I Am Poem
By:Zander Mehran, age 9


I am happy
I wonder how earth started because now one knows
I hear Mrs. Puljiz talking about animals which makes me think of how they lose there home
I see the yellow bee that crashed on the table
I want to be happy for the animals
I am happy
I pretended that there is a big tiger that lept on me
I feel the smooth floor that is hard
I touch the floor that feels hard
I worry about the animals because they might become extinct!
I cry about nothing because I was not sad
I am happy
I understand that the animals lose their homes when we build something
I say nothing because I feel bad for the animals that lose their homes when we build
I dream to have 100 dogs that will like me
I try to keep animals safe from destruction
I hope the animals are safe so that we are safe
I am happy

The End of the World

Around 8:30 PM she breathed a sigh of relief as in 90 minutes her head would hit the pillow and the illumination of the world would end.
Over the years she had tried a few things to help her sleep: milk, cookies, magnesium, men, books, and various sleep technicians. None of this had helped her yet now, during this time the world is ending, her sleep was the sound of a book closing.
A thick book.
Hours would pass and she would lie in the same position lost in another world, past or future.
Hip into moon crater.
Hair lost to crown of thorns.
Hands gnarled like the chicken’s feet next door who called in for morning to come.
The time was undivided like listening to the dial tone on a rotary phone.
Some knew the world was ending..
It was like knowing something so sad you couldn’t look it in the eye. Having a secret that no matter what you couldn’t tell.

There were fires and there was anger. People drove their cars into other peoples cars as if they were small children in an amusement park. Children were so enraged they screamed all afternoon in the park next to her house.
There was nothing she could do. There was always something she could do in the past but now even putting her sneakers on seemed futile.
There was no where to run to.

New viruses appeared along with nuclear weapons and food in the stores became nothing but signs saying you could have this product but not until five years had passed. Sometimes there is a 🙂 on the sign.

The children stopped growing. No one seemed to notice.
Cars were abandoned on rooftops.

I remember saying to a man that he was the love of my life and at the time I believed it.


My Birth

My mother’s father, Samuel Joseph Cawley, died three days before I was born and was buried in a paupers grave in Van Nys, California, alone and still drunk so the embalmer had it easy. My mother went into labor etherized and alone, and, hearing “ it’s a girl”, sighed into her peignoir and turned her back on it all: the dead first boy, the second, another boy, then two girls and then me. A brood mare. She struck a match for her L&M and flicked the ashes in the nightstand drawer it’s white metal smooth and cold. Loyal to her. She slammed it shut when she heard my grandfather’s voice in the hallway. The most important post birth attendant. Bearer of the name and the cash envelope labeled “Olive”. He always wanted her to be free of his son.Telling my father to be kind to her, grandfather gave her money. He said it was so she could leave but really it was so she would stay.
Lucinda Watson

Colonoscopy Time

I am writing because I wanted to express my concern about the medical centers across the country that perform common procedures like colonoscopies on a daily basis. While I understand that Covid has changed a lot about how one interacts with patients, I was very disappointed to be treated in the way I was prior to my colonoscopy this week.

Three years ago when I had a colonoscopy at this Center things were quite different. It was the human touch and connection that made me feel safe and secure having the procedure done. By that I mean the anesthesiologist, who was an older man, took the time to talk to me right before he put me to sleep by  introducing himself a second time  and making a small joke. This made me feel relaxed and safe and as if he cared about me.

Yesterday the anesthesiologist did come in and introduce herself to me in the waiting area however immediately prior to being put to sleep I was wheeled into the procedure room where no one spoke to me. My doctor didn’t speak to me, and the anesthesiologist did not speak to me. Frankly, I was looking for the anesthesiologist and I’m not even sure that she was there. Perhaps it is the practice now for the head anesthesiologist to meet the patient, take down information, and then pass this down this information to another anesthesiologist who will actually do the job. I hope not!

The feeling I had was that I was on an assembly line and merely a body on a gurney. It would have made a difference, for example, if someone had asked me how I was doing, patted my hand, and basically reassured me right before I went to sleep. Instead, when I said that the needle in my hand was hurting somebody seem to adjust it, but they didn’t say one word. I guess they felt like it didn’t matter because I would be asleep in two minutes which was true. However, perhaps they do not realize that those moments before being put to sleep are incredibly important ones and make a patient feel safe or unsafe. I felt unsafe and so that is my memory of the procedure and the treatment I received.

I understand the reasoning behind the lack of personal connection because of the fear of Covid but I think it is not right that patients don’t receive compassionate care. It’s very important for doctors not to forget that though they do 20 of these procedures a day or more, each  patient is an individual deserving of compassionate attention and reassurance.

The leader sets the tone in any business. Therefore, I have taken the time to write this letter in the hopes that doctors and others who are in this position will change their style in terms of patient interaction. All it takes is a pat on the hand and a gentle statement saying that everything will be all right.  Every employee who interacts with a patient should have the same compassionate approach and should take the time to make sure they are feeling comfortable. This happened at times during my procedure, but the most important time is right before one is put to sleep when anxiety is at its highest level.

Thank you for reading this and I hope that some changes are made because I think it will make a big difference in how comfortable people feel having colonoscopies performed.

Academy Awards

This year I find the Academy awards to be so moving that I am constantly in tears. As a matter of fact, I can’t believe I have the capacity to cry for so many hours. There’s so many things that people have said that have been so hopeful to me that I can’t believe and feel like there may be a good tomorrow. Thank God. God bless all of them.

Aquatic Entertainer

My Life as an Aquatic Entertainer.  

