Writing in a Time of Peril: March 31, 2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboardis reporting 164,610 US cases and 3,170 deaths as of 7:45am on March 31.

My experience of Orange Julius is as a liar, bully, sexual predator, thief, con man, coward, thin skinned, incompetent, vengeful, despotic, paranoid, grandiose, shallow, impulsive, misogynist, xenophobic, and he derives sadistic pleasure and profit from harming, exploiting and blaming the ost vulnerable among us.

Those who report while attempting to give context to OJ’s behavior, and his constant spweing of harmful misinformation and misdirection, often ponder; does he understand or does he realize or does he grasp or does her comprehend or does he care? Additionally, after nine months without White House briefings, we are now subjected to an OJ reality show that he uses to replace his presidential reelection political rallies and give cover to his administration’s failed Covid-19 response. Meanwhile, his administration continues to smear, threaten, bully and fire when he feels others are disloyal, hurts his feelings, tells truth to power, get in the way of his saving his presidency or exploit our country. 

Like Miss. Nancy, what I lovingly call our Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, I do fervently wish our current president was competent, effective, and up to the challenges of the presidency of the United States of America. I daily resit the impulse to hate him, curse him, wish him unwell. I resit this impulse in part because of Miss Nancy’s example. She prays for him, genuinely so, as she has been taught. I stop the powerful hateful thoughts in earliest-flight from my brain, to my mouth, to my heart, mouth, because of what I have been taught. I have been warned with a wagging fingers. I have been admonished with withering looks. My mothers, grandmothers, and auntie mamas have universally inparted, “What you wish ill for others, casting out your anger on others, hating others will reflect on you, return to you, bounce back onto you.”

Meanwhile, the reality of Covis-19 permeates all our lives as medical professionals, mayors, governors, doctors, nurses, first responders and medical professionals plead and beg for what should have already been delivered.

I respond to all of this in rational terror and furious love and determination for a well-founded, consistent, and united national response to Covid-19. Instead, I receive daily toxic doses of arrogantand incompetent mixed messaging, harmful misinformation, and revisisionist histories of the months, weeks and days preceding. 

I experience OJ as a no-win gaping black hole of rage, fear, projection and need. Nothing works to corral him into responsible and accountable leadership. People have tried to give him what he wants; praise him, genuflect to him, fact check him, lie to him, lie for him, leak on him, lie on others for him, give him the facts in small visual bites, and withhold the facts, just to name a few. I experience OJ as loving the fight dirty, to upset, to embarrass, to shame and embarass others, to incite strife, to profit from all things. I experience him as hating and fearing the truth, authenticity, the very notion of honor and duty, and any appearance that he lost or failed, even when he has lost, is losing, is constantly. 

Orange Julius’ leadership, and lack thereof, and the double bind natures of our government’s responses to Covid-19, leaves us rationally afraid, confused, angry, disappointed, mystified and uncertain about how to to save our own lives and the lives of all Americans with a healthy natioal response.

We are a people awakening to the realization that an effective and competent presidency is lost to us. OJ will not respond in any consistently responsible, accountable or presidential way. To continue expecting, hoping for, pleading for Orange Julius to become the functional president, that he was elected to be and he swore to become, requires of all of us levels of denial and delusion that will increase the Covid-19 illnesses and deaths among us.  Instead, together, we will find within ourselves and other individuals, groups, and institutions that we can depend on to save our lives and invent whatever we need to do so. We will keep ourselves and each other safe. We will volunteer, pitch in and donate in every way we can. We will keep physical separation. We will not allow emotional, social, and spiritual separation. We will find every way to save ourselves, each other and our country. And, we will find every detail of this administration’s betrayal of our trust and their sworn duty to serve us, and we will hold them morally and criminally responsible.  

So, I’m going down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Stevie Wonder’s, Songs in the Key of Life. I listen to the whole album. I repeat, “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” each time it comes on. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: April 2, 2020

The US CDC reported 186,101 cases (22,562 new) and 3,603 deaths (743 new) on April 1. The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 217,263 US cases and 5,151 deaths as of 11:00am on April 2.

Paul Robeson

by Gwendolyn Brooks

“That time we all heard it, cool and clear, cutting across the hot grip of the day.

That major Voice. That adult Voice. Forgoing Rolling River, forgoing tearful tale of bale and barge and other symptoms of an old despond.

Warming in music — words devout and large, that we are each other’s harvest: we are each other’s business: we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” 

— Gwendolyn Brooks, Family Pictures(1971)

There are people who are sacrificing their jobs, some their careers, some their lives to confront and expose Orange Julius’ betrayal of his oath to preserve, protect and defend U. S. citizens from the pandemic of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the commander Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, sacrificed his naval career by writing a letter to his superiors demanding more help for his crew as Covid-19 spread unimpeded through the Roosevelt. He was relieved of his command.

