When the lockdown and quarantine first started in the United States in March 2020, I had so much free time that I wandered parts of Tucson to take photos. I cannot remember if this was on the University of Arizona campus or if it was just south of campus. I took many photos walking to campus and then many more while I was on campus. The palm trees in Tucson all blend together after a while. Though they weren’t anywhere near each other on the ground, from my perspective looking up, all these trees looked like a group of friends meeting for lunch. They didn’t get the memo about social distancing. This was one of many gorgeous days we had during lockdown.
In celebration of World Poetry Day 2020, I offer to you all a previously unpublished poem. Share a poem of yours or your favorite poem in the comments!
All My Keys Don’t Have Locks
Blue black barriers
You can’t talk to invisible monsters
Needles hold happy thoughts
Bottles carry the anger
Suitcases weigh two tons
Dreams only come true if you buy them
The kitty cat kicks around the conundrum
Who has time for fairy tale partners
The tattooed trees don’t speak anymore
Death’s doorknob dangles
The sidewalk’s grift is flawless
I want the boardgame to end
Before anything with this virus happened anywhere, I lived an uneventful life. Since October, I’ve limited going out and other social activities. My main goal was to save money. I filed for bankruptcy. Worked many jobs. I had seven W-2s when I filed my taxes for 2019. I haven’t seen some friends in months. Other friends don’t want to see me. Despite several jobs, I had to watch my money and buy cheaper food. Ramen. Rice. Spaghetti. I managed. I knew my financial situation would improve at the end of March. That’s when I’ll finish paying my attorney fees for the bankruptcy.
Then the pandemic happened. I lost income because a couple of my jobs are in entertainment. They canceled the events. I also work part-time in a coffee shop. A national chain that I won’t mention here. They have cut back operating hours. All my coworkers and myself are losing hours. With the cut in income, my shopping essentials are more important. But the grocery store is out of all the things I often buy. Everyone else panic bought all the cheap stuff. I have to spend more than I usually do, but I can still manage.
To add insult to injury, everything in Tucson closes around 6pm or 8pm except the grocery store. And everything in grab and go only. I can’t go anywhere to get out of the house. Not even to read a book. I understand why. I’m not complaining about the reason behind these decisions. I’m only documenting my experience. Sometimes getting away from the house, a change of scenery, is comforting. My options were always coffee shops and libraries. I don’t have any friends I spend time with anymore. I don’t spend time with anyone. Now I’m not allowed to sit in any coffee shops and the city closed the libraries.
When all this is over, everyone will go back to their normal routine. I’ll sit in coffee shops again and buy the food I always buy. Otherwise, my routine will remain the same. Others may look back on these weeks as something exciting. That time they had to focus on survival. I’ve only known survival. I don’t know what normal life feels like. I imagine things will pick up for me by the end of the year. There is a gloom of uncertainty hovering over the future. I’ve only known survival and I know I’ll survive this. Don’t forget what it felt like to lose everything you took for granted. Stay safe readers.