Writing the Apocalypse: Déjà Vu or Is it Today?

Pre-pandemic show, Summer 2012: The Hives at Terminal 5. | 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.


Déjà Vu or Is it Today? | BY PUMA PERL

Masked and ready. | Photo by Puma Perl

We’ve adapted

to face coverings,


pantomimed hugs


Early on,

I wondered

if my heart would fill

with holes,

if genetic changes would

course through us,

if touch and conversation

would cease


Diva used to wag her tail

when I reached

for a mask

The leash didn’t prevent

Diva patiently waiting. | Photo by Puma Perl

a ten-minute delay,

but the face covering

was serious


I’m still hoping

for non-staining lipstick,

and real solutions

to foggy eyeglasses

and hearing disabilities


I’m still hoping

for the day

we no longer wear

the damned things


By that time,

perhaps I’ll have mastered

Pre-Pandemic red lipstick. | Photo courtesy of Puma Perl

the art of mask wearing


At the moment,

I look like a sad bug,

feelings stacked up

behind my eyes

like that pile

of New Yorker magazines

beneath my end table


It’s like wanting

to be taller


Sooner or later,

the heels come off.


© puma perl, 04/12/2021


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.

Pandemic shows. | Photo by Puma Perl

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