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"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Ninth Week

Do not delay
they say you need to have a plan
for what you are going to do
if you contract the virus
(when you contract the virus)
they say that the first step
is the most important one
they say that the first step
is to have money.

*

We speak about the pandemic
the same way
that we talk about superhero movies:
“it was longer than it needed to be”
“the dialogue was terrible”
“too many people died”
“the plot was too obvious”
and though we say
“I’m just bored of this”
we know we’ll return for the sequel.

*

The say no one
wants to work anymore
the pay is too low
the benefits too few
and besides everyone
is just too exhausted
these are the explanations
they reach for
as they explain why no one
wants to work anymore
it’s easier than admitting
our society
does not work anymore either.

*

The reintroduction
of a mask mandate
is hardly an inconvenience
when you never stopped
wearing a mask
in the first place.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between April 9, 2022 and April 15, 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.

*

The money I had saved
by not going out to lunch, and
by not buying cups of coffee
was instead spent
on buying disposable masks, and
on purchasing at-home test kits
that must be why
I still cannot afford
to buy a house.

*

I have avoided the plague
for this long by
wearing a mask
and canceling plans
staying at home
and getting vaccinated
following the news
and minimizing risks
but I have not avoided the plague
for this long
just to surrender to it now.

*

My friend, the professor
tells me her classroom
is oddly empty
her students keep writing her
to say they are unwell
she tells me class attendance
is always low around now
at this point
her students are sick and tired
but now she suspects
hers students are tired and infected.

*

A new sign has appeared
in the shop’s window
new but old
a picture of a masked face
a comment on city ordinances
the ink is dark and clear
no signs of fading from the sun
its clearly a new sign
they had thrown out the old one
a few weeks ago
certain they would not need it again.

*

At first
watching events repeat
is tragic
but after watching events repeat
and repeat and repeat and repeat
and then repeat yet again
the feeling of tragedy
gets overpowered
by a sense of tediousness.

*

I do not know
how bad this wave will be
how long it will last
or how many lives it will claim
though I fear
I already know
that we will learn nothing from it.

*

When they ask you
(and they will)
why it is that you are staying in
respond by telling them
that the price of gas is too high
you just can’t afford
to drive more than necessary
and when they point out
(and they will)
that you don’t have a car
just change the subject.

*

It is said
that every sandy beach
was once covered in rocks,
resilient stones
patiently accepting the elements
without any complaints,
in winter they were cold
in summer they were hot
thus they endured
but wave after wave
gradually broke even them apart.

And you
are not a stone.

*

We tell ourselves
that when this finally ends
we shall go back
to being how we were before
for we cannot bear to face
what we have become.

*

Do not let anyone accuse you
of procrastinating
after all, you were quite clear
you had said you would get to it
once the pandemic was over
and the pandemic has not ended
no, you are not procrastinating
you are just being patient.

*

If we knew
how terrible the situation
truly is
we would be frightened
but informed
which would be preferable
to our current status
in which we are frightened
but uninformed.

*

The news is terrible
yes, of course the news is terrible
but keep things in perspective
at least there is a lot of it.

*

We listen intently
to the blathering
of the billionaires
for their enthusiastic volume
effectively drowns out
the dry coughs
of the infected
and the lamentations
of the mourners.

*

Of course I know
the level of risk
I am willing to tolerate
the level of risk
I cannot avoid taking
what I do not know
is the level of risk
taken and tolerated
by the maskless man
standing too close behind me
in this line at the pharmacy.

*

Tonight
we shall gather together
around the bread of affliction
to recount the story
of the ten plagues
our ancestors escaped
even as remain bound
by a plague in the present.

*

If you go out
you will just spend the night
worrying
did you lock the front door
did you close the windows
did you leave the oven on
did you turn the tap off
with so much uncertainty
you will be unable to enjoy yourself
best to stay in
besides
there’s still a plague out there.

*

*

Plague Poems…the following 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 librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

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

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

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