Poems from the Lockdown

Los Angeles Spring 2020

Drawings from the brook at Mad Brook Farm
Vermont. August 2019


Finally, it’s good

             this plague

Something had to

             stop us

We knew it

From the beginning

             it’s a cycle

Hard to be there

             when it comes

But it’s good


You know the feel

             of swinging on a

                          swing the part

                                       before the drop


and training eyes and hands on solid

this or that

no endgame

A spit of lawn between low bushes

             a city block where a crow walked with me


Shoes like bread

Suspension without


Suddenly it’s neutral

The bed has blankets

Death could fall upwards

                                                    just as well


These days

             bound together

                          like bananas



             like dizzy spells


A blessing

                          shouted into

                                                                                           non duality


There is so much now

                                       That is unspeakable


                                                                                                        drifts in and out

                                                                              I wash my hair

That show that’s been


                                                                              I want it


             before the fading

                                                                                                                     of its meaning



                                       non duality

                                                                                                                                  Can you make

                          the leap

To deconstruct                                       the hive

                                                                              in this sea of



His beauty worked against him

             The arrogance

                          of his height

                                       His poise

See the executioner’s expression

             his face



                          as he slips his hand

                          into his pocket


As he rolls his knee

                          into his victim’s neck

And so the virus

             runs wild with grief with fury

             with Purpose in the streets

On my bookshelves

             of long-forgotten treasures

                          I find James Baldwin

                          The Fire Next Time

                                       His articulation

I watch police in various guises

             jam shields into the crowd

                          batons, chemicals in orgies of release

I count the viral danger

             as Multitudes march

                          now in distancing formation

now clumped

             muscle to muscle

                          skin to skin

As through a narrow


                     to herd immunity


The heal of my hand

             to the tooth

                          of a word

Hunger coming

             Notebook full of


Days ago

             I sheltered here in place

                          Now it’s how I live

Run to poetry

             grab with both hands

                          that loaf of bread


She picks at her skin

             Takes five minutes

                          to pull off a sock

What else is there to do

             She’s had her last piss

                          Indulged in prayer

Good night eagle

             she bids her bedside lamp

The bronze responds

             Good night Simone

Then darkness

             and random dreams

Simone Forti is a dancer, artist, and writer based in Los Angeles. Her early “Dance Constructions” were influential in the reinventing of dance that took place in New York in the 1960s and ’70s. Over the years Forti has developed movement vocabularies based on studies of animals’ movements, of the dynamics of circling, and of the synergy between moving and speaking as in her improvisational “News Animations.”  Forti has performed internationally at venues including the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which also features some of her work in its permanent collection. Forti’s book Handbook in Motion was published in 1974 by the Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her book Oh, Tongue was edited and published by Fred Dewey for Beyond Baroque Books, in 2003. Forti’s book The Bear in The Mirror was published jointly by Koenig Books, London & Vleeshal, Middelburg in 2018. In 2011 Forti received the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts. She is represented by The Box LA Gallery.