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When the pandemic struck,
tents began popping up all over town,
tents for drive-thru testing,
tents for outdoor dining,
tents for hair salons and yoga classes,
tents to draw people out of their homes
with the promise of business as usual.
But it was as if the circus had come to town.
There were so many tents
it was like walking through a mushroom forest.
Fights broke out over whose tent could go where.
Tents poles were broken, canvas slashed.
When the wind picked up,
those tents not secured
(sometimes through sabotage)
simply lifted into the air,
landing on empty parking garages
and vacated office buildings.
At night, an amusement park buzz
of portable generators added
to the symphony of insect song.
Meanwhile, the flicker of fluorescents
pulsed with a music all its own.
The landscape grew more and more alien
as people moved in and out
of their sterile bubbles,
until we could no longer distinguish
what was normal
and what was madness.
Kurt Newton’s poetry has appeared in Unlikely Stories Mark V, Hobo Camp Review, The Wild Word, Cajun Mutt Press and Alien Buddha Zine. His latest poetry collection, Nazi Swastika Bikini Wax Illuminati, was published last year by Alien Buddha Press.