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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Seventh Week

Prophecy is easy
as long as your predictions
are modest
bold claims are disproven
firm dates are always missed
the crises that are declared over
have a tendency to persist
so do not say
the pandemic has ended
instead say it will end eventually
though there too you may be wrong.

*

If you are building your career
here is some useful advice:
dress better than your boss
arrive early and leave late
accept tasks with a smile
be a team player
always be learning new skills
and most importantly
try not to be building your career
in the midst of a pandemic.

*

By the week’s end
the coverage will have moved on,
once the takes are all stated
and all the think-pieces posted
once the jokes cease being fresh
the discourse grows bored
and when that happens
we shall find ourselves
still sitting here
surrounded by the plague.

*

Perhaps it is just me
(I do not mean to project)
but I cannot suppress the suspicion
that in this third year of plague
everyone
is much closer to collapsing
than they realize.

Though
(perhaps it is just me)
I am probably projecting.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between March 26, 2022 and April 1, 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.

*

When their prophecies fail
those who had warned
of impending catastrophe
are punished
with mocking laughter.

When their prophecies come true
those who had warned
of impending catastrophe
are punished
by being right.

*

Moderate your confidence
the hospitals
and the graveyards
are filled with those
who were once certain
that they would make it through
the next wave.

*

I have checked my body
and found no evidence
of bite marks or even scratches
my skin is not graying
I do not speak only in groans
humans do not seem appetizing
and I have read no reports
suggesting this virus
reanimates the dead
yet it has turned me into a zombie
just the same.

*

It would be inaccurate to claim
that where once it was
a pandemic
of the unvaccinated
it is now becoming
a pandemic
of the impoverished
for it has always been
a pandemic
of the impoverished.

*

My memory works fine
I still remember
agreeing to stay home for two weeks
and agreeing to wear a mask
then agreeing to minimize outings
and agreeing to cancel my plans
I recall
agreeing to get vaccinated
and then agreeing to get boosted
but I cannot remember
agreeing to get sick.

*

Now you understand
why it is
writers of post-apocalyptic fiction
so rarely include prologues
for though the moments
before the catastrophe
are punctuated by feelings
of terror and extreme anxiety
the dominant tonality
is quiet helplessness
while waiting
for things to get worse.

*

There is nothing mystifying
about the appeal of games
in which you spend hours
wandering cruel worlds
ruled by frightening beasts
that consistently defeat
the hapless player
really, the appeal is easy to see
for in those games
unlike this world
sometimes you emerge victorious.

*

Refrain from smirking
as you watch the optimists
retract their sunny declarations
they were too hasty to celebrate
too certain this time was different
too dismissive of concerns
they are right to be embarrassed
all the same
it would have been better
had they been right.

*

There was a moment
a brief one
in which the plague
truly did control our lives
but that moment is over
and though the plague continues
it no longer controls our lives
things are back to normal
now it is the market
that once more controls our lives.

*

At the start he joked
about growing
an apocalypse beard
so the pandemic’s duration
would be visible on his face
it was a ridiculous idea
an apocalypse beard
one he abandoned quickly
he didn’t need
to grow a massive beard
for the pandemic’s duration
to be visible on his face.

*

Apologies
but the numbers have been run
the numbers have been checked
and then checked again
the results are quite clear
it is simply more cost effective
to throw you to the plague.

*

Considering how poorly
our attempt
to live
with the plague
is going for us
perhaps (perhaps)
we should redouble our efforts
to live
without the plague.

*

Do not be so quick to laugh
at the shrieking flagellants
and beak-masked physicians
from the plague times of old
they may have dressed oddly
and behaved strangely
but at least they had the sense
to admit
that they were living in plague times.

*

Excess deaths
is a technical term
the number of deaths in a year
as compared to
the number of expected deaths,
to the experts
excess deaths
means something particular
but for the person in mourning
a single death is an excess.

*

Mapmakers of old
knew that no map of the world
could be deemed complete
unless it included
warnings pertaining to monsters
a sea serpent here
a fire-breathing dragon there
forceful reminders
that this world wrecks the ships
of those who believe
their vessels to be unsinkable.

*

As a child
I dreamt of being a knight
armored in shining metal
riding atop my majestic steed
shield on arm sword in hand
defending the realm from evil
as a child
when I fantasized
about the medieval ages
I dreamt of being a knight
not of being surrounded
by unending plague.

*

*

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-Seventh Week

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

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