2020 (& other poems)

by Deborah Clearman, Workshop Leader

It started with a lockdown
a takedown, a hunker-in.
A line leaping upwise
emptied out the streets
cleared out the skies
rippled birdsong into silence.
Hearts pounded harder, souls dug deeper.
In the eye of the storm eyes glazed over,
screen shot, secrets cracked.

It brought on the pacing,
counting laps, climbing stairs,
counting flights, counting days,
making lists, leaving plans.
Behind the mask the panic, the boredom.
Days turned to weeks, long slog, no destination.
Breathe in, breathe out, listen to the clock tick.
Order in, take out, break the humdrum with a Zoom chat.
This is how it started.

 

Protest

Helicopters, sirens
No cheer at night
No neighbor waves
When we all should be cheering
Lockdown to end
Together in the fight
Nine Minnesota minutes
No end in sight
Original sin
Stains our soul
A knee on a neck
A knee to bow down
My country is broken
My city in flames
Blue against black
Rage against white
The curse of my skin
Original sin
Where will it end?
Hit the streets! Eat the rich!
I’ll take the first bite
One foot steps forward
Two steps back
Scrawled on a wall
Breathe
Hope

 

Inbox

I click through the list:
packing our bags
delete
giving up now
delete
screaming
delete
he NEVER saw this one coming
it’s finished OVER
delete
stunning prediction
delete
breaking news
delete
EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION
LOSING IT
delete delete delete.

How can I not be losing it?
numbers are going up
it’s all going to fade away
crowds are burning masks
gathering in the temples
atifa antifa Proud Boys militias
police chief says prepare for violence
winter is coming on.

It’s gotten much worse
delete
this is serious
delete
okay don’t freak out
delete
flashing across my screen
a hundred times a day
politicians shrieking alarms.

This is what is going down
in the halls of power
I turn the radio off
I fold the newspaper up
waiting out this moment.
This is the way democracy dies
this is the way democracy dies
delete delete delete.

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