East River, New York City

A deeper hush fills the city, a sense of bracing for an unseen blow. We know things will get worse. We watch the governor’s briefing each morning and listen to him beg for ventilators. The New York Times provides infection maps that quickly turn blood red if you scroll too far into the future. Some politicians suggest letting the elderly and vulnerable die so we can keep the economy humming. America deserves a plague, but not its people.

I need to buy bread. There’s a line at the corner bodega. We stand six feet apart as instructed. The woman in front of me wears pajamas and cradles six cans of tomato soup like a child. I do my best to maintain the six-foot distance, repeating this phrase in my head until I realize I’m half-mumbling six feet under. Maybe there’s a connection between distance and depth. Fear of disease from the dead as well as the living. Graves dug deep enough that people couldn’t climb out. I used to know the reason.

“When I get the blues, I need to go outside,” I hear an old man say. “Otherwise the bad juju starts bouncing off the walls.”

Fumbling with my telephone to check the news, I accidentally press play on an old audiobook. A leathery British voice says, “He had a controversy with an Irish bishop who believed there are other worlds than ours, but was nevertheless canonized.” I spend the rest of the day returning to this sentence as needed, clinging to its mystery and meaninglessness like a koan.


Lars Blek – 2.0

From Lars Blek | 2020 | Bandcamp

These new tracks from Axel Willner of The Field have been looping all evening and they’re remarkably stabilizing.

Each day in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these uneasy times into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.

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