He is not alone. A parade of people, sounding alarms about the catastrophic failures of the Orange Julius administration’s response to Covid-19, have been fired or reprimanded, doctors and nurses included. We must act in any and all ways we can to support and protect the people, their voices and their actions on behalf go their solders, patients and themselves

When I lived in Cambridge in th 90’s, I brought with me the tradition of Sunday Dinner. Often, I invited friends and colleagues to this feast of healing food and connection. Last week, after having difficulty connecting with , four my East Coast friends after the onset of Covid-19, we cranked up all of our modes of communication and finaly, my writing partners and extended family convened a meetin via Zoom. We caught up with each other and our children, parents, and other family members. We laughed together, remembered together, and touched each other.

We, Marcia and Jen in Western Massachusetts, Charlene and Liz in Brooklyn, New York and Joann and I, in Rio Vista, California, have committed to having a Zoom Sunday Dinner every Sunday during these Covid-19 times. We are refusing to be outside of the arc of each other’s love and blessed assurance. 

I count my blessings and go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I go to YouTube and look up Marcia Gomes. Marcia is an amazing musician, writer, teacher and beloved family to me. She has produced her first album! I go to YouTube to hear her voice, see he bandmates, and June Millington’s amazingly beautiful hair!

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: Wednesday, April, 1, 2020

March 31, 2020The US CDC reported 140,904 cases (18,251 new) and 2,405 deaths (293 new) on March 30. The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 164,610 US cases and 3,170 deaths as of 7:45am on March 31. 

April 1, 2020

The US CDC reported 186,101 cases (22,562 new) and 3,603 deaths (743 new) on April 1.

Ellis Marsalis, Jazz Pianist and Music Family Patriarch, Dies at 85

Growing up in New Orleans, Ellis Marsalis was a junior high school music teacher who played jazz on Thursday nights at Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street. He was more working stiff. He didn’t tour as his talent and importance to jazz demanded. He was a devoted family man and a teacher.  Later he would become a master teacher at Xavier University, University of New Orleans and The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. University of New Orleans. He gained national and international fame and awards. For me, he always remained my best girlfriend’s junior high school music teacher who played at Snug Harbor on Thursday nights.

Once I was old enough, I spent as many Thursday, and later Friday nights, nights at Snug Harbor as I could. Jermaine Bazile and the Gentlemen of Jazz and Ellis Marsalis were my favorites. 

It was a date night. It was a solo night. It was bring your friends to a jazz set during Jazz Festival night. It was celebrate whatever night. His musician sons began to appear with their father at Snug Harbor when they were young teenagers.  

When I moved away from home, and returned for a visit, I never missed a night that Ellis Marsalis played at Snug Harbor. Like visiting my extended family and friends, I sat down at one of the small tables in the crowded room to hear Ellis Marsalis play jazz piano with his current tri or quartet or guests.

Ellis Marsalis was a no-drama man. He sat at the piano and played with his head down mostly. He directed the rest of his his trio or quartet with a look up or a nod or slight movement of his body or hand.

Ellis Marsalis’ music and his reliable and constant presence at Snug Harbor was a home place for me. His death leaves me homesick and heartbroken. 

By Giovanni Russonello and Michael Levenson

Published in NYT on April 1, 2020. Updated April 2, 2020, 1:05 p.m. ET

Ellis Marsalis, a pianist and educator who was the guiding force behind a late-20th-century resurgence in jazz while putting four musician sons on a path to prominent careers, died on Wednesday in New Orleans. He was 85. The cause was complications of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, his son Branford said in a statement. Mr. Marsalis spent decades as a working musician and teacher in New Orleans before his eldest sons, Wynton and Branford, gained national fame in the early 1980s embodying a fresh-faced revival of traditional jazz

Mr. Marsalis in performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2009. The mayor of New Orleans called him “the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.” Credit…Associated Press

I continue to go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Marsalis’, Fathers and Sons and A Night at Snug Harbor, (1995.) I listen. I remember. I grieve for myself, my home, for the Marsalis family. I repeat. 

Joann and I join Tuck and Patti for their weekly concert from their home on Facebook. They invite us into their home every Wednesday at noon Facebook. Don’t forget to contribute to the Tip Jar.

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: March 30, 2020

March 30,2020

The Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard is reporting 144,672 US cases and 2,575 deaths as of 12:00 pm on March 30 and 163,838 and 3,003 deaths as of 9:00 pm March 30, 2020.

I arise with mourning doves, blue jays, and yellow headed black birds 

sing the morning new. 

