Three poems on Covid-19 by Sam Friedman.
As the lockdowns lift
What shall we do
as the world lurches its way
to when the lockdowns lift?
Shall we creep hat-in-hand
to the ways of old,
the ways that led to pandemic
and deathly slow response?
that condemned some to starve
or to work cheek by cheek
with the maybe-sick
while the banks and corporate rich
bathe in cash upon their tax-deducted
Or will our locked-in thoughts
of other ways to live,
and anger at how “national leaders”
ignored our miseries
and led tens of thousands like lemmings
to intubated deaths
spark us to organize?
to disperse their power,
their system of blood-letting greed?
and to build a new world
where children can hope for healthy lives
where each seeks to help all others
and the skies shine rays of hope
and not of fatal warming.
Here where the valley fans the wind
As April turns to May
towards the dry days
when the carbon-heated summer sun
dries grass as leaves to kindling brown,
I fear for friends
who sleep outside
for lack of homes.
Laurie, Dave, Chris and dozens more camp.
sleep, perhaps heat stew
or smoke a ciggie or even a blunt
down between the highway and the canal,
out of sight of the middle class
and of this city’s lazy-ass cops.
Can they escape if sun-dried leaves
meet a tossed lit butt
here where the valley
fans the wind?
And if not, and they die consumed,
will anyone with power
Or perhaps they’ll smile
in wordless glee?
What if, while working?
What if, while working,
snapped my knee?
What opioids would I imbibe
to dull my pain unending?
What names would others call me?
What jails would I reside in?
What wandering lonely
along forlorn abandoned canals?
What if I worked in construction?
or sliced loins from pigs sliding past?
or temped Mac-jobbing at a diner’s spurting fires?
or bent all day picking berries
on a farm in California?
or what if I were your child
and my workday snapped my knee?