Reshma/2

My Psychic Powers Acknowledged in This Morning’s Email

“How is it that you always know
What I need to hear
Even when we are 950 miles apart?”

When I Listen and Re-listen to Your Messages
by Reshma

I listened to your voicemail at 3:21 am today
Or is it tomorrow?

I’m lost, but it doesn’t matter
Because I always have your voice messages to reorient me

Working the night shift
14 hours

Finally took a break
Walked outside

Sat on a bench
Watched the trees sway

And I listened to your messages
It was perfect

Your messages are like that first moment
When I hit the couch after a long day

Like the relief of a cough drop
When I have a sore throat

Like taking off my shoes
When I’ve walked in heels for 18 hours

Like a piece of chocolate!!
Anytime really

Like when it’s raining
But then the sun comes out!

Like the simple relief of a cool breeze
On a hot summer day

I save each one
I savor each one

Over
And over

Metta for a Psychiatrist

May you be filled with loving kindness
For the kids on the edge of urban doom

May you be well
Unfazed by the hourly bureaucratic hoops

May you be peaceful and at ease
Before the inferno of institutional inanity

May you be happy
For the benefit of each human-miracle-being you see

Latest News

Dear Reshma

There are 24 people in my online Book of Mev writing class. I am happily overwhelmed with people’s interest and generous sharing at the class blog. This is the first time I’ve done an on-line class, and I think I’ll do it again. Two participants are from Australia; five are in NYC; a couple are in DC; several are living in an intentional community in a “gap” year after undergrad. One is in Pittsburgh, and I told him to check out Conflict Kitchen, and he wrote me back and said he just applied for a job there. Small world.

Two Palestinian sisters did Share the Wealth last Saturday at SLU. One was a student of mine at Maryville; I got to know the other one when the three of us had lunch—Lena and Jeneane (the latter was named after the city, Jenin; another sister is named after a martyr). At that lunch in February, I told Jeneane to propose a talk on Palestine for Atlas week, which she did, and which I attended. Big crowd, several speakers, I was glad to be at SLU for such an event. Tonight I am meeting Neveen, a Palestinian friend of the sisters, who lived for years in the West Bank. She is early 20s, going to the community college and, much to my delight, really into writing.

Hedy has got cancer spread throughout her body and brain. I visit her on Friday afternoons, and, when her conditions worsens, will sleep over on Tuesday nights. My friend Dianne is organizing us the way Teka organized our friends when Mev headed down that long dark road. Hedy says she’s ready to go, has no fear, she’s finished all her battles, other will have to continue them.

Palms together,

Mark

A Long Memorable Kiss from Darkness
by Reshma

This week has brought such joy, receiving your letter. Thank you for that! Your writing is like a lullaby, always soothing.

I know what Hedy is going through is bringing back memories for you. If you feel it helps, I would be happy to process with you. I’m not as skilled at listening, reflecting, and engaging others as you are, but I’m here.

I also met someone doing great work in Palestine. His name is Michael and he started an NGO in the West Bank working with medical students and works with a researcher in Gaza who did one of the first studies on PTSD there. He wants to come to D.C. to work next year. My chair agrees he would be a good fit – I look forward to that possibility. I’ll be talking to him more next week to learn more about his work.

On Kenya I’ll say the following:

1) I remember the way I felt in the hospital ward. My heart raced faster, my senses heightened. I felt I had to prepare each time for heartbreak, to hear the next disastrous story, to look into the eyes of the next person that was likely to not live beyond next year.

2) I remember walking outside the hospital one day after a lecture and being hit by the most beautiful breeze. I swear it, I felt I had the longest, sweetest kiss from nature. And I felt guilty for feeling so happy in that moment. How could I feel happiness here?

3) I remember the red land, always the red land. It had to be from spilled blood. When I would get it on my white coat, I couldn’t tell it apart from blood. It was all over my pants. When I came home I washed them twice and its still there. My chair told me to throw them out along with my shoes because that dirt will never come off. It stains everything it touches, like one long memorable kiss from darkness.

Miss you,

Reshma

After Share the Wealth: Neveen, Lena, Jeneane, and Hope

Photo at top: Transliterated from Hindi–”You keep me alive.”

This page is part of my book, Dear Love of Comrades, which you can read here.

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