Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Republic Windows and Doors By David Cheezem

Republic Windows and Doors
By David Cheezem

Silence is a locked up building with machines
Turned off. Prayer is a cleaned-up corner

of the mind. Silence is not prayer. Prayer
Is not silence. The difference, the difference.

Silence is imposed. Prayer is chosen.
A family must be fed, I know, I know.

Knowledge without power is frustration.
It’s hard to breath in this silence. It’s hard

To pray, to act, to shout, to download
God Save the Queen as a ringtone.

No future no future for you
Silence should be prayer, not despair.

But they ended the strike in a media flury
Fought back the insult, kept the injury.

© David Cheezem 2008


My friend Davis wrote this poem and I like it. I read it out loud and a couple of the kids asked about it. Had I read the article to them, they'd have not cared.

The poem made me think of when I was pregnant with Starshine and my husband's company went under. My husband did not protest-- the memory is one of making me think of how lucky we were. I was two weeks away from the Mrs. Alaska pageant, six and a half months pregnant, and he called and said he just got laid off and that he was applying for two jobs with the state that were about to close and that he'd be home.

We got on to state health insurance-- we'd already been on it as his insurance didn't cover pregnancies. It was good because I needed a c-section. I couldn't get my money back from the pageant and so I just had fun. I got my dress second hand and it was the wrong color for me. The summer was very tight. I was literally foraging in the woods with the kids for edible things and my husband was going to the lake with the boys-- they'd walk and thought it was the greatest thing in the world! I had to go to the food bank because I didn't want my husband going. First, he was out looking for a job when they were open and second, when he was home, it was my excuse to get out of the house!

Tiger had a volunteer gig at a greenhouse for some friends who grew for the REALLY bad off. She got part of my yard in order and taught her brothers and sister Cloud to keep it in good order. She bladed over to a job at a bakery where she was always given unsold items which was how we survived-- the food bank stuff never seemed to go far. Peaches went to see her dad for part of the summer.

Driving into the City was a gas issue. We never missed a trip. Every trip was rationed. I baked bread in the late evening when we needed the heat so we'd not have a hot-hot house in the afternoon.

After a month I started seeing the bank come by to take pictures of our house. That was scary. We were also getting bulk post cards from real estate agents and I felt like I was in a leaky rubber raft with a dorsal fin beginning to circle it and vultures overhead!

I fought my doctor on bed rest-- I hated it. He found me silly and once said, "Do you hate bed rest or do you hate Mat-Su Regional Hospital more?" (Some people have good experiences there; I say that competing hospitals are needed!) I stayed on bed rest but he'd not call it that. The day I was taken off the bed rest that I was supposedly not on was the day my husband was hired by the state. Starshine would still be inside me had they not gotten her out three weeks later.

Anyway-- we had it bad but we knew we were fortunate. Darrin's parents helped us out with a mortgage payment and some bills, but his unemployment was only allowed for three dependents! I worry for the people who are getting laid off across the country because they don't have what we did. We are in a semi-rural area where so many are in cities where it is cold. It hurts to think of families losing their homes and what this does to the kids and the parents.


steve said...

This is scary. Not just the desperate situation you were in, but that the state had this limit on the number of dependents. Probably what somebody considered welfare reform. I'm happy that your husband found another job, but upsets me that the state would be so callous towards large families.

P.S. How did you do in the Mrs. Alaska pageant? I hope you weren't beaten out by Sarah Palin.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

Sarah Palin was one of the judges and she was the first one who I spoke to-- she put me at ease. I didn't make the top five, but I had a blast and got the Spirit Award. I blew the second one where I wasn't pregnant. If I do it again I will have backing-- it cost a fortune to me to do!

The women who do those are a certain mold that I don't fit. They are nice, don't get me wrong, but they are polished. I am not-- I can't do it. There is something in me that will not allow me to be one of them. They do fundraisers for the poor; I go out and spend the night at a homeless shelter incognito. They put lots on money into an arts program at a prison; I spend four days working with the ladies. If I ever run for public I will pay to be a guest for a week in a prison and spend the two years before I do it working in jobs that put me in contact with the most vulnerable of my constituents. Those women would never get their fingernails dirty and there is nothing good hidden under their shiny surfaces. I like them, but I am not one of them.