Learning to Dip Doing the COVID Shuffle — a poem

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Oh, God! I feel the elephant’s foot pressing
or is it his ass as he sits on my chest?
when I gasp it is not surprise that I experience
too many jacks strewn across the kitchen floor
a world that feels like a booby-trap exhibit
in an arcane warfare museum just off the road
to Flagstaff or Fayetteville, selling Turquoise
trinkets, sun catchers, and tribal documents
If you join, if I join, then we won’t be catching
hell or COVID-19

Alone at my Zoom window I sip confusion, watch
reality become other, another with each announce
meant to reassure but ends up doing anything
but — what we know so far is that we only know
so far
The window mists over as I stare too long into it

The elephant gets up, lets me up as he slumps
to the corner; I’m not saying anything you haven’t



An Outlook Occluded — a poem for Independence Day



A Full Buck Moon about to rise,
and this the 4th of July — celebrated
most years as a day of unity —
but now we have two anthems.

Will we soon have one for every color?

And our country, the States United
(if you can grasp the infernal irony)
is all but torn asunder.

Florida is setting
new bars, contracting
a novel virus.

We’re either second or third.

Those who aren’t fighting the race wars
are arguing over wearing masks and distances.

And, damn it, the sky is clouded;
overcast, like it would be for a launch.



No, We Can’t Dance Together — a poem of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, April 2020

We focus on the sunlight, water
out our back French doors, inviting

us to break the stay-at-home order.
Shore birds, vultures, the Kingfisher

risk arrest, go about their business;
it’s not as bad as it seems. Flowers

on red and blue Passions proliferate,
a Hibiscus shows flippant disregard.

*  *  *

What will it take to shake
us out of our cave of safety —

a dearth of wine, farewell
to the last few sheets, need
for animal protein on the grill?

We were unnerved when gloves
on our hands we seen as crazed,

paranoid — but now being unmasked
is considered next to suicidal.

Our grandparents and before
them, generations learned
what separates want from need,

and how to do without — to live

*  *  *

A Great Blue is settled, focused
on the tiny fish but a few weeks

hatched. Softback turtles bask
in sunlight that seems to carry

a taint that I wasn’t sensible
of at the start of March — March,

that sidled in so unassuming.
We have another month inside,

or more… or more. An angry
pair of Jays are harassing

one of many Red Shouldered
Hawks. We, for comfort’s

sake, name them Reggie.
We stay at home, sipping

Sangria, toasting our health.

The Sand a Boundary for the Sea — a poem

“I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.”

— Jeremiah 5:22 (NIV)


this is not the angel of death we face
who holds sway is but a spectre of fear
we who prefer to huddle in flock or herd
have been culled out, separated and this
oh this is our emotional ruin

too long we have trusted in our safety
so that now we fall easily into blind terrors
our minds are unused to life saving tracks
so we run, we gather, we hoard — our peril
rests, resides in that to which we now turn
not the Mystery, the Other; one who sees all

abase yourselves in your self-held knowledge
run askance before the cryer’s clarion call
fear, fear! panic and despair, children and fools!
Who then is hope for?



Losing Our Patina — a poem

This path is so lovingly tended,

                                    slopes –

not much effort
required on our beautiful stroll.

            A paved
                        surface smooth 
                                    beneath our feet.

            A shaded
                        canopy, green

I stalk through the aisles angry;
people do not think — “Distance!”
Stripped shelves, fear-bound
humanity hoarding; rude herd
creatures, ruminating in front
of the dairy case — I cough
my “excuse me.” Stampede.
I am the grey wolf seeking
a weakened elk in the herd.
Laughing, I leave the grocery
little better than I came; empty.

The boardwalk needs repair.

            We are consigned
                        to cross
                                                ground unaided.

            Paths overgrown,

Now is not the time to walk,
but to head home —