A good, Chag Urim Sameach, we wish for you,

& whatever wishes that might come true—

Next year, in Jerusalem—next year, we’ll be here

together, unmasked—this year, we’re still here

safe & cozy, frying & Zooming with family:

thankful we have each other to talk with, sing & to see. 

Can’t wait to light up the lights

for these 8 crazy nights!

We wish to be healthy & safe this holiday season,

& that love is all around, that’s the reason.

When bones are no longer alive,

flesh is cut away, cleaned by sharp teeth

as hungry humans and animals gather to give thanks. 

Even when loved ones meet up virtually  

flesh is cut away, cleaned by sharp teeth.

Zooming hot with bellies and hearts full—

Even when loved ones meet virtually, 

the world begins at the dining table.

Zooming hot with bellies and hearts full;

when other babies are born, and secrets and news are shared,

the world begins at the dining table.

We will remember our loved ones gone

when other babies are born, and secrets and news are shared

as hungry humans and animals gather to give thanks. 

We will remember our loved ones gone

when our bones are no longer alive.

They raise sheep in Indiana;

that’s why Mr. Cheetos Shithead

is winning there—a long night

awaits the wicked and the pure believers. 

Blue power is not enough to win the brass ring

of politics. Last time we lost hard,

and it might take weeks to mull over

and count every single American vote.

Don’t know—don’t be afraid of the pain, 

the meditation masters have said—

but the scars of Nixon, the Bushes and Cheeto 

still cut our country deep; red blood gushing 

for many years in the Senate. The blood 

of the dead by COVID is not swept up, sanitized, forgotten. 

We won’t forget 2020 for many decades and centuries; 

instant karma will come to collect the ruffians, 

empty their pockets of influence. 

But election night in 2016 almost promised a Democratic victory. 

Many hearts were pulverized and broken—

all we can do is wait; waiting is the hardest part.

Bewitching both believers & cynics alike,

October casts its spell:

the unending fog dull bright mornings

as crimson leaves turn up dead.

October casts its spell:

The Blue Moon shows up twice

as crimson leaves turn up dead.

Dogs howl constantly like wild wolves

when the Blue Moon shows up twice

in the same wicked month.

Dogs howl constantly like wild wolves

while cool cats transform into tigers

in the same wicked month. 

Normal people assume different identities:

all the “cool cats” transform into tigers,

bewitching both believers & cynics alike.

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


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?