Poems of isolation by Patrick Holloway

Don’t forget to love

Wash your hands,
Show them love as your fingers
Fold in on each other. Enjoy the water
Rinsing away what lingers. Wash away too
Those negative thoughts that build up like walls.
Sing. To your loved ones, out windows, let your voice echo.
Make calls. Send voice messages and memes. Laugh.
Open that bottle of wine, put on your favourite album
And dance, swirling your glass, your body. Wash your hands
Again, this time to the music. Find the Monopoly board with missing
Pieces. This will lead to fights which will lead to normality, temporarily.
Do not pass go. Do what’s right, not just for you but for that old lady
Who lives across the street. Leave groceries at her door.
Send nice long emails. Read. All those books you never get round to
Taking off the shelf. Devour them. Read poetry. Write.
Anecdotes, jokes, stories, messages, novels and love letters.
Be better. Wash your hands again. Help others wash away
Any racism or xenophobia. Teach. About safety but also about life.
Lessons learned that can help. Listen. To each other, to the silence,
To the birds and barking of neighbouring dogs. Stay active. Jumping
Jacks and Yoga. Breathe. Three deep breaths when those negative thoughts
Come back. Then wash them away again. Set up Skype calls with all your
Friends who live abroad, with no way of visiting home. Share.
Toilet paper and alcohol gel and your thoughts and worries, share them
With others. Binge watch Netflix. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face
As beautiful and itchy as it may be. Care for yourself, for your family,
For the stranger you pass by every day on your way to work.
Stay at home. Even if you think you don’t need to.
Wash your hands. Stay safe. Smile.

Remember, there is life

The streets are empty, which I see from my window
As an absence of life. Closing my eyes the shrill sound of children
From a nearby apartment remind me I am wrong. A crow frills
& squawks & whacks its wings away. A street dog prowls
Around the corner searching for signs of danger.

I can hear your voice, the song you used to soothe me when I was a boy.
I can see your face, or parts of it. Putting them together in my mind
You become a stranger but your voice is absolute. So far away now.

You would be coming, next month, for the birth of my second daughter.
I wonder when I will see you again. Every time I hear high risk I think
Of you. Your age. Diabetes. Asthma. You become this tiny shadow
Where there is no light.

I do indoor workouts. I play with Aurora, games we used to play.
I meditate. I teach. I write & read & try to stay positive. But
At this time of night, when the facade of silence appears
I wonder if I’ll ever see you again.

It seems silly, I know. I’m being dramatic, I know. But I have to
Fight back tears thinking about how I would not be able to get back,
To see you, even in death.
24 hours of you

In this room there is no virus,
No BBC or Globo or Irish Times,
In this room there is only us.
No checking of fatalities and crimes,

In this room of three there is just love,
& sleeplessness, caution & worry,
But mostly in this room there is love
For you, Luna Faye, there is no hurry

To be anywhere else but here. With you.
Watching your eyes open & close of blue,
A little while longer, we’ll wait, in this cocoon
Letting the day reveal a perfect pink moon.


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