn to give into it. All my coping mechanisms seem to come with their own pitfalls and red herrings.

Maybe it is silly to try to make sense of all the clues. I fail miserably at those IQ tests where you are presented with a row of numbers and then asked to pick the next logical number. But give me a series of random social interactions and I will find a pattern, predict a relationship, judge motivations.

But that is what poets do, right? Find meaning in random connections? I have always been fascinated by the roles of truth and fiction in poetry. The juxtaposition of perspectives that throws everything we know into question. That’s the entire point, right? Shake it up. Surprise me.

I know Horace said poets should inform and delight, but that is School House Rock in my book. I want poetry that invites me into an exploration with no lesson waiting at the end. Honestly, I guess this view of poetry is rooted in my anti-authoritarian core. I am pretty sure there is a test that labels me as having a disagreeable personality. But “Who says?” and “How so?” are important questions.

And there is: “This, too.” And “Then there’s this…” There are more than 13 ways to look at anything. If we can allow ourselves to let go and do so.

I read that when you are stuck in quicksand, it isn’t really as dangerous as we are led to believe. Apparently, the key is to spread yourself wide and keep moving, gently, to allow the sand to move into the open spaces, to lift you bit by bit up and to the surface.

Yesterday E. cursed while we were on our way to work. He never curses. He apologized. To me: someone whose everyday speech has been peppered with curses for the past two years. Sometimes words, sometimes fully expressed incantations. I have been anything but gentle, and the fact hit me hard yesterday in the car listening to his apology.

There is good here.

This, too. I need 13 ways of looking at the day today.

(But one of them will definitely involve a curse.)

Yesterday a news update on the radio explained that hospitals are no longer going to report cases of Covid to the government. There’ll be no more daily statistics to follow. It’s as though they’ve decided that our participation in the pandemic is officially over – after two years and twelve days.

It’s difficult to know exactly what has changed these past two years. Two years older, some unavoidable milestones in any adult’s life, a major shift in biology, something of a creative crisis, something of a professional failure. Face-to-face with what were once “irrational fears” that actually came to pass. Well, not pass exactly, but taken up residence in the everyday. I am living with new shadows. Different kinds of secrets.

And understanding the value in that.

But sometimes while we are vigilant for what may be approaching from one direction, something else will creep up and bite us on the neck. In Europe, we are all living in the shadow of war, in the shadows of past wars. No secrets here. This bodyless, beating heart left on the stoop. Did you feel competent before? Adept? Useful?

Daily life goes on regardless. If not regardless, necessarily.

Life goes on after metaphorical deaths, after concrete endings. Sort of.

It has always taken so much effort for me to get out the front door. The pandemic ground me further into that introverted groove. And now even a planned phone call is difficult: a bit like levering a rock out of a trough and pushing it up a hill.

And we all know how that goes.

There has been a long list of reasons why I have not run in the mornings these past weeks. Why I’ve not kept a faithful yoga practice. And when the bones of your life begin crumbling, what happens shape of it? Of you? My sense of identity is becoming ever-more-misaligned with reality. It is painful.

Pulling myself together is an overwhelming task that I just can seem to begin. Starting over without the benefit of momentum. It feels unnatural. Forced.

Wrong somehow.

And I think I am afraid of what the resulting creature will look like. I am afraid of what it may need from me.