:: Buzzwords

3:AM in Lockdown 7: Chris Kelso

By Chris Kelso.

Copyright Matthew Bialer


It’s meant to be an introvert fantasy

And it is

In a way

Replacing dreams of single origin coffee

I’m the pride of the Empire

Left in the soul, right in the head

With my colonial breastplate

And zero-hour contract

Identity is fluid in quarantine

Meet me at the emergency night-shelter

Bring Starbucks, Pret,

There’s pesticides in my vegan sausage roll

And I’ve been begging for gluten-free poverty since 2006

Seeking solace,

Dreaming of my own funeral

Now I’ve got my dream coffin

All I want is . . .


One week in isolation, now it wants in
I won’t let it
It longs from the gutters
Writhes in the sumps
Even beneath the hood of my car
I won’t let it in, and
Boils raise on my forearm, I burst them with a pin
I still won’t let it in

But the city wants in so bad, its
Streetlights hang like a gang
Of ominous petals on a black bough above the bazaar
And whang the skull uptown,
I can pretend that this place means something,

Rip off the Band-Aid, show off my scar
It really wants in
I won’t let it, and,
It crawls along the membrane, so thin
I won’t ever let it in, even as
My pores are clogged with city-stink,
Eyeballs glued with grime and bathtub gin
I still won’t let it in, no, it’s a
Prisoner of my temple
Like Solzhenitsyn
Submit to its hysteria and demands
My identity is not this city
It wants in
The frail bark of my skin
I won’t let it in

First posted: Friday, March 27th, 2020.

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