-4/3 9:45 pm 50º Showers

Gerald wagoner

Tonight I am with clouds
in the night sky. There 
is wind. Halyards knock 
the mast. Flags fly west. 
I cannot stanch the 
dimming city light. 
This place, if possible,
feels emptier again. 


   -4/6  9:15 pm 48º Clear

Each car is audible.
To youth I am invisible. 
Two middle aged 
women drink vodka 
on their stoop. Their 
greeting, in passing, 
sounds too much 
like farewell. Venus 
gleams tonight. 
The moon is Islamic. 
It is setting. 


  -4/11   8:12 am 40º Sunny

Tomorrow He is risen.
Two meters sounds 
closer than six feet 
here on this long line.
It’s seniors-only-time
at the grocery store.
life’s simple isness
makes living
We wait long on line
A man with a bullhorn 
begs for our patience.
He is young.
I have less time than 
he dreams. Each 
year, for years 
I tremble this week 
in rapt anticipation
for the resurrection
of my beloved
Dove’s chocolate
covered, coconut
cream eggs.


              -4/13   9:25 pm 47º Clear

Across the Gowanus 
the murky echoes of a 
past fading. On the Union 
Street bridge I adjust 
my focus to freeze the 
mylar shimmer of big 
city light on ruffled water.


              -4/15   2 pm 47º Sun and Clouds

 A ladder truck flipping 
red and white strobe, 

glare, claxons, sirens, 
charges full flat out

down empty Smith Street, 
up toward Atlantic Avenue.

The uniformed responder’s 
white, red, or blue lights

fracture our silent nights 
into shards of alarm. 

Someone, somewhere 
is burning, is gasping.


              -4/16   2 pm 44º Windy, Clouds

Queued up Trader Joe’s. 
Funk organ sound track. 
A woman wearing black
velour hoodie, legs criss-
crossed, hair drawn back,
a round knot tight on top. 
Cubist: all arcs & vectors. 


              -4/26   2:20 pm 48º Sun and Clouds

I meet my doctor 
on the street. On 
The Island some 
must hose off cold 
naked outside: 
deaths, staff sick. 

Everyone making 
nothing the same 
like when you snap 
a carpet, disturb
particulate tension. 

In the river a wave 
through water,
being matter,
is still a wave to 
a rug, but not 
to the same rug. 

Recently, though 
some have begun 
to spread rumors 
of chimerical
plateau indicators.


               May 1, 2020

We cannot hold our hands
We must hide our mouths
Must abide our times
Maybe we follow our gut
Maybe pass some revelers 
Play with empty words 
Want to believe 
the lost can return 
We hear sirens clear 
See blue and red and 
white speed into black
sounds that carry
The old floats away
A lost balloon
A message in a bottle 
to be finished 
on sidewalk in chalk

We all dance the wide
berth shuffle now
with grace 
with fluid ease 
Still I walk at night 
to hillside park 
to inky harbor
the surface roiled
the skyline steady


               Park Slope, Brooklyn 10:25 pm clear 63º 

On this mild June night 
some young people
have stacked themselves 
up a stoop to murmur, 
share wine, greet 
dog-walking neighbors
The timbre of their laughter 
uneasy,  tinged. 

Down the hill beside 
the corner deli others 
cluster to mumble, 
to abuse. Alone, beyond 
light a woman rails against
repeated betrayals. 

On 4th Avenue a motorcycle
is being gunned for green. 
A fevered rider dreams 
of gears ever revving, 
hell-bent to achieve 
that critical velocity, 
and escape this constant 
goddamned gravity.


                   A Sign

You loop from your house to your house  
on an unseasonably warm February day. 
There are church bells 
and a fuzzy golden labradoodle. 

The  Cobble Hill Park roundabout
is surrounded with green benches loaded 
with locals in light jackets. No parkas. 
Everyone looks reflective under the sun. 

“Mommy, Mommy! the human brain can 
store 100 times more than a computer.” 

Remember that pang in the sternum
returning to a beach from your childhood. 

What breezes mean to clouds.
Why a picture grows like moss, 
or under which import it is filed.

Wait! That line of mothers and children 
in front of the mobile Covid Testing truck are all 
buying ice cream from mobile Mister Frosty.

Good sign, you hope.

Gerald Wagoner’s childhood was divided between Eastern Oregon and Northern Montana, where he was raised under the doctrine of benign neglect. With a BA in Creative Writing, Gerald pursued the art of sculpture, and moved to Brooklyn, NY in 1982. He taught Art and English for the NYC Department of Education for 30 years. As retirement neared he decided to devote himself to the art of poetry in order to express the poignancy in life’s arc, and explore how that journey gives us meaning.

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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