The Void


(The girl in the image is Genesis Carmona. She was killed by the Venezuelan government for daring to protest for freedom and a better life. This was three years ago. In the past three weeks, almost 30  Venezuelans, between 14 and 60 have been killed by the government forces for protesting)


The parent of a dead child

Learns to live with the unimaginable.

Echoes of a voice walk by her side,

The phantom of a laughter

Rests upon his shoulder.

The parent of a dead child learns to

Live with an unfillable void.

A gaping wound that never quite heals.

A hole around which she and he have

To learn to build a new life.

The parent of a dead child sometimes

Wishes the world would stop,

Become quiet, frozen. Slow, until

There is no motion and life becomes

A still shot from an old film.

The world never does.

It never complies.

It cannot afford to stop rotating,

Moving, changing, making leaves fall

And then bloom again.

And the parent of a dead child

Must learn to live with this:

With this going on, this flow,

This life that stops for no one.

No even a grieving parent

Trying to come to terms with

The unimaginable loss.

They tend to walk a bit slower,

The parents of a dead child.

They tend to stop more, watch

The roses, see the bees come

And go among them.

They tend to sit longer.

In the park, on the bench,

In the garden.

Eventually they smile again,

A little at first. A resigned smirk

That sometimes grows like a

Waxing moon, showing all the teeth.

And yet, at the end of the lips,

Where the top and bottom one meet,

There is a sigh, a longing,

A desire to reach out and get her

Back, embrace him once more,

Hold them tight, the dead children,

Breathe life-force into them,

See them grow in one minute,

Watch them go, whole, sane, into

The shadows of the people enjoying

The sunset, the end of the summer,

The bonfires on the beach.

The wish that will never come to be.

And they walk home,

Back to the little hole in the soul,

Sometimes so minuscule you

Could miss it, sometimes so huge

It could swallow you in one gulp.

Big, small, visible, intangible,

But always there.

The void.






Depression and Lice, Oh, My!




I can take the gloomy days marooned in my head like an abandoned boat house. I can deal with the eternal cloud hanging over my head that makes me Eeyore’s best friend. I have grown accustomed to the hurt: those sorts of imaginary heart attacks that turn my inner chamber into a maniac rock concert attended by punks, high on acid. I can deal with all that. I can find the lesson, the challenge, the opportunity. Like everyone keeps on reminding me, it is only in my mind: the fear, the terror, the claws grasping my throat, the electrocutions that kill me and bring me back to life again, time after time. I am even fashionable now. Depressed, anxious, somewhat paranoid, psychosomatic, suicidal. I am almost a super star in the making -just need to burn myself down after one or two top ten music hits and I’ll live forever.

But lice?


What? You didn’t think I had enough on my plate?

What else do you want from me?

I take my pills, like a good girl. Exercise at ten, meditate at three, do my CBT journal to use all my mind tools and ask myself, ad infinitum, if the world really hates me or if it just my opinion. I breathe in. I breathe out. I count to four, to ten, to one hundred and seven. I express my feelings, write them down, burn the pages and let them go -go, go, far away. I detach. I accept. I embrace my vulnerability. I ask for help. I humiliate myself as I’m held like half- drown kitten, shivering, screaming, trying to remind myself who I am, that I am, pretending, hoping, praying I will well someday, normal once more, human again, like Disney’s candle stick once said.

I try to be positive. I listen and listen to all this motivational talk, chats on how everyone and their cat have overcome far worse than this, so surely I, too, will reach the heights of triumph and someday give my Rocky speech, my Henry V on Saint Crispin’s day; be one of the happy few, who, old and grey, will look at their scars and smile with pride because I dared, and went for it, faced the foes, ten to one, and somehow, with the power of my mind and sheer will, I escaped the dungeons of my soul and pulled away the scales from my eyes. And I saw the light. And I was okay.

Not yet, though.

Someday, I tell myself.

I affirm myself.

Each day I get better and better.

Except that I don’t.

And then I find lice on my head.

And I know someone has it in for me. Above or below, someone is playing with me, laughing at me, watching me like a favourite soap opera where the damsel in distress never gets a happy end, because that’s not fun, you see. That’s so predictable. This is a radical approach. Or a classical one, perhaps (Ophelia, anyone?) Pain does not stop. Failure only sleeps a while, to make me put my guard down. Someone out there is the Lucy to my Charlie Brown, pulling the football away at each attempt. And I fall for it. Again and again.

I do rationalize this, of course.

We are talking about tiny insects, after all. Not the end of the world. No Syria, no car bomb, no famine. Just me. In the bathtub, watching them wiggle over my wet fingers. Me, of the eternal night. Me, living about phantoms no one sees. Me, choked in my own fear, beaten by all the dark possibilities that fly in my mind like a murder of crows. No biggie. Just two three, five little lice.

And I cry.