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Poetry in Lockdown: Part VI

The New Normal Routine

daily. Early morning. 
Wake up to bird call and input ideas for the new day.

Run. Write. Weights. Wash.
Garden. Grass. Weeds. No Smoking.
More Chopping. Manic. Now move indoors.

Pacing. Painting and onto poetry.
Moving out again from bedroom.
Old room. Once far room. Cold room,
where someone died once, before I breathed.

Moving out into adjoining kitchen.
Baking time. Breaking time. Music. Movement.
Being allowed to be berserk.

Leave fears to bake in the oven. Maybe burn.

Let the lowering light have the moves. 
The dance moves. In this kitchen. 
Here, at the end of day.

Another day. And another day. After the input. The output. 
The routine. The new routine. For the new normal.

Making moments count.
Because berserk 
is only for the moves and not the mentality.

- Damien Donnelly

Submitted July 1, 2020


The worst exhaustion I have ever known
All I want is sleep but it never comes
I lie awake in bed for hours
Feeling time stop but the night slip away
I do everything I can to try and calm my mind
I try to do breathing exercises
Exercises that would put any meditation master to shame
I listen to recorded sounds of nature
Hoping that it will bring me to a place of peace
When all else fails I even try to count those pesky sheep
I begin severe negotiations with your mind
Telling it to be silent
Begging it to let me rest

Then like a true wild card
My subconscious comes out of no where
With all these things I would not even think of during the day
I begin to stress so much
All the worries that I have grow and multiply by 100
I begin to pray that the night never ends
I do not want to deal with a new day
I start to relive my whole life
Every happy, sad, and embarrassing moment comes flooding into my head
Repressed memories that I didn’t even know I had appear like a bad flashback
“Geez my life has been a mess”

I think about the person I like
How I cannot admit it to them
How badly I want to be with them
All these fictional scenarios of the future with them congest my mind
I start to think how I will never be happy
How I will end up alone
Never having a family of my own
Never having the life I have always wanted

And then I enter the existential crisis phase
Asking questions like “Why are we here?”
“How did we really come to be?”
“What if this life, this world is just a dream?”
“If I was a tree, would I still love peanut butter?”
After this mental rollercoaster, I just want to cry
I give up on everything
I think that I will never sleep again
How I will only last a few months before dying of exhaustion

Then like the rising sun of a new day
Clarity hits
I am just a human trying to get through life
I have done so much for this world
More than I will ever comprehend
I have been to hell and back more times than I can count
And I am letting this silly thing in my head cause such grief
I realize how powerful and dangerous the mind is
How it is one of my greatest strengths
But also, my greatest weakness
I tell it enough is enough

“We are both just cranky”
“We need some sleep”
With a new resolve
I feel the heaviness of sleep wash over me
I breathe one last deep sigh
Finally, the relief from the world has come
Knowing all to well that the next night will invite the same ordeal

-Megan Bock

Submitted July 4, 2020

Alone, surrounded

Fever came
And with it a sledgehammer
To my life
My life that still had
Time to run
But now there is no time to run
Instead I lie here alone,
Surrounded by an army
Of hospital staff who see me
Only through glass windows
Or the shield of PPE
Three thousand people
They say work here
But they won’t see me
Until I run once more
In the news
No longer alone,
Surrounded by other
Elderly with underlying conditions

- Shane O'Hanlon, MB, MSc, LLB

Submitted July 13, 2020


I was doing a jigsaw of Kinsale Harbour –
rows of candied houses crowding nosily
around the bay – and had just completed
the terrace on Pier Road when you appeared
in the picture, tripping out the door of Actons Hotel
on the arm of a man I didn’t know. Cutting through
the freshly laid green, you hesitated at the pier wall,
as though waiting for direction. I had assembled
the edge pieces first, so your options for escape
were limited. Afraid that I might lose you in the labyrinth
of streets behind The Trident, I scrabbled in the box
for the pieces that would lead you on the waterfront
back towards town, having first distracted you 
with a jagged island of difficult blue, your eyes
drawn by the first clinking sounds from the marina.
Snapping each piece into place, I managed to stay
one step ahead, while you, like Dorothy in red shoes,
were happy to follow the stepping-stones as they appeared,
wheeling past Dinos, the carpark and onto Pearse Street -
the look on your face when you walked into The Blue Haven,
me sitting in the lounge, jigsaw on the table, one piece missing.

- Maurice Devitt

Submitted July 16, 2020