A quarantine poem

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I’m building my house.
I’m building my house
and soon it will be complete,
soon it will be perfect.

I’m building my house,
my castle, my fortress of solitude.
I’m building my tower of Babel,
my cabin in the woods.

I’m holing myself in
like a rat in a wall,
sealing myself off
from the world, from the noise.

You won’t find me,
you won’t see me,
you won’t reach me,
you won’t need me.

My world will be the sounds
of keys typing, of keys wriggling
into the locks, dangling from the rings
of cell guards, protectors of the secrets

and the science of keeping.
This is my nest, where I seal my thoughts
like young into the honeycomb chambers
of saliva and sugar, fructose extracted

from the guts of roses. I surround myself
inside a cloud of monotonous voices,
blended like winds of a hurricane
into the guttural growl of some unknown ghost,

the throaty whisper of forgotten years
a distant wind chime down some mildewed hall,
so many televisions, streaming so many
talking heads, streaming so much loss of intellect

into one pipeline like crude oil and pancake syrup
made from the dead, the walls of my house
built up into layers of zeros and ones,
walls of iPods, of LCD screens, of anti-virus

software and privacy protection. I paste my face
into the frames of every stranger, me me me,
it’s only me, and my voice, and my words,
my time, and my everlasting gobstopper

that no top-hat wearing schmuck could ever pluck
from the trees of commonality. I hope you are praying
for me while I die of cancer, because I will never
acknowledge the existence of music

I didn’t hear for myself, and while your voices
blend into that same hurricane I already built up
shutters to protect against, I’ll be playing my guitar
as I’m lowered into the grave.


Photo via Samuel Austin at Unsplash

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Written by

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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