Before I share my poem this week, I just wanted to touch base with my readers. I know there aren’t many, but those who read my work loyally have probably noticed a delay in my responses. That’s because my life got turned upside down in recent weeks and I’ve been forced to take a customer service job to try to make ends meet.
It’s the first time I’ve worked on my feet since I was at Bowling Green in 2000. I’m only working 25 hours a week, but as a disabled person with multiple chronic illnesses, it’s kind of a big deal that I’m managing to pull off this type of work at all. I try to get on in the morning to check messages and the like, but honestly most of my ‘spare’ time is being taken up with freelance duties and The Zebra Pit, which I’ll be ending publication on at the end of the year. Hopefully once that’s done, I’ll have more time to read, write and respond to comments here, but I honestly have no idea what my future will look like.
I was also forced to close my Facebook Groups, IG and pare down a lot of what I was doing. So, despite the recent blog post about my Writing and Blogging Group, it’s now defunct. I simply don’t have the energy reserves. By the end of my shifts, about the only thing I can do is come home and lay in bed until it’s time to get back up and do it all over again.
This comes on the tail of my husband becoming too ill to work and having difficulty getting a proper diagnosis. Realistically, it could take years and frankly we’ve already been looking for answers for him for at least that long. Since it took me until age 45 to be diagnosed with my rare illnesses, we know not to expect a quick turn around. I don’t know if I’m working as a gap stop measure or if I’ll need to do it indefinitely, but much relies on his ability to return to work and if not, to obtain approval through social security for SSDI.
All of this is to say that while I love creative writing and talking about blogging and freelance and such, I simply don’t have room for it in my life right now. For now, I’ll continue to try to dust off some poems to share here with you from my files, but I may miss sometimes and it will definitely take me a while to respond to comments, etc. It’s not a situation I want to be in, but it’s what I need to do for me and my family.
I suppose it’s not surprising that I chose this free verse poem which will be placed in Part II of ‘Elemental,’ a poetry series on love, sex and relationships. This one, like many in Part II is dedicated to my husband. It touches on what it’s like to be a couple living with chronic illness and not always being in sync with the needs of the other.
We sleep in shifts, as if one of us
must always worship Oblivion while
the other occupies Pain.
There’s too much of it
staining our lives a sickly ocher
in runnels like old tobacco smoke
on a bathroom wall
one can never quite wash away.
We gnaw on truth and wonder
at its weight, price exacted on
body, soul, mind most of all.
Were it up to me, I’d have rescued
you from this life, the knowledge
that love finally won after 40 years
of hope, only to bear witness
to the plodding hooves of genetic
decay trampling entwined hearts.
by Michelle Beltano Curtis
All Rights Reserved. “Improvident Soulmates” may not be reprinted without permission of the author.
If you’re part of a couple who both live with chronic pain/illness, you might enjoy this guest post I wrote for Graphic Organic: Tips For Couples Who Both Have A Disability
As always, thank you for reading. Any feedback you’d like to provide on my poem for the final draft would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!