Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Diner: A Haibun*

Half a dozen old men sit in a line along the counter, some watching the news on a tiny screen mounted over the stacks of styrofoam to-go containers. Others hunch over cups of coffee keeping silent company, each with himself. A young woman in a blue face mask wipes down the counter with a stained towel.

At a table three young men in paint-spattered shirts quietly converse in Spanish and finish up their bacon and eggs. At the back of the dining room, a toddler encased in a highchair flings to the floor chubby fistfuls of Cheerios. His father ignores him and shoves a forkful of syrup-soaked pancake into his mouth. The child’s mother, with dark circles under her eyes, sucks on a straw in a glass of soda and stares into nothingness.

The rest of the diner’s mismatched plastic white chairs and farm-styled faux oak tables are vacant.   Framed photos of vintage cars hang crookedly on dingy yellow walls intermixed with black and white signed photos of forgotten celebrities, a head shot of Ronald Reagan, a tattered newspaper restaurant review from 1994, and a broken neon Budweiser sign.

In the center of a wall is a poster of Helnwein’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Unceasing top offs–
soggy newsprint spread across
chipped dark Formica

*A haibun is descriptive prose followed by a haiku tangentially related to the prose.

2021


4 Comments

The Big Gray and Red Spiky Thing

penI have not done much creative writing to speak of in the last seventeen months. No poetry, and only one brief story on Day 71 of my lockdown.

This morning, I was wondering why.

I think my creative mind has been stunned into silence by all that has happened to me personally during the lockdown. I think all of us have had the wind knocked out of us to one degree or another. Everything is different. There will be no going back to “normal”.  Even if the day comes when we are all vaccinated (I know, wishful thinking), and we don’t have to wear masks anymore, and we can go to theatres and schools and churches and baseball games, some of us will always be hesitant to get too close to strangers or be obsessively looking for the hand-sanitizing stations. Some of us will be in constant fear of another pandemic and lockdown.

The fact is that another pandemic WILL happen again. This virus is already mutating and will mutate even more.  I predict that we will need to get new vaccinations every year for this virus, just like a regular flu shot.

Furthermore, as the climate changes and the ice caps melt, ancient viruses even more devastating than this current one might emerge from the melt. Some might argue with me about this, but it doesn’t matter if that actually happens or not.  The point is I will constantly be living with the fear that another Plague will happen.

Even worse than the fear of getting sick and dying, I am no longer able to trust the reasoning power of others. I know so many people who are downright crazy in their fear of science and common sense to the point where they will not get vaccinated. It is almost like a mass psychosis, a group mental illness. Seriously, do some of you really think you are being micro-chipped by getting a vaccine?   Get the damn vaccine, alright?

So how is this going to affect my creative output? I know some creatives wont include a mention of the pandemic in their work. How can they ignore an event that created such a foundational crumbling of all that we have thought safe and secure? Is it a form of denial? I suppose writing and reading creative fiction and poetry is a form of therapy for many creatives, a refuge in a time of trauma. Well, I guess I have some sympathy for that.  I just spent the last year and a half posting photos and drawings of safe things like flowers, fruit, fish and birds.

But eventually we creatives will need to address the elephant — er, rather the big gray and red spiky thing in the room.  I cannot see how we can’t.

ljgloyd 2021