Thanksgiving Guilt

The days — likely the months — leading up to Thanksgiving 2020 have left a hazy tarnish on my ability to be present for my family and friends.

It started, of course, with the economic uncertainty, political instability, and alienating nature of COVID-19. But it is bigger than that, more insidious, and ultimately more profound.

The rich got richer without doing much of anything, the poor kept fighting at great expense, and the world never stopped its dizzying spin. All this while 1.4 million people across the world died and left a dolorous wake in their leaving.

Please consider: The death of 1.4 million people is, by its very nature, an abstract and impenetrable number of individual lives gone forever and an exponential number of living grief.

Everyone who survives bears a scar. Every witness who remains watches from the silver shadows of their own guilt.

While I have much to be thankful for, I can’t stop making pictures that tell this terrible story writ large on quotidian society.

And I feel ashamed of its toothsome moral: There is a dark and resolute solace in this pathological estrangement from the brothers and sisters who survive here alongside me.

The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree

“the blue cherry blossoms / on the blue tree”

‘Cherry Blossoms at Evening’ by William Carlos Williams

In the prebirth of the evening
the blue cherry blossoms
on the blue tree
from this yellow, ended room—
press to the windows
inside shall be out
the clustered faces of the flowers
straining to look in


Source: Williams, William C. “Cherry Blossoms at Evening.” The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume II (1939-1962). Edited by A Walton Litz and Christopher J. MacGowan. New York: New Directions, 1991, p. 10.

Photo: Gerace, Joe. “The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree.” Nov. 26, 2020. JPG.

Valzhyna Mort & Henri Cartier-Bresson, Postcoital

Hackensack, October, 2020

violent global apocalypse
aren’t you worried brr
the mirror ball

playing with the toddler
in the parking lot
so meaningless: music in the air

there is no belarusian
version of this poem

she turns the therapist to 11

we no longer think in color
there’s only cold
dark and not dark

the prism handles the rest
the first third and fifth course
are the cheapest white wine in secret

as if it were the edge of the universe
the far away thunder of a giant waterfall
but no ambush no sauce

it’s not like they have an option
who made their black-strap shoes
their blonde bobs and toned coats

the door remains the ink remains
the windows blown into sky-gone into bricked-over
in favor of what’s left out of frame

Acusar al Presidente

Hackensack, August 2020

yes 10:13 in hackensack and i am wondering
why on earth is my skin so skinny

when all the prayers say i should be greasy
my benedictions

should be known widely
how many people are even in this bolted down town

anyway if i stop with all the bolas de acero
cerveza and el gran

poeta contemporáneo maybe i’ll dry up
maybe i’ll go on that boat trip

i promised my family anyway
here’s to the good colonel

working the corner
for the wrong boxer

why fight at all the dog
lucy her coffee bean

rising in the midday sun
takes a dive into the green grass

was it right acusar al presidente
was it weather crashing down on my head

like a thug’s framing hammer
don’t even got a wallet

there’s certainly no cash
i’ll cancel all the cards

before you spend a dime
i’ve been discourteous look

up at the flying cars stare and steal
a handful of photos

of this first great fear two men
with blond pony tails

look at that lot
i should cast them out

of hell for being so official
so beautiful so dour

on this urine soaked street
i stole that photo of the dog

by the balls my dog with the coffee
bean tried to attack the man

fat man slicking himself with sesame oil
this mobile phone suggests a yellow face crying

of laughter
after with my thumbs

i type urine and sweat 🤣 that one
squeezes through the wire like a stranger

to me anyways
chopping grass the old fashioned way

the calendar says hello
with both hands it is august 1

a lens cap in my pocket
a black coin from not so long ago

i looked up mike kanemitsu now
i’m sweating 🤣 memory

passive dogs attack
the passive voice

yes 10:13 in hackensack
and i am wondering

Hackensack Rally to Stop Police Brutality and Racist Violence #blacklivesmatter

All photos copyright Joe Gerace, 2020 (please email for usage permission)


Hundreds gathered on a sweltering June afternoon in Hackensack, NJ, to call for an end to police brutality against people of color in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

Organizers provided a platform for members of the crowd to step up to the microphone and share their thoughts. Many of those who spoke stressed the need for swift and definitive change to race relations in America, and the importance of community, solidarity, and voting — in local, state, and federal elections.

The peaceful rally convened from noon to 1 p.m. on Ward and State streets in Downtown Hackensack before protesters marched south toward the Bergen County Courthouse.

Uniformed Hackensack police officers blocked traffic to allow protesters to rally and march freely.

The death of Floyd sparked rallies and protests across the country and a handful of protests occurred in New Jersey over the past several days.

Hackensack

Giant Farmers Market, Hackensack, NJ, Large indoor farmers market. You can buy anything from fruits and vegetables to fresh cut meats and seafood. Come early to avoid the crowds.
Farmers Market, 2019

After Ron Padgett’s Amsterdam

The sky has been paved over
by no boats in the Hackensack.
In the gutters of River Road
watery asphalt crumbles
because it is New Jersey and
very unwell. Even the street
light thinks filth, with
the sadness of her body
her electric mind every minute
and Ken Zisa inside
the house watching his Yankees
inning after inning. Outside
the window, a man says something
and a girl laughs, “No, Milagros,
eso no es un gusano real.”
Everything fizzles.

For Sale by Owner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The toddler’s chainsaw of false cedartop:
Faces, forecast in papercut: Illiberal relief.

Pay Half Your Life, Rounded Up

Wikipedia Poem, No. 712

one part gas mask
two parts treeshrew skull
one half ounce intoxicated trounce 
one buxom bouncecastle 
        some amount of tree 
half never retrieve the cumulus of nectar
first you crawl 
then you pay

 

Cyclops Lives by Herding Animals

Wikipedia Poem, No. 660

w660-2-low

in ages of strategy 
find form of war  
         
                yellow highlight 
            the location i see before me
         six disloyal but touching memes 
     earn unseen-careful paroxysm of stormy sea-monster
made of myth ether and yoke upon yore upon 
fathom a revolutionary stratus 
the mythical canon can 
must mean grow

 

David Remnick

DR

Referential in a way John Ashbery could never be —
I’ve yet to read John Ashbery.

I’m at the ironbark dreaming,
Except I’m not; I’m ironstone.

The world will not let me
Say what I mean; or I

Come across
Weak, watered down

And cheap. I’m afraid to pay
For what I deserve; “Alright.

Honey, have a safe trip.
Yep, OK. Alright, the plan is airtight.”