"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Thirteenth Week

Do not be ridiculous
none shall look back
on these wretched times
and call them the good old days
though perhaps
we shall someday recall them
as the days during which
there was still time
to change course.


When they say
that will not happen here”
they are really saying
“I am relaxed,
that will not happen to me.”


Resist despair
by making use of the space bar:
do not write
that you are hopeless
instead type
that you have hope less.

Resist despair
by remembering:
as long as you have
hope to lose
at least you still have
some hope left.


Don’t get ahead of yourself
it is incorrect to say
“I didn’t survive
the plague
just for this to happen”
my apologies my friend
but you have not
survived the plague
you have only
survived the plague thus far.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between May 6, 2022 and May 13, 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.


I bought a coffee
instead of saving
those three dollars for my retirement
perhaps my choice
is irresponsible in the long term
but this world
will not exist by the time
I reach my retirement age
and in this moment
I really need the caffeine
to navigate this exhausting world.


So as not to frighten
those embarking on voyages
the cartographers stopped
adding dragons and serpents
to their colorful maps
thereby ensuring
that ever more travelers
would sail confidently into danger.


It is said
that viruses are too small
to be seen by the unaided eye
what is visible
are their consequences
though these too
are difficult to see
once people have closed their eyes.


You might as well take something
for your headache
yes, people are suffering
but just sitting there
with the pain in your head
is not a show of solidarity
no one will commend you
for gritting your teeth
there’s enough needless suffering
right now
you might as well take something.


We’ve seen the movies
and we’ve read the books
and we’ve played the video games
and so we are prepared to live
in the post-apocalyptic world
it is having to endure
life during the apocalypse
that we cannot bear any longer.


My apologies
but we will not be able to graduate
until we pass the course
after five semesters of plague
our failure is getting embarrassing
we know the assignments
we know the questions
we know the answers
but for a fifth semester
we have failed
and we will have to retake it.


A little more humility
in your predictions of the future
would serve you well
it is not that you are a fool
or that your past predictions
have always been wrong
but be honest with yourself
you did not see
this pandemic coming
so, a little more humility please
just a little.


Be wary of anecdotal evidence
it may confirm your suspicions
but you are smart enough to know
that it is not the same
as serious data
tell this to yourself as you try
not to read too much
into the fact that you know
so many people coming down
with a strange case of the flu.


Should you get sick
just keep it to yourself.

Of course this means
that you should try your best
not to spread it to other people
but it primarily means
that at this point
no one wants to hear about it.


With some careful planning
and a little bit more exercising
you can rid yourself
of the pounds you have gained
during the pandemic
though no amount of meal planning
or rigorous physical exercising
will free you
from the pandemic’s weight.


I know a man
who just lost everything
the lines went up
the lines went down
it didn’t matter
he was invincible
to speak to him now
is to converse with a husk.

I know a man
who just lost everything
and I know another man
who just lost a fortune
in cryptocurrency.


You have no control
over the shoppers
in this grocery store
wearing masks.

And no control
over how safely
your coworkers gather
on the weekend.

the virus mutating
testing availability
hospital beds
you have no control.

So keep your mask on
at least over that
you have control.


The motivational posters
in your guidance counselor’s office
left you with a false impression
of how the world works
for you can give it your all
trying your damnedest
only to discover
that it has not been enough
and the effort
will not build character
but just leave you broken.


Perfection is unrealistic
you should know by now
it cannot be achieved
sometimes your nose
escapes your mask,
occasionally you embrace
a friend with a strange cold,
these things happen
even to those trying to stay safe,
perfection is impossible
but that’s no reason
to give up.


In English
one way to detect
whether or not a very
is in the past tense
is to check for the suffix “ed”
worked and loved and cooked
the final letters make it clear
but please remember
the suffix is “ed” not “id”
so though it may sound like it is
is not in the past tense.


At last it feels
like life has returned to normal
restaurants are full
movie theaters are packed
offices have their workers
shoppers go unmasked
it has taken so very long
but at last it feels
like life has returned to normal
though all of my friends
are strangely getting sick.



Plague Poems…the next 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

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

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

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