Two Poems: North Beach Dark & Light

North Beach – Dark

This magnificent city
stands as beautiful as ever
skies as clear as freshly wiped glass
streets empty like desert highways
There is uncertainty in the air
fear on people’s faces
caution concern
Walking Grant Ave I see people I’ve known for years
recognizing their eyes above masks
we talk ten feet apart
We check in with each other
nervous laughter
looks of resignation
Dogs seeking attention yanked back
no petting allowed in this apocalypse
Danger looms when strangers approach
some are oblivious to the narrow sidewalks
skateboarders reckless and uncaring
people cross streets at zig zag angles
avoiding constantly avoiding
Necks swiveling taking everything in
searching for danger
calculating escape routes
Evidence of the plague everywhere
boarded storefronts
apocalyptic graffiti on every corner
people standing in lines six feet apart
There is no normal any more

–Jerry Cimino
April 9, 2020

Transamerica Empty Columbus

North Beach – Light

Reminding myself
to look on the bright side
I try to focus on the good that I see
surrounding me as I walk Grant Avenue
My activist friend from the 1960s
stands in the middle of the street
keeping the sidewalk clear
as she waits for food delivery
There’s a father jogging up Vallejo
three little children grunting
groaning behind him.
A storekeeper with an empty shop
worry on his mind managing a gentle smile
Most people are trying to do the right thing
Many don’t know what the new rules are
in this fast changing game of staying alive
Most people are gentle with each other
Back at home my wife of decades
my quarantine partner for 30 days
makes a silly joke
I’ve heard a thousand times
Pun upon pun upon pun
She’s laughing so hard at her silliness
she throws herself on the bed
to avoid falling to the ground
Feeling the laughter
Living with the laughter
Laughter in the Age of Covid

–Jerry Cimino
April 12, 2020