Thursday, November 19, 2020

Poem from the Covid battlefield: The Empty Covid Octopus by Julia Kanno


Julia Kanno writes:

I am the mother of two amazing  young men ages 27 and 17. I am from Appalachia and Botswana. I am an artist and also work in healthcare, I have self published with my co-pilot levin pfeuffer two books of prose"a storm is cuming" and "The hardest helmut." My first reading was done at Northeastern University and since then I have read at the Somerville Armory two times. I consider myself an introverted artist/writer. I give birth to my works including those that have been displayed at the Decordova Museum as well as Howard University and local gems such ast he Middle East and Out of the Blue gallery. I will be published in Tell magazine featuring my textiles and art in the spring.  Currently, I am studying behavioral science and psychology because there is a need for more people of color to be there for people of color to help end the stigma of seeking mental health.




Tubes dance from ventilators
Infected dancing
Octopus tails.
They, the infected warriors,
 stare out the window
With help from I
To look below from window
 see the soaked
drenched, devastated
 and confused faces
Of loved ones below.
Independence is robbed
Wheeled to the toilet by I
 and robbed of privacy by I
Using instructed body mechanics
To rotate and give comfort and not
to degrade a human
 and i am soooo sorry
 as I humbly
Wipe the
Or even red black
 mud excrement
From the crease of your
Emptying your foley
Is an honor
The smell bothers me no more
Because I am thrilled that your body
And your kidneys
Are connecting.

Freedom from the vent during the day is like finding inner truth
Santa Clause
Or even the north star
Or getting a great deal on
You are still not you nor will you be
You are in a place
That I would sell my soul to not to be in.
This place is where

you are still isolated in a room with a glass window

And a speaker video system
Hooked to the machine at night
That keeps you alive
While the trachea and breathing tubes
Rob your speech
And sleep
And all you have are memories of
The before

Cooking dinner for the kids
Teaching a classroom of students with wide eyes
Building houses
Being behind a mahogany bar as a bartender hearing sweet and ugly
 drunken truths.

You forget the feel of real clothes
Fresh cotton, wool, silk and even fucking polyester

The air smacking your open ass in your new uniform
your johnny
So weary and weak

You don't bother to cover yourself anymore.
Because of this you must eat baby food again
 have to learn to chew again and
Without dying

while you crave the beef stew that
 your beloved made with a side of rye bread.
We people like I become your new family because you cannot see
that grandchild
 with the red curls
And pink lips
And upturned nose
Or that beautiful ebony little girl
That your daughter tried so hard to have
And she looks
Just like you
And your wife
That died 79 days ago from this beast.
 Without u
That would not exist
Without your sperm
 legacy and you.
The halls as you learn to walk again no longer smell like death
Or shit
Or putrid urine
Because you have been there so long
These halls now
smell like home.
After seven  months
And after put into a medically induced coma
And turned upside down
In a diaper
And rotated like a rotisserie human  the whole time
A human will
Reverted back to infancy
In rehab
You have come so far
You sit up on you own but weak and learn
About how life went on..
 Your son got discharged from the military
Your youngest daughter got eloped to that guy you never liked
Your first granddaughter died from leukemia
Your wife had a biopsy and started preparing divorce papers because
the idea of being a caregiver
 was all too much
The house you built went up for sale because of the medical bills
And your eldest son killed himself
In his garage
With a tube in his mouth
Looking at pictures of you.
cause he thought you wouldn't live
 and he
Loved you
That much.
After rehab because of I
And doctors and staff and the team
And because you fought to make it
For them
And you know nothing
Because you were not to be upset
And keep in mind we never knew the progression of these deviations
because we were focused on you.
You are wheeled out
On a Wednesday
At 3:45

Staff like I with balloons and music
We dressed you as you wished
Dress shoes and real underwear and no diapers
And a dress shirt
Teal green
 and even a tie
Red with flowers

And pleated pants
And brown shoes
You tied your own laces
And you wanted me to untie them again to show your family
That you can do it
How you could do it.
As we open the sliding doors
The blast of organic earth and fresh air hit your face
 we have ten balloons
And you look amazing and so happy
And we wait
And wait
And there is not
One person.
But a housekeeping person
That says
"You made it man"
You clench your jaw
I clench my rage
And send you into the abyss.

To listen to the poem go to:

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