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April 30, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 16

DAY 16: The nation entering lockdown
but they'd already paid
for the skiing vacation
they had to take, to steal away
sip champagne, lifestyles of rich
famous doctors, grunts in scrubs
immune perhaps, special
-- ah, no
they came home, back to the salt mines,
the sickbays, wards, walking
the wards, checking clipboards and vitals
for days after days
until their own symptoms

Our town nearly free of the
novel virus, now these country-clubbers
have infected hundreds
two hospitals and a rest home
in which all eighty guests
are positive for COVID-19, as well as 
the twelve people who work there --
no one can leave except in
a coffin and they shoot videos
on their phones of each other
crying and calling for help
-- too late.

Skiing, I'm sure, is fun
I've never been
it's an activity for the well-to-do
who got their share
protect their share
don't share, yet
do share.

April 29, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 15

DAY 15: 3:43 am: I get up
go to the kitchen for a glass of
water, wait
I need to explain
I live on a hill looking down on the city
and dozens of apartment buildings
with maybe a couple hundred
windows with aluminum shutters
so I can monitor, if I want to,
creative activities on balconies
or see who's open for business.
I walk around the rooms in 
my house in the dark, 
I know them well,
but as I glance out
in the dead of a dead soul night
someone out there turns on a light
someone else is up
can't sleep, get a drink
use the john or just be
in the light in the middle
of the living night
of our dead
with our dread
a sight
another living being
might be
young or old
hungry or thirsty
I'll never know
but someone else 
is out there.

April 28, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 14

DAY 14: The mime was right all along
the walls are closing in
don't touch them, everything's septic
imaginary glass and missing shadows
most of all us, most of all our minds
on TV they give numbers -- all false
that's okay, we want false numbers
underestimate by a factor of ten
please seem 'upbeat', look on the
bright side, give us some good
news for a change, for a change, again
-- I may be all wrong
but it seems like nobody knows
how to suffer anymore, how to hurt,
okay, in Syria they do, I mean here
have you never been hungry
when there is no food at all
no money to buy any
the hours click by and you try
to do something, concentrate
on not being so hungry?
ever been thirsty, had to ration
water, been dehydrated for
miles? ever been poor
I mean not a dime sideways
no one to borrow from
ever been homeless
ever been shoe-less
ever been friend-less
doesn't everyone have someone?
no birthday when not a single
human being remembers you
a Christmas with not a single
present, not even from yourself
to yourself -- it ain't nice, ask
the tents under the bridge,
it ain't nice, but, you know,
you can do without
you can abide.

April 27, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 13

DAY 13: Obedience
the government, actually the mayor,
says stay (the fuck) home and we stay (the fuck) home
even though il Duce said trying to
govern Italians was pointless
I look out the window, however -- nobody
the joggers are gone, dog-walkers
too -- as if they went into hibernation
season over, dig a hole, jump
inside, and pull the hole in
after you
okay, good, fear keeps us safe
but what happens when 
the government cancels the
election, what happens when
it's martial law, shoot anything
that moves, the TV becomes all
propaganda, the plug pulled
on truth-tellers?
I dreamed of living with a ghost woman 
who would not say no, reflexively
who would not yell I must
go out and get some air some
fruit, we have no fruit!
even if it means contagion
even a risk of contagion
don't you people know how 
to suffer, it's no-fruit day
part of no-fruit week
stay home -- obey
please can I tie her down -- no
she went out sound
did she come back in-
fected with cooties
we'll know in 14 days --
let's let
live live and/or die die.

April 26, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 12

DAY 12: I felt like this after 911
after the Trump election
King, Kent State, Kennedy
after wars start, natural disasters
at home away from home
I didn't feel like this after Mother
or Father died, that's different
plus, I've had the hard
heart beat, fight or flight
surrounded by bears at midnight
on the operating table when
the doc goes "oh shit"
and yet
we really could all die this time
for so long -- now 15 days
and counting, today a thousand
tomorrow ten thousand
movies have been made
how they keep us interested:
will our favorite sexy actors
get the disease and/or recover?
there's no cure, there's no prevention
oh no
they last a couple hours, the end
or a really scary movie of
catastrophic proportions might
take you in enough to keep you
awake -- one night, one hour
to now
I haven't slept soundly
for over two weeks
I'm starting to feel weak
as I imagine we all are:
did those actors really make a video
singing, "Imagine there's no people ..."?

