Reflections on a Pandemic by Joseph Vazquez – Poetry Slam

 
Joseph Vazquez participated in the first virtual Alegría Poetry Slam on July 18, 2020. Thank you to all the wonderful poets who participated. 
 
 
Here in this pandemic, where the world 
has stopped 
the world has changed
but much of it is still the same
 
There is still hatred and ignorance
being practiced and cultivated as if being taught
and cultivated in zoom sessions
 
The privileged whine of being inconvenienced 
they hold rallies with guns for haircuts
 
They cry loud with fists clenched
from their burden of “injustice”
for getting arrested for going to the gym
 
While Jim turns a blind eye to the black man beaten
(Flip)
a black mother and child are arrested and beaten 
for being wrongfully accused of stealing a TV. 
 
The clear evidence mounts
(Flip) 
Video after video
 
As the country’s racism yells “HA! HA! Look at me!” 
 
But Jim’s mad for getting arrested at the gym
but Jim was never mad for forgetting his 
black neighbor’s plight
because then he would have to see his own sin
 
See his own sin
See his own sin
See and know sin
See and own sin
 
It’s beyond minimizing and dismissing transgressions 
of the past
 
“Slavery is over,” Jim says “Get over it!”
While Jim flips from the channel 
that shows the black man getting shot while jogging
Flip – a young man being slammed against the wall
while being punched repeatedly in the face by police
 
He arrives at Fox News and feels 
comfortable and safe
and blankets himself in his hate
Sorry, sorry, not hate
It’s just his safe space
 
He’s been social distancing from people of color for years
 
For years he wore masks to protect himself
against germs of a people he viewed as pandemic
The masks even filtered his prejudice 
with “appropriate” words to constructively express 
his displeasure
 
Until he rediscovered his freedom and liberties
a Constitutional right for his expression
he found under this administration
 
Now Jim blogs, Jim tweets, Jim cries, 
Jim Crow’s 
3 times a week
 
proclaiming the inconvenience of his people 
while denying the true pandemic 
plaguing this country.
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