Tag Archives: coronavirus

6:30 A.M. Vicarious Pleasures: NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 5

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6:30 A.M. Vicarious Pleasures

My day is a guest who arrives too early,
starting the party without me to the insistent drumbeat
of a distant all-night party not yet over.

Its music sketches a portrait of my distant past:
wild nights, the sharp bite of tequila,
casual passion draped across my back.

Kukla the girl cat’s clever claws push me from my bed. 
Other than her insistent cries for desayuno,
this new day written across my life
comes with invisible directions. 

It smells like fresh-blooming plumeria
and tastes like Nescafé with Coffee-Mate and stevia.

It is too tame, this safe life with so many hand-washings
that they rise to my tongue and foam as I speak to myself in the mirror,
keeping six feet of distance even with myself
as I wait for the arrival and my capture
by this distant threat creeping ever closer.

Sangre de Cristo,” mutters Jesus the water vendor,
taking his own name in both vein and vain as he
reminds me to keep my distance—
La señora, no matter how generous a tipper, now a threat.
I sweep his footsteps from the doorway,
set them on fire and gather their ashes for a poem.

The birds sing their way into my verses,
as does the snake that lies coiled in my kitchen sink.
I taste the language of all of them,
real life as surreal as any dream—
this world a wasp nest,
each of us sealed up in our individual cell.

Without a life, I write one for myself.
You are invited to join it here on my sanitary screen.
Make your rejoinders more clever than Alexa’s or Siri’s,
so I can dispense with the both of them.
Imagine me touching your words I cannot hear,
and make them less sharp than what you might be feeling.


A stream of family music from below
flows up the mountainside to pool in my ears.
I breathe the perfume of that family.
I savor its taste—tamarind, lime and salt,

the homeyness of bland tortillas—
and hope they are kept safe there.

I’m combining six prompts today. The five word prompts today are clever, portrait, distant, capture and arrival. I’m combining them with the NaPoWriMo Day 5 prompt which includes 20 explicit directions. To read other poems written to this prompt, go HERE.

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

A Recap of the Last Three Weeks by James Tabeek

Thanks to the “anonymous” reader who just let me know who wrote this. I had tried to track the person down who wrote this but there had been 2,000 shares from the source where I saw it by the time it got to me–evidently all without attribution. I now see that there have been approximately 8,000 more from his own Facebook siteI hate to print anything without attribution, but this was just too good not share, so I’m glad to now remedy this. Here is his Facebook site. Brilliant: https://www.facebook.com/james.tabeek

A RECAP OF THE LAST THREE WEEKS*

AMERICA: Oh my god! Coronavirus! What should we do?

CALIFORNIA: Shut down your state.

AMERICA: Wait… what? Why?

CALIFORNIA: Because 40 million people live here and we did it early, and it’s working.

NEBRASKA: Whoa… whoa… let’s not be hasty now. The President said that this whole coronavirus thing is a Democratic hoax.

CALIFORNIA: He also said that windmills cause cancer. Shut down your state.

TEXAS: But the President said that we only have 15 cases and soon it’ll be zero.

CALIFORNIA: The President can’t count to fifteen nor even spell it. Shut down your state.

NEW JERSEY: Us too?

CALIFORNIA: Yes, you guys too. Just like when Christie shut down the bridge, but it’s your whole state.

FLORIDA: But what about all these kids here on spring break?? They spend a lot of money here!

CALIFORNIA: Those kids invented the Tide pod challenge. Shut down your state.

LOUISIANA: But wait let’s have Mardi Gras first. It entertains people.

CALIFORNIA: It also kills them. Shut it down.

GEORGIA: Ok well how about we keep the state open for all of our mega churches? Maybe we can all pray really hard until the coronavirus just goes away!

CALIFORNIA: Which is working like a charm for mass shootings. Jesus told us to tell you to shut down your state.

OKLAHOMA: What about the tigers?

CALIFORNIA: What about a dentist. Shut it down.

WYOMING: Hold up, maybe we should go county by county like the president said.

CALIFORNIA: Stop acting like there are counties in Wyoming. There are no counties in Wyoming. Wyoming is a county. Shut it down.

PENNSYLVANIA: But big coal.

CALIFORNIA: But big death. Shut it.

WEST VIRGINIA: But we were the last state to get coronavirus!

CALIFORNIA: And don’t make us explain to you why that was. Shut it down.

NORTH CAROLINA: But the Republican National Convention is coming here!

CALIFORNIA: SHUT… OK, fine, do what you want.

What’s for Lunch?

So I had just sat down to my lunch and Forgottenman Skyped. I described what I was eating and he said, “Photo?” So now, 35 minutes later my soup is cold and I’m down to three fried wontons, having consumed approximately two per photo shoot. In every one, the soup looked gray, the wontons greasy…so I had to keep trying. Here they are with all their warts:

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The wontons are chicken and cilantro, the homemade soup chicken, broth, onions, green beans, potatoes, corn, onions, rice, sour cream, salsa  and—that’s all I can remember. I notice an increasing amount of food being discussed since our sequestering. Do you? 

Wiling away the Time: Microwave Cup Cakes

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Reading Nigella’s recipe for lockdown cookies (cookies made with the ingredients you happen to have on hand since the lockdown) I was prompted to give you this recipe for last-minute Microwave Chocolate Cup (literally) Cakes.

I spent a week cooking every day and storing it all away in the freezer at the beginning of my sequestering and now I’m too lazy to do much except write, organize drawers and cupboards and swing in the hammock with Morrie, but when I have a yen for chocolate, I do have this easy recipe for chocolate cake cooked in the microwave in a cup!

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/8 teaspoon soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well in a coffee cup and microwave on high for 1 minute, 45 seconds. (I always cook it longer–2 minutes or more depending on your microwave. I also always wish I had chocolate chips and walnuts to add but never do.) Better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Why us?

(Click on first image and then arrows to enlarge all.)

Why Us?

How pedestrian my life has become––this human zoo narrowed down to one cage, the only fortune now available—bad fortune. The modern plague is now upon us and we are all engaged in this one big gamble: to live our former lives or to be safe. Do we chance a girlfriend or a boyfriend? Risk a grandchild’s health by one short encounter?  We treat this threat as though it is a new one, whereas it has been always with us, with lesser odds.

The birds call just as loudly outside with equal variety as before the onslaught. Cattle in their fields mill and low. The bats swarm out each night and sneak back under roof tiles without my detection as I lie slumbering ten feet away.

The world has not changed that much except for us, cowering in our safe and comfortable caves. Why us? Why only us? The question we should consider.

 

Words of the day are pedestrian, gamble, zoo, fortune and girlfriend.