health · ME/ CFS · poetry · writing

Survivor Instinct

Buried alive
by illness’ onset
only hope for escape
tunnel whose guilt-lined
walls oozed mucous
of neglect, sorrow
so raw, shredded
faith – no light
just a dull
pulse
screaming –
I am alive.

(Chronic illness is a game changer.  No amount of ambition can turn the tide.  One is left to face the onslaught of that which has been oppressed or skipped over.  I wrote this poem early in my journey with ME.  Amazingly, no matter what, spirit still clings to life.  Image from personal collection.)

disability · health · ME/ CFS · mental-health · poetry · writing

Isolation’s Hold

Disability covets isolation –
this stripped-back, box-like state.

Rustic serenity, with room
to breathe would be preferable

but old memories creep in, and
lack of self-worth leaves the door open

phantoms of former torments
unwanted visitors, shadowy

invaders target loneliness,
misconstrue lack of health

for neediness, prey on weak –
hearted, presume incapability.

I am unwell, not unwanted, effort
to protest ignored, I grow wary of

fellow travellers, am vandalized by
nightly attacks, attempt to reach out

aim for strength, logic, clarity,
dial-up past abuse instead, cannot

fathom the purpose of unsolicited
persecution, grasping at isolation.

(Isolation’s Hold was first written in June of 2017.  I am resubmitting it here for Reena’s Exploration challenge: isolation.  Seems to me is also reflective of the times.  Image from personal collection.)

culture · disability · health · ME/ CFS · poetry · writing

Insecurity Resolved

Unnerved by invitations –
isolation equates with security –
fear the onslaught of questions,
the unleashing of a torrent –
emotions flooding, crashing
through this gated illusion –
best to withdraw.

Withdraw my best
when gated by illusion
crashing, emotions flood –
need to tame this torrent
question the onslaught, brave
insecurity, negate isolation
embrace the invitations.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from my Twitter poems. Follow me @Vjknutson.  The first stanza is the original poem.  I left it here,  then unsatisfied, decided to turn it upside down and create a new outcome. .  Image from personal collection.)

creativity · disability · health · ME/ CFS · poetry

Spooning

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”

Source: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

I line my spoons on the counter –
measures of the day’s reserves

one spoon for morning tea
with a side of emails read

a shower requires two or three
with a guarantee of needed rest

I’ll linger horizontal – added care
when an outing is in the plans

the thrill of venturing, and delight
of conversation shared wipes

the counter clean – I’ll crash
and crave for one spoon more

enough to get me into bed
pray tomorrow’s count the same.

(For Reena’s Exploration challenge, in which she challenges us to use one of the given lines of poetry.  Spooning is the term used for those of us with chronic illness who have limited energy.  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is characterized by exhaustion after exertions.  My day starts with depleted energy, and I work from there.)