Of Protests and Pandemics

Fractures persist in the criminal justice system.
So we choose to resist.
Meanwhile
An infection spreads,
Using worldwide connections to extend its reach.
The divide has never been wider
(Or Whiter)
Between the haves and have-nots.
This year is clearly
Determined to sear
Itself onto our collective memories.
But perhaps this time of unrest is for the best.
Granted, this trial by virus
Feels like the strike of a viper
Disinclined to let go
Until the flow of venom is spent.
But protests and calls for reform
Bring more than fury and woe.
They bring change.
And changing to better treat the people we meet
Is never a bad thing.

The Social Distancing Limerick

My day-to-day life hasn’t changed
Since quarantine was arranged.
I just work in my house
With no time to grouse
Since life on this Earth turned strange.

And as time goes on in this way
With no friends to hear what I say
Even though I’m not sick
The distance hurts quick
Since we’ve all learned to self-isolate.

But we must stand strong and take heart
To give doctors and nurses a start
We can flatten the curve
If we just have the nerve
To stay home and do our damn part.

In the Eyes of a Dog (a poem)

Purpose in life
Is hard to find,
Yet a need we have to know
What we’re supposed
To do.

Too often I feel
Like a face without a heel;
No one to want
My likes or my thoughts
Or my time.

But this fluffy animal
That sniffs piss and offal
Apparently craves my self all day,
Without hesitation or delay,
Always.

She yearns for my affection,
Attention a delightful confection.
If I am not near,
It’s almost as if she fears
I’ll forget her.

And it’s at moments like these
When in the eyes of a dog I see
There’s at least one reason
For a person like me
To be.

Ode to Oatmeal

What is there to really say about oatmeal?
I suppose I owe it thanks for all
The good it does my cholesterol.

But still, that does not encompass how I feel
While munching that mess in my mouth,
Its fiber sending my stomach’s contents south.

It takes very little to prepare
Beyond small oats and water, plus hot air.
Its texture is what seems unique;
Chewing mush takes some technique.
But though oatmeal my doctor recommends,
To Hell it will my taste buds send.

The Dubious Pleasure of Poetry

I have a love/hate relationship with poetry.

Let’s start with why I hate it.

The medium hasn’t always called to me. It’s always felt like the abstract expressionism of the literary world. (For those of you who don’t know, I have an abiding dislike for abstract expressionism. I can’t understand what those blocks of color have to do with art. There is no meaning behind a rectangle.) At times, poems can be beautiful. However, sometimes poems are just nonsense.

I once had to do an analysis on Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz–when I died,” and it was the strangest assignment I ever had. It’s a short poem, full of statements that I couldn’t understand, and themes made inscrutable by blunt words. I have since grown to appreciate the meaning the poem must have had for Dickinson, but when I was young, all I could think was, “What the actual fuck is this?”

I’ve tried my hand at writing poems, but I don’t think I’m any good. (For my latest Below Average attempt, check out this post over here!) I second-guess myself whenever I write anything that seems the least bit artsy-fartsy. Plus, I hate to come across as whiny, and I think poems have the tendency to bring that out in me. Poems are a great way to express yourself, but I’d hate for mine to turn into petulant, pre-teen-Amanda diary entries.

Now, let’s talk about why I love poems.

I adore the way my lips can form around succulent verses. Poems can be collections of the best, least-used words in your language. I don’t need to have rhymes everywhere, but a well-turned phrase gets my poetry boner going.

And I love mirroring that kind of word choice in poems of my own. I like gathering my favorite words together in a basket and then sprinkling them around the field that is a pen and paper.

Oof. I sound hoity-toity, don’t I?

My two, all-time favorite poems are “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver and “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot. If you haven’t read them, I’ve included links that should take you straight to them.

I’ve been puzzling over whether to include poetry in this blog (since I had so much fun making my last one), but I’m still undecided.

What do you guys think? Should I give it a whirl? Or should I leave that hippie-dippie, touchy-feely stuff out of this blog?

Ode to a Pretzel

The twisted, salty sweetness of your dough
Causes my poor stomach to ache
With a longing I cannot mistake.

To be without you is a certain woe.
I need those buttery pretzels
That can only be found in lame malls.

Baseball pretzels will not do:
Expensive and too dry to boot.
The crunchy ones just make me sick;
Salty, small, and not as thick.
The only pretzels I want to get
Are ones that later give my bowels regret.