Three Poems on Covid-19

Sam Friedman

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 rebel?

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

even care?

Or perhaps they’ll smile

in wordless glee?



What if, while working?

What if, while working,

my keyboard

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?




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