Day 30 — history doing what history does best

Wide NY

Once again, as if to round out the month, the poem I had been planning to finish the event with is not the one I’m publishing tonight. Again, an article I read about 100 year old New York serviceman who died due to complications with COVID19. This led to me playing with voice & POV & trying to put the scant biographical facts I had about him into a poetic first person monologue. Which lead me to research more about him. Thankfully the first article I read was the least evocative & I found some beautiful stories/snippets in other obituaries. 

As much as I liked the other idea, it seems right & fitting to end with this moving personal story that spans the centuries.

*****

Philip Kahn: a semi-imagined poetic obituary

everyone should understand by now history always
replays versions of itself for its own amusement.

he was born at the end of the war to end all wars
— then fought in the next one that came along.

on the ground, at Iwo Jima, survived snipers — & a booby
trap which blew him 15 feet from where he stood.

from the air, over Japan, flew B29s & dropped
bombs — then carried their weight the rest of his life.

he helped the Twin Towers go up
— then like everyone else, watched them come down.

married in 46 & remained happily wed
— until Rose’s death last summer. 

yet always — he carried a void with him.
i was that void. Samuel. twin. died 1919.

taken by two pandemics — a century apart.
a life lived — & one that only watched.

the irony of our deaths — is my brother
& i are bookends on a shelf that never ends.

Day 29 — the end of my GloWriMoPo 2-part poem experiment

29 Emergency.jpg

While I don’t think this poem works as well as I hoped it might, I was keen to complete because I thought it an interesting idea & I wanted to try & show in semi-poetic sense how acts of non-isolation impact others. Given a chance I’d restructure the first part giving me more flexibility in part 2. And once this month’s all over, & I’ve recovered, I might just do that.

Here’s the link to the first part if you want a refresher.

*****

Quarantine: part 2

what Donnie did this week

1. the days in bed didn’t help
he ended up being rushed to hospital
where he’s spent the last week
on a ventilator …

a selection of consequences of the things Donnie did instead of staying home

1. Plane
several people at Donnie’s church feel unwell.
including the pastor who has performed three funerals in the past 48 hours.
the lady that prepares the community meals hasn’t come in for days
one of the cabin crew felt feverish in Perth a couple of days later
  but had to work a flight back to her home Brisbane
  before she could self isolate.
her housemates have been looking after her.  

2. Shops
1st time. the check out girl who served him caught what Donnie has
 — but as she’s a casual with no sick leave
   she’s been at work every day since.
2nd time. the woman who used his trolley after him has a cough.
3rd time. when he coughed without covering his mouth
   the butcher couldn’t avoid breathing some in.

3. Grandmother
his grandmother died
   (though she has lots of loo paper in reserve).

4. Beach
thankfully Donnie encountered no one at the beach.

5. Haircut
his barber has come down sick.
his barber’s young son too.
  & the mum of the kid next door who looks after him after kindy.
his barber’s son’s kindy teacher is sick, but has recovered.
  her mother has not.
his barber’s parents are also feeling ill.

6. Bus
three passengers that Donnie coughed near are sick,
   including one who has CF: she has been hospitalised
   & is in a critical condition
one of the nurses at the hospital is so overwhelmed
   he’s contemplating suicide.
the single mother he sat next to is having trouble breathing.
   she doesn’t know who’s going to look after her young son.
two high school students had the virus without even really knowing.
their English teacher was not so lucky.
the driver has died.

7. Mates
Gary felt crook but kept going to work.
Gary’s boss has a fever.
Greg too felt a bit funny, but stayed home in bed.
Greg’s wife is now in bed too (& not in the fun way).
Greg’s wife’s mum dropped off some soup for them.
   and did a bit of tidying up.
   now she’s having trouble breathing.
Bill is fine.

today
… sadly Donnie
has recovered.

Day 05 – my first ever 2 part GloWriMoPo(em)

Sick at home with high fever

Um, this still isn’t the poem I promised yesterday; that’s the “trouble” when there’s lots of ideas bouncing round all the time. (You might get that poem one day or you might not.)

But this isn’t quite the poem I was hoping to present today either — hence the brillo idea of making it a 2 part poem. Part 2 will make it’s way onto these pages in a week or so. (I love it when form & content inform each other.)

*****

Quarantine: part 1

8 things Donnie did last week instead of staying at home

1. Disembarked the Ruby Princess … & caught a plane back to Adelaide
2. Bought some toilet paper, he had plenty … but was on the shelf so why not
3. Visited his grandmother, gave her a hug … & the loo paper too cos she was out
4. Spent the day at the beach … probably the last warm day before winter
5. Got his hair cut, sneezed once or twice … those chemicals always set him off
6. Caught the bus, coughing as he did … people looked at him, big deal
7. Returned to the shop three times … cos he kept forgetting things
8. Visited a few mates for a brew … though Bill, the bastard, wouldn’t let him in

What Donnie’s doing this week

1. Feeling under the weather … so decided to have a couple of days in bed

Day 02 – the apocalypse tiptoes slowly in

02 Villette

Hmmm, another nice one. When does the apocalypse get here?

Patience, I’m going over some of the books I’ve been reading recently & gathering all the bits I need. Soon the dystopias will start.

*****

slippage

what is being termed
social isolation by every
suddenly ultraexpert
medical practitioner
& socialmedia maestro
on the digital planet
sounds less like weeks
of solo soul hellage
cut off from the world
& all that other so-called
                         important stuff

& more like a couple
of normal gareth days
slipping stretchtinglingly
into several lazy idyllic
weeks of sublime solitude
— even if that slippage
means i’m not sure whether
it’s sunday or september
(so long as nasty things like
curve flattening & latest
statistics are somehow
                          over looked)

 

Photo: Villette enjoying a lazy autumn day at home, unaware of the term, “social isolation”. (Also, I didn’t realise she too is half-slipping until I uploaded the pic, so a double whammy)

Day 22 – And now for something completely different …

This began as a draft in January. I have redrafted, edited  & posted it today for obvious reasons. It is the first poem this month not generated via Word Games.

grieving kangaroos

we live in a world, where, when a beloved famousity
dies, social media bloodbaths into a whirlpool : wailing
wallowing, teethgnashing, pedastooling, & deifying —
alongside attacks, assassinations & ruthless debunking.

since we have capacity to celebrate celebrity demises
en masse, it has become de rigueur to do so : vehemently
& publicly with status updates & changed profile pics
alerting the indifferent world of your immense loss.

trolls rumble from caves, dragging into the light
their democratic right to demonise — reminding us :
fame isn’t bestowed solely on saints & that as much
darkness lurks under the skins of those we idolise.

meanwhile, the day-to-day tragedies go ever on, untweeted
— as do the friends, daughters, grandsons of those left …

kangaCROP