"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Twentieth Week

When we said
that we wanted to go back
to how it was
before the pandemic
we did not mean
that we wanted to go back
fifty years.


If you are unsure of
is happening here
just know that
is happening here.


Considering how much
those derided as alarmists
have been right about thus far
perhaps we should pay heed
to what those alarmists
are warning us about
in this moment.


Should you need guidance
in this newest crisis
you will find that there are many
who have been preparing
for this moment
they are ready to advise you
and as you follow the steps
that they recommend
you might as well
stock up on more masks
for the other crisis continues as well.


Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between June 27, 2022 and July 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.


Students of history
cannot help but wonder
what they might have done
had they lived
during the dark times
before they were born.

Students of history
will some day wonder
what they might have done
had they lived
during the dark times
in which you find yourself.


I know that it feels
as though you have been
for a thousands years
but you must not believe
that this means
you are on the verge
of evolving wings.


Now would be a good time
to invest in a flashlight
a sturdy one
that doesn’t need batteries
you know the kind
the sort with the crank in the handle
it will not help you much
in these plague times
but you will need it
for the dark times ahead.


The ground
on which we stand
is even less stable
than we think.


Save yourself time
there’s no need to say
“it feels like
everything is falling apart”
stop making everything so personal
this isn’t about you
and your emotions
it’s about evidence and data
get right to the point
it isn’t a feeling, it’s a fact
“everything is falling apart.”


Cry out in despair
unseal your lips
do not clamp your jaw
give your hopelessness a voice
and permit it to scream
make your shout hear
so the rest of us can find you
and we can cry out together.


If the Brownshirts
don’t get you
the boys in blue will.

If the boys in blue
don’t get you
the plague will.

If the plague
doesn’t get you
the changing climate will.

So really
you might as well
do something.


They say
that if you want to succeed
in the world of tomorrow
you must make sure to study
science and technology
engineering and math.

And they say
that if you want to understand
why that world of tomorrow
will be a desolate wasteland
you must make sure to study


All of this
(yes, all of this)
and still
(yes, and still)
the plague.


If you ask a historian
they will tell you
that no civilization lasts forever
eventually every one
crumbles slowly
or collapses dramatically.

And if you ask a historian
they will tell you
how much more enjoyable it is
to study crumble and collapse
than it is to experience them.


Don’t be ridiculous
we are not going backwards
just look around you
we have not passed this way before
behold, we are picking up speed
accelerating straight ahead
we are barreling forward
of the cliff’s edge
and into the abyss.


So you haven’t been sleeping
and your appetite is gone
the dishes are piling up
and you can’t focus on work
everything feels hopeless
and tomorrow just looks worse
but don’t be so glum
at least your inbox is overflowing
with requests for money.


It is not
that the glass
is half full
and it is not
that the glass
is half empty
it is that the glass
has shattered
so now we must
clean up this mess
though we are barefoot.


Be careful
with your curses
it is unwise to call
for a pox
on all their houses
in a moment like this
when a pox
threatens your house too.


I am feeling unwell
my throat is not scratchy
there is no ache in my head
none of my limbs are sore
my temperature is normal
and I have not coughed all day
the test confirms I am plague free
yet there is so much else
in this world
that is making me feel so very unwell.


Though I recognize
they may not seem like it
I consider these all to be
love poems
my cries of despair
my panicked warnings
my please for safety
my snarls of disgust
are products not of hatred
but of an obstinate hatred
but of an obstinate belief
that this world
could be so much better.


When the books are written
about these dark times
the historians will wonder
how we could have allowed
everything to get so bad
and how it was that we could not see
that this bad was only a prelude
to everything getting even worse.



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 @libshipwreck

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

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

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