There are people singing songs, people playing instruments.
People reciting poetry and all the wise messages written on their souls.
People coping, changing, taking care of kids.
People chanting, people dancing.
People saying prayers, people building ventilators. People teaching, people shopping for the elderly.
All those zooming and blooming, dreaming and mindfully self-quarantining.
Yoga warriors, woodworkers, and health-care workers. Rappers, collaborators, and rhythmatists.
People sharing their moods, people sharing their muses.
So many people I see doing so many beautiful things while stuck inside.
All that is before us—
the engines of disease driving us mad, unfulfilled desires, loved ones dying,
politicians with demeanors like ingrown toenails with hangovers.
there are chorus lines of birds just outside the window, fresh flowers on graves, doctors and nurses,
postal workers and supermarket cashiers.
Books to read and songs to sing.
Pets with wet and soulful eyes looking up at us like we’re the god of their world.
As I write these words, my city is so quiet, like the soft hum of a womb where we’re all waiting to be reborn.
In this exile from disease, the silence hurls its knives. The walls creep a little closer, crowding out sanity.
Buckle down our dreams, re-bead their rosaries, anoint their foreheads with honeyed moonglow as we make the dark descent into days of endless nights.
Time without you near me costs more than a trip to the moon and back.
And back into the now:
this disease is bad, but the song of us is far stronger than lions prowling through endless forests of ghosts.
I catch the virus in my hand, bring my fist to my heart.
The beat of me, louder than the clenched breath-buzz of that sickening disease.
Its rancid blood cramps, my heart hammers the illness to stillness.
This all may be wishing, but wishing is better than worrying my mind to angry weather.
Just outside my window, a crow calls. It don’t bother calling collect,
it don’t make me pay for the joy
of hearing its song.
Anyone who is allergic to intimacy or has maintained a love/hate relationship with Mr. Rogers.
Those who’ve used a weedwhacker to eliminate the dark and overgrown areas of a once-clean conscience.
Anyone who has mistakenly said “premature ejaculation” instead of “premeditated adoration.”
Those who’ve painted their mirrors black. Whose metal hip screws have set off security alarms at Kmart.
All whose paychecks have evaporated like the most recent LA rains.
Women who’ve considered shaving their heads and joining the convent. Men who’ve considered shaving their heads when going bald.
Anyone who has played a six-string while using a live grenade as a guitar slide.
Those who’ve recently made a new friend or connection online or standing on line, waiting to get into a supermarket or hospital emergency room.
For those dying on the streets, in homes, hospices, or remote villages a world away.
For anyone whose heart is breaking. For anyone whose heart is healing.
This is for those imploding like silent stars in dark skies of their own making.
For those hiding in the white spaces between words, believing silence to be their only ally.
This is for those rebuilding their rooms into tombs for dead rock stars, for those allowing recklessness to pick the last meat from skeletons of calm.
Those struck with fever and fury, restlessness and a touch of mongrel logic.
Those feeling the cold geometry of distances while separated from loved ones.
All of you, know there are sometimes no metaphors for these emotions I feel for you. Yet know you’re sweet to me.
Sweet as honey on the lips of needed sleep.
These days may rage like a lion’s fanged roar;
wail like cupid trapped in a loveless cage;
taste like the dull blues of dust on barely opened blinds;
cry like broken clocks standing on a firing squad line.
We can number these days of isolation on the walls of our abodes, or on the dark cave walls where our minds get so easily lost.
These days we can become chaos or the cure.
To remedy, not ruin, remember there’s no one, but one.
Resist fracture. Resist getting too perplexed by the higher mathematics of anxiety attacks.
Try believing in We.
Try believing it’s A, B, C, easy as 1, 2, 3.
The fear is palpable. It is understandable.
In short amounts, one can work through it, find their way back home.
In heavier quantities, fear becomes its own disease.
Take a moment to test your endurance by walking the length it takes to get from your last calm moment until now.
Slow your thoughts until you can almost feel the world and all its people breathing.
When we look back in time’s rearview mirror, if we’ve learned nothing else about these days, may we be able to say we captured the tempest in our hands, held it to our hearts, and brought it to its knees with
an overwhelming dose of love.
When the calendar is nothing but storm clouds filled with sickness and disinformation.
When night is worry’s day and won’t let us sleep.
When isolation becomes its own disease.
When sudden unemployment and loss of business strike deep at wallets and the will to go on.
When hoarding supplies is more en-vogue than Post Malone.
When we must be our own mindful leaders because our current leader is unfit for the position.
When anguish and illness knock at our doors, when they have keys to our doors—
Let’s do our best to keep heart, keep humor, keep healthy.
During these days of self-imposed exile, be careful not to fall into fits of depression, don’t spend your time composing mood music for the dead.
Keep your mind clear, stay informed, don’t allow your thoughts to become a graveyard of propaganda.
Share song, wit, art & supplies. Be sure to wash your hands, but don’t whitewash your emotions.
Use this time for mindful self-reflection: connect with the tangibles & intangibles of your life, even if you have to wear a surgical mask in the process.
If you’re able to hug a loved one free of any sanitizers or barriers, do so. It’ll provide you with health & happiness beyond measure.
Offer compassion & understanding to those gripped by fear; these are strange days indeed.
Bodies may be ill, but the potential for courage, reflection & realignment are alive & well.