Poetry x Music VIDEO: “In the Streets”

Credit to Luke Springer of SupChina for making the above video, with footage from Andrew Braun taken in Wuhan.

More information:

Wuhan was the first city in the world to go under lockdown due to COVID-19, when authorities sealed its borders on January 23. It would remain under lockdown for 76 days, until April 8, when travel restrictions were finally lifted.

Shanghai-based photographer/videographer Andrew Braun traveled there soon after to scope out the situation. He found a city that remained “very tense,” as he put it — he was rejected from six restaurants on his first day. But people were back outside, on the streets, taking public transportation, seemingly ready to return to daily life. “At the same time, they’re being patient.”

In the Streets is from our second poetry x music album Here to Stay, available on Bandcamp.


The viruses had first and last names
until there were too many to count.
We grafted masks onto their faces

and by that point, what did names
matter? We locked them in
boxes sealed within larger boxes

built in ten days, but still
they leaked out into the streets,
bumping randomly into people

who could not see. Watch for them,
we whispered, but to us they all looked the same.
We practiced saying plague, a fun word,

not knowing the other ways we are doomed.
We stalked the side alleys with déjà vu,
feeling we’d done this before, back

in another lifetime—spying
on neighbors, reporting family,
misery enforced as baseline.

In a way, we are all the same disease.
To survive humans, you have to give up
humanity—so says the tyrant within.

Our lungs cracked like sheet ice. Breath
whistled through our veins like steam. We searched
for sickness, but there was only sharpness, like guilt.