So Long, NaPoWriMo

blue chicago 2

National Poetry Writing Month is at an end. My inspiration for today’s poem is a prompt from April 26th, which challenged us to respond to an “almanac questionnaire” and write a poem based on our responses.

Almanac – Spring 2020

by Jan Brown

The mayor is angry again, and her ire
will not land lightly on the masses–
those uncivilized civilians
who amass in the sunless park
sans social distance. How very long
it has taken us to come together!

And what a sense of timing.

Our bungalows stand proud
behind rows of crocus, indestructible hosta
and evergreen shrubs. Down the street,
an American shorthair hunts
for the missing betta fish
who committed suicide overnight.

Was his bowl too small, or was he
just a badass jumper?

Our elderly neighbor also passed
last night. She used to sew
dresses for proms and quinceaneras,
fantasy laden gowns for hopeful girls.
But there are no celebrations now.
No dream dresses this year.

This year, she crafted face masks
from the sparkly scraps of the past.

No one believes in Prince Charming
anymore. No man can save us
except Dr. Fauci.

Across the berm, freight cars stand
silent sentry, but do not stop the artist
who plies his trade across the stranded steel.
They pause, perhaps with stocks of PPE
more valuable than gold. I wonder
if the painter senses precious cargo.

Or do they carry caskets assembled
in haste by overwhelmed carpenters,
artisans, factory technicians, precision
robots, worn out and weary?

Sunday drives alone–sixty miles
to fields of corn and soybeans
exuding rays of quixotic hope,
longing to be transformed into fuel
or exported to faraway kitchen tables
and faceless factories.

Will we really need more ethanol to fuel
Sunday drives on lonely highways?

Dusk falls with a silvered mist, nearly
indistinguishable from our dreary day
were it not for a sliver of moon.
Police disburse anti-social non-distancers
to the various communities,
corners and crevices whence they came.

Hoping they can be drunk and disordered
at home like the rest of us.

Home. Once a haven.
Will anyone ever sleep again?
Ironically, we warm to cool blue
nightlights–TV pictures of a skyline
grateful to those who
keep it lit.

Looking for peace, hope
and love wherever
we can find it.


#LightItBlue – Landmarks lit in honor of essential workers

#LightItBlue – Slide show of Chicago buildings lit to honor essential workers

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