California

Number 9 in 30 in 30, a series of writing challenges. Over the course of 30 days (sometimes even in a row!), I will draft a post within 30 minutes. This 30-day theme is: News Stories. Today’s writing was inspired by an article about increasing fires in California.

She woke in the wake of a nightmare
that didn’t seems to scare her.
A bomb in the distance
The percussion of it through her body
Unconscious – but living – people around her.

These could not match the poison sky
that hovered over the city for
going on two days.

Windows and doors closed against the breeze
the apartment more of a prison than it had been these
five?
six?
months.

Quarantine reigned in the face of the novel virus
and the exhaustion showed in the people
as she made her way to get provisions for the day.

Groups gathered maskless
on the sidewalks for brunch,
their food peppered with ash,
their bubbly conversations
spoken in sepia tone.

They all needed a skip day
from the dying of what was
and the uncertainty of what was to be.

College Covid

Number ## in 30 in 30, a series of writing challenges. Over the course of 30 days (sometimes even in a row!), I will draft a post within 30 minutes. This 30-day theme is: News Stories. Today’s writing was inspired by XXX.

Welcome, freshmen and returning students, to the best years of your life, filled with new freedoms, adventures, and – of course – knowledge. Your very first time living away from your parents, out from under their thumbs, their rules. We are so glad you have elected to come to campus even though we are offering significantly safer courses online.

As you explore this new world, please keep the following rule in mind: do not come within six feet of anyone, ever.

Please maintain this distance even in your dorm rooms. We have provided six foot wooden sticks in every room to help you ensure proper distance. Each of you hold one end of the stick at all times when in the room together. Easy! Think of it as your own little danse macabre. How fun!

Oh, and while sleeping, please ensure that you are facing away from each other. And wear a mask.

In fact, just wear a mask at all times. Including – even especially – in the dorm showers. Those things gave up a long time ago on preventing anything: athlete’s foot, herpes, and now Covid.

Outside of the dorm, all activities and parties – formal and informal – have been cancelled and are prohibited. All that new found freedom has to be used for solo undertakings only.

Which brings me us to sex. Masturbation only, please. As I said: solo activities. This is an immensely reasonable rule, and we are confident that you will all comply.

That’s it! So in summary: stay from everyone, stay alone, fuck yourself, and wear those masks!

Have a great year!

Oh! One quick announcement: Campus will be closing today at 5PM due to a coronavirus outbreak among on-campus faculty. Please pack up your things and leave immediately.

Thank you!

Rituals

30 in 30 is a series of writing challenges. Over the course of 30 days (perhaps even in a row!), I will draft a post within 30 minutes. This 30-day theme is: News Stories. Today’s writing was inspired by an article on how Peru is cremating the dead instead of burying them, as is custom.

I said goodbye
to my papaw
my last living grandparent
on Zoom
and a week later watched
his funeral
livestreamed
(the irony is not lost on me)

Ten mourners permitted
lost behind masks
Our shared emotions
stolen too

In other times
before times
after times
(ojalá)
we would gather together
and hold each other
in sorry
in memory
the rituals of death
our healing

In the now times
we have only
wounds

Looking Up

30 in 30 is a series of writing challenges. Over the course of 30 days (maybe even in a row!), I will draft a post within 30 minutes. This 30-day theme is: News Stories. Today’s writing comes from an article about the surge in kite sales in India during the pandemic.

A flutter
of paper wings
glides over
the hot summer sky

The kite carries
all of its family’s
yearning,
a life line tethered
to their balcony

Children chase
each other

Lovers tangle
their strings

Adventurers reach
higher
higher
higher
until
the kite escapes
its bounds
to explore the world
newly lost

Oh, what joy
to set your heart free
again