LibrarianShipwreck

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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Thirty-Ninth Week

In the month of November
I will not be trying
to write a novel
grow a mustache
or attempt some new project
I will focus my attention
on trying to survive the month
which quite frankly
will be challenge enough.

*

I am sorry my friend
but you need a new rallying cry
telling people
they must vote
like their lives depend on it
feels somewhat antiquated
in the midst of a pandemic
that continues to demonstrate
how indifferent people are
to the things upon which
their lives depend.

*

It is often said
that comedy
is just tragedy plus time
though the people
who truly remember and
who are still enduring
that tragedy
may forget to laugh.

*

in this age of grief
it seems silly
to be saddened by the death
of an internet platform
there is a plague
and so much else
over which to truly mourn
but in these times
there is nothing wrong
with grieving the loss
of an imperfect place
that sometimes
made you feel less alone.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between November 5, 2022 and November 11, 2022.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems, on Mastodon at @plaguepoems@mastodon.social, and on Instagram at @plague_poems.

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at the above mentioned accounts, they will then be collected and reposted here as weekly compendiums.

*

Regardless
of what happens today
tomorrow
the plague will still be with us
but it’s not all bad news
at least tomorrow
regardless
of what happens today
we’ll stop receiving so many
of these text messages
and fund raising emails.

*

Since you’re already at it
you might as well
take a moment
to set back your clock
to the time
before you had forgotten
about the pandemic.

*

If they found a way
to turn worry
into electricity
you could plug me in
to the grid
and I would keep the lights on
indefinitely
for worry
more than solar or wind
is truly a renewable resource.

*

Casting a vote
is like wearing a mask
by itself
an insufficient response
to the crises at hand
but when you cannot do more
you might as well
do what you can.

*

It is not that I am calm
but that I
have had ample practice
sitting in this chair
staring at this screen
watching
as the bad times
become the worse times.

*

My tired sigh of relief
was interrupted
by the dry coughs
of the people around me.

*

For the election
we meticulously count
all of the results
so that we can know
who has won.

For the pandemic
we have stopped counting
all of the results
for we already know
that the virus has won.

*

She calls to tell me
that she has tested positive
again
and when I reply
with how I can’t believe
that she has gotten it twice
she quickly corrects me
stating that she
has tested positive twice
but that she’s fairly certain
this is actually the fourth time
that she’s had it.

*

Be humble with predictions
you can read
the letters in which
data and stars
are written, but you are not
fluent in the language
tomorrow will be worse
or perhaps better
or the reprieve will hold
and we will grade
the accuracy of our forecasts
as we sit here
alongside the plague.

*

After so many months
of staring
at transmission maps
with counties colored
in blue and green
in yellow and orange
in red and gray
it has been a nice change
to spend a few days
staring at
electoral maps
with entire states colored
in red and blue.

*

Wherever I go
I see signs and
hear announcements
asking me to please
respect others’ choices
the mandates have ended
to wear a mask or not
is up to each individual
but it is hard to respect
others’ choices
when their choices
show no respect
for the vulnerable among us.

*

An argument has started
amongst the family
in front of me
over a scented candle
the younger child states
it smells like cranberry
the older child counters
that it smells like cherry
the father sniffs
and announces that it
smells like nothing
and I move quickly
to another aisle.

*

I asked my friend
the emergency room doctor
if there was anything
she wanted for her birthday
and she replied
that what she most wanted
was for all of her friends
to make sure
not to come visit her at work
and also
she sent me a link
to a sweater she liked.

*

Where once the images
of a celebratory crowd
could inspire in me
a sort of second-hand joy
these days when I scan over
the gleeful expressions
in those exuberant pictures
I find myself fixated
on how few masked faces I see.

*

The fault is my own
really, at this point
I should have known better
but when I initially saw
the safety protocols
outlines for this event
I made the mistake
of foolishly believing
those precautionary steps
would actually be followed.

*

I commit too quickly
if I start reading a book
or watching a film or show
I must stick with it
to its end
even if I know from the start
that the story is terrible
and will end badly
I cannot walk away from it
so too with the pandemic
I want to stop watching
but I simply cannot.

*

I could not tell you
the precise moment
when I realized
that I had become old
though I can say
with absolute certainty
that I was still young
when the plague began.

*

Be patient with yourself
remember
someone taught you
how to read
and how to multiply fractions
how to ride a bicycle
and how to do laundry
how to tie a tie
and how to drive a car
so be patient with yourself
remember
nobody taught you
how to survive a pandemic.

*

*

Plague Poems…the following 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-Thirty-Ninth Week

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

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