From a Notebook Found on the Floor of a Bus

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Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Today is November second, 

a gray and rainy day…

Tomorrow is the election everyone is talking about.

I don’t know what’s going to happen,

who will win; 

I really don’t know.

The only thing I know is that

I live in a country

full of sick people.

I won’t be able to leave the city

and I will probably die here,

because no one wants people

from this place.

There is no escape.

Every day I wake up,

go to the bathroom, 

take a shower,

brush my teeth, 

stand naked in front of the mirror, and

look into my eyes:

“Am I sick too

like millions others?”

I ask myself.

I do this ritual every day,

and I am convinced that,

despite my best efforts to not become ill, 

my image in the mirror 

is gradually becoming blurrier. 

Some days I can no longer see myself at all,

and I think: 

“Yes, that’s it, it’s over!”

And when I nearly lose all hope,

I look more carefully in the mirror, 

and somehow, I can see 

a flickering light of life.

I used to love waking up in the morning,

make my coffee, and 

stare out my bedroom window.

I would see the sun

sitting on a branch of the maple tree.

Birds would be chirping,

squirrels chasing each other,

dogs barking.

I don’t do this anymore

because the city has lost its colors.

They were so vivid and bright.

Now they are gone.

Gone one by one.

I used to love

Radiohead’s song “Idioteque,”

sung by Thom Yorke.

Or Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler with its fourth movement.

I thought no one could take those away from me…

I used to drive to Sugarloaf mountain, 

hike for a few hours, and 

have lunch at a small winery 

near the mountain.

A few days ago, I tried 

to go back.

I was halfway there when 

I got stuck at a road closure: 

Someone committed suicide 

in the middle of the road.

Another lost battle…

A lost hope.


Is seppuku suicide,

or simply a desire to feel life again,

awakened by a jolt of pain at the end?

I stopped the engine,

and looked in the mirror.

The driver in the car behind me

got out of the car,

leaned against the door,

and watched a blue heron,

who was walking slowly near a creek.

I suddenly thought that

the driver might be you.

My heart started pounding.

It sounded like the clack of a train;

its wheels rolling over uneven rails.

As I watched,

she turned her face toward me.

Oh, it’s someone else.

Your image melted

after a split second.

Memories… Memories…

I want to scrape them out.

I want them gone

because they’re painful.

They spin inside me, and

don’t allow me to breathe.

I was told that time takes care of

old wounds and 

one day I would love

talking to people again,

I’d enjoy the feeling of an early spring

rain on my skin,

looking at the winter sun

From the top of a

snowy mountain.

That’s not happening…

I suffer from insomnia,



The image of a mountain cabin,

green grass, and

a black horse in the yard appears like 

a desert mirage.

Time and space,

where time is growing pain,

and space is a wasp’s sting that

I am allergic to.

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