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Saturday, April 04, 2020


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

We should have known
That crisis evokes
The best in ordinary persons
That of course
People on balconies
Would sing opera
To each other
That of course
People standing in windows
Would applaud medical workers
On their way home after another
Horrendous shift
Of dangerous and unprotected caring
That of course
Silly songs and tender messages
And goofy jokes
And sublimely cute puppies and kittens
And baby elephants
Would proliferate on the internet
That of course
Neighbors would be even more conscious
Of checking in with each other
Of offering help and encouragement
Of wishing each other
The very best
That of course
Compassion and humor and generosity
Among everyday folks
Would abound
We should have known

We should have known
That crisis would evoke
The worst in the powerful
That of course catastrophe would mean profit
For those who claim the planet
As their own
That of course the plutocratic miscreants
At the top of the heap
Would find a way
To pillage the public treasury
Rather than provide all the life-saving aid
That is so desperately needed
That of course they would continue
Robbing from the poor
And giving to the rich
That of course
Those shameless, indecent
And despicable narcissists
Would resist any and all attempts
By the common folk
To prioritize the common good
Over personal gain
And if that means millions will die, well
That’s life

We should have known

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film Outside In and, with the MIRC film collective, made the film Por Que Venimos. His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California. He podcasts at: .