What I Did With My Summer Pandemic Vacation

I’ve been spending the pandemic kicking the habit of nihilism
It has an acrid taste, but it presents itself as a path to freedom
It goes down easy after a few
Many times I have made the choice to embrace it
It really is the easiest one I suppose
Requiring no code or framework
A bit of a short cut to the end of things
Yet when viewed as a path taken by so many of my countrymen
It looks much less like freedom
And much more like despair
When you make the choice on a personal level
It is an internal issue
It can eat away at you
You don’t have to look within though
You get to look forward
Out at the world
When thousands of people make the choice together though
It looks less like something internal to the individual
And more like a raging infection
Spreading across the land
Despair on a national level
Requires one to make a choice
If the choice is between working to find meaning
Or succumbing to despair
Well then,
I suppose I better put my Dickie’s on and get my lunch pail out
There might be some long days ahead
Each day I’ve been trying to think of things I look forward to
Even if they don’t exist right now
Might not exist for some time
They will again some day though
I can carry them as aspirations in my mind until then
Each day I think of remarkable things I have experienced in the past
Things I read
Things I saw
Things I felt
Things I heard
Almost anything
So much seems more remarkable than it did at the time
When looking back at it during a plague year
I don’t know exactly how my nation overcomes its despair
But maybe me working on mine is a start
Gene G. McLaughlin 2020
Curiosity was far greater than our fear
It felt so simple and so prodigious at the same time
Incredible things are happening in the world
Magical things are happening in this world
-Stereolab/Gabriel Garcia Marquez

March 2020

In the distance I see

Monuments (built by unknown hands)

To wealth (accumulated via unknown plans)

I’d tell you what their plaques said

If the world would just stop spinning

I’d tell you what the score was

If I knew what constituted winning

Sometimes the smells of being alive are

Dust (as it covers all)

Rotting cabbage (you bought but didn’t use)

Spring flowers (they will not be denied)

Excess time (somehow it wafts in the air)

Uncertainty (you can smell it in your pores)

Will the world ever be the same again?

(The answer has changed since you asked the question)

Does all of this make me feel better?

(Parts I disdain and wish to fade away)

Or am I terrified?

(That which I love, and fear will not stay)

Breathe

(No longer taken as a given)

Grieve

(For all that has been riven)

Repent

(There is no sin to be forgiven)

Grow

(Opportunity has arisen)

Choose

(Actions of your own volition)

Wait

(The future remains well hidden)

Gene G. McLaughlin 2020