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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Twenty-Sixth Week

There’s no point denying it
when the pandemic began
I was frightened
amidst the early uncertainty
truly, I was scared
but that was long ago
these days I have no time for that
I am not living with fear
no, I am far too busy
living with exhaustion
and living with disappointment.

*

My grandmother used to say
that bad news
always comes in threes
so with polio
now joining Covid and monkeypox
hopefully we need not worry
about a fourth outbreak.

*

Have patience
with you friends
it is not so much
that they no longer believe
a better world is possible
but that mired here
in pandemic and pox
they have concluded
that it will take more
than a few steps in the right direction
to reach that better world.

*

Though I am not nostalgic
for the early days
of this pandemic
I will confess
to missing the period
when thousands of weekly deaths
had not yet become
so normal as to be ignorable.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between August 6, 2022 and August 12, 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.

*

Of course you are overwhelmed
with so much going on
how could you not be?
And though there is so much
that is justifiably competing
for your limited attention
please try to remember
that the pandemic has not ended.

*

The service
that you provide
may be essential
but you must understand
that you, you personally
are quite expendable.

*

It does not mean much anymore
to say avoid it
like the plague
for we are not doing much
to avoid the plague
and saying avoid it
like the pox
feels equally meaningless
but do not grumble
the phrase can be salvaged
just say avoid it
like responsibility.

*

That the powerful
usually escape
from laws and plagues
does not mean
that they always do.

*

Take the spare tire
out of your trunk
remove the fire extinguisher
from your kitchen
stop wasting your money
on home and health insurance
let the batteries
in your smoke detector die
you do not want
your neighbors to think
that you are living in fear.

*

The signage has come down
from the windows and doors
the masks have come off
of employees and shoppers alike
there’s no distance being kept
between us in this line
but around the register
a plexiglass barrier remains
to remind us of when
we still took this pandemic seriously.

*

There are some amongst us
who have grown accustomed
to practicing social distancing
and there are others amongst us
who unfortunately
clearly need more practice.

*

Some advice:
don’t replay that game
or reread that books
or watch that movie again
of course there is comfort
to be found in the familiar
surprises are the last thing you need
but seeing as you are stuck
reliving the plague
you might as well
read or watch or play something new.

*

When they tell you
(and they will tell you)
that we must
keep the schools open
at any cost
do not bother asking them
about the health and lives
of vulnerable staff and students
what part of
at any cost
do you not understand?

*

Perhaps
if you can just find
the right book
or sweater
or pair of boots
or tchotchke
or art print
to buy online
you will be able
to forget
that the pandemic
has not ended.

*

Perhaps
if instead of stealing lives
the plague instead absconded
with several boxes
of classified material
we would once more deem it
worthy of our attention.

*

And though
we were never really
all in this together
how much worse it feels
to see official confirmation
that we are all on our own.

*

Listen
we know the virus
is here to stay
which is why the new guidance
acknowledges
that the pandemic is not over
while helping move us
to a point
where the virus
no longer severely disrupts
our daily lives
or more importantly
the economy.

*

Especially now
you must listen
to the experts,
the experts say:
good luck.

*

When the history
of this week is written
scholars will note
that after so many months
of wondering what would happen
that at last this was the week
when we surrendered
to the plague
though most scholars
will probably focus
on the other history
that was made this week.

*

By now
you have heard
that you are no longer required
to inconvenience yourself
for anyone else
your risk is yours
their risk is theirs
so eat drink and be merry
it probably won’t be you
who dies
you will not be asked
to continue the work
and you must keep to it
just the same.

*

*

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-Twenty-Sixth Week

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

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