Tag Archives: pandemic

I think I made a mistake

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I think I made a mistake

baselines, fault lines , paradigm shifts
ignorance has been weaponized
what will we do, what will we do
when all the nouns are verbed?

I think I made a mistake
how is there still doubt in that sentence?
A man goes to a party
to get infected with a virus
in order to prove
that the virus is a hoax,
the man dies.
It’s hard not to be harsh.
Is this a new baseline,
a new low?
Is it an intelligence deficit?
Is it lack of education?
No, this is something different
this is a sea change
the beast has left Bethlehem
the malware has been activated
the human race has started to self-limit.
Whatever god, assembly of gods
or conglomerate of alien scientists
malevolent or benevolent
that designed this whole shebang
that opened this can of worms
has had enough
the malware has been activated
the fix is in
it’s past midnight and the eagle has flown
Aunt Mary is hanging out the washing
the human race has started to self-limit.

A man goes to a party
to get infected with a virus
in order to prove
that the virus is a hoax,
the man dies.

 

Brendan over at earthweal poses the challenge: Observe shifting baselines in your world, in climate change, your nation’s governance, the pandemic. 

Writing Poetry for The Times That Are In It (more unsolicited advice)

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Writing Poetry for The Times That Are In It

Avoid the polemic, the rant,
the bromide
be all you can be
avoid the hackneyed phrase
the weak-kneed phrase
the self-consciously poetic line
the moon, a pale orb in the evening sky
never call the moon “an orb”
never call the sun “a fiery ball”
your waves should not
crash on the shore
they should collapse
like marathon runners
avoid foliage
excessive leafiness
too many trees
the reader needs to see the poem
and remember it’s unlikely
that your poem
will be an agent of change
no one is going to march through the streets
chanting your poem
unless your poem is a three word slogan
but your poem can chronicle change
bear witness to change
and one day someone might read it
at a rally in front of a large crowd
if the lines resonate
if the lines generate heat
meanwhile concentrate on
impressing yourself
avoid lines ending in “ution”
the rest will take care of itself.

 

The prompt from Brendan over at earthweal is as follows:

“For this week’s challenge, write about the challenges you face as a poet trying to write sufficiently to the moment. What is most difficult to capture about the time? What new tools or calibrations might be required?”

The above poem is a stab at it. It’s a very interesting question, because is it possible to write sufficiently to the moment? Yeats wrote his poem “Easter 1916”, about the Irish Easter Rebellion, between May and September of 1916 but the poem wasn’t published until 1921 in the collection “Michael Robartes and the Dancer”. Undoubtedly the poem must have gone through countless revisions in the interim period and of course is a better poem because of this. If Yeats had a blog, he might have turned out something more immediate and inferior. But it’s interesting to look at how the first verse ends:

Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

The last two lines are repeated at the end of the second and the last verse, almost like a chorus. I think there lies an answer to how to write more immediate poetry, poetry of the moment – use a form that is close to that of a song, get yourself a rhyme get your self a chorus. It may not turn out like Yeats but hey you don’t have the time for that.

Here’s one from a little while back:

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Drain The Swamp Rag

(Walk that back
walk that back
I know I said it
but I walked that back.)

Attack dog surrogates
inveterate invertebrates
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Post logic, post truth,
snake oil and kool-aid
re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

Mike Pence, John Bolton
Rudy Giuliani
re-stock the swamp
with old white males

Inveterate surrogates
attack dog invertebrates
re-mail the stock
to the old white swamp

re-stock the swamp
with old white males.

 

Not All Protests Are Equal (poem)

 

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Not All Protests Are Equal

Put on your balaclava
shine up the old AK
you have an inalienable right to be stupid
no one can take that away,

storm a government building
occupy a city square
wear your camouflage jacket
there’s revolution in the air.

But, just a word of caution
it’s a cruel world out there
the virus has no politics
the virus doesn’t care.

That could be you on a ventilator
or wrapped up in a bag
that AK won’t help you
neither will the flag

So do us all a favour
it’s not that much to ask
stay at home, leave it alone
and get your head out of your ass.

 

The theme of the week over at earthweal  is “protest in a time of pandemic”. Check it out here….https://earthweal.com/2020/05/25/earthweal-weekly-challenge-protest-in-a-time-of-pandemic/

Also taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse. https://dversepoets.com/2020/05/28/openlinknight-267/

 

Living on Covid Time

 

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Living on Covid Time

You read the newspaper
and there they are
on every page
conclusions drawn
from wisps of smoke.
There is no big data
just sad data.

You Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom
and always there’s that moment
when you look at that small rectangle
in the top right hand corner of the screen
and think “Ahh for fuck’s sake
is that really me?”

In the absence of the new
the brain feeds on itself
like an animal caught in a snare,
in a dream you drive to a town in British Columbia
which for some reason is called Trenton
you attend a meeting at a hotel
where everyone knows you
but you know no one.
You walk out into a vast square
full of white marble statues
of a man lost in thought
elbow on knee, chin on fist.

You watch Germans play soccer
in an empty stadium
and it’s not a dream.

