Poetry ~ Alan McCormick
Keeping Close from a Distance
Escape from the viral airwaves, the incessant mantras,
the deadly numbers, the scapegoating and washing of hands,
the everyday fuzz of social media, being PA to your own dwindling life,
the bills, the shopping list, the desperate search for protection,
a cure no sanitizer nor edict can muster.
The two-metre stare, the cross to the other side of the road,
the masked bandits and retracted handshakes,
the burbling inside, the turbulence of bedtime waking,
the selfishness of survival, the crawling towards the light,
pleading to be saved so you might live on.
And yet your child sleeps, innocence in dreams wishing it all away,
your love suddenly unlocked, your meaningless chatter held at bay,
your fears now only for them, that you might save them,
that the selflessness of survival might mean keeping apart,
and you grab your moment of quiet and hold them tight.
(For Trump, Johnson, and all who sail with them)
What if your killers clap you after they administer your lethal injection?
What if your leaders build and sell the bombs that fall onto your town?
What if they drink the rivers dry and fill the sky with lead and poison?
What if they profit from death and share the spoils amongst themselves?
What if they knew the plague was coming and took no decisive action?
What if the people who were blamed and sacrificed rise up to take over?
What if the love between them and for the world becomes the new way of life?
Well, then there would be less need of leaders, and the earth might breathe again.
Alan McCormick lives with his family by the sea in Wicklow, Ireland. He’s been writer in residence at Kingston University’s Writing School and for the charity, InterAct Stroke Support. His fiction has won prizes and been widely published, including in Salt’s Best British Short Stories, Confingo, Lakeview, and online at Words for the Wild, Strands, Dead Drunk Dublin, 3:AM and Époque Press. His collection, Dogsbodies and Scumsters, was long-listed for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize.
He also writes shorter pieces in response to pictures by artist, Jonny Voss. See more of this collaboration, along with Alan’s own fiction at www.alanmccormickwriting.wordpress.com