Morning Journal for False Realities: A COVID-19 Triptych
may it amuse the trickster, or at least pass the time.
[Image description: Blue starburst graphic reads “Morning Journal for False Realities: A COVID-19 Triptych.” Background is gray cathedral arched ceiling. Next to starburst is anatomical drawing of an ostrich on yellowed paper, with the outline of the body plus bones of the legs, pelvis and wing, and a dark line from brain to end of spine. There are lines coming up from the spine, each which ends with a cross-section of that section of the spines. Below, the caption says “Topography of the spinal cord of the ostrich. The transverse sections are all made to the same scale of enlargement and their proper levels are indicated in the drawing.” Cranky Queer logo on pink with black letters in bottom right, bit.ly/crankyqueer on left. Credit: “Topography of the spinal cord of the ostrich" from The American journal of anatomy biodiversitylibrary.org/page/11911132#bhlpod]
There’s no rush outside in the rush hours anymore. It’s so, so quiet.
It’s all inside, the racing of my heart that rushes into my throat as I wake into the silence of pandemic Brooklyn, punctuated by the occasional truck rumble outside and reflux of panic within.
I never knew how much I didn’t hear the ringing in my ears due to background noise, till I started being able to hear it all the time.
It took just over a minute of writing this before I heard the sirens, the consistency of my day.
My partner, 12 feet away in the apartment, is on the screen. Sometimes we talk on phone without images, when images are confusing.
I have become intimate in matters of the spirit, which is to say everything, with the members of my queer coaching program. They’re spread out across the US and a few other places. One is in Belize. They’re on the screen too. The leaders are in Brooklyn but we’ve “never met.”
Which of these things aren’t real?
In real life
We weren’t supposed to believe that screens are real, and now we are supposed to believe they are all we need.
Regardless, it’s all owned already, like my monetized fingertips typing this bait.
Yesterday, when I was awake, I told some people about the first time I got an email from a person - I believe he was in Mozambique - who had internet access but could not get any HIV treatment.
Last night I was organizing at an International AIDS Conference, which is one of the things that I do.
It was a dream, following a dream where I was working in a deli and trying to convince the owners they should put up tables and chairs in the backyard so people could eat outside.
I was in a balcony, in a control room of sorts. I was watching myself on a stage on one of the pre-conference pep rallies that was meant to galvanize volunteers. I had won a contest for internet influencers to have a special role at the conference.
On the stage, I was young, long-haired, femme-ishly good looking in “influencer” ways.
In the control room, I was grappling with transparencies, the kind we used to use for making presentations with overhead projectors. I was trying to write over faded parts with a marker. The sheets were slippery, and I was failing.
Meanwhile, from the stage, I was talking about a pregnant woman at the conference who needed booster drugs to power up the medicines that would prevent her child from risk of HIV.
Both of me were wondering why this hadn’t been arranged before we’d gotten there, or why we hadn’t asked around and brought extra meds.
Remember three weeks ago? It may be hard, because it was a decade ago. Yesterday passed in a flash, except when it was time to go to sleep. That took a week.
And also these parts:
That feeling where hungry starts feeling like sick, and then you feel too sick to eat.
A friend wrote me on Facebook during the week-long stretch that was yesterday. They are back from the ICU, home recovering, and making a list of what queer people can do to prepare to be in the hospital. As it’s often not easy in the best of times (which will happen again when exactly?)
And now queers are and will be there on their own, surrounded by others on their own — alone because no one is allowed in with them, alone as workers abandoned by those busy selling stocks as the pandemic approached.
Shit, that last clause isn’t supposed to be there. This wasn’t going to be about the politics because it all already is.
There’s a person who is like a brother to me. He’s sick and in Far Rockaway, which is to say, endlessly far, another country. He’s in an SRO and lots of people are sick, and he doesn’t have a thermometer.
We met a few years ago when he was in prison. But I already knew his work because he organized legendary protests and hunger strikes decades ago that won access to hospice care for imprisoned people dying of AIDS in California.
He’d gotten locked up young, and that’s where he learned that there were things like gay bars on the outside. And then he made sure no one died alone.
He’s the most social person I know. Writes like a dream. And can make art out of anything.
I heard yesterday that the trickster, which is chaos, destroys dogma. Dogma, which humans make to hide from, or try to escape, natural law. And if you play with the trickster, the trickster won’t fuck with you as much. Which doesn’t mean you control the chaos, or that people won’t die.