Photo by Nico Hough of Pangea Kali Virga

Quarantine Poetry

by Nico Hough

april.10.2020

 

Nico Hough, writer, aesthete, and Miami On Sight co-producer shares his thoughts on writing poetry during quarantine and lends advice to those looking to write verse. Nico has been writing a poem a day during this time of social distancing, invites you to do the same, and tells you why it matters.

 


 

KEEPING A QUARANTINE POETRY JOURNAL

WHY WRITE QUARANTINE POETRY?

 

Language is a social technology. Poetry is an individual voice. Writing (and sharing) poetry is a brilliant expression of the #TogetherAlone moment we find ourselves in. This pandemic event has upended life on a societal level,

and poetry gives its writer an opportunity to catalog the strange, disruptive beauty of this unique time.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a poem a day in your Quarantine Diary. It can be long or short, observational or romantic, silly or serious. The objective is just to write it. 

 

 

Quarantine writing tips


 

  1. Everything is a moment in history. Right now, no matter what you are doing, you are here, and this is happening. Poetry allows you to keep a record of your lived moments. Remember that when you are writing.
     

  2. The only way to truly fail as a writer of poetry is by not writing poetry. Poetry gives us permission to experiment and play in the sandbox of language, so don't worry whether your poem is good or bad. Don't think of poetry as work, think of it as the opposite of work. 
     

  3. Read poetry! If you're not familiar with many poets, a great place to start is with Poem-a-Day.
     

  4. You are a genius all of the time. First thought is best thought. Be open, and your own truth may surprise you. 

 

SELECTED QUARANTINE POEMS

by Nico Hough
 


Thursday 4/2

 

It’s less a peak than a mountain range. 

Today returned rare prestige, allowance

to a FedEx that only permitted ten, 

for a gilded frame from Georgia.

Like I made it on the guest list,

returned me to the fact the world 

is made of bodies. Rumors declare 

cocaine in the drinking water,

particles which glide towards collective

from something as private as yourself.

This surgical mask is not pictured

in my license photo. I expected better optics

from armageddon; I never imagined

so many sweatpants. Each alert alters the contours,

less a short v than a long u,

less a harsh winter than a silent spring. The threshold

for constituting miracle lowers like a bomb,

a flattened curve, 

future trends in discretionary aesthetic spending. 

These surgical gloves are not pictured

in the fingerprint registry, further proof

that the old world is dead, not dying.

Those people at the door cannot gain access

until I make my exit, hoping our bodies survive this

and our selves do not.

 

 

Monday 4/6

 

Unsung Dead:

FOMO,

Scooters, rental bikes, & other micro-mobility solutions,

Financial Security,

Hookah bars,

Peace of mind,

Sports-related escapism,

Air travel,

Musical theatre,

Chilling with the boys,

Civil Liberties,

The insufferable Miami greeting of pressing your cheek against the cheek of another person

kissing the air near their earlobe while they do the same to you, 

with the occasional expectation of performing this on both sides of the face, 

though exact rules of this tradition are arcane and unknowable,

Spa packages.

 

Tuesday 4/7

 

Zooming towards new normalcy from interiors

Covering our faces to get air,

A Russian nesting doll of constriction in the outline of a state.

My friend is finishing her novel about finding love

in a world that doesn’t exist anymore.

We must find it in the negative space now,

I didn’t have the nerve to tell her. Like someone

maxed out contrast settings on the film,

like unmoored cruise ships in the bay

beyond the art museum, lonely as Americans

sliding over glassy water. They must be low

on crab and cold cuts, flying beneath their tax shelter flags

When civilians had access

to the sculpture garden, we admired a work called ‘Chaos,’

a minimalist rendering of structure in decline,

latticed cubes stacked with broken angles. 

Everywhere is smothered

in metaphor, drifting towards the coastline

of the unreal real. I am waving at the passengers,

at the prisoners, from a distance too great to be seen.

 

 

 

THE AUTHOR

Nico Hough, is an art consultant, critic, and writer. He is a co-producer and copywriter for Miami On Sight. You can find Nico on Instagram @summerhoof, on Facebook @pleasecallmenico, and by e-mail at summerhoof@gmail.com.

Miami On Sight is a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for Social Change, a 501c3 non-profit organization.

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