You take your bike
down to the Fraser River
and cycle through Southlands
past the stables and the houses of the rich,
horses, but no courses,
a steaming mound of dung balls
decorates the road
that Covid sun is shining
and no one is making hay.

 

The challenge this week over at earthweal is “Vast Particulars”.
“Illustrate the changing tenor of the time with a snapshot or observation or tale which is both vast and particular”

 

When the Going gets Heavy, the Verse gets Light

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My Friend Norman

my friend, Norman,
hasn’t changed one bit
since this pandemic began
if there’s going to be a new norm
it certainly won’t be him.

Deaf Shepherd

no sheep bleat
no sheep dog bark
the silence of the lambs
but still my flock is tended to
you can’t pull the wool
over these eyes.

Cistern

he’s been the same damn tern
since the day he was born.

 

food bird animal animals

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Heroes and White Horses

 

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Heroes and White Horses

Who will it be?

– the tow-headed carnival barker
leading us always to an empty tent?

– the pointy-headed tyrant
with skin as white as the frozen steppes?

– the lacquered mandarin,
with a talent for oppression?

heroes don’t communicate
through a medium that gets its name
from the sound a small bird makes
heroes don’t arrive in golf carts
heroes don’t arrive in limousine cavalcades
heroes ride in on steeds
metaphorically at least
and those steeds are trusty
that’s all, the colour doesn’t matter.

 

This is in response to Brendan’s prompt over at earthweal 

The prompt is MODERNITY’S HERO QUEST, who will be the knight in shining armour to lead us out of this pandemic into the brave new world.  I may have got the intent wrong but as Gilda Radner used to say “never mind”. Either way I encourage you to visit earthweal and take in Brendan’s informative, challenging and entertaining editorials. I know, I know, so many blogs to follow but this one is worth your while and hell, we need blogs that stretch a bit, sometimes haiku just does not cut it.

The Path Forward

 

 

The Path Forward

no dumbass in a MAGA hat
is going to solve this one
all the bluster you can muster
will do nothing at all,
remember that guy
who got first in the class
the one wearing glasses
who never got the girl
he’s the one who will save our asses
so get out of the way
you won’t be missed
this one will be solved by scientists.

 

The challenge over at earthweal is to write a poem about The Crossroad we are at. Well, this is possibly not the subtlest poem ever written but hey…..these are not subtle times.

Ironic Distancing (with bonus haiku)

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Ironic Distancing

The mind wanders
I think of a word that rhymes with ‘banker’
and marvel at how
in the middle of a global crisis
my brain still tilts
towards the trivial, the juvenile.
I try a sound poem
panic, pandemic, pandemonium
but it’s missing something,
panache, perhaps.
I make up a joke involving Peter Pan
but decide now is not the time to share it.
I detect the late onset of maturity
and feel depressed.
I text some friends,
we try to out-snide each other
but after a while
we are all chewing on the same bone.
I’m besieged by an idiocy of idioms –
the whole nine yards
the whole kit and caboodle
and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I re-assess my relationship with surfaces
I can no longer count on
that counter to lean on,
and as someone inclined
to whistle past the graveyard
walk past the writing on the wall
I have to admit
that the object in the mirror
was a lot closer
than it first appeared.

I write a haiku

four in the morning
moon shining on toilet bowl
porcelain pathway.

Watch your back! Basho!

 

Taking part in open link weekend over at earthweal.

 

The State We’re In..

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The State We’re In..

the stock markets bounce up and down
like a man who’s landed on a trampoline
landed on a trampoline
from the top of a tall building;
the analysts are nonplussed
nothing adds up
two plus two does not equal four,
only the postman comes to the door
we watch documentaries, comedy specials,
Scandinavian crime dramas cold as an autopsy table
we learn that Miles Davis was a creative genius
an addict and a hard man to live with;
we learn from a childhood friend of Joe Cocker
that as a young boy, Joe had two Weetabix every morning
we watch a Diane Keaton movie
she falls in love with an Irish tramp
and still anxiety crackles like static in the background.

 

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal

 

The Toddler King Part 4

 

The Toddler King Part 4

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

and wonders how to spin this one
how to make this one a win

in the empty parking lot of a big box store
a plastic glove pirouettes on the viral breeze

the toddler king thumbs through
The Totalitarian Dictators Hand Book
a present from that rascal, Stephen Miller

“hmmmmm….cull the herd
leave the old and weak to die
already got that one going!

banish the teachers, scientists and intellectuals
send them to the countryside to work on a farm
hey, that might work!”

but then he becomes a little wan, a little wistful
he wonders why he’s always the guy
standing on someone’s front lawn, shouting
“Look over here, look over here!”
while Miller and his gang ransack the house
and leave by the backdoor with the television
and the jewelry

he stares out at the White House lawn
and the suffering, beleaguered nation beyond
and thinks:

“Hey, I just realized the ‘Caps’ in Caps Lock stands for CAPITALS!!
I wonder how many people know that!!”

 

Taking part in OPen Link over at dverse.

Also taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.