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A Parroquian Dream

by Joan Hall

Unfortunately, both my lecture and poetry reading were cancelled last week due to the dreaded Corona Virus. I am supposed to return to New York City on March 31st and I keep wondering whether to stay here in San Miguel or go back. Anything could happen between now and the 31st. Borders could be closed, curfews could be imposed.

I am a news junky and have CNN on non stop. WHY? I did take a break today. This afternoon I took a swim at the Real De Minas Hotel and envisioned myself in New York in my apartment isolated for two weeks regretting my return. I am obviously obsessing.

It is strange to experience San Miguel on shut down. It contradicts the very nature of this town. I love the gathering on rooftop restaurants with friends, the lectures, theater, and the crowds at the Jardin. I miss the nods of recognition to ex- pat strangers on the streets.

So I anxiously watch CNN for the latest news. We are at war with a microscopic enemy.

I can't help wonder how this Corona Virus situation will resolve. Soon and well I hope. But then, could this be an Armageddon?

Here is a collaborative poem on the situation that I did with my friend Janice Lingley:


Here we sit in San Miguel
Hoping it won't be a living Hell
Washing our hands with soap and gel
Trying to ward off the Corona

Mexican dreams turn to tired scenes
While in the grip of cartel teams
Mafia tricks make deadly memes
Trying to silence with violence

Restaurants are empty spaces
As it is with other places
We can't even touch our faces
Trying to keep ourselves clean

The stock market is in free fall
The Dow 3000 down was all
Advisors won't take my call
Trying to avoid mass fear

How can I still live my life
In the midst of worldwide strife
We all wish for Paradise
Trying to see an end

So much time to be alone
Isolated in my home
While spending time on the phone
Trying to be together

Will we once again heal
A simple hug I long to feel
How long must we conceal
Trying to keep safe

Corona Virus, go away
Let us have another day
Of health we can only pray
Trying to keep alive.

Here is another of my collages, An Olmec Head. I made it for a show, Homage, at Interseccion Gallery at the Fabrica Aurora. I find it expresses my feelings at the moment concerning crowds.


A poem about New York from my book, Journey to Somewhere:

The Soul of the City

The soul of the city is dying
Lights dim
As buildings spread
Like malignant cancer
Everywhere the chaos of construction invades
I see cranes, scaffolds, and barricades
I hear the heartbeat of the jackhammers
Endlessly pounding

The Manhattan mantra is “More, more, more”
Progress justifies greed
People sleepwalk the streets
Gazing blankly at their phones
Lost in texts and social media
Desperate for connection
Oblivious to the confusion
That surrounds them
Passing empty storefronts
That will remain empty
Saved from demolition
By landmark status
As the elite drink and dine
in gentrification
Filling their stomachs while emptying their pockets

New York is my home.
I knew it when
Its beauty was energy.
People came to get a contact high
And I was lucky to have seen it then

But now I feel despair
As I walk alone
Searching somewhere for that pulse of life.

Another poem from my book:

The World Turns Beauty

The world turns beauty in on itself
And angels become freaks
For fear of blinding themselves
With their own light
But occasionally
They flash and shimmer to each other
In recognition and elusive reunion.


Joan Hall: My parents were both artists so I was encouraged to pursue art at a very young age. I gravitated to the medium of collage and have made it a career. Several years ago, I had the good fortune to receive a Mexican/American Cultural Specialists Grant to go to Mexico for a ten day program to conduct workshops to train teachers on how to educate children about ecology and the environment. The program featured creating collages out of recycled scrap materials. Many of the teachers had never made artwork of their own and doubted their ability to do so. The results were amazing and rewarding. My collages have been exhibited worldwide, including the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. I had secretly written poetry since childhood, but never took it seriously until I entered a contest and won the Miriam Chaiken Foundation Award in 2018. I had to "come out of the closet" as a poet and give a public reading. I find that now I enjoy working in both mediums as one balances the other.

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