Diary of a Plague Year Part 7

  1. Life During Pandemic[1]
Justin Trudeau coronavirus

Photo: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick.

Month three in lockdown

and it’s time for another

Justin Trudeau Moment,

as he steps out like Evil Spock[2]


in a dark blue overcoat, doing his best

President in the Rose Garden act.

Fitting that the symbol

of the Mirror Universe is a sword,


“Divide and conquer” its method.

Not rocket science at all. Meanwhile,

people you’ve known for years

become distant or aggressive


or simply burrow in as deep

as they can go, heads well below

the parapet. “It’s lonely at the tip

of the spear,” said my brother.


Streets heavy as decades-old

silence, a soundless string about

to snap. The conformity

most terrifying of all. Thinning


membrane of community

at the tip of a needle, delicate

threads pulled apart by coarse,

greedy hands with machine minds.


Eliot’s Waste Land an eerie dream

of the future already here—

a civilization gone vacant

of soul. Contact, people.


We live or die by it.


©2020 Sean Arthur Joyce

[1] A take-off on the Talking Heads song “Life During Wartime,” released 1979, which includes the lyrics: “My chest is aching, burns like a furnace / The burning keeps me alive / Try to stay healthy, physical fitness / Don’t want to catch no disease / Try to be careful, don’t take no chances / You better watch what you say…”

[2] “Evil Spock” is a reference to Star Trek, the original series, specifically the episode “Mirror, Mirror,” in which Spock, Captain Kirk, and the rest of the Enterprise crew meet their doppelgangers in an alternate or parallel universe. Instead of the benign exploration mission of the original Enterprise, however, the alternate Federation is an intergalactic army of brutal conquest.

About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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