What is Home?

home is where we start

but not where were it ends

the pathway from birth to death

is littered with choices



collected, used, stored, discarded

some stones sparkle and tempt

others lie cracked, damaged, exposed

by life's harsh realities



yet there is value in these damaged stones

and then, one day, I will die somewhere

against my will or another’s

but not today
© 2020 michael d emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

This Novel Storm

the sun is behind the clouds

can it rain for a lifetime?

a gray-black morass

hangs over all



this damocles sword

denying all of happiness

who reside amongst this,

constant apprehension



this novel storm that rages

cuts all to the quick

while remaining an affirmation of life

despite the suffering
© 2020 michael d emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

Lost and Found in the Time of Covid

At times I am not sure if I am stuck in Dante’s first circle of Hell; Limbo, or one of Poe’s 7 rooms in “The Masque of the Red Death” or in some strange sick way stuck with just the 7 dwarfs, or one of them, on any given day….

7 of something

Covid has kept me trapped or should I say locked in and locked out – locked in Saudi Arabia and locked out of South Africa; the irony is that they are both abbreviated to SA. Stuck in SA, whilst trying to get to SA – a perpetual state of limbo. The pandemic is so representative of Poe’s writings – representing the typical attributes of human life and mortality, which would imply that Covid could be an allegory about man’s futile attempts to stave off the inevitable, death. Yet, as we might expect, there is no locking out or blotting out death. By the end of the outbreak, it will have broken down the walls of each castle, despite our best efforts to hold it at bay.

But this is no allegory, this is real life, and its effects on so many; the infected, the cured, the healthy, the untouched, the medical teams; is significant, life changing and life ending.

I have been on the road these past 9 months, starting in Iraq and ending in Saudi. Arrived in Saudi in early January and still here, with no end in sight. Home awaits, when flights and countries unlock, until then its working in a Covid rich country. I have been on 2 different projects, and exposed to the ways of Covid, from overseeing an outbreak from afar due to lockdown and curfews and then to being at the coalface of one, albeit a small outbreak. Been in lock down and then isolation, been on the road and in camps with outbreaks. The pressure has been continuous and relentless, what with all of the above and then also at times, wearing full medical PPE, double gloved, double masked with a face shield in 40 deg heat testing and monitoring people. Yes, you can breathe quiet well in a double mask (surgical and N95) with a face shield in 40˚ C heat for a few hours. Rather that, than to be intubated and ventilated.

mike in full ppe

Quantum_Conundrum_cover

One of the issues at the forefront of one’s mind is when do I get to detach from this dystopian nightmare and get to go home and rest. Working 6 to 7 days a week, week in and week out, some days are quiet while others drag into 18- or 20-hour marathons. The answer is the same as “how long is a piece of string” conundrum.

Compared to running a race with no defined finish line, you have no way to know how to pace yourself and what must be kept in reserve for the last lap and sprint across the line.

So now that I have spoken about being lost, what have I found/witnessed/seen during this time? I have found friends in places I never thought I would, have tapped the reserves of resilience I never  knew I had, seen (once again) the banality of corporate deceit and greed (which is not a new experience for me, but just depressing to witness in times of need and in a disaster), seen the compassion and care of dedicated medical professionals working with limited resources in difficult environments.

Personally, and professionally I have had to stretch the boundaries of my knowledge, patience, and energy levels; to keep pace with the ever-changing environments, locations, working hours and unimaginable stress from unexpected quarters. I have had to rely on my tried and trusted coping mechanisms. The journey has dragged me to revisit and explore new and old coping processes to get through the long grind away from home and my safe place.

No matter how bitter, maudlin, depressing this journey has been I must focus on the good that has come out of it, and that will be my guiding star.

“Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

How hard it is to tell what it was like,
this wood of wilderness, savage and stubborn
(the thought of it brings back all my old fears),

a bitter place! Death could scarce be bitterer.
But if I would show the good that came of it
I must talk about things other than the good.”

Dante Alighieri

or in the words of Eros Ramazzotti from his song, Lettera al future/Letter to the future – loosely based around “The Masque of the Red Death”

Eros Ramazzotti Lettera al future/Letter to the future

I am writing all this to you

who will be born someday in the future

be kind

and who knows how things will be

if this wind will have left the cities…

I don’t know the world you’ll find

I just hope you’ll be

the son of a new

and more fair humanity

Who Shall Mourn?

if I pass away in some foreign field

sun burnt white back bones

the brittle stations of the cross

civilisations like bones

… turn to dust



who will know to come and mourn?

if they knew, would they?

eulogy or legacy

what remains

.. other than another day



as the worlds falls apart

the strings are pulled

it all unravels, at the end

I can’t leave, but eventually I will

just passing through

 

© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

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The Great Leveller

all paths eventually arrive

at the same destination

whatever one’s station

be it the cross or another



unity at the end

playing fields are levelled

for in death

all are equal



paths of glory or despair

all lead to death

none can transcend or escape

the level playing field
© 2020 Michael D Emmerich
© 2020 mikesnexus.com

Lacefully Ensnared

delicate filigree entwining

enticing, ensnaring

woven webs capturing



beauty created by the unknown

what lies in the voids

the spaces between threads



what could be isn’t there

or is it

the mystery of the unknown

……

just imagine
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

A beautifully dried leaf isolated on black depicts nature's beauty.

Medic’s Epitaph

looking back, I gaze

at a red and broken past

around my feet lies the present

an uncertain yet clear future lies before



surrounded by pain

time spent with the dead and dying

understanding death at times

comes easier than conversing with the living



contemplation brings a deeper appreciation of life

all I want my epitaph to be

is not confusion, but

…..

“just trying to leave someone alive”
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

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Wish on the Wind?

it’s a mystery to me how it commences

only the wind remembers

from whence it came and where it goes

yet we wish on it

with dandelions in bloom



will the wind ever remember

that wish it blows on its way

for at the end of the day

all for that we yearn

is to be remembered by name



at days end when the clouds lift

light will breakthrough

yet the wind will not look back

but ….

what of us, should we
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

 

Rivers of Time

time passes as the river flows

from whence it comes

to where it goes

cutting a pathway

leaving scars in its wake

once passed we cannot return


in the beginning

from birth

forced through cracks

from a trickle great steams grow

going with the flow

as time passes



great rivers are master sculptors

seeking new horizons

forging into the unknown

until

at days end

all rivers merge

no second chances



all the while

time passes
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus.com

meandaring river

Gritty Pathways

a forest of thoughts

with pathways of grit

bordered by the ageless

unbending, yet

graceful willow trees

waving me on effortlessly

with the wind of yesteryear



I traverse the pathways

crushing fear underfoot

grittily determined to endure

with grace as my companion

and pockets full of pebbles

slowly being ground

into the gritty sands of time
© 2019 michael d emmerich