The world is crazy enough

& we are now afraid of death,

of looking & sounding stupid,

while our unmasked muses

are now on vacation,

whooping it up,

getting high & drinking Caipirinhas

in South America,

while our pens & minds

stay sober, dry of imagination

& finding little hopeful inspiration—

as we swig

Pepto Bismol from tiny, plastic cups,

keeping last night’s dinner down

since today’s news is barely digestible.

Our angels are gone;

the devils are now sick—

I don’t remember you saying anything nice,

I thought when the weirdness began,

when Cheeto got ill

& the conspiracies took shape

(instant karma has got him,

warned the departed great John)

he still went out & infected

many more crowds who

hang on his twisted words & gestures

unashamedly unmasked,

without a care,

searching for any adoration.

They need to know I’m all right,

he probably reasoned, high

on extra oxygen and/or steroids,

but the infection continues to spread,

in super religious communities,

where brown & black people

gather and retain contact,

& the higher-up politicians

doing the Prez’s bidding.

I need to return to the White House,

he pressured his medical crew,

only thinking of his own image—

tarnished again by the press,

not because

OF HIS OWN STUPIDITY

No wonder I can’t write

anything substantial

while this shit is going on….

Yesterday the hurst pulled up 

at the US Supreme Court

as people outside

in perfect black suits & masks

& crowned RBG shirts

watched the American flag-clad coffin

enter the building

with 6 former law assistants shuffling

holding the beloved coffin

The fountains continued to flow

the wind still tripped, to blow

upon the silent mourning heads outside 

The officials practiced social distancing

in a choreographed walking dance

upon the steps of the court

paying homage & respects

to a fiery angel of law.

How did the door feel, 

constantly pressed against walls,

as the entire world went through it,

important, yet invisible?

Does it know the whole structure 

of the house, or room

hinges upon its participation?

Often, the inhabitants are dismissive:

they slam, they bolt, they lock 

themselves away from the rest of the world,

using doors as forts, conduits, walls,

so others can’t come in—

They constantly come knocking about

waiting on the other side,

wanting some attention, 

so they wouldn’t be forgotten  

“We hear ya knockin’ but you can’t come in”

And the ones who are chosen

to enter; will they respect the household?

Or will they barrel inside, crazy-eyed,

leaving stains of excrement or blood

on the handle? Or will they annoy 

the house-keeper, with their cigarettes 

and their endless chatter?

They linger by the door-jamb, wanting to come in.

Or are they dear friends, who remember

not to slam the door, who remember 

not to lock it behind them, who

sometimes brings the sunshine in?   

Coffee and tea is brewed,

long conversations ensue–

Who will be the visitors today?

Or will the door still be closed,

ignored and alone,

trying to hold everything together?

Before the sky opened up,

seeds were spread into the 4 winds—

A crowd of numerous twenty-something 

Latinx, once packed tight in the G train,

swarmed up the Court Square

escalator as if Noah had stopped by 

to gather any straggling passengers 

before the sudden flood—

Where did they all come from?

Brooklyn & Manhattan got hit 

dam hard before Queens; 

the passageway in 66th St 

was suddenly filled with water;

a bald angel with orange flip-flops

and a twisty, long Afro beard

guided me towards the Columbus Ave. exit. 

& some stupid ones without masks

dared to ride the cars 

to keep intact from the elements.

I missed the rain storm,

not the swarm…   

Bus riders shout about the plague in America,

how God, family & faith are the ways to get through.

She believes in holy shit & science.

She steps out of the bus without touching anything,

except her iced venti tea, & a paper straw covering

she twists around & around in her left fingers,

as if it were prayer beads or a Catholic rosary.

Praying for an empty street at Skillman Ave.,

she breathes a masked sigh of relief; a new day begins!

As she surveys a crammed Queens Boulevard ahead—

the world is still moving along,

even when most people are staying still.   

Police officers crowd around 

in the Grand Central Station mezzanine.

