To visit Martin's writing website, press here.


July 11, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 88


DAY 88: There's so much screaming
so many important people pretending
to do something, doing nothing, screaming
kids blocking the roads a beer in each hand,
fatcats blocking the roads begging for
handouts after a life of tax-evasion,
politicians arguing but they don't
remember about what, children
crying that the ice-cream's run out,
mourners bent over fresh graves in
prayer -- what if we cut out
all the noise, all the news, it's
winter time 2019, let's all, us
bears, go into hibernation, a
natural instinct we cannot ignore,
dig a hole and crawl inside
snore
lose some excess body-fat
hug our cubs
spend a season underground
sometime, I presume, we'll
come back out
into the sun
but we're not thinking about the
future
just getting crazy
and shutting down
systems to conserve power
no strain, no expectation
curl into a ball
it's easy
underground, almost like in a grave
but one that you will emerge
from in due time. To a
different world.
Peace.

July 10, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 87


DAY 87: The Itch -- you go to your
doctor who tells you you'll be
fine as long as you don't scratch,
it's a matter of life or death.
Don't scratch that itch! -- it may
be unbearable but do anything
to avoid scratching, hand-cuff
yourself behind your back -- at home 
you remember that warning but it
itches so bad, it's getting worse
-- an obsession, resist, I can't
yes you can, excruciating, just
a short soft scratch, more like
a rub, or else tear off the skin
with a fork, don't do it, resist
the urge, the natural urge
your body communicating a
need, a human need -- we are
not machines -- you must
not scratch! can you hold
out? for how long? if you'll
scratch sooner or later any-
way, you know ... everyone else 
is scratching, everyone else
takes care of their business --
just because it was a doctor
to tell you, a second opinion
would be logical, know how many
times they're wrong, hell no,
I'm scratching, don't! I can't
take it anymore! you'll be sorry!
it might turn out okay, no
guarantees, life is short, have
some fun, tomorrow we
may all be gone -- go on
itch, scratch, itch, scratch.

July 9, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 86


DAY 86: After 77 days, 77 days during
which I did not breach my threshold
I did not open my safety door
(except 4 times for the grocery kid)
I did not chat with neighbors
from one balcony to another
I stayed home
like being sick
without being sick
to avoid being sick
to help others who are sick
(my little brother far away)
some days I didn't even want
to look outside (we have a wonderful
view) like a smart turtle
sliding further and further
into its shell
until
the surgery, in Milan, fly up
one eye one day one eye the next
four more days recovery fly
back home --
that is a story
worth telling
the blind given
the gift of sight
the dark turtle shell
progressively darker
until the light of a
dangerous trip
a total shift
of perspective
a story that could include
risk of infection
and medical miracles.

July 8, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 85


DAY 85: Answer the call --

Can I have a few volunteers --
I need volunteers for an important
experiment called reopening, RE-OP-EN-ING,
it's not exactly a scientific
experiment, that comes later,
maybe, it's a people's experiment
I need a number of volunteers
at least ten thousand, maybe
ten million, to walk outside
into the yellow fog of the plague
your prize? -- burgers and fries.
the losers? -- the ones who die.
but the best thing is that you get
to play yourselves on a film set
a reality show, the world's biggest
of the daily life of your past self
not a thing changed, like your
bedroom after your first semester
at college, oblivious to the pandemic
the what? I need a haircut
I need a Mai Tai, I need a new tattoo
that says: "I survived the 2020 Crud "
because you're strong, righteous
and brave, brave enough to
answer the call, rush out to
the mall, spend your broccoli
doing something, anything
to make those cash register bells ring
Get out, get happy, get naked, dance, sing.

July 7, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 84

DAY 84: Where is that land where
every boy and girl has a lite
beer can in their right hand? Where
study is easy with Wikipedia
cut-and-paste, don't want to
get too smart do we, out on a 
boat, 25s-30s only, all smelling
good, dancing to black music of
their parents' era, where's the en-
richment, where's the mindfulness?
-- oh, there's an online class
for that -- the easy hate, spin
the wheel, this year we hate
... you! (just like last year) and 
the easier stupidity which
is so much fun -- let's go
on a Bigfoot hunt or
read the Tarot cards
more muscles, more tattoos --
you want basic information
who is ... Antonio Guterres?
(let me check my phone, no)
10 out of 10, 1000 out of 1000
married to Melanie Griffith
or third base for the Royals
is that a test? did I pass?
I didn't study. I was out partying.
you should have warned me.
there was a test, but I don't
like tests -- I like beer,
I like beer, don't you like beer
Senator, don't you like beer
and money, I like money, don't
you like money too? -- 

where
will we get the strength, skill
and intelligence we need
when 
we are tested?

