To visit Martin's writing website, press here.


June 4, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 51

DAY 51: After Mother died, after Dad
I had my moments, I was sad, I
felt weak, and confused, I was
challenged by the blues, but then
I rose as one must, to the
occasion, to once more trust,
in tomorrow, to be lived, even in
sorrow, we begin again.

yet what I see now is not the
strength, that is hidden, at home
I think, what I see, on TV, in the
squares, is a world of cry-babies,
out there.

we gotta get outa here, we
can't take any more of this, we need
fast food again, even if we get
sick, even if we make someone else
sick, even if our own families die,
splayed on the floor at the In an' Out,
we need a haircut, we need to get
high, we want to pile into the car and
go for a drive, down to the foodbank
wait for hours, for a box of groceries,
and a whiskey sour, in the homeland.

so we can sit by the barbecue
in the back yard with our buddies
raise a brew
getting lazy,
in this world
of Cry-Babies.

June 3, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 50

DAY 50: Behind Doctor T.J. Eckleburg's giant
eyes, behind the flying trapezoid head
of Zardoz, behind the swollen green Martian
head of the Wizard of Oz -- is the master:
GOD GOLD, Oscar, the holy greed, the
lust stronger than pleasure, better
than copulation, the God that estab-
lished and smashed every civili-
zation of Earth: Inca, Maya and United
States of Americay.

Alexander the Great with his pockets
so full he couldn't swim across the
golden river, drowning in liquid aurum
skin asphyxiation like The Goldfinger Girl
clogged pores, but, oh, oh, what a shag!

The Doctor Eye, The Zardoz Eye, The
Oz Eye -- watching you, watching you
watching you, build your pile, are you
getting your due? your dose of golden
medicine, or are you a loser, a failure,
bankrupt? If you must say it, go on:
Health is more important than Wealth.
You can hear the GOLD GODs laugh,
laugh all the way to the bank.

In my sunburst house I have 
solid gold furniture dripping from
my gold ceiling onto my gold floor, my 
gold toilet, my gold hair, I stand for a photo 
before my golden life golden wife: Scrooge 
McDuck never enough. That's my 24-carat
plight.

So, now you know. It's good to have
priorities -- my health, I can buy, yours,
who cares? You can die (just don't be messy)
and I won't feel a thing -- every human life
is equally precious. Where'd you hear
that, Sunday School? LOL!

June 2, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 49

DAY 49: Okay, I'll start. Nobody else
seems to be onboard. I'll go first. For
the 20,000 Italians, the 40,000 Americans
150,000 Humans, all numbers underestimated
by a factor of 3-10 -- for all the brave
souls dead of the virus in only a
couple months, I GRIEVE, I
MOURN, I CRY -- I hereby
declare a year of official mourning
during which each survivor
will focus each day on mourning
the dead one by one, one name
one essence, one personality at a
time -- most religions encourage
the living to honor the dead
in ritual and rhyme for safe
passage to whatever's next -- we
owe them that, we owe something to
those who were disposed of, those who 
vanished -- we owe ourselves the healing
power of grief -- GOOD GRIEF
said the sage Charles Brown,
if we don't mourn, if we talk
about beaches and burgers
numbers and graphs, we
will give ourselves a second
virus, COVID-20, the hungry bug 
that eats into our hearts until
there's nothing left -- not to
grieve for selfishness, for 
our own sake, or for them
the missing, for cosmic balance
for whatever reason, no reason.
No. Grieve because we must.
We must.

June 1, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 48

DAY 48: So, let me see, let me see
if I get it, get it -- if people die
that's okay, that's natural, virus =
people die (deal with it), the problem,
the real problem is when they all die
at the same time, bad timing is the
problem -- these poor COVIDIANS clog
up the hospital assembly line --
that's no good -- if they could please
line up like outside supermarkets
in an orderly fashion, no cuts
waiting patiently their turn, coughing
their burning lungs out, drowning in their 
own spit, infecting everyone within half
a mile -- then they could enter the
ICUs slowly enough to be cared for properly --
some out the front door (applause)
some out the back (b'bye)
and the administrators and politicians
all happy happy -- hey, people die all 
the time, hey, God's will, hey, don't expect
miracles, we only do partials --
but we're trying, so back off!
keep the line/queue straight, waiting room's
over there, take a number -- we cannot/will not 
be overwhelmed, you? over-
whelmed yet? we shall all be overwhelmed
life's a beach, a two-foot wave is 
fun, a twenty-footer is a killer -- so, let 'em 
die but in an orderly fashion, not
too fast, not all at once --

I do not get this.
I do not agree.
I do not.

