Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Contagions of Hope

Visual representations of groups of people doing things together became illegal after the outbreak was declared a pandemic. So, the panic widening his eyes, at the sight of the postcards she laid on her pillow, wasn’t a complete shock.
“My mating profile mentioned my peculiar tastes,” she said.

“I thought ‘peculiar’ referred to the mating ritual, not criminal behavior,” he said, studying her living space. No surprise there. All single occupancy apartments, in New York, looked the same: a kitchenet, a bathroom, a bed, a refrigeration unit, and three cabinets—one for food and drinking water, one for clothing, and the biggest one for testing kits, gloves, masks, bleach, and a quick relocation bag.

“Well,” she said, crossing her arms, “now you know.” When he turned towards the door, she tried to stop him. “Wait!” She hadn’t meant to shout. But his reaction had caught her by surprise. She had taken so many precautions. She spent all her rest hours at the NY Intimacy and Procreation Center, reviewing potential mates’ records. She researched him for weeks. All the signs were there.

“Look, ma’am,” he tried walking around her, “I don’t want any trouble.”

When he grabbed the doorknob, she decided to let him go. Until she realized that his hand was trembling. Oh, screw it, she thought, before whispering the signal in a single breath, “In a rotting world, wild souls must fight…”

He didn’t turn around. He didn’t let go of the doorknob. He didn’t move at all.

She stared at her relocation bag, and was so lost in trying to figure why she never planned for this outcome, that she couldn’t hear what he was saying. “What?”

“I said, fight to become contagions of hope. I might’ve also said that codes in haiku also speak of peculiar tastes.” He smiled.

She grinned. “It’s a senryu.”

Their lovemaking was fast and delicious. It had been quite a while. When dread tears the world apart, it’s difficult to find souls to feel safe and whole with.

Before parting, that day, he gave her a crowd at the beach to add to her postcard collection. She gave him a merry couple dancing in front of friends to add to his.


a gift from a friend
via Artistic Interpretations
for Margaret’s new Challenge: Artistic Interpretations  - Coney Island, NY. And for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #9: Contagion).

43 comments:

  1. I watched a video somewhere in what is usually a crowded Chinese city street - empty. It boggles the mind and your "apocalyptic" rendering hits home. I LOVE your couples dancing postcard. I'm fascinated by postcards lately (and old photographs). Thank you for playing along. I have a real cool postcard for the 15th.

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    1. Three weeks have gone by since this post/comment, and now many NYC neighborhood are looking just as empty. My mind is properly boggled... and terrified, too.

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  2. So it's been confirmed -- haiku and senryu are APHRODISIACS!

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    1. Alas, they don't seem to work for me that way! :)

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    2. @Debra, further confirming the old believe that size doesn't matter.

      @MMT, lol!

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  3. A fun poem, Magaly. I am glad they got together for a bit, I have known, but forgotten who now, of a group on-line that exchanged post cards with each other.
    I have written a fun card poem on a Coney Island postcard, I will probably link to it when I write here for Margaret, later.
    ..

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    1. Fiction and life have a thing for mimicking each other. :-)

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  4. Oh, what a brilliantly imagined world, where postcards of people having fun are dangerous, and haiku are codes. Gotta love the wild souls – who nevertheless clearly distinguish between haiku and senryu.

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  5. That’s the kind of contagions I need, Magaly – hope, and lots of it! I like the way your piece progress from terrifying dystopic, with the illegal gatherings (not unthinkable, from what politicians have been saying), the single occupancy apartments, ‘testing kit, gloves, masks, bleach, and a quick relocation bag’, to the discussion about haiku or senryu, and the fast, delicious lovemaking. How sad that they only had postcards to remind them of being part of a group of people.

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    1. When I wrote this one, I was thinking that even in times of terror the small things still matter--they are the ones that keep us human. The world might be a mess. But that won't keep us from arguing about the difference between haiku and senryu... or, from being intimate in the way we want to (one can hope).

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  6. Years ago I collected old postcards and still have them. I hadn't really thought of using them as prompts for stories and poems until now. I really enjoyed this Magaly.

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    1. Oh! I hope you show us some of your collection at some point. I bet they are glorious!

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  7. Quite fitting at the moment. <3

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  8. You had me at; "codes in haiku also speak of peculiar tastes." I love the idea of being 'Contagions of Hope,' especially now when there is anxiety and dread everywhere. 💝💝

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  9. In a world that prohibits even owning certain pictures I can only imagine how serious the consequences would be if she were found out. But the need for connection is a strong one. I'm glad she guessed right.

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    1. When living seems to suck, we must hold on to the small (or big) things that make life suck less.

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  10. Wow! this is just fascinating fun. See how love wins in the end in this case the type of love is trust, passion and the aesthetic of micro poetry. Gotta luv this. Nice
    Thanks for dropping by to read mine

    Much❤love

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  11. I really enjoyed this but am glad it's fiction. :)

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  12. "Seizing the moment" in an Orwellian world. One moment of peace and truth in a quarantine.
    Postcards are an interesting source for ideas.

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  13. Loving it, Mzgaly. It's like being back in the Hippie Days (were senryus around then? I don't know but I was)
    I am back now toting my Art Interpretation Postcard Poem. I am sorry about my first, the one linked to you, I was just retelling the olden days. You might not like this one either. It is a ditty that might jerk tears, as a father of two girls it jerked mine.
    ..

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    1. Senryu have been around since the 1700s, so... I supposed they were in doing their thing during your Hippy Days. :-)

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  14. Science fiction is the way communicate! I cannot resist it. Great ideas here, in the kind of quick snapshot that Bradbury would write, that Orwell did in too many words in 1984. I just finished reading Kathy Miner's Colorado trilogy, coincidentally(?)also about a pandemic and how the laws of survival change everything.

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    1. My public library recently shared a meme that said something about "Science Fiction and Apocalyptic books have been relocated to the Current Events section". It read rather... sobering.

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  15. Magaly, this is just plain freaking scary! What if..........

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  16. It's so wonderful reading your imagination again.

    This is pretty apt considering today's outbreak.

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  17. Never have contagions of hope been this delicious. Love it!

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  18. It's nice when good things are contagious. Love this, Magaly!

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  19. Thank you Magaly, the way the whole piece flows is magical, yet terrifying with illegal gatherings and occupying apartments individually leading to conversation about haiku and senryu and finally leading to some romance. Postcards have played a major role in being the factor of reminder when it comes to being part of such a group. Sharing the couple's dancing postcard was so soothing and filled with love.

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I love your insightful remarks. So, go ahead, let them fly…