I Looked Up and Saw My Bandwidth Swallowed by a Black Hole

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
first responders.

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. 

In the Neighborhoods

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.

Greetings from WashYourHandsingTon State

You certainly can feel it in the air now, 
each one of us a tesla tower pulling concern from the sky.
Some say it’s too much worry, others not enough.
At the grocery store we briefly make eye contact
and you know it’s on their minds as well—

Nobody says a thing, and when somebody does,
it’s a joke. Or it’s the kid walking down
the sidewalk talking on the hands-free saying,
fuck that man, now’s the time to buy not sell
all the old people are gonna die. . .

Schools down the street are being shut down
so they can be sanitized.
We get texts from our kids asking if it’s safe. It’s
so close now, daddy, is it okay?
Of course it’s okay sweetie, just keep your head down,
pull up your bootstraps, wash your hands
and get to work.

Inboxes have filled up with event cancellations:
PTA, principal’s office, school district,
community events. For fear of low turnout they say,
but schools will remain open, just keep your head down
pull up your bootstraps
wash your hands and get back to work. 

By now we all have these little fears
but we don’t let anyone in on it. 
We wash our hands a little longer, we
nod at the mask wearers, no longer in mocking
voice. A nearby cough
sets off a jolt.

We go about ordering our food, or
shaking hands, even though as we’re reaching
we’re thinking, is this really necessary? Still,
we shake and nod and smile. You just gotta
keep your head down, pull up
your bootstraps wash
your hands and get back to work.

We get a tickle in our throats
we wake up with pounding headaches,
we go to work,
we go to school,
we shake hands and nod and smile
we’re keeping our heads down, pulling up our bootstraps
washing our hands and getting back to work

Traffic has been so light, the drive in to work
has been great. If you work for one of
the big companies, that telecommute, you
don’t know what you’re missing!

*WashYourHandsingTon is a jingle from several years ago to remind people to cover their coughs and wash their hands during the cold and flu season.

Endless Bloom

Could it be that I have pushed away pain and sorrow and failure to the point that I have nothing to gain? That I have dumbly succeeded and that is what drives my misery now. This normal ho-hum day cycling on and on and on. I can feel it, this cycle, I know it exists and that I exist within it, but I cannot see the whole of it. I feel it in my bones, in my tendons, ligaments, and muscles. This habitual energy flows through me. I’ve worked so hard to proliferate this endless bloom.