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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Second Week

Pour that bucket of water
out in the bathtub
hang the extinguisher
back on its hook
you stopped, dropped, and rolled
but now it’s time
to continue, to get up, and to roll with it
fold up the asbestos blanket
stop hiding under it
ignore the flames
and learn to live
in this burning house.

*

It is imperative that we
think of the children
their needs and well-being
must be foregrounded
stop thinking about your life
and think of the lives of those
who are still very young.

Yes, it is imperative that we
think of the children
unless of course
they are younger than five.

*

History is being made
at all times
yes, of course,
history is being made
at all times
but it would be pleasant
to be living in a moment
when less
history is being made.

*

You must learn
to be more careful
with your use
of the definite article
it is not the case
that the world is ending
it is just the case
that your world is ending.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between February 19, 2022 and  February 25, 2022.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems and Instagram at @plague_poems.

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.

*

It is said that we
must all learn to live
with the virus
as though we have not
already been living
with the virus
for the last two years.

*

War distracts.
How could it not?
Other discussions are pushed aside
to make way
for the tanks and the bombers
but do not say
that because of the war
we have stopped
paying attention to the plague
you know full well
that we had stopped
paying attention to the plague
before the war.

*

I’m not trying to be rude
or suggest you are lying
really, I’m not,
but you should know
the more loudly and frequently
that you declare
how you are done
with the pandemic
the more everyone else
will begin to think
that you are the one
who is obsessed with the virus.

*

You certainly did not need it
or ask for it (for that matter)
but once again
you have been reminded
that it is always possible
for the world
to get even worse.

*

If you wish to keep
your sense
of smell
as well as
your sense
of taste
you need the
good sense
to remember
that the pandemic
has not ended.

*

You apologize too much
(really, you do)
it’s good to be polite
but every other word from you
is some version of “sorry”
you can quit asking everyone
to excuse you for this
to pardon you for that
you are living in a pandemic
there’s no need to apologize.

*

If only there was a poem
a short one
a simple one
a voice from the past
speaking to we in the present
a warning
that after they come for others
they will eventually come for us
if only there was such a poem
perhaps we would hear and heed
history’s lesson.

If only. If only.

*

If you must
shift your attention away
from the plague
it will not be offended,
it will not become jealous
should you need to focus
on other horrors and hazards,
the plague is patient
when you are capable
of acknowledging it once more
the plague will still be here
waiting for you.

*

When we hoped
that the twenties
would be roaring
we did not mean
like this.

*

Scroll by the startling images
ignore the death toll
do not allow your emotions
to fog your mind
now more than ever
you must focus your attention
on the only thing that really matters:
what does all of this mean
for the stock market?

*

Had you paid closer attention
in your history classes
you would have already learned
just how exhausting it is
to experience history.

*

The world is large enough
to accommodate multiple horrors
war and pandemic
authoritarianism and warning
as one intensifies the others
march on in the background
the world is large enough
to accommodate multiple horrors
but the headlines and our hearts
can only hold so much.

*

Perhaps, it is just me,
but I feel as though
I am losing track
of just how many things
I was repeatedly assured
would never happen
in the twenty-first century
are indeed happening
in the twenty-first century.

*

Do not not be mistaken
it is not the case
that you are living in the midst
of a historic event
but that you are living in the midst
of historic events.

*

Dispense with
the silly neologism
that self-deprecating joke
only downplays the horror,
you are not doom-scrolling
you are being witness
and there is so very much
for you to bear witness to.

*

How much we already miss
those terrible old days
when our greatest concern
was simply a pandemic.

*

*

Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list

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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 librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

One comment on “Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Second Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-First Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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