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Posts Tagged ‘Corona Virus’

 

 

Beat. Blending. Bolero. Breakaway.

Before bed, my daughter and I

do a word search. The theme:

“Social Dancing.” At the same time

we notice how closely related

Dancing is to Distancing.

 

The hidden words all snuggle

in their thirteen by thirteen square.

Brush. Cha-cha. Foxtrot. Polka.

They cross each other, touch each other,

overlap, congregate, connect.

Rumba. Samba. Slow Dance. Spin.

 

How I miss doing what these letters

are doing—getting lost in a crowd,

then emerging less as a self and

more as a spiral turn, upside down

and backwards, or heck,

showing up as a straightforward sway.

 

Oh I miss that glorious not knowing

where I begin and end, surrounded

by others as we swing, swivel, tango, waltz.

 

 

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We all belong to the same galactic oneness.

—Carlos Santana, Master Class

 

 

I could be the doctor who, overwhelmed

in the ER, went home and killed herself.

I could be the sixteen-year-old boy

who had to cover his father with a white sheet

before the coroner arrived.

I could be the white sheet.

I could be the lawmaker unable to sleep,

or her pillow that hears her cry out in fear

when at last the sleep arrives.

I could be the rhythmic hissing of the ventilator

or the wail of the wife, or the weary hum

of the custodian beneath her mask

as she wipes the surfaces clean.

It could be me, the eleventh death

in the town next door to mine.

It could be me, the one who

unknowingly makes you sick

because I don’t know I carry

something deadly inside my breath.

And so I don’t hug you when I see you

across the post office lobby,

though my heart leaps up to hold you.

Because you could be the flat line

on the EKG.

Because you could be number twelve.

 

 

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Today I take the courage I don’t feel

and the resilience I doubt and

all my unspent longing to serve,

and I bring them, cupped in my hands,

to the garden. They nestle there in my palms

like three baby birds that have not yet

opened their eyes. I take them to hear

the pungent song of the garlic shoots

and the thriving chives who chant

how to survive the winter.

I bring them to hear the strawberry leaves

who sing how to flourish despite the frost.

and the old song of chicken manure

and composted grass that hum about

how old life begets new life.

And they open their tiny beaks,

as if they could eat the green song.

How vulnerable they are.

So I open to the song, too.

I do what must be done.

I take in the nourishing song,

and feed them with my own mouth.

 

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And so I pull the purple comb

through my son’s thick hair,

the same way I’ve seen

the stylists do at Great Clips.

Wet the hair. Comb it through.

Part it. Hold it between

two fingers. Cut vertically. Snip,

and his hair falls to the floor.

Comb it through. Snip. Snip.

 

We both know that I

have no clue what I’m doing.

So we laugh as the hair

piles up on the floor.

We chatter, the way

a stylist and customer would,

talking of school and his friends

and his unruly cowlicks. Snip.

 

I remember that time

I was trapped underwater

by the river’s hydraulics,

how I stared up at the light

shining through the surface

and thought, I don’t think

it’s my time yet to die.

And the river spit me out

and I swam hard as I could

through the rapid toward shore.

 

I don’t think it’s my time yet

to die. Nor my son’s. Though

all around us the news of dying—

the numbers increasing every day,

stories of beloveds who are gone.

 

We ask ourselves, how do we

go on? And meanwhile, we do.

We go on. And because my son’s hair

is too long for his taste,

I learn how to cut it by cutting it.

How much more will we learn

as this goes on? How to share?

How to grieve? How to let go? How to live?

 

And meanwhile, life spits us out

into sunlight, and we come up

spluttering, gasping, surprised

we’re alive, and we swim, what a gift

to find we’re still swimming.

 

 

 

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Tonight I can laugh at the part of me

who thinks she should know

the right thing to do, the right thing to say.

 

Meanwhile, the rest of me

wakes up each morning in wonder,

marveling at the quickly changing world.

