when all the news is bad

Let me preface this by saying it’s not that I don’t try to be optimistic.

Last week I even wrote down the prompts:

Today, I will focus on …
Today, I am grateful for …
Today, I will let go of … 

And I thought about them,
seriously – 
I stuck the orange Post-It on my computer monitor
& I’d stare at it occasionally.

The thing is, they sent me to France 
– to France! My god! 
& it was so incredible, I can’t –

Look, I just can’t –

Like when I try to drive home to Indiana for once
& not think about Jackson on the drive
& not think about that rest stop where I pulled over to learn that he was gone
& not scream,
when this beautiful man, long dreadlocks flowing 
(literally fucking flowing)
swerves past me on his motorcycle, his beautiful head helmet-free.

I’ve gotten off track.
He’ll probably be fine.

The point is, they sent me to France,
& I’m back now, trying to care, but all the news is bad

– the guns

– the guns

– the children, my god, the children –

Yet somehow, I’m the murderer?

I go to pick up my birth control pills
wearing my “it’s my body, it’s my choice” t-shirt
The tech tells me she likes it & then asks me like she always does
“Do you have any questions?”

No. I’ve been doing this shit a lifetime.
And as always, the CVS ExtraCare prompt tries to connect me to Rene,
because 11 years later, that number is still tied to my account, somehow.
I hit “no” like usual – I just can’t –

You can’t tell me I didn’t try to be optimistic.

Today, I will focus on …
Today, I am grateful for …
Today, I will let go of … 

“I have loved you for the last time,” 
Sufjan Stevens sings in “Visions of Gideon”
& when I tell you it was the song
I was listening to when Jay called to say
He was gone
Can you really blame me for never forgetting it?

The joke is, they sent me to France
& it was such a dream that I’m still at a loss for words
I just can’t –

Because all the news is still bad
& I keep getting off track.

I text with Andrea, who is maybe and most likely
distracting herself from the bad news she received today
with a trip to her new neighborhood Whole Foods – 
“a mood booster” –

You can spend $19.99 on strawberries in New York City.
Can you imagine?
(She gets them on sale for $4.29.)

“I almost asked for a photo of your cart,” I text.
“Then I thought maybe in Manhattan there are no carts.”

She seems to find this endearing, so I’ll take it.

Today, I will focus on …
Today, I am grateful for …
Today, I will let go of … 

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