Tubercular Sky—Golden Shovel

Inspired by and structured around the phrase, “With flame under the tubercular sky,” from Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Howl.”


And I remember the doctor’s office with

My son wandering in the Wuhan flame

Wondering the assumptions my doctor was under

Blank and unconcerned about the

Possibilities of falling tubercular

And not seeing the coming scare in the midday sky.


In early January 2020, I took my son for a doctor visit to get him treated for the flu. My doctor asked us if we had been to China or had contact with anyone from Wuhan. We had not, but I had read a news story or two about the rumors of a flulike outbreak that China was covering up. I figured it was just the regular old fearmongering like they did for bird flu which never amounted to anything. Anyway, my son ended up giving me his flu, and it was one hell of a flu. I had trouble breathing for more than a month afterward. When March came around and it turned out that covid was an actual threat, I had assumed that the flu that my son and I had caught was an early case of covid, but after catching the omicron variant of covid more recently, I have decided that my pre-covid flu was just one hell of a flu. I am very happy that covid never turned out to be the world-ending-pandemic that the news agencies were hyping it to be. But I am saddened by all the misery and death it did and still is causing more than two years on.


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