Thursday, November 19, 2020

For Want Of A Bolt

For want of a bolt, I planted a flower garden
Packed up the push reel, no more mowing the lawn
Back to basics, I planted yams, herbs, flowers, and even tried corn
The zinnias, cosmos and basil took - it was an unexpected dividend

Some of the seeds had arrived in a dubious package
Labeled as wiring cable no doubt to pass through customs
Even though they claimed to be creeping thyme
Seeds and crossed wires an apt parable for globalization
Amazon has now brought this seed trade to a full stop
Buying into fearmongering about sowing the Wuhan crop

Regardless, I've been slowly digging up the grass in the yard
There was a temporary setback, a hail storm disposed of my seedlings
Almost nothing survived, I felt like I missed the growing season
We'll try again next year, nature, as ever, is a wild card

zinnias in effect

For want of ballast, it's been weeks of cooking in the near dark
The kitchen's lighting situation now reminiscent of a well shaded park
The prospect is of a rewiring job without a certified electrician
Circuit breaker peril, unlike Lord Finchley, you should reward the artisan

For want of a dryer, we've been hanging it all on the line
The mildew protocol, we're worried about the creeping signs
The cause was a rattling sound, a spinning mechanical disaster
Still, with the pandemic we've been afraid to call in a repairer
On the off chance that we'll invite into our house a superspreader
The paradox of these times is how to adjust to all this uncertainty
Sometimes you need a live human to exercise the terms of your home warranty

my glorious flowers that someone just walked away with

For want of a policy, we've had wishful thinking
Porous rules and regulations and magic realism
Many rulers don't want to consider social living
And ignore The Mosquito Principle in favor of solipsism

For want of a vaccine, they're pursuing herd immunity
And bristle when questioned on their lack of integrity
Quack cures suggested and curious distractions
From the matter at hand: public health interventions
We got presidential obfuscation, and sleight of hand so sublime
A surfeit of mixed metaphors in a covidious time
Still, the second wave is coming, as is the bread line
Rent is due, and what about those evictions?
Moratoria were mooted without income support provisions


For want of a public health intervention, we've been painting the fence
Self isolation and social distancing our only defense
From the plague of incompetence from a parade of political actors
Instead of a plan, "We would have anticipated that the private sector..."

A mantra based on evidence-free ideology
As if viral RNA cared a whit about "the economy"
A curious narrative of inaction would then unfold
It was reminiscent of when Alice went down the rabbit hole
Certainties and wonders, all the rigged bets were off sadly
For we're in the terrain of the science called epidemiology.

Lockdowns couldn't be avoided even if delayed by dereliction
We heard firm pronouncements of control, there were hopeful predictions
But it was hard to reconcile the reality with the advertised glories
It was global narrative collapse, the tale of the lost stories

Still, for some it's been a tonic to embrace the new normalcy
All the while knowing that our frontline workers tread warily
Doing the essential work of fighting this grim disease.
That the virus sets the timeline is cause for much unease:

Not too virulent like Ebola or polio to cause sheer panic
But not too easily dismissed to be waved away by gaslighting magic
We've seen the incoming blows approaching but insouciance was a master
This covidious business has all the makings of a slow moving disaster

The contrast in human lives couldn't have been more stark
Wet work in meat packing plants or homebound in Noah's ark
Some have to deal with Tyson's reassurances
   or Smithfield's bromides
While others complain about the nuances
   of the mute button before zoom asides

The 5 year old brought the iPad over
   for you to "fix the internet connection"
While you were in the shower! 'Twas a flash of fleshy insight
You might have given her zoom classmates an early anatomy lesson
This modernity, first world problems can be hard to describe

me clearing garden

For want of integrity, you bear the country's leaders a deep-seated grudge
What? The only order of business in the Senate was to appoint judges?
In the long game of thrones, all that matters was to pack the courts
To safeguard capital and reverse social welfare proposals
A few gambling debts paid off
   - blind justice, judicial votes can be bought
If you control the referees and the commentators,
   it's easy to assign blame
It's worth restating the contention:
   America's real herd immunity is to shame

The United States only has interests, and narrow ones at that
Her firm pronouncements of solidarity must be taken with a grain of salt
Cock and bull stories,
   Hollywood fictions sold with Madison Avenue's sheen
Are wearing off now, doused down by concoctions of hydroxychloroquine
But it's hard to market the lifestyles of the rich or operational excellence
When preserving human life doesn't appear to be a core competence

The parable of the sower was also a prescient tale from Octavia Butler
But even with the gift of prophecy,
   she was trumped by this kind of grim reaper
The bodies continue to drop, their burden barely helped by the ventilators
That a president dithered
   to even invoke the Defense Production Act to procure
His conception of his office, as throughout his life, was as a sinecure
Preferring sweetheart deals and monopoly rents
Instead of securing personal protective equipment
Say nice things about me and I'll grant you items from my "free" market
A distinction without a difference, call it by its name: a protection racket

It wouldn't hurt if, at least, lives were being saved in short order
But they're not and, goddamn, he dares mention law and order
There's no comfort to be living not a dream but a lie
At evening's end the daily toll unfailingly makes one cry
"It is what it is", but the sad fact is hard to deny:
For want of a conscience so many people have had to die

growing puna yam in my covidious backyard

And all for want of a bolt...

flower garden

Soundtrack for this note

See previously: Nuts and Bolts

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time

A covidious folktale, call it the first draft of history...

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