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Jesse Sensibar


Welcome to my day 66 of social distancing

As you are we were. As we are you will never be

I’ll burn in the flame of the prayer candle with her

I’ll burn with her. I’ll burn with her. I’ll burn with her…

How We Are?

About the same as most days I guess

Sad

Angry

Grateful

This fucking thing touched me in a very personal way very early on

Broke my heart

I lost my little cousin right at the beginning

We’ll probably never know if it was COVID or not. She lived alone and nobody found her body face down on her kitchen floor for a lot of days because of the lockdown

But there’s as good a chance that it was as there is that it wasn’t

And that’s good enough for me

Good enough to want to kill for

I didn’t see her one last time because I cancelled my trip to Chicago to visit her out of concern that I might bring the virus off the plane and to my other elderly family members

I’ve faced a lot of death in my life, both professionally and personally. I’ve seen way more dead bodies than most people ever will, been to more funerals and memorials, written more death poems and obituaries…

I’ve buried kids I’ve helped raise

But her death hit me especially hard, we were close, we shared lives and late nights, we shared early mornings, regrets, scars, eyes, and blood. When I looked at her I looked at myself. When she died a big piece of me died with her

We didn’t get to bury her. We didn’t even get to morn her in person, just fucking Zoom

You know how much that fucking hurts?

So when folks tell me this is not real it brings me to boiling real fast, makes me want to tear your fucking throat out with my teeth. Reach into your chest and pull your beating heart out and let it run dry before your dying eyes just like mine did

I want you to feel my pain. That’s the killer in me

That’s my rage

But nothing will stop the tears

Nothing will un-break my heart

That’s not even a fucking word

It would not matter how many of these stupid OPEN THE COUNTRY armed protesters I killed

But I’d be lying if I told you that I did not pray for the death of someone close to them

I’d be lying if I told you that I would not sacrifice every one of their lives to have her back

And so that’s how I’m doing today

Quietly I prepare for war and pray for death

That might not scare you but it should

There’s a cold wind going to blow across this land before this is done

I’m afraid for today and every fucking day

And grateful

That might surprise you. It surprises me

But I’m lucky, way more lucky than I deserve

Maybe it’s not luck; maybe I serve a purpose I don’t even understand

I’m here

I help my tribe of outlaws, addicts, whores, and saints everywhere and every way I can

I help everyone I can get everything they can

I’m grateful I can do that

Because the great rip-off is here and now and I’m gonna’ burn this dumpster down

I’m grateful I can still text her

Grateful that somewhere her phone is still receiving those texts

Texting the dead in the flames of this shithole country we now inhabit

The last thing she texted me read in part-

We’re all garbage. I just

want to come out in the

top 25 percent or so in this

garbage fire, but that is

probably unrealistic for a

single unarmed woman in

an urban area with no

allies. You can throw cash

at whoever it makes you

feel like a better person to

throw cash at, but

whoever survives is going

to have a hard time

deluding themselves

going forward about who

they actually give a shit

about. And who gives a

shit about them. Words

have never been worth

less

And I’m grateful for her vision

The vision of a working whore

The vision of my little cousin

Words have never been worth

Less

That’s a terrible thing

For a poet to be grateful for.

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All images other than author photos and artist artwork ©Matthew Batt 2020