April 25, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 11

DAY 11: Go on then
think of something really pithy to say
something pithy, an observation about life
this life under siege on death row waiting
waiting to get kicked out of one country
sent back to another country
where only torture and death await
why are you torturing me? what do you want?
nothing. no information. no places dates or names.
we're not enjoying this, just cutting burning and suffocating
because ... I don't know
no reason, you can go now
can I really? not yet, soon, after the plague
in the meantime, more torture, here,
let me fill your lungs with liquid
let me clamp your airways painfully shut
let me attach you to expensive machines
machines that attach to you
permanently, like bloodsucking leeches,
because even if we detach
for one of two reasons
you'll never cease to feel
the presence of the machine
the torture machine
politics aside, science aside
we'll keep you alive
as long as we want -- goodbye.

April 24, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 10

DAY 10: I say -- don't go out
She says -- I need fruit
fuck fruit
I say -- we could die
She says -- I'm going crazy
What does one say after one gets infected?
God's will?
Sorry, you'll be dead soon
or maybe not
maybe you'll discover that fruit
is the cure
you should have listened to her
-- here I am
locked in my union
locked in my town
locked in my house
locked in my bathroom
going down
down the drain
spinning, flushing myself free
of this poison earth
into the intestines
where stink and acid aren't so unfamiliar
where there's no one to argue with
where it's dark, gurgling and soapy
slippery -- don't fall,
hard as it is
don't go out -- at all!
ever, forever, never
no exceptions
I say

April 23, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 9

DAY 9: I could learn a foreign language
improve my guitar playing
lose weight, treat my skin, make love
-- NAH --
let's just keep the radio on 
the rising-number-of-dead channel
and fry liver and onions till
there ain't no more
no more strategies or pursuits
when did I ever walk around this
crappy neighborhood unless to get
somewhere anyhow
but now I imagine myself down
there in the sun -- first day
of spring --
where? anywhere when I get out
of detention I'll go out
out there
brave new worlds, new civilizations
across the universe -- that's me
me free, me not in this cage
although, cage could be worse
and I'm not-dead today
yet what is freedom, what is choice
can I hear
my own voice
calling my name
into the vacuum
no answer back
in any language
foreign or domestic.

April 22, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 8

DAY 8: Such an awesome sunny spring day outside
so peaceful and inviting outside
they have just banned running
jogging walking the dog and
going for a drive in the hills
or along the beach
to fire up the barbecue
roast a few wieners
drain a few beers,
so, at the moment these activities
I haven't read the ordinance
are still legal and allowed:
-- looking out the window
with sad-dog eyes reflecting
the blue painted with blue.
-- thinking great thoughts but
none come, so thinking nasty
horrible thoughts of pain and
death, loss of love and life --
the end, abandonment.
-- crying permitted within
reason but not encouraged.
-- complaining -- same.
-- sitting before the television altar
absorbing only that tick tock 
of rising blood pressure.
-- sitting on the toilet, non-productively.
-- lying in bed wondering
when this will end --

but, again, I haven't read the ordinance.

April 21, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 7

DAY 7: They wear the latest fashion
drive Volvos and Audis, power SUVs
they eat out with their friends
every weekend
and have lovers
cheat on their taxes
pay someone else to raise their kids
who they love so much
-- the young professionals
lawyers and entrepreneurs
and doctors
medical doctors
doctors of medicine, is it
Hippocratic oath
or Hypocritic oath?
-- they went on a ski vacation
five-star hotels
to the Alps and back, smirking
back to work after their fun
back to the hospital dreariness
the studio or office
to argue with clients
about money
140 people, husbands and wives
from our clean town, we're good 
in lockdown ... thereupon :: bam!
violated the quarantine
because they could
slipped out in secret
chartered plane
had their country-club kicks
the snow felt so good
came back to meet those
hundreds of stay-at-home losers
they might kill us all
richbastards, all one word
the authorities are hunting for them
the 140 and everyone they
contacted / contracted in the last week --
:: heaven help us all.

April 20, 2020

The Quarantine Chronicles, Day 6

DAY 6: Isn't it always that way
the more you test
the more positives you get
isn't it always that way
life is a test
give us more positives
you search for the truth
turn over every single rock
examine every sunrise, sunset
twilight and dawn
the more worms you get
the more germs, pathogens, cooties, supercooties
is it better not to know
to escape for a week on the snow
bring the crud home
infect your whole town
who's to know
it was you
and you had your fun run
your friends are young
they'll probably survive
you and yours -- alive
good luck and keep praying
and when you gotta go
when the Good Lord says it's time
you ask where to get in line, to queue
one meter apart minimum
only when absolutely necessary
believers who previously
now on ventilators
lying next to their neighbors
and grandparents
with their moon boots still on.