Monday, October 16, 2017

Thasia Frazzini writes


Flaking bark breaks loose,
punky, smelling,
pokey wood, 
damp broken L
L for Lunger, linger over that 
think about the growth
and breakdowns it took 
to take a breath,
after the death of the past 
fears that perfection
wouldn’t last, 
but it did, it does
branched out, family tree 
for many beings, needing
branches and chances at 
normality, serenity
or the safety of 
family tree trunks,
on which occasionally a chunk breaks off.


My mother once the tree 
strong and invincible has
become the flexible willow 
wind forced her to accept all atrocities: 
     Her polio 
     My father 
     Her husband 
     My abuser
Fled, vanished, possibly vanquished,
suddenly needing to provide for two baby
just as storms stripped her bare 
she was not spared
humiliation, degradation, separation, 
needing rehabilitation;
while being sole custodial parent 
of two elementary aged, flightless beings
a choice to send us away
for the summer 
while she attempted to regain,
reframe, and find her way 
she shed old bark;
started life anew, 
and delighted with reunited family

     Minus the mister 
     Minus the monster
Eventually bark regrew, regain, regrew
and restructured    


The tiny half grown birdling flew away in
the wind 
she crashed in and out of nests strewn
with litter
and then onto the next nest 
trying to become at least
half of what mother bird had made herself to be 
finally flat on the ground bound by
tied up in hand-made nooses 
tiny, sought strong straight trees for
Trees with stepping stone bark 
Trees with branches that bent willowy to
reach her
Trees which beseeched her to stop trying
to heal all of the other broken winged
to heal herself;
to deal with all the self-inflicted wounds;
to become in tune with what she wanted,
needed, or was fleeing from;
tiny, rested, nested, and became aware of
the view
 Broken Branches
Broken Branches -- David Castleberry


  1. “Lunger” is a deratory term for someone who suffered from tuberculosis. It entered the English language in 1893, the same year the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, the finest respiratory hospital in the US, opened in Denver, Colorado, for the care and treatment of “consumptives.” In the 19th century consumption was the most word for “TB” (short for tubercle bacillus, the mycobacterium that causes the disease); the Latin root "con" (completely) was added to "sumere" (to take up from under). Around 460 BCE, Hippocrates described “phthisis” as a disease of dry seasons. It has also been called the “great white plague,” and in 1680, in “The Life and Death of mr. Badman; Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive,” John Bunyan referred to it as "the captain of all these men of death." It was also known as "the romantic disease” due to a widespread belief that the slight fever and toxaemia it caused allegedly helped artists and poets see life more clearly. The disease was present in skeletal remains from 4000 BCE and in Egyptian mummies dating from 3000–2400 BCE. In Europe it began to rise in the early 1600s and reached its peak in the 1800s, when it caused nearly 1.4 of all deaths, especially among the urban poor. Before the Industrial Revolution, because it was thought an infected person drained the life from other family members, tuberculosis was often associated with vampires.

  2. Although the pulmonary form associated with round nodules called tubercles had been established as a pathology by Richard Morton in 1689 in the same paper that contained the first medical descriptions of the wasting condition now known as Anorexia Nervosa), but, under the pervasive influence of Hippocrates’ 2nd-century disciple Aelius Galenus, he blamed the tubercles on glandular degeneration. Consumption was not identified as a single disease until the 1820s and was not named "tuberculosis" until 1839, by J. L. Schönlein (who also discovered the parasitic cause of ringworm and described purpura rheumatica [“Schönlein's disease,” now known as IgA vasculitis]). Robert Koch, the founder of modern bacteriology who won a Nobel prize in 1905, identified M. tuberculosis as the causative agent in 1882. In 1890 he developed tuberculin, a glycerine extract of the tubercle bacilli, as a remedy for tuberculosis; it was not effective, but it was later adapted as a screening test for the presence of pre-symptomatic tuberculosis. Because Koch did not think bovine and human tuberculosis were similar, recognition of infected milk as a source of infection was significantly delayed. However, in 1905 Camille Guérin discovered that the bovine tuberculosis bacillum could immunize animals without causing the disease, thus establishing that immunity against TB was associated with living tubercle bacilli in the blood, The following year, he and Albert Calmette, his boss at the Institut Pasteur de Lille, followed through by achieving the first genuine success in immunization. (Calmette had been sent to establish a branch of the Institut Pasteur in Saigon in 1891; based on his work there, he returned to France in 1894 and developed Calmette's serum, the first antivenoms for snake bites. Named director of the Institut in Lille the following year, where he was joined by Guérin in 1897, who improved the production of smallpox vaccine by using rabbits as intermediate hosts and developed a method to quantify the remaining virulence of vaccines.) Using successive transferrals of culture, the two scientists continued to develop ways of attenuating the pathogenic activity of Mycobacterium. The bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine was first used on humans in 1921 in France, but the vaccination program suffered a serious setback in 1930 when, due to a contamination of some batches, 72 vaccinated children developed tuberculosis in Lübeck, Germany. Mass vaccination of children was reinstated in many countries after 1932, when new and safer production techniques were implemented, but the BCG did not receive widespread acceptance outside France until after World War II.

  3. In 1943 Albert Schatz, a PhD student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, undertook, under the direction of Selman Waksman, a search for soil-born microorganisms that would kill or inhibit the growth of penicillin-resistant bacteria; in 3 1/2 months he isolated two distinct microorganisms, one from soil outside the lab and the other from a mouth swab from a healthy chicken, that excreted a substance which he named "streptomycin." (In 1946, in order to make streptomycin available as readily and inexpensively as possible, at Waksman's request Schatz signed over his right to royalties to the Rutgers Research and Endowment Foundation, no knowing that Waksman had a private agreement with the foundation that gave him 20% of the royalties. In 1950 Schatz sued Waksman and the foundation for a share of the royalties and reached an out-of-court settlement for a 3& royalty and $120,000 for the foreign patent rights, but in 1952 Waksman won the Nobel Prize, and Schatz never worked in a top-level microbiology lab again.) At the end of World War II, the US Army experimented with streptomycin to treat life-threatening infections; the first patient treated did not survive, and the second one became blind as a side effect of the treatment, but the third patient, Robert J. Dole, experienced a rapid recovery – he later became the Republican majority leader of the US Senate and presidential nominee in 1996. The first randomized trial of streptomycin against pulmonary tuberculosis was carried out in 1946 through 1948 by the Medical Research Council Tuberculosis Research Unit under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Marshall. Prior to the introduction of this medication, the only treatment was surgical intervention, including the "pneumothorax technique," which involved collapsing an infected lung to "rest" it and allow tuberculous lesions to heal.


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