It ain’t over…

Quarantine +7 Day 1

Freedom is a relative term – today I was surprised in the middle of a meeting by someone who actually wanted to come in and clean my room! After so many weeks of isolation it felt weird. And I could go out for a quick walk at lunch time …

So some pictures – its kind of fun being in the city, but I’m not sure I’d like to live here – so busy, so much traffic. But quite pretty and a lot of preservation of historic buildings.

This evening I went for dinner with a librarian friend who lives here – we had the most amazing vegetarian buffet, so some food porn – don’t laugh, I know it’s all very normal for you folk out there, but after 2 weeks of luke warm / cold rice and mystery meat on plastic …

And the terrible news from my quarantinis is that one of them had a temperature just above 37 degrees so he’s been hauled off to a facility where he’s being held until he has 3 negative covid tests in a row – he’s not tested positive but they’re obviously taking no chances …

And, the worrying news is that when I get back to Beijing I too may be going back to yet another 7 days locked up at home with sealed door & camera surveillance. It ain’t over till it’s over, but there’s no telling when its over.

And to end a very beautiful poem that was share with me today:

my brain and
heart divorced

a decade ago

over who was
to blame about
how big of a mess
I have become

they couldn’t be
in the same room
with each other

now my head and heart
share custody of me

I stay with my brain
during the week

and my heart
gets me on weekends

they never speak to one another

instead, they give me

the same note to pass
to each other every week

and their notes they
send to one another always
says the same thing:

“This is all your fault”

on Sundays
my heart complains
about how my
head has let me down
in the past

and on Wednesday
my head lists all

of the times my
heart has screwed
things up for me
in the future

they blame each
other for the
state of my life

there’s been a lot
of yelling – and crying


lately, I’ve been

spending a lot of
time with my gut

who serves as my
unofficial therapist

most nights, I sneak out of the
window in my ribcage

and slide down my spine
and collapse on my
gut’s plush leather chair
that’s always open for me

~ and I just sit sit sit sit
until the sun comes up

last evening,
my gut asked me
if I was having a hard
time being caught
between my heart
and my head

I nodded

I said I didn’t know
if I could live with
either of them anymore

“my heart is always sad about
something that happened yesterday
while my head is always worried
about something that may happen tomorrow,”
I lamented

my gut squeezed my hand

“I just can’t live with
my mistakes of the past
or my anxiety about the future,”
I sighed

my gut smiled and said:

“in that case,
you should
go stay with your
lungs for a while,”

I was confused

the look on my face gave it away

“if you are exhausted about
your heart’s obsession with
the fixed past and your mind’s focus
on the uncertain future

your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs
there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now
there is only inhale
there is only exhale
there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath
you can rest while your
heart and head work
their relationship out.”

this morning,
while my brain
was busy reading
tea leaves

and while my
heart was staring
at old photographs

I packed a little
bag and walked
to the door of
my lungs

before I could even knock
she opened the door
with a smile and as
a gust of air embraced me
she said

“what took you so long?”

~ john roedel (

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