July 6, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 83

DAY 83: chorus: Words, words, words
Words, words, words
Words, words, words
Words, words, words.

Why can't we do better?
I've met some very intelligent
people, very skilled professionals, those 
who do good work, articulate in describing it
people whose decisions are based
on strong ethical principles, 
we should be ready for 
anything, able to cope 
and problem-solve.

What the hell? It's all broken
down, nobody seems to know
anything, we're swimming in
a pool full of toys, junk, empties and untruths.

-- We are human beings!
-- We can do better than this!

Flailing, cowering, hiding from
ourselves, hiding in our former
habits to negate a new abnormal world order.

-- What is change? A pandemic
alien invasion, worldwide
financial collapse, climate dis-
aster, power shutdown, flesh-
eating fungus, and worse?

 -- What did we think? It would
go on forever, no change is good
change? We don't control our
destiny, but we adapt, don't we?

Don't we? -- We are human beings!
lost children, falling and incapable
of rising up again, what happened
to our strong noble race?
Why can't we do better?

July 5, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 82

DAY 82: An incident occurred at the Gates of Heaven. A large group of people, apparently victims of some earthly scourge, arrived all at once. Saint Peter and his collaborators found themselves in great difficulty. The normal procedures were interrupted, order became impossible to maintain. The new entries had a right to be there, but they resisted attempts by staff to enforce social distancing requirements. Saint Peter was on the phone with the Boss all day. It was finally decided that those waiting to enter should stand in an single-file line or queue, 6 feet or 2 meters (metres) apart. This was very hard to organize as there was not enough space on the cloud to form this orderly line (or queue) of so many souls. Some claimed that they had arrived first and should not have to wait as long as the others. Some wanted preferential treatment because of their saintly lives on Earth. Some merely pressed forward against the Pearly Gates. There were multiple injuries and a few acts of violence against the other entrants and against the collaborators who had never seen so many there waiting to get in. Chaos broke out. Heaven's security service was called, but it was non-existent. An explosive situation. To be continued...

July 4, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 81

DAY 81: 250,000 families crying
they're everywhere, I'm one, however
however, we need sports, health
I guess is first, food water air
warmth shelter and then sports
the ridiculous restrictions
are hurting the national games
baseball, soccer (European football)
and curling -- we need our heroes
-- we need something to root for -- 
think of the damage to the psyches
of the young, think of the damage
to the economy you're doing
with your 'dangerous to reopen' crap
can't you see how strong athletes are?
if one is ill take him out, DL
but why isolate the whole team?
what are you mad scientists
thinking, haven't you heard that
the virus is over (almost) --
impact on profit revenue margin for
ownership group and shareholders?
lost salary/or not lost salary
for players and coaches? -- we
pay you play -- corona be damned
get your butts on the field! Sons
of bitches! I order you! we need to
wave flags, cheer, wear strange outfits
(so what if tens of thousands gather, 
our choice, free country), even in a
pandemic, death everywhere, we have
our priorities.

July 3, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 80

DAY 80: I need to start sniffing
Adderall just to keep up --
the new strategy seems to be
cook the books, Cook the Books --
economic numbers down -- reopen
even if a lot of people die
because we'll just stop counting
they didn't die, numbers don't lie
we have great numbers, the best
you say outbreaks in factories
no, that never happened, ask the
authorities, ask me, never happened
I have the books with the numbers
they're all good, good books
people in churches die -- no
I think not unless they are
bad
reopen whatever the cost
because you can hide the cost
say it's low, low cost
budget, economy class, bankrupt
their problem, mine is fine
my organization has great
numbers, just look here
you think those are fake
you're fake
and the federal investigators
are all my buddies, very fine
people
so we're doing great, never greater
great again, America first
master race, master race.