May 31, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 47

DAY 47: The Death of Decency --
what about being good, kind, how
many points does it count
-- I don't know (we never really
know) but a Jane Goodall, a
Jimmy Carter, a Fred Rogers, a
Michelle -- what happened?
Where are the ones who don't
advertise themselves, who don't
wait until the cameras are
rolling, don't let their greed
show, their malice, their
vanity -- where are the revolutionary
resolutary donations from billionaires
of their entire fortunes, anon-
ymously, now, do it now -- or are 
Bloomberg and Steyer still hiding 
in a basement playing penny-ante 
with no one keeping score?
We need help we're not getting.
HELP US, WE'RE DYING HERE --
the rest of the world used to 
have confidence that the US (us)
would be there in a crisis (we
got your backs, LOL) now the
betrayals of only 3 years
are so bad that other countries turn
away, don't even think of helping the USA
now that we're on our knees --
rolling in our own filth, screaming nonsense,
foaming mouths, bloody eyes popping out --
since we don't even help ourselves
or rather, we've always helped ourselves
gorged ourselves at the banquet without 
the decency to share the table. Just desserts.
I answered my own question.

May 30, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 46

DAY 46: Human sacrifices -- oh, how
primitive! Those ancients were
savage, horrible, bowing down to idols.
2-3% of the population already
marked with indelible ink, they tell us 
today, they being the 1% we chose as 
leaders, capitalists, makers of money, not
work not creation not humble goodness --
they got their pile, their pile so high
it looks like Mount Everest in the clouds 
in the sky and now the payment
is due -- 2-3% will die 
to reopen factories and malls
burger kings and bowling alleys
poodle clippers and porn shops --
we gladly kill the chosen
the elders, the weak, the kids
the strong, the famous, the
parents of the future parentless
generation -- we sacrifice another
2-3% for GOD DOLLAR
          Booga booga!
to get our money machine 
running again to pull those
levers and chains, on the
chain gang, to push the worker-
slaves with cattle prods back
to pumping gold-red plasma
into the Masters' arms -- we
have chosen, sad as it is, money
sass talks, life is cheap, religion
trumped by true religion,
order trumped by first order --
let's go then! let's start killing!

May 29, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 45

DAY 45: When the churches close
I don't give a care, pray at
home, get married next year
not the end of the world like dying is
ah, but funerals -- what happens to 
the corpus spiritus, our collective
psyche and emotional health
when there are no funerals, no send-offs,
when our dearest loved ones, spouses,
children, parents, best friends
beloved grandparents, aunts and
uncles disappear without a
trace, without the closure, the
formality of crying at a funeral
the unsatisfactory poetry
the memories drifting upwards
on the soul of the one you loved
the extended family going out
to lunch afterwards or all
gathering back in the living
room, glasses in hand -- if we have 
no endings, did we ever begin, did we
ever build relationships, did we
do good or be good? Johnny?
if we let people vanish
without a blip like in a 
horror film, apocalyptic blip
disappearances, kids, spouses
your very blip own blip dearly beloved
-- you won't find them by tracing
their cell phones, kidnapped
in an abandoned factory
tied to a folding chair, face covered
with a black cloth bag hiding fake blood
no, they just went abracadabra
poof! -- GONE, here today, hug
and love, celebrate and
cherish, because tomorrow --
silence, nothingness, poof, gone.

