It was inevitable. At some point someone was going to challenge me to write a sonnet about Covid-19. Despite my science background, I was mostly inspired by the roadwork at the corner of Highway 86 and State route 22.
Behind the cones
Workers dismissed, how long for, they don’t know.
Equipment lying folded by the street’s
half torn-up surface; they’ve been here for weeks –
the crane, the gravel truck, the red back-hoe,
all wondering if they’re going to start again.
It’s been a month now since the workers left –
something is wrong – the world’s been set adrift
and they are out here rusting in the rain
that’s also started to erode the work
they’ve done so far. Nature takes back the earth
freed from the blacktopl strange kind of rebirth
spawned from the fear of one small viral quirk.
One day when covid-19’s finally gone
the work behind the cones will carry on.
Having gotten to the point in life where I can order from the senior menu, I was eligible to enter the 55+ show “Visions: A gathering of Elders”, and this was it turned out the last time I was able to go to a gathering before the world imploded. True that people were observing precautions such as elbow bumps vs. handshakes, but otherwise it seems that the elder wisdom was the same as for having a bad cold. Don’t cough on people, and go home and feel sorry for yourself for two weeks.
A few years back I was travelling from Southern California for a show in Bellevue – right next door to Seattle. It’s a two day drive, pretty much up the entire west coast of the US. I had kinda planned on stopping just north of the Oregon border, but didn’t make firm plans as I figured I wasn’t sure if my tiredness would get me that far, or my awakeness would let me press on further. I’d actually spotted a well-priced motel in my aim area, and sure enough, just as California disappeared in the rear view mirror, the eyelids started to droop.
I pulled off the road at what appeared to be a motel-bearing town in this rural stretch of Interstate 5. Miraculously I passed the very motel I’d seen on the internet. The parking lot was only half full. It was late, though. The office only had a dim light on. I knocked on the door. In a few moments the motel clerk appeared.
In fairness to the man, he was obviously of Indian origin – India Indian, not Native American. Different culture. I asked ‘Is there room at the inn?’ ‘No,’ he replied. Oh, ok, nevermind, I thanked him and turned to leave. I’d gotten as far as the truck when he came out after me. ‘I have room at the other end!’ Huh?
Turns out he’d misheard me as ‘Is there room at the end?’ and had completely missed the Christmas reference! In his further defense, he’d only been in the US about 5 months.
Here’s another sonnet inspired by the work of my peers – Pete – another artist I know from art fairs in Southern California, creates kaliedoscopes.
They might be colored or quite plain outside;
all understate the beauty that’s within,
the most amazing starburst hid inside –
just put it to your eye and you begin
to see the fireworks bursting on your eyes,
riot of twinkles emphasized by sun
or lamp or kitchen light – always surprise
and never the same, but guaranteed, it’s fun.
Much better than taking some kind of bad drug –
and good for kids! No age limit to awe
of sparkles, vibrant dance of shapes, the tug
of gravity on confetti’s what you saw.
When stress is high and you don’t think you can cope,
sit down and pick up your kaleidoscope.
We all tend to get a little bit bitchy when we’re setting up. Everything has to look nice, plus we have a deadline to get set up, and we’re perhaps discovering something that’s forgotten or broken or misplaced. Maybe we’ve had to wait in line a long time to get loaded in.
Last year at Sedona, there was a couple in the booth across from me who were setting up. I’d not met them before and no, I don’t remember their names, so this is incognito. This husband and wife team had a range of items, some of which went on a panel on the back wall of the booth, and many that went on tables at the front. As they were working together, they were constantly bickering. This goes here, that goes there, where’s such and such, I need your help with this, I can’t I’m busy doing that. On and on.
After about 30 minutes of listening to this banter, which was getting increasingly harsh, I walked over to them and asked “Do I need to throw a bucket of water over you two?” Turns out a good laugh did help, though they admitted that though they have been married many years and still love each other, they’re usually at each other’s throats during setup.
This was inspired by my ex’s doormat, which said ‘Welcome Fishermen and other Liars’.
They say that fishermen will lie a lot.
They’ve time to make up many a fishing tale,
sitting by lake or stream, all day they’ve got
to turn that fingerling catch into a virtual whale.
And when they come home with a two-pound trout,
the only the only worthy product of the day
they’ll think next time the wife won’t let them out.
“You should’ve seen the one that got away!
a five-pound beast, it nearly broke my pole,
my buddy saw how hard it fought the line,
it nearly pulled us both out of the boat,
an eagle swooped and snagged it just in time.
Someone will help with just how to begin
so get out there and fish and reel ’em in!
Last weekend in Palo Alto, we were setting up booths – we start early because there is only one line of traffic allowed down the streets because of the way we set up, so the people on the non-traffic side get there at 5am to set up. By the time we’re done there’s usually a little trash that comes out of the process, and there was with mine.
Walked down the street a little to where I knew there was a trash can next to a neighbor’s booth. This is what I found.
Nice cover. Is it incognito? I wonder which artist got paid to design that?
I asked the artist next to it if it was something of his he’d rested over the can. No, the city people had come round and put the covers on. What? On a day when they expect a lot more people than usual and have many food stands, they close the trash cans. It did not make sense. Fortunately I have a few plastic bags in the box of tricks so I deployed my own trash can behind my desk for myself and my neighbors to use.
Later, when going to the restroom, I found the city had deployed larger trash barrels near the food stands and porta potties, marked recycle and landfill. It’s always interesting to go to different cities and find what is and isn’t regarded as recycle in different places, but I’m not going to do a survey on that. life is not boring enough.