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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Zoom AA meetings

By: Jerome Berglund

only thing I hate

worse than relapse MFing

Zoom AA meetings


A graduate of the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Production program, Jerome Berglund spent a picaresque decade in entertainment before returning to the midwest where he was born and raised. For the last several years he has lived a relatively quiet life, spending his time reflecting, exploring what he learned over the course of a somewhat checkered young adulthood, via writing, poetry and fine art photography. Berglund has previously published short stories in Paragon Press’s Veisalgia and the Watershed Review, a play in Iris Literary Journal, and poetry in Abstract Magazine, Wild Roof, Lychee Rind, and Ulalume Lighthouse.

"It’s a brave new world these days, with tech pioneered in the interest and with the intention of promoting remote labor pipelines permitting unprecedented realtime instantaneous interfacing, making the connecting of distant peoples personally and professionally possible with ease and capabilities our grandparents’ generation could never have dreamed of. In medical and therapeutic sectors this has further unlocked previously nonexistent channels of communication to facilitate treatment and collaborations in inspiring and energizing ways, allowing differently abled and reclusive persons access to impressive services without leaving the comfort of their desks.

However, as video chats become more mandatory in the wake of the Covid epidemic, a certain bashful subset of deeply self-conscious hermits like myself still find the prospect of people staring at their disheveled mugs, made more distorted and grotesque by cellular or web-camera’s fish-eye lenses, highly disagreeable to the extent that they are even willing to forego priceless opportunities to interface with friends and loved ones, or participate in potentially life-altering counseling, due to these deep-seated predilections and foibles. This haiku was jotted in response to one poet's own such ridiculous tendencies.

Suffice to say, having recently climbed with difficulty back onto that blessed and proverbial wagon after a messy window wading through the muck without, I have found profound solace and value maintaining my tea totals through attending some local meetings in my area. After much scouting around and weighing numerous quite viable options, just when I’d settled upon a home group and was beginning achieve a measure of serenity and comfort through their regular discussions and explorations into step work, the plague reared its menacing hydra heads and our local community center where we met found itself abruptly shuttered indefinitely, which it has remained for these last few weary months of unprecedented unrest and thirst.

Simultaneously, a friend of my family's during this window has been residing at a nearby sober house, and reports he has gleaned very positive experiences participating in virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on the internet through his computer, harnessing a powerful new tool called Zoom. I briefly considered the possibility of pursuing something similar, concluding I could probably tolerate associated discomforts in the event of a true emergency, but otherwise the merest envisioning of such a practice overall continues to provoke a distinct shutter whenever it crosses my mind! So from quarantine in Richfield Minnesota, this white-knuckling luddite continues to eagerly look forward to normalcy's long overdue return..."


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