I pray, feel, move, dance, sing, 

connect, share and provide

I lean into 

Survival’s tenacity

Sanity’s constant purchase

Joys demand for delight r

Reason’s full attention

Justice’s constant bending

I continue to go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there a very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I play Elizabeth S.’ shared playlist

Fetch Your Life                                          Prince Kaybee

Wild is the Wind                                       Nina Simone

Here Comes the Sun                                 Nina Simone 

Do you Love Me                                     The Contours

Money                                                      Barrett Strong

Shop Around                                             Smokey

Stubborn Kind of Fellow                         Marvin Gaye

Pride and Joy                                             Marvin Gaye

Twist and Shout                                         Isley Brothers

One Dance                                                Drake

Guaya Guaya                                              Don Omar

Shining                                            Grateful DJ Khaled/ Beyonce, JayZ

Nobody                                              Grateful DJ Khaled/Alicia Keys

Encourage Yourself                            Tri-City Singers

Come Into My Life                               Patti LaBelle

Rolling in the Deep                               Aretha Franklin 

Only Holy                                             Jamila Woods

No More Drama                              Mary J. Blige

I’m Lucky                                             Joan Armatrading

Golden                                           Jill Scott

Love’s In Need,                                 Stevie Wonder

Heaven is 10 Zillion 

Light Years Away                                 Stevie Wonder

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog

Writing in a Time of Peril: March 27, 2020

The United States currently has 100, 640 confirmed cases and 1,541 deaths, an increase of 332 deaths, as of 6:36 pm on March 26 according to the Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard.

I pray to express myself with honesty and integrity.

I ask of myself to be loving and kind

To accept loving and kindness

To follow the leadership of those who are wise and share their wisdom and common sense with me

To reach out

To allow reaching in 

To connect

To allow connection

To be afraid

To be brave. 

COVID-19 COMMON SENSE

Treasure your live and the lives of others.

Save your life and the lives of others.

Stay home.

Covid-19 is spread by people who do not have symptoms

Covis-19 is spread sneezing, coughing and breathing on or near another 

Keep your home and yourself as clean as possible. 

Engage in Physical Distance

Engage in social, emotional, and spiritual connection.

Upon leaving home or whenever in contact with others people and surfaces, wear gloves and a mask. 

Upon returning home remove clothing, disinfect shoes, place clothing in washing machine and launder immediately or place in hamper. Use gloves and mask when eventually laundering your outside clothing.

Shower immediately, including washing your hair.

Throw away packaging anyone else has touched or wipe down with disinfectant. Rewash hands.

Reheat any prepared foods before eating.

Stay informed by trusted media, sparingly, i.e.CDC, WHO, and reliable scientists and medical professionals.

Yes, take a walk, a bike ride, etc. while keeping physical distance.

Use social media to have dinner or a movie or a cocktail hour with your family and friends.

Covid-19 will not be mediated and the death rate will increase exponentially until we use the universal practices above, testing, quarantining, contact tracing, and repeating this process until we stop dying.

Continue to acknowledge and hold the horrific loss and grief of those known and unknown.

There will be few immediate ways to celebrate lives together, hold wakes or funerals or repasts. Let us use our limitless imaginations and an creativity to create and hold our families, our community, our country our world.

Value every life, those who have departed and those who remain. 

Use our same limitless imaginations, creativity, tenacity, courage, belief to remain conscious, feeling, laughing, crying, playing, remembering and doing our parts, not matter that we are apart. 

Remember every elected official or religious leader or business leaders who delayed and  refused life saving resources. All have blood on their hands. Orange Julius is awash in blood. 

Accept we cannot reliably depend on any consistent federal response and should there be one, it will be way too late.

Support everyone to use our national ingenuity, courage, tenacity, and determination to survive and thrive. 

Value and appreciate everyone who saves and serves lives; medical professionals, scientists, first responders, all workers who support the, grocery clerks, delivery people, municipal workers, all of the people who are required and needed to stay on their jobs while we stay home.

Treasure your life and the lives of others.

Save your life and the lives of others.

Ellen Voigt imagines into poetry voices from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

This is the double bed where she’d been born,
bed of her mother’s marriage and decline,
bed her sisters also ripened in,
bed that drew her husband to her side,
bed of her one child lost and five delivered,
bed indifferent to the many bodies,
bed around which all of them were gathered,
watery shapes in the shadows of the room,
and the bed frail abroad the violent ocean,
the frightened beasts so clumsy and pathetic,
heaving their wet breath against her neck,
she threw off the pile of quilts—white face like a moon—
and then entered straightway into heaven.

ELLEN BRYANT VOIGT | from Kyrie (1995), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is a book-length sonnet sequence exploring the lives of people affected by the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919. 

I’m go down my to-do list of selfcare: meditate, eat well, rest well, get exercise, connect, connect, connect, stay home, except for the pharmacy & the grocery & then only with mask and gloves & when there are very few people about. Watch less TV, but stay informed. Laugh a lot. Channel fear and rage into expression, action and art. 

I put on Lizz Wright’s, Fellowship album. I listen to the whole album, but I repeat, “Presence of the Lord,” whenever it comes on. 

I continue to chronicle these times.

© Andrea Canaan, MSW, MFA

andreacanaan@gmail.com

https://andracanaan.blog