Reading Shakespeare in time of Plague– even my death will be contested

Events are moving so quickly in this land
that catching ones breath is not possible
with all of the contested gordian knots of limited
oxygen overwhelming my feeble mind.

The alliance of the Greek god Chaos
and the Egyptian god Seth
has permeated all realms of our lives,
even ones death, through the orange demon who is everywhere.

Shakespeare’s plays in time of plague,
in time of civil unrest, in time of imperial rule,
adds a disturbing uneasiness to how we will be when
events slow down and we look into a mirror.

Here We Are – golden shovel

after Victoria Chang

Time has shifted around my city of I
and its reliability to be always
steady and constant is in doubt though I knew
this welcomed distortion was a happening that
pushed many cities of I into profound grief
over the long overdue resolution of an ongoing crime that was
and continues to be done by humans against other humans as something
fundamentally evil that needs a mind meld in all of the cities of I
to view the world as cities of we which could
in time remove the stench of racism’s smell


Loss, loss and more loss
trending toward the ultimate loss
as a dimness slowly but relentlessly
covering one’s own realm
not like Job’s but
more like the black milk of Auschwitz
and Victor Frankl’s last remaining
human freedom:
the freedom to choose one’s attitude.

Spectator Sport

Watching from our cottage of angst,
and sipping from a bottle of beer,
we discover the treeline is changing
with the rising of the earth’s heat
right before our eyes
that even the denier’s cannot mask over.
What to root for?
Our dawdling, a kind of lethargy
like after having a big bowl of porridge,
seems strange given the marching of trees.
When we become more active,
we zoom helter skelter like a firefly
trapped in a glass jar with no way out

Staying Young with Your Devices

Life is short, especially with computer devices. The goal is not to be left behind for any amount of time, even if you are as old as I am. Once you get behind, turning on your new device will be challenging without consulting with a gaggle of younger people who may not be able to translate for you. The game will up and you will drift into the dreaded realm of geezerhood lost in some 20th century time warp alone and sad. Creating your own rebus dictionary is essential even if you are terrible at puzzles and hate the aesthetics. It is better to learn hieroglyphics than any other language. Standing still as a political statement while admirable will be isolating. Special old age appropriate yoga poses linked to a particular emoji are becoming more popular and most communities offer such classes. Staying up to date with your operating system, whose shelf life is becoming shorter and shorter, should be as important as taking your pills and getting your exercise.You don’t have to follow your computer into senility. Remind yourself that going from rolled scroll to book form was very difficult.

A Season of Reckoning

Give me your tired, your poor
Emma Lazarus

Step up!
It is time to volunteer
you who are old,
on your last legs,
a non worker,
old trees,
fallen brush,
shrub sucklings,
without an escape house,
an essential worker,
wrong color, and
all who drain our resources.
Let the virus wash over us and
we will be better off in the end
with more for fewer.
After all, there are more important things than living
Of course, everybody wants to save every life
but to what end?
Step up

Reading Dante in Time of Plague

Oh Dante, I am
sorry you missed the Black Plague.
What fun you would have had!
Your catalogue of Hell,
a museum of horror,
saturating all of our senses,
with its unique elevators
and escalators, is the prototype.

A close reading of your text
fails to reveal what you would do
with our leaders who deserve multiple circles
Oh Dante help us design our exhibition
where on every floor of serious hell
the same person shows up
in a different incarnation of the hell
they created for us.

Upper Basin

The details are lost entangled
in places of granite and
water so vivid then

We four receded from being a group and
stretched along the trail after descending
from the high altitude pass

Perhaps, it was calorie depletion
or oxygen depletion or
too many Ovid stories

Call it ecstasy, euphoria,
elation, or what not
I belonged at that moment
to that moment

My neurons can still summon up the glow.

Reading Samuel Pepys in Time of Plague

Sex, war, profit,
more sex, court intrigue,
more profit, merriment, mirth
and, yes, the sickly towne

Sad, sickly time
ill news, sad stories
poor sicke people with plasters
the dead

Never been lived so merrily
or got so much
Let us dance and
be joyful the shops are open again

When you have seen one plague
you have seen them all.

Reading Daniel Defoe in Time of Plague

It starts quietly enough
with a flashing yellow light without malice
Without warning it turns red
eerily bouncing off the puddles
A crossroad
speed up or hit the brakes

“Bring out your dead”

Most speed up
while the power brokers
use a waxed, heavy duty canvas
to cover up as much as possible
while gathering together a raucous chorus
singing together in different keys and scores
with bluster and fearlessness
while we shudder

“Bring out your dead”

Read old musty accounts
search for ancient wisdom
it is all in the old texts
the cacophony drowns out everything
the invisible is confounding
wait it out no matter what

“Bring out your dead”

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