Of course you choose your life’s direction?

Glowing jellyfish float along a cobblestone street in front of wooden buildings

Jellyfish by Qinni

To this bone tambourine
there is repetition but no script

To this bone tambourine lying quietly in
A suit is a dried rind that at one time slid
Underwater it finds a tree that offers directions for
Rest for mimicking arms and legs allows one
To stop all the shaking approximate direction

To this bone tambourine there is repetition but no
Script in a mad hand our intention to render obsolete
All explanations are thin portraits that begin in this
Corner a crawlspace for which senses are awkward and
Unruly this sad scaffold this breathing instrument

from Anthropy by Ray Hsu

For-profit health care will kill at least 50 million Americans over the next 30 years or so

This study estimated that socioeconomically vulnerable Canadians’ chances of receiving better health care were 36% greater than their American counterparts and this estimate was larger than that based on general patient comparisons (9%). One may wonder about the public health significance of such relative risks/protections. Attributions of risk/protection among populations are a function of three factors of which relative risk is only one. The size of the population and the prevalence of exposure to risks are also important. In this instance, the entire USA population is at relatively greater risk of receiving lower quality care, its more prevalent low-income and inadequately insured populations more so. Applying our findings to population parameters and attributable risk formulations we estimated that without reform, over the next generation more than 50 million Americans will be treated less optimally and die earlier than had they enjoyed a single-payer health care system like Canada’s.


via Care of acute conditions and chronic diseases in Canada and the United States: Rapid systematic review and meta-analysis | Journal of Public Health Research

It is endured and then it is gone and you wish it had been so much more

Given the ease with which health infuses life with meaning and purpose, it is shocking how swiftly illness steals away those certainties. It was all I could do to get through moment to moment, and each moment felt like an endless hour, yet days slipped silently past. Time unused and only endured still vanishes, as if time itself is starving, and each day is swallowed whole, leaving no crumbs, no memory, no trace at all.

from The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey

Ill living

Cover of poetry chapbook We, Old Young OnesOnce, when I was much much younger, I told someone I trusted that every day I chose to live. I thought this person might understand something of what it was to live with chronic migraine. But they ordered a wellness check and our interactions turned achingly distant and coldly professional.

I am reading the October Daye books right now. Toby spends the first several books recovering from a series of traumatic events and grieving deeply. She does not choose to die, but she doesn’t choose to live either. When she encounters danger (and of course she does – half-fae knight detective that she is) she flings herself at it. She doesn’t think she wants to die, but she doesn’t want to live and so she doesn’t try.

Sometimes living is a choice. It is a good choice to make. That Someone I trusted didn’t understand, but poet Dominik Parisien does. Here is a poem from his chapbook We, Old Young Ones. It is part of Frog Hollow Press’ Dis/Ability series and now I want to read them all.

After deciding not to die by suicide, you should be thinking

of all the usual gratitudes. Too often
is it really life you live is asked of you and yours;
tragedy their anticipated narrative.

Cue slow pan on some bottles.
Hint of bluish arm.
Dramatic fade to black.

Consider: can you be disabled and contribute
something new on suicide, or will all your words
read tragic, even when they celebrate?

Are you writing using you through empathy or cowardice?
If in weariness you call the poem just a poem
even once, what harm will that denial cause?

Facing suicide, are unanswerable questions
the only ones worth asking?

Worth ending with?


From “Where the Forests Breathe”

Nobody knows how little we know
about this forest. And nobody
knows how much time we have
to piece it all together either,

nor how many mistakes we can make
and survive. So best believe
the ineffable gives life to what we
can love and revere, as when

we revel in the vine maple’s red riot
in new-growth forest, and marvel
at the gleaming porcelain shine of
mushrooms piquant on mossy trails.

And here, then there, along
Lookout Creek, golden maple leaves
parachute down, their descent
a rhythmic, slow-motion dance.


by Brian Turner in Forest Under Story

Borborygmus: the silliest migraine symptom

A long, twisting whine woke me up at 2am today. Startled, my disorientation gave way to exasperated embarrassment as I realized the sound was emanating from my own abdomen. Sleep-fuddled and with no sensation associated with the sound, it took me a few minutes.

Migraine induces gastric stasis – this is part of the reason migraine meds don’t always work very well when taken by mouth and why I can’t eat during certain parts of an attack. I’d gone to bed early in the evening with a migraine and slept through most of the acute pain part of the attack. But now that part was ending and my guts were waking back up.

Amused, I tried to settle back to sleep, but a loud grumble followed. I tried some water and my intestines responded with a drawn-out squeak like a dying rubber ducky. I tried a snack and was rewarded with the spluttering hiss of an old radiator. I turned on an audiobook, but every few sentences was drowned out by a gurgle like the DIY toilet plumbing in a basement apartment.

Finally, after three hours of constant and remarkably loud emanations, my insides quieted down and I slept.

A short period of rather more sedate stomach noises often precedes and succeeds the acute phase of my migraine attacks. A dramatic session of borborygmi is unusual. But as far as migraine symptoms go, I don’t mind it so much – at least it’s funny!