You should seen their faces when they walk
passed us: this bundle of clothes
tryin’ to avoid us
lying in a heap in the entry of their high-rise condo
they always walk by and try not to look,
or look like they lookin’,
but they all do.
i’m base’in, and they lookin’
she lookin’ for the right spot in her thigh,
her marbled thigh,
she dance around, feel around,
massaging the ghost-fire,
massaging her next childhood memory to wipe out
her brothers’ hand bruise on her thigh;
her step-daddy’s too rigid fingers;
her uncle’s chokehold; wiping out all they bruises.
she find it and it don’t matter that
it’s your morning commute or
whatever, she shoot up right in her thigh,
right there, as they walk by
lookin’ and tryin’ not to look.
Brutal wind swirling all over,
through the alleyway
of brick streets and this crevice
ain’t nothin’ to the wind
and it passes right through:
ice sheets under your fingernails;
ice through your eyelids.
Foot traffic. Street traffic.
I tuck my head under my coat and make a tent
with my knees, like you used to do when you was a kid
tryin’ to hide away from the world.
Tucked away but still lookin’ out,
forgotten to the world, like somehow
death, and suffering, and change all pass you by,
’cause it forgot you and you can just sit
and smile and laugh ’cause you so far gone,
you so far from the world.
You should seen their faces when they walk
While everyone is
pushing and pushing
back the morning
fuzz of autumn,
in place. Children
to the bus stop
drop to the street.
I woke up writing a poem.
It might have been a continuation
of my dreaming, though, because
I had taken out a newspaper
advert to write a short two column
by six inch persona
poem for the Virus.
If the Virus had a voice,
what accent would I give it?
Suddenly a locomotive of a thought,
Why is it that if given the choice
I will choose fear every time…
In other words, why is it so easy
to succumb to fear?
The tone would clearly be villainous.
It would say something like,
You people love to talk. . .
with a long pause to convey power,
and authority, . . . about the
greatness of the human spirit.
Before continuing Virus
would take a breath in
through parted lips sucking
like a saliva ejector on fleshy
sucking excess saliva
passed tongue and teeth,
You love to talk. . .
about when this is all over.
As if it will ever be over.
I’ve got news
this is over,
when we learn
The Virus points out.
For some reason
I look to myself to guide
me; reading over past journal entries
I come across one that says,
my knowledge is so fragile.
And it is
because it is known
through the experience of others
Another entry that goes,
sound and meaning are tied so
closely together. Sound is a finger
pointing and meaning is particular.
Then I begin to wonder if
Virus isn’t just the finger
pointing at me.
In the frog pond
Behind the church
In a backyard
The cashed pipe
with your hands pressed together
it’s hard to know
where one hand ends
and the other begins,
with the National Guard deployed
to three different states,
to your state,
it’s difficult to tell
if what’s normal here
is normal there.
it’s too easy to want to
with some snacks
and turn on netflix,
irresistible it seems.
reduced to a voice
and drowning in a sea of voices.
can’t come fast enough.
batteries are drained by mid-morning.
overuse and gaming
will do that to a phone.
looking out the window,
the daffodils are also eager
to get some sun.
I admit when word got out that companies were sending
employees home, to work from home, I was pretty jealous.
While most of the world seems to be testing the technology—
stretching the limits of communication,
stretching my bandwidth thinner and thinner.
That’s what it comes down to with technology, though,
levels of communication.
I mean talking with grandparents, with mom and dad,
can be spotty even in the same room, let alone with
technology thrown in the mix.
Lately I’ve seen my bandwidth stretched so thin
at times I can hardly get through an episode. Or share photos. Or video chat.
Companies are trying to adapt with us and it’s making me
ask what’s necessary: what things are still worth putting on
a platform. My health? my eating habits? quality of my food?
Or is it my technology? my entertainment, my gaming,
my sports, my gazillion monthly subscriptions to apps,
I’m thinking about how much I need
from grocery stores and wondering if I’m not putting all my
eggs in one basket, which I’ve been warned against.
We all have for some time now.
Look outside, look to nature and see all the variety,
it doesn’t take long to realize that
the variety is what is making each and every thing work
nothing is dependent on one source,
everything depending on each and every other thing
yet I am pretty dependent on this one source: the grocery store.
I’m pretty dependent on the few global corporations like Amazon,
or Google for my information, which have made it their aim for
us to depend on their one source, and now what?
Now we’re fighting for toilet paper and Mountain Dew
I need to be able to depend on myself a little more.
Though I’m not sure if I have the authority to change this.
To be a source of variety, to dig my hands in the earth
and pull up root vegetables, potatoes, and onions and bring
them to the dining table, the family table.
I’m lucky, though, to still have the chance to bring home
the bacon, I suppose. My wife, on the front-line, a grocery-store worker
is also being stretched thin with early mornings and sleepless nights.
Here is an opportunity to appreciate those that we do depend on
regardless of the social hierarchy; they aren’t teachers,
or police, or fire, or doctors,
they aren’t scientists, or academics, or public officials,
or even ironman, or spiderman,
but they are first responders. Our grocery store workers are
While the world is testing the limits of communication
with technology, I’m testing the limits of my communication
through poetry, through living a life for my loved ones;
to work for them and spend time with them in a more direct way
while the whole thing comes crumbling down around us.
Driving through this ghost town, no lights on in the windows. No
Delivery trucks on the streets. A pair of homeless walk their bikes
With packs and gear slung over shoulder, on handlebars, packs slouching over seats.
I woke up this morning thinking about how I’ve always considered myself
On the outside looking in. Which makes me a stranger in my own home.
My wife my kids at home sick, while I’m driving into work under twilight sky
Under fertile crescent moon through downtown Georgetown,
We worry, during these times, that we’re making the right decisions
Now maybe more than ever. Though we don’t think it’s the invader,
We act like it is, because who knows?
Later, up north in the Greenlake neighborhood,
Parents and children walk by in handfuls.
Every couple with a smile, and every child intense with play.
Coffee shops are open and they let customers in one or two at a time.
Restaurants are empty, the chef turned delivery driver
Loads up his car. A childless couple walks by
Probably programmers, or social media account managers,
Or both, with coffee cups in hand, talking about
The luxuries of not having children, while acting like their dog is a child.
We talk a lot about our perspective, about what history has taught us,
We think we know how the impact of these moments change the course of history.
So we’re careful; walking on eggshells; walking so as not to disturb the sleeping baby.
Careful not to indulge too much, not to enjoy the time at home too greatly
Concerned and anxious, we’re pulsing underneath, concerned and scared
Because the anchor of our economy is tied so closely with our joy.