COVID-19 IN THE MIDST OF IT

Indoors we sit

And try to make sense of it

We go out for walks

And make do with telephone talks

 

We try not to see others as a foe

They could be a carrier, though

And so we keep safe distance

Whenever others are in our presence

 

We wait it all out in isolation

While this crisis saps our motivation

I try to read, write, and be productive

But make little progress in my efforts to be active

Day melts into day in mindless stupefaction

BREATHING THE SPIRIT OF ALCHEMY

The philosopher for Aristotle is not in conflict

He does what he wants and consistently wants what is virtuous

I am more like Paul, who does not what he wants

And does what he does not want

I do not want the legacy of my childhood

Nor the tyrant my father was, nor the misery that was my home

Church was my refuge

A morning’s refuge once a week,

For me, the salve of love

Communion, human and Divine beloved community

A morning’s refuge once a week

Ferment in the crucible of what my life became

Diffusing as tendrils through my passions

Refining the dross that was my upbringing

Veins of gold shining through adamant,

Heavy adamant from my upbringing I carry

In the pilgrimage that is a life’s progress

Toward being whole, gold, unitary

In what I want and in the manifesting power

That spirit has to make, remake, make new

Make conflict cease, bring release, grant peace

IT NEVER USED TO BE

Mike noticed me shaking

Playing at an open stage

The way we had in clubs years ago

The legacy of my psychotic episode years ago,

The effects persisting in my involuntary shakes, fear, and incompetence

Brett noticed me shaking

Almost convulsing onstage at the keyboard

It never used to be like that

The ease, the drive I had to perform

Then the caving fear onstage

The lingering apathy that stole

My passion to play hour upon hour at home

Getting better hour upon hour enthralled

Or onstage before crowds

Eager, excited, up

Darryl tried to jam with me last spring

Remembering my former ability

Thinking me as capable as it used to be

It was sad, the attempt, his generosity

One player quenched by bipolar disorder

Likely doesn’t mean much

But it does to me

IN COVID-19

Subjects wrap themselves in poetry

Today, practically every consideration pales

In comparison with

Tens of thousands infected, thousands dead

Hospitals past capacity, protective gear spent, exhausted

Medical professionals sick, exposed

Failed containment

Considerations pale in comparison with COVID-19

You used to be IT if you had

A Cabbage Patch Doll

And liked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream

Or were hip in the bar

There was even a word for it—

“Trendy,” and yet people were

I wasn’t anybody until I went to Harvard

Yet, things in this world matter

Mean something even in COVID-19

It’s hard to play Mozart piano sonatas, now

But they matter, and my new book of Confucius’ Odes

(Ordered online, in social isolation)

The wind blows a lot of chaff away

In these days

As it carries the virus

Through the entire world

And wraps words around itself

GLAMOR AND BEAUTY

Skin and hair and fingernails and toenails

And eyebrows and eyelashes and eyeshadow

And lips and lipstick and Botox

Lashes and polish and foundation

Makeup and moisturizer and exfoliator

Glamor and allure and sophistication

 

Good nature and simplicity, even innocence

And sincerity and faithfulness and trust

And honesty and emotional honesty and spontaneity

And genuine and caring and kind

And real and unaffected and straightforward

And loving and spiritual and beautiful

SITUATIONAL ETHOS: SCRIPT AND CAST

Self is poured into the social structure

In which one is situated

Options of connection are dependent

On the system in which one is

One is as an actor pouring self into a role

But self is not a role, though he or she act

One is situated

 

Friends are determined

Whom one receives into one’s life

Casting from the script written by the social structure

In which one is situated

Much as my television dictates

The terms of my engagement

(So, tonight I resigned myself to Karate-Kid II)

But I did not choose it

 

Personality improvises

Within the plot structure scripted

By social structures in which

One is situated

Self persists, improvising, developing, and accumulating

Experiences, motivations that persist

As the moon under undulating waves

In the play in which

One is situated

BACK THEN

An old movie

Brought to mind

College friends

We talked about the movie

Back then

When we were friends

That memory

Plays like an old movie clip

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