“August” Tavia Walls

sims pool YannickLeJacq

Minding someone else’s business, eight fingers poised over the keyboard
when suddenly a mind slip
time machine rumbles awake
and the leap is swift
and the pull so great
eyelids droop
the weight of my head too much on my neck

and I am back there

On a sweet, scorching, August morning
when the day is stretched out before in all directions
but not too far, because here is the center
with the promise of everything
everything could be anything
and anything smells mostly like chlorine
and anything sounds like laughter

Sounds like splashes reaching towards the sun, falling down on me with a sparkle

I am underwater and can hear the children’s feet pounding the concrete
Don’t run!
I emerge just as someone jumps in and brings the disconnect

and I am back here

I hug myself and blink and discover I am crying because I want to remain in that sun.
Always and forever in that scorch of that Summer.

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MICA Professor Nate Larson and a group of photography students took to the Baltimore streets near MICA on Tuesday, April 28 to document and help with the clean up efforts after looting and fires from the night before. What they have brought back is a mixture of images, not all positive or all negative, but the reality of Baltimore a day after riots near the intersection of Pennsylvania and North Avenues.
Photos by Nate Larson, Lara Davidson, Zeina Zeitoun, Lynn Hunter, and Kris LaRosa.

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ONE FACE OF THE ACA: My personal story


I have noticed since Republicans won control of the Senate some of you have been openly jubilant about the possibility of repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Some of you are members of my family and some of you are my friends. I am not going to get into the odds of that happening or not happening; that remains largely out of my hands. I would like to talk to you for a minute about why it matters to me.

I have worked most of my life and for approximately half of that time; I was offered health insurance either by my employer or my spouse’s employer. It was excellent coverage at excellent prices. Everything began to change after August, 1995 when my spouse was killed in an offshore accident. Cobra coverage for me and two children, even in 1995, was unaffordable. For two years, I paid almost $700 a month for private insurance, and then I made the decision that we would just take our chances at good health and no accidents for a while. For the most part, we were lucky. For the most part, I was able to afford to pay for medical needs that arose. There were a few hospital bills along the way that were too large and went unpaid. I am not proud of that, it was just my reality.

I continued to work and pay taxes. I am not someone who has ever been a “drain” on society. In 15 years, I have worked for a company that offered health insurance 5 of those years, and in those 5 years, I participated and paid my part. Until coverage became available under the ACA, I had been uninsured for 4 years. I had no preventative healthcare, and mostly avoided doctor visits. I fell one morning during this last uninsured interval, went to a local ER, was there for 1 hour and two x-rays, and the bills totaled almost $6,000, some of which I am still paying for by the month.

Along comes the ACA; I signed up and found an affordable policy. It is not the best policy and I only had one choice as to insurance company, thanks in large part to the Governor of my state refusing to expand Medicaid. Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful. I am covered and I am covered regardless of pre-existing conditions. Here is what it has done for me in the past 11 months:

1. I have been able to have my 1st pap smear and mammogram in 4 years. I have a strong history of breast cancer in my family (I have had 3 lumpectomies, all negative) and am waiting on the results of my last test.
2. I have been able for the 1st time in many years to have a Primary Care Physician who is trying to determine the cause of global inflammation in my body that sometimes feels crippling.
3. I no longer have to get an expensive medicine ($215 for a 30 day supply) for free from the pharmaceutical company, I now have a co-pay.
4. I have an appointment next week with an ophthalmologist to discuss removal of cataracts in both eyes.

I have shared all of this in the hopes that you can see that there are REAL people who are being helped by the ACA, somewhere between 6 and 7 Million REAL people like me. To my friends and family who are against government subsidies to make healthcare more affordable, I want you to know that your opposition to my better health hurts.

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“We work hard at being last”

Mississippi, Burned

141029_varney_mississippi2_lowensteinHow the poorest, sickest state got left behind by Obamacare.

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“Capture”-Tavia Walls

Walk the broken path
throw open the massive door
walk the halls where
nature has reclaimed the floor
and the corners where the vine creeps

Listen for the echo
of long unheard laughter
and ignored weeping
and the smallest sigh

Dance in the dust
fallen at your feet
throw out your arms
and twirl in the sunlight
that struggles
through the broken window pane

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