Writing the Apocalypse: In the Realm of No Senses, Hearts Break

Walter and the Waldos at Coney Island Baby. | Photo by Charley Crespo

“Writing the Apocalypse” is a weekly series featuring the poems, essays, and recollections of Puma Perl, with subject matter influenced by her experiences as a NYC resident during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In the Realm of No Senses, Hearts Break | BY PUMA PERL

(Dedicated to everyone who loved Walter Lure)


Darkness gripped the city

Locked in by fear, grief,

and helplessness,

those quarantined days

were simple

Stay safe

Protect your loved ones


It was quiet,

except for the sirens

No cars or trucks

on the highways,

empty sidewalks,

air slowly clearing



the noise and traffic

have returned

The garbage

is piled up

in the gutters

where people dine

and drink

Masks are sometimes


We walk to the river,

me and the dog

A man sits on a bench

singing a bolero

into his phone

He wears

an embroidered shirt

and a Panama hat,

his right foot

resting on the gate


He faces the water

I imagine he’s singing to

a beautiful Spanish woman,

a song he wrote

just for her

I want to believe

she is smiling

on the other side

of the world

I want to believe

in love


Did those weeks lived

in the realm of no senses,

talking without lips,

in the absence of touch,

twist our hearts forever?

Today, we hear each other’s

pain, we grieve


in a world of forbidden

hugs and close contact

outside of designated



The Last Heartbreaker

has left the planet

and we’re all downtown


or literally,

mourning the loss

of the Real Deal,

spinning the same

songs, music

that will never

be heard or seen

in the same way,

people packed together

in front of the stage

for the thousandth time

or the first


A New York City

chapter has ended,

the pain of longtime

friends and family,

band members past

and present

resounds in silent



We listen

to the hearts


and sometimes

we stand,

arms open,


because sometimes


is closer to death

than the path

we are walking.


© puma perl, 08/27/20


In memory of Walter Lure, 04/22/1949 to 08/22/2020: Musician, Guitarist Songwriter, Original Heartbreaker, leader of his own band, The Waldos, a long rock n roll history.

A gentleman and a legend.

Man sings by the river. | Photo by Puma Perl

Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Her most recent books can be found by clicking here.

Portrait of Walter Lure, by Dina Regine

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