 

Every morning this second self practices

how to bathe, how to dress. Even now she is practicing

how to write a poem, how to make breakfast,

 

what to say to her friends, family, herself.

She knows there are so many ways to do it right.

Every moment contains invitations

 

she’s never noticed before. Sometimes

she practices saying nothing at all.

If you see her lingering beside the road,

 

it is because she is practicing how to walk

how to see. She used to know, of course,

but now she can’t seem to take anything

 

for granted, how to drink tea,

how to walk into a room, it’s all new,

how to weep, how to smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Like the giant rock, balancing in the desert

on a slender pillar of sand. Like the way

the full moon seems so much larger

when it first rises. Like how the bluebird,

smaller than my open hand, migrates

up to two-thousand miles in the spring.

 

Every day, the world bewilders me,

as if daring me to believe in other

impossible things. Like how closeness

to death makes us more alive.

Like people all over the world

choosing kindness over chaos.

Like love, that against all odds,

continues to grow.

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Eadem mutata resurgo

Latin motto: Changed, I rise again

 

 

Sometimes in spring

I can still find the dried seeds

of the mountain mahogany

clinging to the ends

of the branches—

feathery golden spirals,

logarithmic and light.

 

How the universe

loves a pattern,

an elegant mathematics—

this same spiral is found

in spider webs, sunflowers,

snail shells, cyclones, the arms

of galaxies, the human ear,

even in the nerves of my cornea

 

that help me to see

the very pattern that

gives me the ability to see.

I want to find the self-similar spiral curve

that informs kindness and strength

as it spreads through a people. I want

to find the equation that calculates

an exponentially growing radius of love.

I want to find the dynamic beauty in us

 

that amplifies as it moves out

with ever increasing speed

from the infinite center.

I want to embody the trustworthy constant

that inspires our species to be better,

want to know the recursive courage that drives us

to thrive in difficult times.

Our potential, endless, yet humble

as last year’s seed in my hand, ready

to be planted, to sprout, to grow.

 

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Hello Friends,

If you were unable to join us live for our April 3, 2020, reading, you can catch me and my friend Albert Flynn DeSilver doing a special online reading … about an hour long total. We each read for 15 minutes at the beginning, then open it up for a discussion based on viewer comments about the role of poetry in our lives right now.

I read exclusively poems written in the last three weeks–all of them found here on A Hundred Falling Veils–all of them speaking to the world we are in right now.

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Dear Other Version of Myself,

 

In my calendar, it’s April second

and you are going to an event tonight

at a bookstore in another town

where the people will gather

and hug each other and taste

each other’s wine. You live in a world

that no longer exists, and every day

I try to reconcile it—how you

had plans to go camping next weekend,

how you were going to go to the theater

with no mask, no gloves,

no sense of your body as a weapon.

 

Every day, your life, which once was my life,

seems increasingly impossible.

Every day, these two worlds are farther apart—

the one in which you were getting on a plane

to visit your mother

and the one in which I put on rubber gloves

to go to the post office box.

I remember how seldom you washed

your hands for fear that someone you love

would die. I remember what it was like

to hug my friends with no worry

of harming them, to go to a restaurant,

to plan for a day past tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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also known as Johnny jump up, heart’s ease, heart’s delight, come and cuddle me

 

 

Into the shade by the porch

bloomed the first wild pansy,

its small yellow face sunny

and eager and open.

 

The Athenians used to make

the tiny flowers into syrup

to moderate anger and

to comfort and strengthen the heart.

 

And here it is today,

small volunteer beauty,

growing in this patch of dirt

where nothing else wants to grow.

 

This tiny garden is but one of many

concurrent realities—others involve

hospitals short of beds, loved ones

gone, doctors scared to go home.

 

Our hearts need strengthening.

Little violet, we’re learning, too,

how to be surrounded by death

and still rise up, bring healing as we bloom.

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