The Myth of Normalcy - by Brooke Sarden
During this time, we all have wondered about when things will return to "normal". Check out this piece written by CTC staff'er, Brooke Sarden, our Youth and Cultural Programs Director in conjunction with Civic Saturdays. Click here to check out the full broadcast. Stay well. Stay safe.
The Myth of Normalcy
May we never forget the questions raised in
the relative quiet:
What is essential? What is not?
Who is essential and who is not?
How dare we ask that question?
How dare we ignore that question?
Who are we to judge?
Who better to judge than us?
May our newfound sense of “us-we”
become cellular memory.
May the not-so-peculiar loneliness haunt
Remind us of what’s changed
Or remained woefully, unbearably same
Since before the incident.
Viral outbreak. Type: pandemic
As our gazes search the horizon for relief
Remember that we are still in it.
This moment now needs our attention
If we rush there will be leave behinds
We’ve been there, done that
I keep wondering if COVID’S the only thing
we’re sick with.
On lockdown, my friends and neighbors
went straight to swapping homemade pies
Like it was something else they were trying
All this distance between us?
Flour, butter, sugar, space and time we’ve
forgotten to share.
On lockdown, some of our students went
straight to being hungry.
And quick came the “rules” on what we
could do about that… and for a while the
rules sounded like “no.”
Civilization can be mean.
White coats say for most of us the disease,
But fever is not the only thing that has us
What’s the temperature where you are?
Is it like this where you are?
We talk-talk-talk quarantine-talk
We sing pray
Our tongues are dripping with aftermath.
Lips quiver with effect.
I put my ear to the Creative Underground:
“Social distancing is social overload,” she
“There are eight people in my house. We
are supposed to be safer at home.
I have headaches.”
“This is what God wants to do,” he says.
The one tear in his eye is acceptance.
“Being an empath is hard right now…. She
says, “People are… WEIRD.”
I can’t help but laugh.
He said, “The extroverts are so sad”
She asked how you balance the fear of
scarcity with the need for sharing
So many wondering eyes.
So many burdens.
So many breathtakingly beautiful things
we’ve created to fulfill the void.
Timelines teeming with visions of
Too many stories never heard.
Tales we think are too small to tell.
The still for some of us is chaos for others.
Our should be brothers and should be
Are trying to tell us they’re not alright. And
they are not points on a graph.
Our children are showing us how it can be
They are wonderfully loud in play!
When they’re getting on your nerves.
They have our laps to sit on for the first
time in such a long time…
What do you hear when you really listen?
Amid the whimpering and wailing, is there
Who do you tell?
What mind are you making up in
preparation for what comes next?
The World has gotten small y’all…
If the criteria is common anxiety, I got ‘bout
7.8 billion kin folk
Maybe when this thing is “over”
Y’all can all come on to Memphis,
Plenty riverside, folding chairs, and
whateveryou like on the grill
We got it and bring some foil take home
what you want to your people…
We are a poor city with plenty love.
The bass bumpin’ from somebody’s car
Will wear down this accumulated confusion,
Separation, we’ve been curled up with all
If we can just hurry up and get to “this thing
Is that realistic?
I’m scared that over won’t means what we
think it means
Will we remember our enlightenment?
Will we do enough to take care of those
who’ve been taking care of us
And haven’t had the time to be
Those who didn’t lose a loved one,
but lost ten, twenty, forty of ours, maybe
And felt helpless
Slipped right from the tightest grip of their
How will we care for them?
How will I know,
When once again, the choice is mine
When to move?
When to be still?
They’re saying outright the world has
I want us to make sure of that.
Let these losses not be in vain.
Let us-we proclaim that life before was not
Normal is what you name your cat
Normal is a lie we swear never again to tell.
Take the time to count to the beat of 7.8
Band together no matter how difficult or
how long that takes
Hashtag “don’t rush” and mean it. Every
soul is worth lingering on.