Our story starts as the song began
to play, asking where should one begin,
astonished at how great a love can be.
‘Twas not as infectious as the Time of Cholera
not as romantic as Marquez’s novela clásica,
or perhaps it is, in its own right, our own right.
Those were the days of living dangerously
in these islands fair, an archipelagic country
our chains were shorter and barking was difficult
as it was the first time, postwar, we’ve gone to the dogs
and the fake war hero proclaimed himself emperor
edifices hid the emptying of coffers by the great robbers
in the guise of benevolence, murderers drew terrors.
We survived the winters of Canberra
judged as mild by the lands of auroras
and back in the humid slopes of the tropics
perspiring to survive the inhospitable heat
and when respite’s within reach, suddenly
Yolandas of all sorts would pass by
and humbled, but still composed
we stood our ground. It seems the force
was with us, whatever that means.
Natural selection favored us, or did it?
These days are the times when little things
mean a whole lot more. Perhaps far more
than old friends and friends of Old
recount, Kitty Kallens of night shifts
and days of overtime work down under
in the land of gums and wattles
and jumping moms with their joeys.
Memories of the immense joys
that chancing upon an Aussie two-dollar coin brings
along the road to Civic – enough to buy veggies
to be mixed with instant Chinese noodles or some
fish and chips for a late brekkie. The grasses
on the friendly neighbors’ lawns are frozen
and could not be mowed and manicured
to yield ten dollars an hour. No weekend three hours.
And yet, and still, we lived. Had a life, our lives.
These days, indeed, little things
mean a whole lot more. Social distancing.
That’s the rule. And so we blow a kiss
from across the room. But tell me I’m nice
only after I’ve showered and changed my clothes
to decent office wear. We’re officially on work from home
so please don’t take a video of me sleeping on the couch
or singing a line or two on online videoke channel.
Can’t touch your hair, until I’ve washed my hands
with soap and water while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice
- no more alcohol nor sanitizer in the supermarkets -
nor pass near one’s chair. We’re on self-quarantine,
fearing unwanted previous exposure to the dreaded,
dreadful Wuhan virus, while shopping, and holding hands
while walking. The long-term asthmatic cough a suspect.
And we better be detained as no formal charge is possible
no trial could be done in a fair court, for we are the victims,
actual or potential, imagined or real, pauper or royal.
COVID19 is the villain in this so grandiose reality
of a horror booth show, and its molecules point to an ancestry
related to the bats or the pangolin or the engineering laboratory.
The plot is set with the sweet unraveling of our love – we need
not hoard this feeling, our hearts aren’t rolls of Oz tissue paper.
Love has evolutionary history – the length of time’s an eon of we,
approaching senior years but still together, gracefully, lovingly
growing old in decades-long phylogeny – a novel, a love story
that will go beyond this Covidocene, this epoch, this age that’s crazy
and full of misery - brought to life human’s inhumanity.
But still no choice but to give another chance, patiently,
to the forever young Muse named Hope, shall we, shouldn’t we?
as the WHO preaches that ‘Solidarity is the Key.’
written for World Poetry Day 2020