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What is there to say? The current moment is an infinitely-headed hydra of chaos and despair. There are so many personal hardships, profane statistics, and carpet-bombing judgment ready to lay on a populace made up of ordinary demons and angels and everyone in between. It’s exhausting and debilitating.

Yet the animals don’t seem to mind. Like a dog on a movie set, the animals can’t tell the difference between normal and this. The air feels likewise. The soil. The natural world remains so uncaring and enduring to this unimaginable disaster unfolding. The trees stay standing, the rain still comes.

There’s a joke among people right now — what month is it even? But it’s not so hard to tell. The air is so hot and humid right now you can’t tell if the briny scent is coming from yourself or a warmed-up gust tracked in lazily from the gulf. Downpours in the afternoon—hard and fast—followed by a litany of double texts from the city claiming no responsibility for the damage of the water. …


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Because modern American capitalism inversely values salary with social benefit, for two years I drove Uber and Lyft to supplement my wages as an English professor at the local community college.

Now that Mardi Gras has wound down and I’ve settled into a new, full-time gig, I thought I’d write down some of the highlights and lowlights of my rideshare career, for posterity’s sake.

It’s worth saying that rideshare is a hard living to make work, but it’s not so bad if you’re lucky enough to have a few other gigs and the flexibility to only drive when it’s super busy. …


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A few hours after sunset, the fog rolls in off the river and hangs over the streets until morning, when the winter sun rises dully to burn it all off, like a pot left on low boil. The steam rises from the lawns and neutral ground, the gardens, even the potted plants in my court yard.

I’ve held my hand over the steam a few times and, I wouldn’t call it hot, but it’s warm — warmer than anything else that time of morning.

These long winter nights are good for me because they encourage staying in, or staying out and by myself. It’s good for me to be alone and comfortable doing so. And this time of year, it’s not weird to be alone in the fog — because so is everything else. I’m speaking of pure visibility here, but also, the weather is affectual. …


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I’ve been thinking lately about the small choices I’ve made that, without intention, have built a life for myself. I don’t have many commitments — a few hobbies, an activist group, work, and then my friends. No spouse, no kids (I don’t even remember when I had to start saying that). No grad school, no dad in the nursing home. No lagging shackle of the thirty-year mortgage.

But my few friends and commitments are enough to fill the days to the point I say no more than yes. …


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The first storm of summer came on Mother’s Day last week. It flooded my and everyone else’s car on my block. I’d just finished cleaning all the mold out of my closet when the thunder first hit, mopped the thin film of black from the tiles underneath my bed and couch.

I’m afraid mold will remain a constant in my life here, especially in my garden level apartment. The frogs like it, the plants like it, and every week, I do what would otherwise be a deep-clean in any other place I’ve lived.

Now, there’s a faint smell of mildew everywhere I go. There’s a dampness to my sheets. If I leave my home for the weekend, when I return, there’s a wide, sheer splatter of pink spores over my bathtub and shower curtain. What happened while I was gone? Who did this? Would they rather I stay gone? …


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The drive home is quicker than the drive there — the ticker tape of trees and cars isn’t new, so I’ve stopped paying attention. I’m too used to the terrain, the thoughts, the things that trouble me. Your hair on my neck, my head on your chest. The way I speed through things now that we know each other, how this always happens, and it’s so typical. Go slow, she and I both implore.

There’s this poem by Li-Young Lee, that begins with the speaker and beloved in bed, in the space before foreplay:

Listen, she says.

I’m listening, I answer
and kiss her chin. …


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They leave the park open up past dark when there’s a show at the theater, and tonight there was an Alvin Ailey performance. It was my idea to go initially, but my friend persuaded me away from backing out of the show last minute. We chose to walk over bike and I’m so glad we did — it’s the last scraps of our springtime here, before another vast expanse of the near-infinite summer, and it was nice to indulge in the early evening air, before I forget its decadence.

Everyone was dressed up — New Orleanians dress well when the occasion suggests an opportunity — the coats and long dresses gently lit by the early street lamps and fading light of day. Something about events like these give me confidence in the future. …


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A brief and ongoing list of simple fixes to catastrophic problems. There are some solutions that are too radical for me to believe that an audience would take seriously. What’s below are solutions I find both realistically and politically feasible in my lifetime. I have not ordered these in any way.

Last edit: 09 March 2020, 21+ fixes and 4+ fails.


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The progression from new love to companionship never goes easily for me. The transition from land to water, shore to sea. You have to give me time alone in the evenings. I have to give you time during the day to work.

We have to let each other do the things that make us who we are, because if we don’t, then we wouldn’t be distinct people anymore. We’d just be two bodies, dully writhing in my damp apartment. That wouldn’t be interesting.

If we always felt the way we first felt about each other, we’d never get anything done. …


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What do you do while the world ends? It’s sixty degrees in winter, so I’m standing outside at midnight, sharing a cigarette, wearing a jacket that’s mostly for show. I’m in Kansas City this week, and a new friend tells me I’m lucky I chose now to visit, because the weather’s so nice. The apocalypse shouldn’t be so pleasant, but it is. It’s divine.

The weather is nice everywhere this time of year. If you’re in North America and reading this, it could easily be sixty degrees wherever you are, yet we know it shouldn’t be. …

About

Andrew Squitiro

Poet and writer in New Orleans, LA.

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