Five Poems by Dorothea Naouai

Brave New World

Every time I see

The pixel-signs

Alongside the parkway

 

BE SAFE

         STAY HOME

        WASH YOUR 

      HANDS OFTEN

      

       WEAR A MASK 

          IN PUBLIC

 

I feel like I am

Watching a futuristic

Film in which the 

World is forever changed,

              (Blade Runner or Mad Max)

 

In which 

LifeAsWeKnowIt,

Is unrecognizable.

 

            But,

 

Unlike the movie

Scenario,

I cannot turn to 

My companion,

Popcorn wedged between

My teeth, and say:

 

             “Can you imagine?…”

Corona I

We spent the days

Sleeping,

Like spent lovers,

In each others’ arms,

Breathing slowly,

Our bodies blazing

With the virus,

Come to re

Member us to

The Magnificent,

To the delicate

Flower

Corona II

The great equalizer

The stealthy

The quick and merciless

The door closer

The heart opener

The grocery shelf vaporizer

 

The mask wearer

The measuring stick

The zoom meeting maker

The dog walker

The game player

 

The invisible

The vanquisher

The loss-maker, 

Grief wailer

 

The store closer

The job annihilator

The lonely days

The ‘are you my neighbor?’

 

The pace-setter

The confiner

The fear-generator

The faith-maker

 

                                      Mother Nature’s fury

                                      See what it feels like, 

Now:

                                      “I can’t breathe” 

                                      Planet choking, along with

                                      Eric Garner, 

                                      Countless others, named and

                                      Forgotten,

                                      Violence upon violence,

                                      Greed and neglect.

 

                                      This is what it feels like.

 

                                      Surprise.

Corona III

Watch the Visible Ink performance here.

Artists

Composer: Andrew Sotomayor  Director/Choreographer/Dancer: Matthew Steffens Voiceover Artist: Karen Wexler

 

Superman

Is sleeping in his 

Bed again;

Lung capacity

Greatly diminished

But breathing, still

Still, breathing

He opens his eyes

And beneath

The hollow

Of the ordeal 

Behind him

A drinking in,

A recognition

Of all that

Was familiar

And now is new

Again

Aladdin’s treasure,

Nearly lost,

To the kryptonite

Of the invisible organism

 

Video Credits:

Andrew Sotomayor – Composer
Matthew Steffens – Director/Choreographer/Dancer
Karen Wexler – Voiceover Artist 

Galas Have Been Cancelled

Galas have been cancelled

and the banquet halls are empty

 

The morning commute 

is a breeze

And the subway shuts down

            at night

                           for cleaning

 

Restaurants and cafés,

             struggling yet with

             take out and delivery,

have stacked their

tables and chairs

 

Hair salons, bars, museums, schools:

All shuttered

 

Only grocery stores are busy,

lines of masked customers,

respecting 6 feet distance

 

Zoom has replaced

             the board room,

             the meeting hall,

             the classroom,

             the newsroom and

             late night talk shows

 

Telehealth is the new norm 

 

Even chamber music

and a capella concerts, 

tune up virtually,

the individual parts

performed in living rooms

across the world and

expertly edited together 

 

Family dinners and game night,

Tiny faces in tiny boxes,

Screens within screens

 

Weddings, funerals, graduations

All online.

 

And still, the birds

begin to sing 

             (of open sky?)

in the green, green world

outside my lightening

bedroom

 

The one with whom

I share my life

sleeps soundly beside me;

             Deep breath in

             Deep breath out

Author Bio

Dorothea Biba Naouai is an RN working in hospice and a student in the Narrative Medicine masters program at Columbia University. She and her husband of 30 years both fell ill with COVID 19 and recovered. Her husband is a chef and collects Superman memorabilia.

Instagram: @dorotheanaouai

Photo credits

Dorothea Biba Naouai