self-isolation is the downbeat of my natural rhythm

after diving headlong into interaction on the upbeat

I must eventually take my leave, overstimulated

like a toddler in need of a nap

retreat to my home and familiar sensory surroundings

to cleanse myself of the world’s static

now, hugs, touch, proximity, un-masked laughter

subtly shifting expressions like changing skies

of friends’ faces, all carefree, spontaneous

human contact has been stripped from public life

the formerly lush landscape laid bare, greenery uprooted

by a viral defoliant, leaving walls of cloth, distance

and a sea of eyes – pleading, vacant, confused



driving home the other day, I saw an elderly woman

struggling to push and drag a pair of wheeled carts

loaded with bags and parcels along the sidewalk

she stumbled and I wanted to turn around,

to help her load her things

into my car and take her home

but that would’ve meant

sharing close quarters with a stranger

so I kept driving, praying for her

and for forgiveness, wondering if

she would have stopped for me



when my heart starts emitting

little pleading helpless sounds

I take it aside and we review

how to operate the blowtorch

of self-determination

the illusion of confinement

melts like fragile wire

made of wax, liquefying

dripping off my reality, leaving

me utterly free and completely

responsible for my liberation

whatever isolation I suffer

is my choice

if I can’t hug you today

I can call you and we can talk

leisurely and deeply and that

can be worth as much

and if I’m to endure restrictions

on my movements or the particularly

intimate imposition of wearing

a mask in public

I can choose to understand the science,

to consciously accept the rational path,

to know it’s the means to an end, and

to cooperate without resentment

toward any source of inconvenience

other than a virus intent on survival

via human refusal to recognize

its power to lay us low

no, I learned long ago to transcend

cages, stroll forth, sing out and celebrate

my terrifying and expansive freedom

late for a Zoom meeting


sorry I was late

not as in a late model car

deceased or pregnant

just late, as in Zooming

nowhere fast, entering

the wrong link and credentials

running down unfamiliar

cyber-hallways, peering through

windowed doors at

empty screens

until I found the key

right where I left it

on the floor of my brain

hay, que pendeja