I’m reading Transgenerational Trauma.
I should be planning my day of telework
at home, surrounded by distractions.
No one sits within six feet of me –
social distancing is the new rule.
Garland Nixon is broadcasting
On Radio Sputnik. At noon the pope
is giving a special prayer and Fatima
in Portugal is consecrating the world.
My mask is not stylish but effective.
Everybody on Twitter has something
Snarky to say about the corona virus.
I took my Vitamin C with coffee –
We’ll keep the barking hounds at bay.
I don’t know all the answers –
Hell, I don’t have half the questions!
It’s not like chemistry or physics
Where if you memorized the equation
You can plug and chug until
All the units cancel.
No. Life is much more complex
Than experiments in a science lab.
More complicated even than nuke school
with mandatory study hall.
The beginning of it all is obscure.
The end is an unknown unknown.
The middle is a spring thunderstorm –
Dark clouds gathered – lightning piercing the sky.
Our tribesman battles for her life –
small things we lose can be replaced.
A sister’s love we replicate
with sadness near the end,
and joy that soon, her journey done,
and celebration knowing that
her contributions were not made in vain.
We mourn our own unfinished lives:
the goodbyes that we fail to say;
the compliments we should have paid
at little cost but great reward.
We recognize our end must come –
embraceable at every stage
of life. Avoid the waste, the vain.
I pause at the escalator
and motion with a head nod
and a smile: “You may go ahead,”
I tell the lady silently amid
the buzz of commuters and
the roar of machines.
She thanks me with her eyes.
Why do we need words?
Around the corner the Yellow Line
train is arriving. I hear
its high-pitched doppler sound –
the sound of incoming
is the only sound that matters –
a departing train’s sound
has no value to commuters.
It was a cold morning in the Bottom.
Reading “Trading Twelves” on the Orange Line
I missed my Red Line stop, so I continued
riding (and reading) to the Yellow Line
crossing at L’Enfant Plaza. Already late
for work anyway, I made a detour
and grabbed a hot breakfast to go at Saints’
Paradise Cafe. Picked up The Hill paper
for an update on Tuesday’s #SOTU speech
because it went on forever and I had
my bedtime to keep. Turns out the Negro Caucus
was grumpy all night, sad-faced and wearing
the kente of their African ancestry
around their necks to make a statement.
The Golden Krust man died the other day.
We weren’t friends or anything, except in that
dream world where odd things flow together
in a swirl. But I was once a baker – I learned
that if you overmix the pie dough it comes
out tough and rubbery, not crumbly crisp.
In my dream, I asked him to add a dash of ginger
and some grated almonds to his recipe.
I always prefer the spinach pies to meat
and other fillings. Today I take the Red Line
to NoMa, then walk the bicycle trail to DCPL’s
temporary home for special collections, where
I hope to complete arranging the papers
of the Association of Liberated Librarians.
Reading an obit hyperlinked to a blog
hyperlinked to love poems, one might assume
death were itself conclusive. It is said
Poseidon, the protector of seafarers, is
more powerful a god than the Roman Neptune,
since Greece is surrounded by the sea.
A friend asked if connections between people
had their antecedents out in space, as stardust,
or beneath us, at the bottom of the sea.
All I know is I’d rather be a mariner
than an astronaut. A shipmate told me
there are more airplanes at the bottom
of the ocean than submarines in the sky.
In part, perhaps, because I am an older guy,
I wonder why people seem so obsessed
with a poet’s sexual proclivities, as if
that’s something somehow fixed, predestined.
My favorite poets are so because of what
and how they write, not with whom or how
they spend their private moments. Poetic
sentiment is universal, ubiquitous, maybe
even transformational, if you listen.
It didn’t take me long to figure out
I might not be able to coast by on
my good looks alone. The escalator
froze tonight at Capitol South. Not cool.
Next time I’ll take the steps.