HOME ON THE STRANGE
by Barbara L. Jordan © 2020
Home is the yellow and turquoise 13-foot paddleboard that takes you gliding some summer mornings in coastal Maine. Over fish, maybe even sharks, around Sow and Pigs Island, past the neighbors waving lazily from their deck chairs.
Right palm on the paddle’s handle, pushing downward as it moves you forward in upright bent-kneed posture, you are a black nylon wetsuit-clad figure below a wide-brimmed white hat protecting you from the cancer ray sun.
You are not at the gym in a mask.
Socially distanced from all sentient beings, it is not possible in this hour to spread or absorb one deadly viral particle unless there’s something you don’t yet understand about this disease.
And then Summer turns to Fall.
Your house is sort of a home, until you let in the servicemen whose face masks slip below noses or you deposit mail on the foyer bench to disinfect.
What used to be a casual run to the market for dinner ingredients is now a carefully planned “trick or treat” with personal protective gear and a “who’s behind that face costume?” guessing game. Maybe you’ll recognize the hair, the eyeglasses, or bag and then struggle to communicate without sounding desperate and as tired as you are of all this.
Out out, damned virus. Go back home. Just don’t take up residence in my home, the body I felt at home in once, in late February but not so much in March and beyond.
In this land of the free, you on the Other Side are free to bare your face and spit at me, and do so every day, fearlessly, while I plan my exit strategy should the end come in November. Home of the brave no more, home to ever more raging cowards.
God Bless the few remaining spaces on water and land that aren’t yet destroyed by fire, rain, wind, and the demon leader with homely hair and the wife flaunting that she “really doesn’t care.”
There are no monsters, this is not yet Halloween. But there are more than 200,000 dead here in God Bless America, our home sweet home.
But we can’t kid ourselves. Home is not safe anymore.
Barbara is the founder of “Heavy Hitters Music,” an Emmy Award-winning publishing company which provides independent songwriting talent to the film, television and advertising industries. She is the author of “Songwriters Playground: Innovative Exercises in Creative Songwriting” and has taught songwriting and lyric writing at the Berklee College of Music and in workshops across the country. Her songs have graced the soundtracks of hundreds of television shows and feature films, including such productions as “The Sopranos,” “N.C.I.S.,” “Analyze This,” and “Being John Malkovich.”