July 2, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 79

DAY 79: Hi. I'm Corona Virus
aka COVID-19, and I'm a DJ
singer (hip-hop, rap, freestyle,
dub) and actor. I want to let y'all
in on a little secret -- I was born
and raised in West Oakland town,
California, Mandela Parkway,
and I been around.
I come from the hood but now
I live in Bel-Air so good, with
the big shots, gangsters and real
dealers -- so I wants to tell y'all
this: this plague it kick yo' ass
I got it bad and I couldn't
breathe and you know a black
man 'I can't breathe' mean what
and I pretty tough mutha but
this plague, man, kick my ass an'
kick yo' ass too -- whether you
black or white, rich or po'
Cali gold or Missoura where my
kin from, whether you smart
or dumb, progressive or conser-
vative -- man, this is the Great
Equalizer, we been fighting for
equality for 400 years, now it
come over a weekend, Fri. none
Mon. some, we all everybody
get us our 6 by 3 in the end, you
think it's hitting black people or
old people -- wait a few minutes
it'll get around to y'all whoever
you is.
Peace Out.

July 1, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 78

DAY 78: Numb to the Numbers
number and number we read/hear
60 70 80, 1 million 2 3 4, who cares?
if we're brave and not caught
up in a web of words, games, jokes
and desires all in a doomed
attempt at pathetic escapism
then we listen/read the numbers
and the tragic stories of death
and pain behind them and even
then, even then, we cannot hold
in our small brains all those
numbers -- like the poor who
follow the rich, she's a millionaire
he's a billionaire, they're trillionaires
-- what does that mean when you're
making minimum wage and
shopping at FoodMaxx to save
50 cents per can of tunafish --
it's all nonsense, too out there.
now some people today are
taking advantage of the new
(premature I say) loosening
of restrictions to go out and
smell the flowers out there
but me, I'm not a guinea pig
for government researchers only
interested in numbers, I'm
staying in because: I am not
a number; I am a free man.
Free, but increasingly numb.

June 30, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 77

DAY 77: Down at the cemetery
they're almost breaking down the gate
got dressed up and washed and
bought flowers to go with prayers
like Father, Mother, I miss you so
not like of all the good people pressing
to get in pushing others aside
with their lopsided masks
there are some contagious who
don't know that they came
to the cemetery today to send
others (t)here tomorrow, I hope
it's not a hot spot, a red zone, but what
irony, no respect for the new hours
nor for a line of who's first
social distancing is out, gotta
get to the tombs, gotta say hello/good-
bye to those who can't hear
say 'I love you' to those who don't
care, walk the tiny streets and
alleys of the mini-city of monu-
ments to the dead, by the living
pushing shoving yelling protesting
to get in.

I watched this on television
because I'm in no hurry to get
in, I don't need flowers, or
nice clothes, greeting or laments
-- I only need the sun, the air
and that I get
elsewhere.

June 29, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 76

DAY 76: What is good? What is
bad? Are those questions with
answers? Is a plague, for example,
a bad thing to fight with all
possible means or should we just
let go and let die? Is death a
bad thing to mourn or are we
creating our own Rapture to
fulfill our faith's belief in
the Apocalypse? Are rules
good or do we just defy and do
what we want? Is truth good
or is everything fake, a conspiracy
against us in a world where
2 + 2 can give any result?
Is keeping your children safe
a value or after we voted to
kill our parents, our kids are
next? Is love good or bad,
our leader, Big Brother, has none,
should we be like him? Is money
good or bad, are we willing
to risk gruesome death alone
for ours, which we never got, or
theirs, which grows like a 
virus -- love of billions
infecting billions until there
may be billions of losses but
billions will remain to ask
-- what happened? what was
wrong with you lost people?
Many questions, few answers.

June 28, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 75

DAY 75: I've always lied to you
but this time I'm telling you the
truth, the new truth, not the alter-
native truth, the post truth
truth squared, real reliable
facts -- believe me, it's safe
to go out -- I'm not doing it
myself but, I tell you, it's safe,
go on -- I'm not sending my
kids out, but I'll send grandma
-- oh, forgot, she's disappeared --
so, believe me, we'll be fine
better than before, the numbers
are great, the numbers I give you
believe me, virus is health,
death is life, plague is good,
war is peace, masks are bad,
poverty is wealth -- yours is
mine, that is -- oops, too much
honesty -- it's all propaganda
2 sides to every question, some
people say ...
Follow the rules and you'll be
obedient, and the new rules
say, there are no rules, go out
and party! kick some scaredy-
cat ass black brown yellow red
preferred -- and blue, we hate
blue because they make the
rules, enforce the rules, ump
to cop to blue state -- screw
you, we do what we gotta do.
Yahoo!