By John Grey
It’s all I want / a path to reopening/all of it is confusing/revealed at last:
all that I want – dreaming or awake – a plan to ease lockdown –
am lonely / am disappearing / the face in the mirror unrecognizable/
what avenue is this? I lied to the Dentist about that pain in my tooth/
my birthday’s approaching/if I don’t repair the damage my lover won’t speak to me/
retailers and restaurants – please! movie theaters – please- !
full of myself – full of schoolchildren going back to class –
sick of being masked – sick of “Until further notice –
I’ll be old and bald before I next stare in a store window –
my life extends no further than my garage –
I’ve seen sentenced – forever – how many years is that/
be satisfied with my own walls, I’m told – my own ceiling –
I no longer remember what people look like –
reopen my eyes/reopen my mouth/reopen my arms – wide, wider, widest –
are there any more hills? lakes? is there even a planet?
and what is inspiration without public transportation?
surely, mankind can’t be just the one of me –
my mouth, my chest feel so ordinary from afar – but they’re beautiful
when loved directly –
I’d even join the army just to be among people –
or get my hair cut at the local barber
if he’ll just take a razor to his “Closed” sign –
this wasn’t my idea/it’s the government/”Go into your secret cave
until called upon”/until scientists devise a magic potion/
or until my power goes out for good – body and soul.
So give me the test already – ain’t got no chills,
ain’t got no muscle pain/ain’t got no headache/ain’t got no sore throat/
but I got so much to go back to – but what if everything’s gone?
I’m nonessential, that’s what I’m hearing/like Broadway shows/
like cookouts on the beach/or kids in pre-school-
so give me the bleach – I’ll drink it – it’s either that or the Kool-Aid –
this is like World War II but without the shiny tanks and cannon –
and the enemy is as tiny as a senator’s mind –
it’s not my fault that instant annihilation got out into the open –
so let’s all get together and decide who’s fault it is.
Personally, the pandemic has been a mixed blessing. I’ve definitely got a lot of writing done but I sure miss traveling and eating at my favorite restaurants. Regarding the poem, unlike my most of my stuff, it was strictly a case of trying to get down in one stream all of the stuff that was popping into my head while confined to the house.