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San Diego’s Poet Laureate Wants To Read Your Pandemic Poetry

Two people out enjoying the open space in Kensington on April 21, 2020, after...

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: Two people out enjoying the open space in Kensington on April 21, 2020, after San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer eased some rules to allow some parks to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Each of us has our own experience of this pandemic.. It’s very personal, and the feelings about it run deep below the surface of the day to day practicalities of dealing with this new reality. San Diego’s recently appointed

Aired: May 19, 2020 | Transcript

Each of us has our own experience of this pandemic. It’s very personal and the feelings about it can run deep below the surface of the day to day practicalities of dealing with this new reality.

Ron Salisbury, San Diego’s recently appointed poet laureate, is asking San Diegans to process how they're feeling by writing a poem.

The current writing prompt topic for the San Diego Poetry Together Challenge is on waiting. On the city's poetry together web site Salisbury asks participants to consider, "How has the concept of waiting changed for you? For me, waiting has been, mostly a mere step to some end that we anticipate: waiting for the mail to come, the bus to come. For me, this waiting now seems so different because I don’t know what that end is or what the future holds. How are you affected by this Waiting?"

Below is Salisbury's poem on waiting.

"We are all waiting…"

By Ron Salisbury, San Diego Poet Laureate

At 10:15 this morning, any morning now, we are waiting…

The door to the little patio is open so I can see rain dibbling

puddles on the patio, the air waltzing in cooler and cooler.

We are waiting...

Not the waiting like before;

on the bench at Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs. Where is

the 52 bus? No schedule to check so we don’t know

if it’s late or even running. Waiting for the Christmas

amaryllis from your ex’s aunt who can’t remember

what happened, to blossom. Some years only some

waiting is filled with little hammers,

but now….

for the bioluminescence, exact high tide, check

from the guy, to measure only twice before cutting,

to figure any jumble, a skate board, for the girl

in the black halter to run by at 4:30, and wave.

For AAA to arrive with the gas, for poetry to mean…..

Waiting; all that plaque between want and does…

But not today. This waiting is shapeless,

the unsettling, nothing outside on the wet lawn,

the no-end perhaps, no idea what after feels like.

That waiting…

The deadline for the waiting prompt is Sunday, May 24. Salisbury will choose three of the submitted poems and they will be posted to the city's website.

Salisbury joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss the poetry challenge and give San Diegans some inspiration and advice for writing their own poetry.

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