I will write you out of my life.
I’ll erase you.
That’s what you’ve been good for
– practicing the art of expunging,
– an excremental year.
I will forget you
just as I have forgotten
sins of omission,
and heaven on earth.
You had the goodwill of surviving relatives to contend with,
You’re a year infested with anti-vaxxers,
January, grim god of beginnings,
all you were good for were continuings.
More infections than genuflections, some said.
Others uttered “we talked about COVID more than we prayed to any god”.
Years ago, it was Occupy Wall Street,
this year it was un-occupy offices,
un-attend water coolers,
beware public houses
silence confession boxes,
“click & collect” your dose.
March, war god of misgivings,
you plundered Cheltenham, St. Patrick’s Day, and Spring.
Months blurred into labyrinths of advice,
conglomerations of congregations in conflagration.
2021, a confluence of administered vaccinations,
It was my brother’s birthday in March, my wife’s in April,
what did we do together?
There was another “We”, without which you would have been too cruel to bear,
drawn from the highways and byways,
from landscapes and mindscapes,
collaborating continents of voices that spoke volumes
with respect for diversity of origin, accent and colour.
I remember golfers practicing their conversations.
I remember contests of conjunctives,
alliterations of ailments,
all the grammar of generations grown on service to others.
I remember the election I lost
and consoling myself
with the conviction that it was well worth
the risk of embarrassment.
I remember the summer of contentment,
when three days in Lahinch was a feast
for Founders Day.
When the certificate arrived,
it was placed between two showjumpers
– because I’ve been living with leg on and leg off,
tack to be cleaned,
boots to be polished,
numnahs and socks
and not once did I hear the farrier fit shoes.
it’s been a year of desolation,
and the Health Service Executive
carrying the burden
of woe-begotten branches of “test & trace”
home visitors and the protocols.
We had a North-South traffic jam,
an all-Ireland festival of futile hints
that one day in our lifetime,
the four green fields will be fertilised by similar slurry,
sustainable signatories to one constitution
celebrated in a land
where the common cold didn’t sneeze.
while others died.
If it hadn’t been for Zoom,
I’d have been a zombie,
zestless, zigzagging from Netflix to the Premier League,
paraOlympics to Prime or Disney
aching for Bambi’s mother,
Mother Jones or the Mothers of Invention.
It was a year for nostalgic initiatives,
“Let’s go play in the garden”
“Let’s go pray for a visit”
“Let’s find our way to forgive
those who refuse to worship at the altar of compliance,
the tabernacle of conformity
the monstrance of hibernation.”
If it wasn’t for words,
I’d have lost my capacity for breath.
If it wasn’t for commas,
I’d have squandered the opportunity for chancing my arm.
If it wasn’t for sentences,
I’d have lost my freedom to mix metaphors
How many operations were postponed?
For goodness sake,
how much sexual intercourse was postponed or sexted?
A virtual year,
a virtuous cheer,
And, as I quicken to your end,
Omni Cromnivirus Maximus,
you token turd,
you blind bigot,
you sour-faced, singularly persistent,
bastard of bad faith.
I plant spineless pions
to punctuate your particles
with Pi times your pronounciating pronouns,
May you perish,
and reincarnate the bodies of the departed
as whole paragraphs of poetry.
May you accompany Dante
from the wood,
like a wandering proposal,
pitched to posterity.