Good things happening in the hood
Reading some new work
The Tokyo Olympics just ended, but can you believe the Beijing 2022 Winter Games are less than six months away? Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.
A medical worker rests last week at a Covid-19 ICU ward in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The average number of new coronavirus cases in the US has increased ninefold since the beginning of July, and hospitalizations are at their highest rate since February. In some parts of the country, hospitals are at capacity, and loved ones of those battling the virus are pleading for access to life-saving equipment. As if the situation isn’t bad enough, new concerns are starting to arise: Dr. Anthony Fauci says the continued spread of the virus could allow new variants — possibly ones more resistant to vaccines — to emerge and spread if more people don’t get vaccinated. Experts are already seeing more cases of the Lambda variant, which is designated by WHO as a coronavirus “variant of interest.”
The Taliban has seized five provincial capitals in Afghanistan and let loose a string of violence as foreign forces, led by the US, complete their withdrawal from the country. Among the areas now under Taliban control is Kunduz, a strategically important provincial capital that marks the first major city to fall to the Taliban since it began its offensive in May. Afghanistan’s swift descent into violence has been alarming and follows international warnings that a foreign troop withdrawal could lead to a Taliban resurgence. Now, there is concern that even the country’s capital of Kabul could fall. In the past week, the US has increased airstrikes against Taliban positions in a bid to halt its advances.
The Senate has voted to cut off debate on the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, clearing the way for a vote on the final passage of the bipartisan bill. Sixty-eight senators, including 18 Republicans, voted to invoke cloture (quickly halting the debate) to break the filibuster and push the process forward. The Senate is now expected to hold a final vote tomorrow morning. Senators are confident the bill will pass, but there’s been some recent shuffling of necessary Republican support of the bill. If it passes, it wouldn’t just be a win for President Biden’s agenda; it would also be a win for both parties, which have worked for months to come to an agreement on the bill. An affirmative Senate vote wouldn’t make it a done deal, though. The bill would still face significant challenges in the House.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a new report, and the message is clear: Deadly and irreversible effects of climate change are already here. Unlike previous assessments, the report also concludes it is “unequivocal” that humans have caused the climate crisis. It states the world has rapidly warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels and is now careening toward 1.5 degrees — a critical threshold that world leaders have agreed should represent the upper limit of global warming. Scientists say the only way to keep from reaching this point of no return and to prevent even more catastrophic damage is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.
No Safe Place 3
Last night between midnight and one am a Starfish
crept through my dream of a beach in Maine. It was pale and
faded. I couldn’t feel it. Because the starfish is losing
its ability to function normally, dreams may have to
Starfish are Echinoderms, belonging to the class Asteroidea,
soon there will be
starfish only in certain tide pools located in certain
cool climates with freeflowing water. The starfish may not
exist in dreams.
will not know what happened to her.
Passports will be unavailable
for marine invertabrates.
Yesterday I spoke with another single
person about the numbness that happenes
with detachment and I thought of the starfish,
unable to attach, their tube feet operated by a hydraulic
system which is now obsolete just as human connection.
The Northern Pacific Sea Star is considered one of the 100
worst invasive species. Very comparable to what the
Human is and has done to our oceans and
all the other starfish.
No Safe Place 2
wet, moist ,damp, soggy,
only a lost commodity .
When I first tasted your skin
it was covered in water.
It was hard to describe but it was free.
Lakes are craters now.
A child asks “Who pulled the drain plug?” as
you drive by the empty, barren memory of a
There is deep sadness in the retreating
water leaving a reluctant
path of tears sinking into the dust,
searching for an oasis to nourish, water
and sees it’s vanishing.
Cries out to the lone red bird
perched on a burnt tree,
cries out to the cactus who needs no one,
cries out to
you and me who have forgotten water
Second Floor Window
People have always asked me
if I live alone? I think I must seem like
a pack animal. The urge to
gather warmth around me so obvious
to others but I remain oblivious.
From my own personal observation
my happiest times
are when I am alone reflecting
on the canopy of a tree, or
a glimmer of ocean from a second floor
window as the rare is infinitely more
than the commonplace.
Here in summer, many prefer the full on
blast of ocean houses carrying past their
boatloads of revelry or roars of lionlike
testosterone gargling along from the
Maserati’s of speed boats.
I have always
preferred the second or
third row of houses far enough from the
ocean to avoid the damaging sea spray and
near enough to catch a glimpse of shiny
out the second floor corner window while
standing on a low stool.
Last night no one knew if it was
the sun setting or the moon rising
but it was orange: hung there by a
wire moving around our sky, currents
of warm air lifting and lowering its round
shape enough to light the narrow, soft roads
crisscrossing the sandy summer peninsula.
One young woman pushing her
old cruiser bike silently, leaving Book Club late after
a chat about amphibians, taking the
long way home, blond hair falling in a
triangle down her back, white Keds glistening,
she thinks of fall when everyone will be gone
and suddenly there in the mist she becomes
invisable except for the sound of one repentant
bicycle spoke grinding it’s rhythm until she’s home.
I like young old men.
Men whose twinkle never faded like some
lust or the memory of really good vanilla ice
cream. I like the round muscle of their arms,
the temptation of golden skin,
and the quick way they look at me for
what seems like a long time while we are
kissing. Each time I open my eyes there
is that gaze, eyes so clear and full of intent.
I don’t know what to do with that gaze.
It never varies. I’m so unused to direct
and constant I’m checking it, closing my
eyes and then quickly opening them again
like a child thinking it will be gone. The kiss
goes on and on like undulating waves in
a warm climate with hopeful palm trees
that clap their fronds for any passion seen
I think it’s over but something like
one finger on my cheekbone
begins the spiral again.
It would not be sensible to want this
on a regular basis but everyone does.
Desire and to be desired.
We all wait.
A remembered afternoon in summer.