Pandemic Journal 20 March 2022 — I felt nostalgic about life writing

And I felt nostalgic about life writing.
Nostalgic for the one event lined up against the next event and so on.

12:01a.m. Margaret Christakos, 23 Nov 2020, Toronto

I felt nostalgic about life writing

What happens during the war to autobiography by those who are neither warmongers nor victims?

A war.

Any war.

This war garners more coverage than usual. White people under attack. This insight does not diminish the horror. The war cries/war crimes. (And here she remembers the call of Phyllis Webb’s poem.)

(Demonizing the enemy provides limited psychological cover. )

Without context, you miss too much.

Entire countries.




Whole continents of arresting interest. And suffering.

Putin is a bugger.

Putin is a bugger doesn’t cut it.

This is not the time to brand Vladimir Putin an ‘evil madman’

…Of course the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a monstrosity….

Pink rose 3

(Why roses?
A diversion.

Farhan Mujahid Chak, associate professor of international affairs at Qatar University, writes:

“Of course, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a monstrosity. As morally repugnant as the war crimes in Syria, brutal dispossession of Palestinians or militarised occupation of Kashmir. Yet, simplistic framings that deem Putin a “madman” without a purpose inhibit our ability to see the bigger picture and do something to prevent further violence.

In other words, now that the war is here, we should ignore all attempts to frame it merely as a showdown between “good” and “evil”, and focus instead on figuring out what steps may be taken not only to end it, but also to prevent it from causing flare-ups in other hotspots across the globe – and possibly triggering another world war.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – regardless of its rationality or purpose – will inevitably have an impact on three contentious issues: the war in Syria, the Iran nuclear deal and the US-China rivalry.”


Pink rose 2

(Why roses? A diversion.

Watching the news now chockablock with desperate news from Ukraine. Snuff movie horror. A city vaporized by supersonic missiles that can cut through anti-missile technology in seconds.

The theatre housed 1000 or 1200. A few dozen are rescued.

A maternity hospital disappears in a fiery conflagration. The Ukrainian journalists who report this are told to leave because their names are on a Russian soldiers’ hit list. They will be tortured and told to recant their witnessing. The journalists leave while they are under fire.

No houses remain in Mariupol says the CBC reporter on Sunday Morning with Pia Chattapayai. Some apartment dwellers remain in their bombed out apartments in the cold heating water with candles while the Russian soldiers inhabit other apartments. They play cat and mouse. The buildings that remain house survivors and their enemies.

Does speed inhibit humanity? Does bombing cities super fast supersonically makes the death cries stop sound in their throats?

I felt nostalgic about life writing and wrote

Pink rose 3

(Why roses? A diversion.

One thing following any other, wrote Gertrude Stein. (I once read her words. These are a reasonable facsimile. So many years have elapsed that a haze has sadly descended on “accuracy.”

It’s all

…“more or less”…..

Footnote (a diversion)

Yoga toes 2
Yoga toes 1


No roses.

His lovely toes.

His lovely toes. (Yes, a companionable echo.) An articulated diversion.

Embodied presence in the footed tub in the comfort of her warm home with hot water in abundance.

Her lover reclines behind her.

His belly and chest a tender pillow.

Along with the footed tub is the tiled floor and the grey knotted carpet and the wooden stairs to the yoga room and kitchen below.

And food and companionship and care and …

(How does she go on and on in this autobiographical genre? She was writing about sex at seventy and who cares?

What is it about war that makes your everyday comforts vaporize in the glut of news.

Not hard to fathom how disembowelment and exile and pain erase desire. And yet. You write.

What is it about writing the self that enables this diversion?

What happens?


Not there.


“What Happens” by Tadeusz Rozewicz

What Happens

It has happened
and it goes on happening
and will happen again
if nothing happens to stop it

The innocent know nothing
because they are too innocent
and the guilty know nothing
because they are too guilty

The poor do not notice
because they are too poor
and the rich do not notice
because they are too rich

The stupid shrug their shoulders
because they are too stupid
and the clever shrug their shoulders
because they are too clever

The young do not care
because they are too young
and the old do not care
because the are too old

That is why nothing happens
to stop it
and that is why it has happened
and goes on happening and will happen again.

—- trans. Robert A. Macuire and Magnus Jan Krynski


Tadeusz Roderick (1921- ).
The son of a Polish official, he fought the Nazis through WWII.

“What Happens.” Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Cenury Poetry of Witness. New York: Norton, 1993: 449-50.

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