Two of them board the 7 train, 

partially masked, their noses visible.

In the subway car, to my right, 

a woman speaks to her daughter in Spanish, 

her face in full view.

Does she see the police officers in the back?

Does she care at all about the rest of us?

Can she not breathe with a mask on?

I stay a safe distance from both conversations;

my mask snug on my face,

the train smells like cleaner.

Will we get cleaner?

Will strangers ever see my lips again?

Will I still be late for work? 

Thanks to the current climate,

I’m pliable as a piece of dough

made for baking—

Today’s heat

now saps all my energy; 

the extra weight 

has made me feel slower; 

fear has infected my system 

like simple gluten.

People are still making

sourdough bread,

posting it online, Zooming it…

I have no time or desire 

to make sourdough bread.

Sometimes 

I feel sour in the head;

sometimes

my body feels like bread—

& I need

to snap myself out of it;

to metaphorically

punch myself 

into a new attitude—

Next week

will be different;

us librarians

will be no longer resting 

& covered up with damp towels

in a bowl (or tub).

Our brains will be useful again,

but the air outside

is still shaken with certain illnesses.

The thought of it

sours me whole;

a lot of good bread

is already infected 

& where can we eat at work?

From Avenue A to Abingdon Square

I traced my tracks towards the setting sun

on one of the loveliest afternoons one week before the summer solstice,

stopping only for vegan ice cream

handmade by adorable, tattooed, black eye-lined angel girls

who top off every sundae with coconut whipped cream and an organic black cherry.

That made the trip worth taking. 

The LES still rang its punk bell since the early ‘80s. 

Young punks still piss and moan loudly on the street under tagged tenement buildings 

as the old-timers and confused tourists escaped into Russ & Daughters and Katz’s.

On Orchard Street, I was feeling nostalgic, 

but since I misplaced the boutique where I brought my wedding dress twelve years earlier, 

I had no business remaining there.



4th Street brought me to Cooper Square, NoHo, Lafayette, and NYU, 

as the sky slowly turned golden.

I wanted some more day time in the East Village 

before darkness claimed its hold upon the city, 

so I walked to Bleecker, a special street; 

(sometimes I wish it was a man, so I can both fuck and romance it).

As the sky grew bands of blue, gray and pink, 

I rode to M12 home, chasing the last, magnificent dregs 

of this golden hour, of this golden day, to evening:

crossing under the High Line, 

lapping by the mighty Hudson, 

towards home, to the middle of the city.

No one cares

if a black, kindly neighbor 

goes to the neighborhood bodega

& ends up dead

No one cares

if a woman, clad in a tight miniskirt,

gets fondled, fingered or raped

without her consent;

she was probably asking for it—

No one cares

when Asians get harassed 

or spat upon in the subway:

they’re the carriers of disease.

No one cares

if Native Americans lose

another acre of land

to big corporations fracking & pipelining

No one cares

about the illegals:

they should remain at the border,

penned up like animals

No one cares 

about sexual deviants.

Why should they marry each other & raise kids?

Why should they want to change their gender?

& no one gives a damn

about the children:

when their parents die,

when injustice wins—

Wait a minute:

Everyone cares!

That’s why they’re marching,

Mr. President—

They do give a damn!

Not everyone’s apathetic;

that’s why

they’re taking it to the streets!

Not everyone 

are looters or criminals 

or rebel-rousers;

they don’t need to

wave their Bibles—

Enough is enough.

Even those staying at home 

are with the protesters.

That’s why we chose 

not to tune in to your speech

on television yesterday;

you want to change America 

into a military task force state.

That is not our America. 

We don’t care for that.

Black lives matter.

Women’s lives matter.

Asian lives matter.

Native American lives matter.

Latino & Hispanic lives matter.

LGBTQIA lives matter.

Children’s futures matter.

We all matter—

we’re still alive & kicking

& we don’t care

to be considered

as criminals 

in America,

no more!