"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Twenty-First Week

If our leaders
truly believed
that our lives
had any value
they would not be
whether six hundred dollars
is too grand a sum.


That which was
in February
had become unremarkable
in July
that which you
dare not imagine
in August
will seem banal
in December.


Those who can no longer
tread water
who desperately call out
for assistance
are seen as a burden
by the yacht’s
comfortable passengers
who could dispatch
life boats or
flotation devices
but who instead
demand that those drowning
develop gills.


Make no mistake
though you are lucky enough
to still draw breath
those who have allowed
over one hundred and
fifty thousand of your neighbors
to perish
will not mourn you
should the pandemic
carry you away.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between August 1, 2020 and August 7, 2020.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at that Twitter account, they will then be collected and reposted here in weekly increments.


Providing words of comfort
to those who suffer
is not very much
to expect
from one who leads.

Yet few words could
as perfectly summarize
the wretched reality
of our moment as
“It is what it is.”


History teach us
that at times
only a few
only a very few
can see the catastrophe ahead
in those moments
it is too easy to miss
the desperate cries of “stop!”

When history teaches
of this time
it will note
that many
so very many
cried “stop!”
but it was to no avail.


My friend
do not bother
denying it
anyone could tell
by your features
that you have not
been sleeping.

Heed my advice
allow yourself
to rest
there is no shame
in needing a reprieve
the bad thigns
will still be there
when you wake.


if I read one more article
about the plague
it will help me
quiet my anxieites
it probably will not
but perhaps.


There is a
strange pleasure
to be taken from
walking into a bank
with a bandana
covering your face
though the amused feelign
the moment you recall
why it is
that your face is covered.


your message
has not found me


In the past
prophets of doom
had to wait
for years
to see if their
grim predictions
would come to pass.

During the plague
prophets of doom
need wait
only a few weeks
to receive their
tragic affirmation.


How much more evidence
do you need
before you will admit
that our society
has become immune
to evidence
that is deemed inconvenient.


Stop worryign
that we might become numb
to thousands
of daily deaths
we became inured to that
long ago.

A society that could still feel
the tragedy
of thousands of deaths
is not a society
which would permit
such a situation to transpire
in the first place.


After these dreary months
I am so exhausted
from thinking about the plague
from reading about the plague
from writing about the plague
from speaking about the plague
from dreaming about the plague
how I wish I could stop
but I fear doing so
would mean that
I have surrendered.


Before we had sufficient time
to acknowledge the deaths
of one hundred and fifty thousand
the number of dead had
already risen to
one hundred and sixty thousand
that horrifying number
continues to grow
in this very moment.


Should a film be made
about the pandemic
some years in the future
the screenwriters will need
to make our leaders seem
more competent
more empathetic
more attentive
as audiences will be unwilling
to believe
that the horrid truth
is not being exaggerated
for the sake of drama.


How easy it is
to calmly negotiate and
find the middle ground when
your stomach is full
your paycheck is assured
your mortgage is secure
and it is not
your life
that is being sacrificed
for the sake of compromise.


After watching you
into the water
they tossed you
a weathered life preserver
but convinced that it
prevented you from learning
to swim
they took it away
as you struggle in the waves
they debate giving you
half the life preserver
and they expect you to be grateful.


Stop asking
how future historians
will someday interpret
our present debacle
there is no shortage
of contemporary historians
to whom you can listen
though it may be difficult
to make sense of their words
intermingled as they are
with sobs and screams.


It is said
that if you place
a frog
into a pot of water
on a stovetop
and raise the heat
s l o w l y
s  l  o  w  l  y
the frog will not
recognize the danger
boiling alive
instead of jumping
to safety.

Look down
oh my friend
look down.

Look down
at your webbed feet.



Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the previous week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list

About Z.M.L

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer @libshipwreck

3 comments on “Plague Poems – The Twenty-First Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Twentieth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  2. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Twenty-Second Week | LibrarianShipwreck

  3. Pingback: Omnium Gatherum: 16aug2020 - The Hermetic Library Blog

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2020 by in Plague Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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