May 28, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 44

DAY 44: Supplies -- I have my meds
peanut butter and coffee
I have a moment of weakness
to curl up like my cat on the
floor, but I don't
I have consternation and
condemnation for the inept
and malicious ones making
decisions on my life -- like in
war, they say, when they
point -- you live, you go. The
inept and malicious command
but never lead, they force 
the enemies and coerce
their (cult) followers to get their
way or pout and whine -- I am
sick of the scams as much as
the virus -- you lie, someone
dies -- wanna buy a mask?
no, I have peanut butter
and coffee, I am uncomfortable
but not going outside, I am not
going out, even if my governor
says I can, even if a doctor
says I can, even if everyone
else does, I'll let them taste
the stew -- and wait to see
who keels over, I have
enough survival instinct to
last longer than my neighbor
who just must absolutely go golfing again
or get that Sunday waffle breakfast
-- his drug, his supply,
his gran finale.

May 27, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 43

DAY 43: Is it -- all about that bass? --
all about money? ca-ching?
Life and life and death
pain loss sadness tragedy plague
my mother just died
my uncle Bob, my kid was strong
an athlete -- how did you get
sick? -- stay inside, with pride
help the helpers help
you know the economy be 
damned, there are more
important things than money --
wait, a ventilator costs 17 thousand,
do I hear 20, 20, do I hear 30 thou? --
my state my hospital my town is
broke, those checks for the unemployed
vanished? we need our beans and
rice! -- I'm cutting your funds, I'm asking
for donations, I'm donating
.0001 of our brand's yearly profits 
without cutting my own bonus, how much
did Mr. Billionaire donate so far? why
doesn't he build COVID hospitals?
W.H.O.? and we need to open the donut shops
and the "massage" parlors for a stroke
to get the economy up and gushing --
while you can hear the shush of
last breaths if you listen intently -- we need to
get the production-consumption wheel
spinning -- while the streets are
still full of coffins, coffins blocking
every road to the city center, coffins
with no money inside, and an
empty coffin here with your
name on it
written on a post-it
not embossed in gold
leaf yet.


May 26, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 42

DAY42: Good mourning, America!
I know where good America is,
but where is the mourning?
Where is the grief? I can't find it.
We cry from fear, sadness and anxiety,
but who's crying for the dead? Besides
relatives, who's mourning? Are our heart 
flags lowered at half mast? Do we feel the 
loss? 23,000, 18,000, 57,000, 103, 000 -- is
this a too many numbers game, that's all
we get from the news, and the occasional
famous person or distant relation passed
on, but where is the real numberless mourning
for one dead individual, each one, everyone who
was loved, who left a mark? slowly one by one.
I propose a worldwide moment of silence for each 
one rising -- years and years of silent commemoration.
In the movies, where we've lived
through pandemics before and
we brave protagonists -- beautiful
clever, huge made-up faces and sprayed-down hair --
we survived at the last second
we -- hallelujah -- made it
though most of humanity died
oh well --
there's no mourning there either, just
kisses and credits -- in our nightmares, only
fear, of our own selfish death
being chased by the reaper, running in panic
-- but where's the mourning for
others? is this a narcissism joke?
a paranoia joke? another covid joke?
I hear people laughing, I hear
people talking about money, I hear
people eating with their families
but when that one sad chair is empty
they seem relieved to be there
-- not mourning, it's so hard, as
they/we should, we know we should
we know we must
why don't we?

May 25, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 41

DAY 41: Italy vs. USA, world cup
my choice who to root for, my choice
the exile the ex-pat the chooser
I came here, I stayed
I found a home in another's
heart/arms/town with two cats in the
yard (life used to be so hard)
after a century it's still not home
it's okay, but I don't get them
they wouldn't get me either 
if they ever tried
I don't fit in, not one with my
surroundings, not immersed in a
cosmic meditative state like back
in the golden state.
is everybody blocked in high
school growing grey but
hair's still combed that same way?
who cares, my brothers are
there, my parents' graves, my
American house in an American
town -- we're an American band,
singing -- "Don't I Wish I Was There?"
or is here okay, here/there, hunkered 
down with my life-partner, cat, 
work, dream house, and public
healthcare. I can't imagine
risking my life to return to that
advanced sophisticated functioning 
America because it is not -- Trump 
broke it. Crack! Too easy. like a breadstick.
until it's fixed, I'm staying here, holing up
where they don't mess around -- Stay home
means it. Nobody's out. Hashtag. No, I don't 
wish I were back in California, my 
California -- no don't 
no, or yes, a little bit, closer
it's just too long a swim
my shoulders are tired
and nobody here can call
out my name.