Tag Archives: Coronavirus

But I don’t have the strength to go: Fourth of July Coronavirus update

To celebrate our independence in 2020 means reckoning with what independence has wrought — difficult, I know, amid the snapping of American flags on Ford Explorers. Frustrated by a pandemic that does not pause for festivities, we want to hit the beach, eat at restaurants, and, to my yearly amusement, light fireworks (I don’t understand fireworks, a subject for another post). Instead, millions like me live thwarted lives because mountebanks in Tallahassee, Austin, Phoenix, and California clung to a desiccated but venomous idea of liberty that regards the wearing of masks as no less an infringement of the pursuit of happiness than slavery was; their followers — our fellow citizens — agree. Meanwhile thousands of men and women continue the demonstrations that have forced a stunning percentage of Americans into the reckoning with the ways in which police and carceral systems sustain peonage and make different war on black bodies. Continue reading

It’s no game, part 43: Coronavirus update #29

Nine thousand. Good readers, we nearly doubled our case load in twenty-four hours. Y’all know I’m a South Floridian. Even putting aside the truth of anecdotal evidence, I can tell you that, despite the number of cases in Miami-Dade County, everyone is masked, required to by county ordinance since late March; few MAGA-ites complain on social media; and the restaurants I’ve walked past in the last two weeks are desolate things (NB: I’ve stopped eating at them, even outside). Continue reading

Black existence ‘valued only to the degree our bodies are tied to the labor produced’

As new coronavirus cases top a thousand for the fifth straight day, Florida (the state with the prettiest name!) galvanizes thanks to weekend protests notable for their tranquility and the show of force with which these protesters were met. Take the streets bordering my university, where a hundred police in riot gear threatened to tear gas and arrest a group of approximately thirty protesters. And even in this case the youngish crowed wore masks and kept its distance. Continue reading

I Am the Law: a playlist for hard times

I needed a playlist reflecting my darkest week of the year. One of my favorite James Brown elongated jams, John Coltrane and Stooges’ attempts to tear a hole in the heavens, Phil Oakey’s uncanny impersonation of incorporeal authority in The Human League’s “I Am the Law,” Public Enemy wiping their asses with Arizona. Billie Holiday’s here after a reading of Angela Y. Davis’ Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday

1. Run the Jewels – Walking in the Snow
2. John Coltrane – The Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost
3. Stooges – L.A. Blues
4. War – The World is a Ghetto
5. James Brown – Time is Running Out Fast
5. The Human League – I Am the Law
7. No Age – Working Stiff Take a Break
8. Prefab Sprout – Nightingale
9. Willie Nelson – Darkness on the Face of the Earth
10. Public Enemy – By the Time I Get to Arizona
11. Peter Gabriel – Birdy’s Flight
12. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Falling Thunder
13. Billie Holiday – You Better Go Now
14. Pere Ubu – Final Solution
15. Erykah Badu – Soldier
16. Udokotela Shange Namajaha – Awungilobolele
17. Funkadelic – You Hit the Nail on the Head
18. Prince – America
19. Rapsody – Afeni
20. Talking Heads – The Overload


The past sure is tense: a COVID playlist

Assembling this list went gaily along until yesterday’s events proved the speed with which history reminds Americans of mistakes it continues to make and lessons it refuses to learn because #America. Suddenly Breland’s “My House” sounded self-righteous and proud, not amiable.

1. Public Enemy – Burn Hollywood Burn
2. Yoko Ono – Why
3. Kylie Minogue – The One
4. Echo & the Bunnymen – Porcupine
5. Ka – That Cold and Lonely
6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Falling Thunder
7. Captain Beefheart – The Past Sure is Tense
8. Pet Shop Boys – Young Offender
9. Bikini Kill – DemiRep
10. Luther Vandross – The Rush
11. Brantley Gilbert – Three Feet of Water
12. Phoebe Bridgers – Kyoto
13. Chairlift – Polymorphing
14. Randy Travis – Look Heart, No Hands
15. Lady Gaga – Stupid Love
16. The Charlatans – I Don’t Want to See the Sights
17. Jens Lekman – How We Met, The Long Version
18. tUnE-yArDs – Find a New Way
19. Breland ft. Sam Hunt – My House
20. Joni Mitchell – Two Grey Rooms

‘When the good Lord calls you home, a mask ain’t going to stop it’

Longtime readers know I avoid the Trump scrim. They can read him or about him on social media. I try, when I can, to cover matters local and general. But the depths of his malice revealed themselves when he said not a word of sympathy for the first person to die of COVID-19, for, after all, this person had a pre-existing condition. Or a month later when he couldn’t say, as even Richard Milhouse Nixon would’ve done, that he’d wear a mask around the White House for the sake of the vice presiden and his hard-working staff — or for the sake of his wife and children. Continue reading

It’s wet out there: Coronavirus update #27

I was told — note the passive voice — about a “long weekend.” Well, “long” we’ve known about since the ides of March. What is a “weekend”? The Miami I saw on my drives and walks huddled indoors on Friday and Saturday, reluctant to enjoy the restaurants and shops that had opened. After my reasonable experience last Wednesday, I tried again at another spot two days later. Fans that roared like jet engines held the beastly heat at bay while I slurped on escargot and drank rose. The waiter at my favorite casual French bistros beamed with gratitude but eyed the sea of empty tables, mask a-tremble. Continue reading

Fall in love without the pain: Coronavirus update #25

Several weeks of unseemly hesitation later, I swallowed the last of my wine and demanded a friend shave my head Saturday night. Readers know what a sculpted coif means to me. I want what I haven’t got. But no goddamn way was I visiting a beauty salon or barber shop, despite the all-clear decree from Tallahassee. The consequences hit me yesterday afternoon after my shower. In my medicine cabinet were my pair of styling creams, none likely to be of much use until at least July. RIP, my friends. Continue reading