There are three types of people. Those who voraciously devour the newest COVID 19 updates, those who avoid the escalating number tallies at all costs, and those who bounce between both.
Maybe we all bounce between every option. But amidst the terrifying death tolls and rampant spread, there are other dramatic changes to the world as we know it taking place every day.
Heated debates on masks and public gatherings--church services and protest marches--tear at the fabric of life as we know it. Or knew it.
As each of us contends with the realities of a shifting culture as a result of COVID-19 there is a looming question of what the "new normal" might look like. This was part of what drew me to Redline Zine and their latest call for art.
Issue Number 2 of Redline Zine is titled "New Relics." It couldn't have come at a better time. I wondered what we were watching become ruins before our eyes.
Take a peek at any industry magazine right now and there are huge questions on what people will want now. Architects question what office space should look like. When will someone truly feel safe getting on an airplane is another huge ask.
What about when Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested Americans should never shake hands again. Does this mean handshakes are part of our cultural ruins?
Much of my poetry and art acts as collage. My response for Redline was no different. I combined some old relics and created a response for their prompts.
Kenneth Koch and New Addresses
As with everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic I was looking for comfort. After all, what's more constructive; scouring COVID-19 updates or picking up a book of poetry?
One of my favorite collections is "New Addresses" by Kenneth Koch. As I revisited "To One Thing After Another" (which reminded me of the avalanche of COVID issues, and "To Orgasms" which I love as an idea and a poem, I couldn't help but think of writing love letters to what was gone now.
"To Certainty" was the result and the great editors at Redline used snippets from the work and included an edited version of one of my visual artworks as well.
Streaming COVID-19 Updates in Poetry and Art
All of us contend with disaster individually. All of us share the disaster at the same time.
My poet's mind wrestles with what things mean on the page. This can happen with visual art and poetry but has included a number of COVID-19 updates to the way I approach art and life.
Alongside "To Certainty," Redline included "Distancing" in their issue on New Relics. Image above is the original work.
As with my poem "Robberies", the relationship between repurposed materials and masks has been a big part of my COVID response art.
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