Writing the Apocalypse: Every Walk in the Park

East River Park greenery, 10/20. | Photo by Puma Perl

“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.


Every Walk in the Park | BY PUMA PERL

A random week in May

Took Diva to the park five times,

to the vet once, and, on Memorial Day,

my son drove us all to Coney Island


On the second of the park days

I met up with two friends


It was an exciting week


I no longer write down

every phone call,

every time I wash the floor,

every walk in the park


In October, so far,

I’ve made three notations

Two pertain to my car,

the third to my hair


There are no entries

about our walks in the park


Soon, those walks may end


Come November, the plan

is to destroy the East River Park,

kill our trees,

bulldoze the fields,

tear down the amphitheater


A disastrous strategy

in the name of flood protection


Every morning I look out the window

to see if the park is still there

The slaughter grows near


Will 100 bodies stop a bulldozer?

Will 1,000 bodies stop a bulldozer?

Will 100 million bodies stop a maniac?


Kind and gentle people

who’ve never wished harm

upon friends or enemies

struggle with hate in their hearts


I know that we hurt ourselves

when we can’t forgive

and wish others well, but…


I hate him, I hate them,

and I have no well wishes to give


The best I can do is to hope he gets

exactly what he deserves


Nobody needs to ask who I mean by “him”

It’s like Harvey Weinstein’s office,

relocated to the White House


I’d like to believe the park can be saved

I’d like to believe in humanity, but…


The president threw a COVID party

Then we watched him circle the grounds

of Walter Reed Hospital doing a photo op


So, we know, if we didn’t before,

that everything vile is possible


My question is, are miracles still possible?


I ask a friend what Leonard Cohen might say

about our reactions and the concept of schadenfreude


Probably something that I wouldn’t fully understand,

she responds, but that would fill me with wonder


Can we still fill ourselves up with wonder?

And, again, miracles possible?


© puma perl, 10/07/20

To help save the East River Park and learn more, visit https://eastriverparkaction.org.

Morning walk, 10/20. | 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.

9/19: Diva wants to lead the march to Save the East River Park, and the author fully supports that. | Photo by Laura Sativa


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