This Side of the Covid

By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

Drive-Through Covid Testing and Bladder Control

Just waiting in a car-queue, something new
Every hour up a hundred yards or so
Readings on the MePhone, a book or two
And good ol’ Morning Al on the radio

Clutch, go, brake, clutch, inches at a time, wait
News on the up hour, and news on the down
Scan the QR code, number, name, and date
For the nice lady in a mask and gown

Hold your head forward, now strike a pose
Then up my nose the little swabbie-thing goes…

(And that’s all. Boring, eh?)


This Side of the Covid

The Covid still is spinning me around
And flinging random thoughts against the roof
The bat-cave roof of this cosmic centrifuge
Whoops-a-go with a plastic temperature

And here’s a finger for the oxygen thing
With which to touch a passing ice-cream dream
And clutch it to a forest long sacrificed
For all the snot-paper I needed last week

So if, dear friends, I fail to make any sense
My words are piled in drifts along the fence

I think.

Maybe.


“This Waiting Room of the World”
I’ve always found this a trying time of the year. The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go. Frosty mornings gone. Sunny mornings not yet come. Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time, not this waiting room of the world.
-Jack in Shadowlands

Slow raindrops are the pulse that marks the time
Which falls with them upon the browning leaves
Each one of them a railway station bench
In a darkened world where trains have ceased to run

The ticket window is closed the rest of the day
But someone says the local will run tomorrow
Maybe around two if the tracks are cleared
Of all the hopes that seem to block the line

But maybe not, for nothing seems to move
And the journeys of life are forbidden to us


Follow the Science Down Rabbit Holes

Infections are up and deaths are ‘way down
Or is it that infections are down and deaths are up?
Schools must be closed and the restaurants open
Or schools must be open and restaurants closed

Vaccinations are available, except when they’re not
And are necessary for all, except when they’re not
And masks are necessary, except when they’re not
And Saint Blaise blessed us at some thirty feet 1

The captains and kings 2 and whitecoats falter
And the rest of us
Can only leave all at the foot of the Altar

1 Per the bishop’s order, throats were blessed at a distance in petition to Saint Blaise, with the priest adding, “And we can hope there is a blessing.”

2 Kipling, “Recessional”


“San Francisco Sues its Own School District to Reopen Classes”
-Associated Press

Student Voices:

“I need help in understanding Don Quixote”
“Karamazov for me,” replies her friend
“For Christmas I received the Q edition
of The Oxford Book of English Verse,” says another

(And the Board exclaims, “The Q edition!? Eeeeeeek!”)

“I’m prepping Latin with our parish priest”
“Well, I’m tackling The Faerie Queene this year”
“I’m writing our class play in iambic hexameter”
“I wish I could read Pushkin in the original Russian”

(And the Board asks, “Pushkin? What’s their team like this season?”)

Student Chorus:

“We’ve got to study harder, everyone agrees
Lest we be as dense as our school’s trustees”


What Face Mask is Appropriate for an Evening Wedding?

Color-coordinating your face mask
Matching it to the tie, belt, socks, or shoes
Is now a fashion challenge in taste, a task
Good hygiene in bright reds or subdued blues

Is this mask for the bride’s side, or the groom’s
And is the reception a barbecue
Or dancing through a mansion’s stately rooms
A truly masked ball with a harbor view

The only real problem in fitting a mask –
Does it make my face look wide? That’s all I ask!

What do you think?

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