Played Out

I wrote Played Out in response to the pandemic and the isolation and uncertainty we are all facing. The video images provide a context and an intimacy to the words of the poem.

The video and the poem can be found below.


I’m tired
and I don’t want to be the grownup anymore.
I look around and in my line of sight
the tunnel does not end in light.
How can that be?

I’m worried
and I want some older wiser person
to appear and stroke my cheek
and tell me
everything will be all right.

I’m angry
and the soundbites make me sick.
I chew my nails and fidget in my chair
and grimly watch the TV heads
toss numbers in the air.

I’m scared
and the jokes and gags give no relief.
The wiping down has wiped me out.
I wear my mask, a silent shout,
the viral fear’s gone viral.

I’m troubled
and it’s hard to cope
with so much information,
and no experience to fall back upon
to give me hope.

I’m uneasy
and I don’t like not knowing
how things will turn out.
I preach optimism.
But in my heart, I am afraid.

I’m anxious
and I want to stop complaining.
I have more than most, and yet
I lie awake at night
straining to put events in place before daylight.

I’m struggling
and I’m filled with sadness
for the suffering of others,
and the undertow of deaths,
and my children’s bleak tomorrow.

I’m tired
and I wish an older wiser person
would sit on my bed and stroke my cheek
and tell me everything will be all right.
Just go to sleep.

I’m tired of pretending I’m ok.
The five-year-old in me is searching
for a hand to hold, a voice to say,
There, there my dear. This too shall pass.
Tomorrow is another day.