Notes on the 21st Century

“Notes on the 21st Century,” “Reality,” and “Readings of a Seashore”

In Issue 74 by Kathi Crawford

Notes on the 21st Century

It’s not the end of the world, though it could be, but the sun

came up today and I’ve had my morning coffee, while, at the same time,

Yellowstone stood rain-smothered, the Midwest roiled in the midst of a heat wave,

and millions across India and Bangladesh lost everything to raging floods and landslides.

I mean, every day beats me down as I suffer in this Texas heat—

though maybe not completely down. I find strength in my lover’s bear hug,

the steady voice of my niece, and lavender flowering in my backyard.

Everyday people are murdered by guns, by laws, by climate emergencies; as my brain struggles

to understand why the persistent focus is on hurting each other. We are shrinking

the spaces capable of being lived in, driving

ourselves to desperate acts of survival,

and, though I am looking for the bright side,

Mother Earth is eating her young,

and maybe the world ends here.

Reality

Not reality television, with sculpted

scenarios and tired trysts, but a prickly pear cactus

that stores drops of water in its pads,

astute at adapting in excessive climatic conditions.

I know how it feels to be a survivor in a desert,

the unending corporate climb,

the evaporating promise of upward mobility.

I wish life were as easy as it seems to be

for the virtual nobodies

turned on by a momager exploiting

her children for fame, manipulating

family and fans ratings.

I, too, make fruit out of nothing.

Reality is a sharp morsel

of moisture in a land

with sparse water.

Readings of a Seashore

1

Looking at Jessie Buckley’s red hair

you notice the sunset scattering the light.

Which is what happens when you look at Jessie Buckley’s hair.

Always the same thing: the stunning sunset,

the crest and break of ocean waves

like the musical notes of her brogue.

2

But looking into the eyes of Olivia Coleman

is like looking into the eyes of a falling tide.

Did you know that tides

are not higher or lower at night

as the moon’s pull is not stronger than the earth’s?

Nothing controls the tide or Olivia Coleman

except for depression.

At the seashore, you notice a raft

amongst the seashells on the tidal flat. You listen

to the rhythm of seamen raking

fish, crabs, mussels, and clams

from the brackish water.  You settle.

3

In either case, soon you are in your brother’s apartment,

which is not important. What is important is to ignore

his raging, beer-sodden voice

reverberating in your ears;

the force of the ebb

pulling through your body.

About the Author

Kathi Crawford

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Kathi Crawford spends her days as a business and career coach based in Houston, Texas, and, by night, writes poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. She hopes to create dialogue through her writing for the challenges of our time and as individuals. Her poetry has been featured in Drunk Monkeys, Ephemeral Elegies, and One Art: a journal of poetry. You can find her on Instagram @kathicrawford or visit her blog at adventureinbeingcom.wordpress.com.

Read more work by Kathi Crawford .