Summer nights when the air is perfumed with
barbecue and peppered with a gamut of
sounds blasting from windows and speeding cars.
The chatter of get togethers with the
occasional scandalous uproar of laughter.
Summer nights that sizzles with heat
even after the sun sets, mosquitoes mark us in
our sluttish outfits. We cool off while smelling
like the sweltering outside which dreams and
longs for a breeze to soothe the thickness of
the atmosphere. We use to gather with our
homemade delicacies given as an offering, a
ritual of the time welcoming a blaze of
fireflies saying good evening.
To survive is gonna mean more than just
weathering today as you scrape together
leftovers and create a spontaneous meal to
feed the hunger inside our hearts. It will mean
a new way of breathing, as your lungs can no
longer take the pressure of the air of the past.
It would mean your kidneys cannot renew your
blood like it use to. It would mean your heart
can no longer function as simply a tool but a
bearer of all that is alive and living. The air
which trees transport will be differently
received, reciprocated as we wear a mask
now. I am terrified as I am piqued with
curiosity of where does this passage take us.
In real life, I can count my friends on one hand
and tell you stories of us being together, like it
was yesterday, we did that thing which was so
funny to us, or we went through a rough patch
where we disagreed with each other, but some
how found ourselves back to laughing like old
times sake, and wondering when we’d meet up
again. Like a current, there’s a sweet love
running deep of many years and it shows, with
this responsibility of a connection. Intimacies
at the level where you say, you tell each other
the hard truth which needs to be heard. You
show up even while it’s heavy to be there
because this is your friend, your family.
Remembering the weekend blood pulsate
throughout my body, throbbing excitement
an emancipation from the hard work week.
Friday, meant you celebrated however you are
in whichever minuscule way of greeting how
labor felt and won a time to rest in jubilation.
The energy in the streets whether when
it’s frigidly cold, you yet emerge in fire
the electric, electric of being free for two days.
It still meant working these chores around
your home, as Sunday signified the blues
return of another Monday. You were free to be
as you became and can imagine leaving
this frenzy of just two days.
On Saturday, I participated in a virtual writing Salon, and it was very enlightening and inspiring. It definitely was thoughtful food for the soul, and I can’t wait for next month’s Salon. We were given writing prompts, and one of them was to write a Haibun, a prose/haiku poem. Here, I make my attempt, as I write about social distancing, and the mental toll it has on us.
Alone in my room, there I am sitting on the unmade bed. With my phone in hand, I scroll through what seems to be the universe of information. Like satellites, thoughts scattered across social caves. I watch cat videos, even as I observe my own. Each thing she does is more spectacular, so I document and label it. I watch the latest dance craze, that makes me young enough in my heart to want to share in the spirit of a challenge. I just watch, and watch, lurching in between rooms where you collect your loneliness and project it through the screen. A quiet longing, a hunger for connection, for touch, for community, for communal sharing. Because, we are social beings. Alone is it’s own force of meditation. You become use to listening to your river of thoughts. You time travel and revisit moments only to reflect them back as what you should of, could of. Alone becomes a sequenced pattern you follow. But this “alone” is different, as I wake up every day worrying about, well, will I make it to the other side? The other side everyone is dreaming, desiring? As the first thing you’d do when it’s over? Many say they’ll flock to shows, swarming them to capacity. To never again take for granted this freedom. In the meantime, you hang on by hanging out through a screen of online get togethers. Let’s meet again a week from today, even as we can’t tell how long this will last. Who knows for sure? Tomorrow you might be stricken.
Set apart on this
journey to the other side
where we laugh and dance
It was the warmest winter
It only snowed one day and it wasn’t a blizzard
like in past years. I guess climate change is
real but it won’t be really real until levees are
broken, diseases, viruses chases anyone and
everyone and the salvation of human life is on
the wealthy suffering from the same plaque.
Suddenly, the crisis is actual after all the dead
black and brown people surface with their
bodies to the rim of existence. Suddenly, we’re
all in it together when there’s no place to flee to.
Suddenly, we’re all human and needing the same
care in order to survive. Suddenly sudden isn’t
an after thought but proactive measures.
At some point you have to re-up, and tomorrow I have to go outside for groceries and I’m really afraid. I feel like I’ll die if I step outside, like I will immediately have the virus. I know a lot of this is anxiety, but how careful can you be? I wrote about it of course. Hoping everyone is safe.
Tomorrow, I’ll venture out of my home for
essentials. Normally this chore would just be a
labor of crowded spaces where you contort
your body to grab a bag of rice, cans of
beans, oil, meat, pasta sauce with spaghetti.
Now sharing any space leaves you wondering
scared how much feet did you leave between.
You feel like you would die if you step outside
greeting Spring’s air in the first place. Getting
close to another never felt more dangerous.
Social distancing is our Winter when we wish
and wonder about Summer as our time to
mingle free of layers, of separation, the time
when we shared apart.
This was a hard one. It took days to realize what I wanted to say, and in the form of a sonnet. I still didn’t follow the rules, but I’m slowly getting there.
As gentle as an embrace, tender as in the
tenor of a song. Delicate as the eagerness of
blooming flowers. We can reciprocate care
especially in times of extreme social isolation.
We always had it in us to express comfort in
this place where living has made you tough
and reject the gift of closeness. As so much
separates us, there are offerings of solicitude.
As mutual aid is the buoy for our times.
Leveling a compassion we seek. As wanting to
trust while staring back an abyss becomes a
meandering of the past where you can no
longer live. Tomorrow it maybe will be different,
but today I dance with songs of embrace, with all the flowers.
To survive these uncertain days
like the times when the earth reigns
and being without shelter from the starkness
of nature and you walked for hours in its cold
downpour wondering when it would stop and
you’ll see the sun again. Like the times the
quiet snow kept collecting into a mountainside
of slush you’d trudge through with cold feet
and hands tethered to a memory/thought
of when it was once warm. When it would be
warm again. I tell myself that these days are
the same as those days of trepidation. And
soon you’d laugh again, you will so loudly
that you weep new lessons on survival.
As a way of maintaining my mental health during this scary time, I wrote another reaction poem about the virus. I was attempting to write a sonnet but it ended up being free verse. Next time, as I really want to write something outside of my comfort zone.
Afraid to touch an extended hand
a reach for some sameness, while touch can
be a compassion, a sense for being in a sea of
unknowns. How to navigate through the dark?
How do you survive the sickness from touch
too close to where comfort becomes lost?
You wash your hands so much they peel
new information of an already coarse design
My anxiety is up because of the coronavirus. I’ve been using hand sanitizers more frequently than I usually do, and I wonder about the long-run repercussions. I mean like I’m using it after touching anything. It’s based out of the fear of getting sick and being unable to work, which would mean being incapable of surviving. I’m trying my best to not fall into hysteria, so here’s a poem about it.
Feel for my wallet
pull out my metro card
slide it through
walk in the train
hold the pole
Don’t touch your face
Don’t touch your face
hand sanitizer my hands
running low on sanitizers
must ration until home
little drops on palm, rub hands together
Was that enough? Can’t risk it
more little drops, rub hands together
this is my stop
walk up stairs
don’t touch the railing
even if you need extra support
get to the exit
don’t hold the door
outside, put hands in pockets
walk for a bit
then touch the front door
home, go wash your hands