 

In another life I was an aquatic entertainer because I needed to practice my breathing. I suffered from anxiety and worried nightly about remembering to breathe. I could barely sleep.Sometimes this fear kept me up for hours. Aquatic entertainers are required to hold their breath for a minutes at a time.That’s “minutes”. I wore a costume of filigree, seaweed, and Jantzen , a rubber plastic cap of petals variegated in color like a new variety of lettuce leafs. I descended into a tank at Hollywood Gardens In Winter Tree, Florida at 10am, 1PM and 5PM. I was the best in show. I sipped more air from the dangling hoses than other girls and was penalized for it. Holding the dangling hose like a lucky strike, taking my sips, men died for me. I was still the best. Then I dried off, removed my costume, and fraternized with the drinkers. All part of the job. I liked the drinkers. Encouraging them to have more was good for them. They felt happy and slapped each other on the back. They always asked me to give them a special wave from the tank so I always told them I had and how could they have missed it? Aquatic dancers have certain health problems which are an accepted part of the job. We tend to grow back fins which are tricky to remove and sometimes can only eat underwater: much cleaner but not as tasty as normal eating.

I liked my job but in the end I had to quit. It was too hard on my hair. I never had time to socialize or get a life. The worst part was constantly smelling of chlorine. The best part of being underwater was not having to talk.

 

 

 

 

Oh Russia

Oh Russia

 

 

Russia…

I hear symphonies and underlying notes of soulful

loss and pieces of Dostoyevsky and still she lumbers forward with

Tchaikovsky attending to the beat and refuses to look far ahead

at the leader who is stomping angrily in the snow looking

for the borderline knowing this earth belongs to him

and him only…

The world cries against him which enflames him

like men in backyards throwing kerosine at their

barbecues, exerting control over hot coals,

the tanks filled with children keep moving

and shooting and the people, they say they are

not running but the baby carriages filled with

spotted dogs, babies, canned tuna and handguns

progress to the western Ukraine border. We are all

onlookers: fearful, our mouths stuck shut with cello

tape, our wrists bound, our feet shoeless,

like those forced to watch the witches hang or

the Holocaust victims fall into the graves they

were forced to dig. Some say it will be stopped

but there are some who see the spread of evil

like an ink stain on a dark blotter and one country

seeps into another taking everything and everyone

with them.

 

 

Marla Ruzicka

Let’s talk about war. It’s so cold here that the moon withdrew itself last night. The fur on people’s dogs stopped  shedding for the day. I heard the word “honor” in connection with the memorial I saw from the second world war and I thought why is it honorable to be in a war or to create a war? Why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you kill people. Or why is it considered honorable to be a hero when you’re a leader and you decide to kill even more people? I am going to write this in the simplest way I possibly can. I don’t see any heroism in war. I think this concept should end But what really frightens me is that I think it’s a basic part of human nature. It seems to me it all boils down to the territorial imperative. Even if the  territorial imperative is 1 inch of space somewhere. I’m not a historian and ,in fact, I hated history because I hate precision in any form. I am an artist and a creative person so I don’t like squares, I like circles. I don’t like wars. I don’t like it when leaders stamp their foot and turn on their heel and walk away and send in their giant killing machines.

One of my heroes was a young woman who on her own counted the civilian victims of war in Afghanistan and Irac. Her name was Marla Ruzicka and Senator Patrick Leahy passed a bill in her honor stating that civilian victims of war would now be counted. Why in her honor? Because she was killed before she was 30 by a car bomb.

I had met her in New York one warm night at a friends reception for the Ploughshares Fund. Her blonde hair fell around her face in a kind of charmingly messy mop and she was wearing a tank top and some old pair of jeans and we spent 20 minutes talking about what she did. It was so inspiring to me and a few weeks later when I read on the front page of the Times that she had been killed my heart broke for her. I couldn’t stop crying. In my mind I kept seeing that wonderful, youthful face with her wide smile and a great soft glow about her. She was my hero and always will be.

It’s time for the world to wake up and realize who the real heroes are. It’s not the territorial imperative and the machines of war that are the brave things. It’s a single person who will dare stand up and make a point and risk their life doing so.

Last Night

Kissed in a restaurant

 

I met you in a restaurant outside and I wore a coat the color of dried blood and when I saw you I knew I had already known you. Sometimes when that happens there’s no denying it. I love this restaurant. All the waiters know my name and they think I’m a lovely lady. But that night when I met you and I was so close to your eyes while we were eating I just felt like I was on a roller coaster and I could shoot down that track right down into your soul. I couldn’t help it when you kissed me there even though I knew Megan, the maĂ®tre d’, could see the whole thing. I don’t think she could see the depth of it all and may be that’s why I let myself be carried away by a pyre of woodchucks laughing as only they do at my willingness to be carried away. You and I were meant to have a dance. I don’t remember being carried away before but I do remember dreaming about it. There’s something magic that happens when you meet a person and everything about you and that person is the same size. And I’m not talking about our bodies because our bodies are really meaningless but I am talking about something I don’t have to talk about. Self! you think to yourself what in the world is going on? It’s like diving into a pool at night and you have no idea how deep the deep end is but you keep your fingers crossed and go for the gold.But in the end you know you can take care of yourself and that’s the most important thing there is. I’m always tempted to really look into abandonment because I think that’s the real issue in life. It’s like Dr. Dolittle in the push me pull you. Everyone wants to feel safe and in control but if everyone wants that then it’s never gonna happen. Somebody has to just dig in their heels and make a statement. That’s it.