Distancing 37 

New York, May 2020


If, from my ashes, surreptitiously scattered in the park, dumped into a sound or an ocean, Czechoslovakians might be born, we could then possibly transcend, finally, nation-states on our paper holograms. That the land instead become Central Europe, the Balkans Southeast Europe, no longer Balkanized. Not or but and. Turtles do not reincarnate; they simply keep on living. Trudging their beds from Dhakar to Berlin, fine-tuning the difference between their RAM and their hard drive. An order of passing.

The newspaper said. My mouth kisses no carnations, especially pink ones, nor chrysanthemums. Give me peonies; give me no imminent lips but those I will kiss for decades to come. Their absences just a bit less conspicuous this year, for I am ensconced this spring, trying to soften my shell. I make no pilgrimages to pay my respects, to the cemetery or to a lux, overpriced Sunday brunch. Tulips fill the sidewalks, dogwoods, apple blossoms, purple allium bulbs, bearded irises. Laid bare, casting away niceties, the pretense of normalcy; the precariat’s willow, weeping, hyperventilating now.

Even as we fear it sneaking upon us from Hades or Mictlantecuhtli, it pounces from above. Upon 100,000 so far, in this country alone, with its flight restrictions, Zapata County eminent domain. Whether 5 or 100, premature.

From glistening crowns and serrated border walls, from wars and a reliance upon seasons. From fear of paper ballots, from daily conferences. From growing up with sickness as sin and muscling through. The spike, envelope, and membrane proteins create a casing, fusing with the host cell, inflaming alveoli, filling our upside down trees with fluid and debris. Ground-glass opacity, but microbes are but pawns. By executive order, 3,000 steaks a minute, slicing their shoulders. By 1,000 cuts, by a million, by a trillion. From efficiency, most vulnerable, bits of tenderloin. By executive order, whether 5 or 100, veal.



Spring is typically when we flirt, when we unearth, when we speech, when we speech more, with. Others commune with the dead after the harvest moon, my family sweeps tombs after the spring equinox. The sight of her toddling-- quickly, like a penguin-- to the window several times a day, standing there like a cat in a children’s storybook. A cozy perch, or a prison, or a portal. Give me rainbow hair at golden hour, a mid-morning engagement party on the sidewalk, with cheesy-ass saxophone in the light rain. To maintain noise as a social practice. To console her, all those I hope remain implacable. Inspired by Turrell, I attempt to make peace with the shifting elements, but I read that he shut down his installation in the Queens Museum. Now, a luxury condo scrapes the sky he framed.