Content Warning

by C. S. E. Cooney

if that is freedom, fuck it
i don’t want it
to walk bare as a genital wart in the mayo clinic
swollen with liberty, flying the colors of the flag
fuck it, fuck your freedoms
give me plexiglass prisons, given me wardens in hazmat
give me solitary confinement
give me an oubliette
so I can forget
you and your fanfaronade freedoms

to hold my dying elder’s hand in hospice
that is freedom
you, your ilk, you kick it to dust
you kick it to dust with your leather shoes
to meet at feast together, eat together
marry on the day we choose
let our doctors see their children again
such freedom
you crush with as much disgust as the snake
beneath your heel

my venom grows
every night, every morning
chokevine murderthoughts
thorn and strangle me:
the freedom to be kind, to forgive
to live and let live
all flayed away
I am a criminal in my own mind
I deserve my chains

I don’t know what you deserve
(to do time for war crimes is what you deserve)
I don’t know what you think you deserve
but you take it anyway
no matter what it takes away from
all the rest of us

my friend, swaddled like a sarcophagus in the morgue
for one last look at her sister’s face
my friend, in her lonely hotel room, decontaminating her scrubs
while she Skypes with her cat
my friend, who stares out the window as Washington Heights
bangs its pots and pans
so tired, too tired to join the humble éclat, tired
from doing nothing, from staying inside, keeping the city safe

you spit in the face of my friends
you spit in the face of my friends
you little shit
you little shit


Filed under Uncategorized

11 responses to “Content Warning

  1. j9


    • csecooney

      Gosh, thanks, Nin. You don’t have to love me for this. I was so mad my hands were shaking. But I’m glad you love me anyway.

      • j9

        I love you for SO MANY REASONS! You sharing your thoughts and anger about this in a way that makes me feel less alone in my frustration and anger is just a teeny tiny portion of why.

  2. Susan Ryan

    Absolutely sublime — you captured what so many of us are thinking so very perfectly.

  3. watson

    Thank you so much for this.

    My mother passed away a few weeks ago, and half of my siblings couldn’t be there as she lay dying. Skype and Facetime was the best we could do. We couldn’t have a funeral. And my nephew was on put on a list by his doctor (he had symptoms) with the dept of health to get tested for COVID19, but there weren’t any tests. Nine weeks later, they finally call saying if he still wants to be tested, he can do so. Too late for it to make any difference.
    A friend, one of her best friends died from COVID and there are so many dead, they’ve lost her body.

    I have surprised myself at the depth of hatred I have developed for all those who would see people suffer or die horribly so that a few can indulge their own selfish desires, greed or ego. It’s genocide and they don’t care. Worse, some get off on it. It’s vile.

    If bombs were dropping that killed one out of every 1000 people, no one would be talking about opening back up. But here we are because we can’t “see” the virus. And the heaviest costs are being borne by those who already have the heaviest burdens so they don’t count.

    • csecooney

      I am so sorry for your dreadful loss, and oh, the lack of an ability to grieve together or celebrate together. And I am so sorry for your nephew—and I hope he will recover strongly. And for your friend! They lost her _body_. Oh my heart. And I am so sorry for the lack of respect that some of our government and fellow citizens are showing to you and yours, so flagrantly and publicly. Please stay safe as you can.

  4. Bob Basker

    Wow. The first verse and a link were posted on a site I follow, and it got me here. Thank you for saying in a unique and special way what is being felt by so many.

    • csecooney

      Thank you for reading, and I hope this national rage may be resolved in sensible and compassionate actions with a longer shelf-life than this virus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s