Novel Coronavirus Blues

This is the first draft of Novel Coronavirus Blues.  As a language teacher, writing from Lima, Peru, I find that a bit of creativity can focus the mind.  (Feel free to sing it out following a standard 12-bar blues progression. BTW: That link does not have a bridge.)

Verse 1
We celebrated New Year’s and everything was good
And 2020 started, well, just like it should.
We thought that we’d see clearer in the leap year of the Rat
But the health news of pandemic filled the screens and every chat
While walking in fog, your mind, you think you’ll lose
You’re singing the Novel Coronavirus blues

Chorus
My friend how are you feeling?  How’s the temperature of your head?
When you see gone-viral videos are you filled up with dread?
For the young it’s less of a problem still you worry about that cough
You cover it with your elbow sleeve and watch your friends back off
You’re glad you weren’t in the group, on the flight or a cruise
You’re singing the Novel Coronavirus blues

Bridge
So you went to get more info from the sources that you know
You rounded up statistics and that filled your mind with woe
Finally you said, “Mom and dad, I don’t wanna be misled”
They sat you down and shared their truth
And this is what they said…

Verse 2
So the president’s cancelled classes and Zoom is our new friend
No nurse or bathroom passes, all commutes are at an end
Our reality is virtual, I’ll see you in the cloud
With fits and starts we’ll lurch ‘n’ fall and end up feeling proud
Mindset may be the only thing you can choose
You’re singing the Novel Coronavirus blues

Limericks

As I teach my 6th graders, I will sometimes create in the style that I am teaching.  When teaching limericks, write limericks!

Lorenzo he searched for a book.
“I wonder which one of you took
The book that I had
And made me feel sad.”
Saw Ian and called him a crook.

——-

Said Emma to Luke here’s a dare:
“When Erick sits down take his chair.”
But Erick was wise
To the not-nice surprise.
Said Luke, “It’s not fair you’re aware.”

——-

Miranda thought, “Class is a bore.
“I can’t stand to sit on floor.”
She talked and she sighed
And she shouted with pride.
So Finlay he showed her the door.

Coming to Terms

Divorce was finally finalized
Their love not reconciled.
Those differences hurt most of all
José, their pre-teen child.

José had heard the arguing,
The sobs of desperation.
His innocence still hoped and prayed
For reconciliation.

The hardest part: When dad moved out,
When weekends had to change.
He loaded up his duffle bag
For mom and dad’s exchange.

Routine set in, his grades bounced back,
This cycle was his life.
The system changed when spring came round
And with it dad’s new wife. 

For mother’s day he bought two shrubs:
(He showed no hesitation)
A shrub for mom, and dad’s new wife.
Just right for this occasion. 

So can you guess these perfect plants
José astutely chose?
They smelled as sweet by any name:
The Northern pink Shrub Rose. 

The rose lies still through winter’s winds
And grows in summer’s heat.
The flowers bloom from May through fall
To give the bees a treat. 

But most of all this perfect gift,
The rose, resembles love.
With beauty deep and thorns that stab,
You sometimes need a glove.

‘Twas Almost Vacation

Written for the teachers at my school…

‘Twas almost vacation and throughout the school
While kids were frenetic, the teachers were cool
A few students traveled but most were still there
To finish December with ganas and flair.

Assessments completed and conferences done
This last week of learning was different, was fun
ManageBac housed all the comments, each grade
The teachers drank coffee. The children?  They played-

They argued at 4-square, though no one was mean;
They gossiped of summer- The beach! What a scene!
They played (it was recess), they hadn’t a care.
They knew their escuela would always be there

Then one of the students she noticed the time
The teachers were missing, the bell didn’t chime.
The counselors, Katie and Rox, disappeared
With Sandra and Rosi and Victor.  How weird!

“Should we be worried?”
“Or should we be scared?”
Some started screaming but mostly they stared.
When up on the bridge there arose such a noise
That it grabbed the attention of girls and the boys.

First Flores, and, Dierkes then Reeves and Bené
Ms. Mincha and Uchi, Ms. Wiley, Ms. Lay,
Ms. Delia, Wellner and Page, Hollowáy
Ms. Emily, Fuller, McGlothin and Rae.

They stomped on the bridge and they stomped really loud
The rest of us teachers we joined in the crowd.
We sang for the kids and we danced way up high
They applauded for us then we chanted goodbye-

“The time is 12:20, it’s time for vacation
“Go travel! Go Read!” we sang with elation.
“Your work is now done here we’ve journeyed quite far
“Don’t’ stop and play 4 square, Go get in your car!”

The children all cheered as they said their goodbyes
They raced to their rides a bit older, more wise.
We waved to each bus as they drove out of sight-
Great vacation to all and to all a good night.

Masquerade

Come dance with me
Guess who I’ll be
At the ball of masquerade

You’ll see my face
That I’ll replace
I dance my grand charade

Come listen once
Dear brilliant dunce
It’s true this love I feign

Sweet nothings slur
Words lovely blur
Cause pain, no choice, remain

**********

The trust that’s gone
May come at dawn
A principle election

The words you hear
Are cloudy clear
Choose where you place affection

Becoming Peruvian Part 2

The president of Peru has declared 2017 El año de buen servicio al ciudadano. That means, the year of good service to the citizens.

With my Interpol document in hand (see Becoming Peruvian Part 1), along with several other documents, we celebrated Thanksgiving by applying for citizenship. To make life easier, Migraciones Peru publishes a document on its website listing the documents that you will need in order to apply for citizenship. As a matter of fact, they publish two lists, two different lists. They also do not answer their phones. We decided to go with the easier list knowing that public services in Peru are trying to make things easier. It is, after all, the year of good service.

We arrived at Migraciones at 10:45 AM ready for our 11:00 appointment; the taxi ride there took about 45 minutes. They received our documents at about 11:15 and called me in at about 11:35; Ana Maria could not come in, yet. In a cramped office with three desks, an office that also acts as a passageway to additional offices, I met with a kind woman who took her work seriously. At the desk next to us another woman sang along with her headphones; she quieted down when we began talking.

One by one the official went through the documents. Thankfully we had used the correct list. By the end of our meeting Ana Maria was called in and a few changes were necessary:

  • Three of the documents had to be rewritten, she gave me blank copies;
  • I had to talk to the officials downstairs to find out why, according to my entries and departures list from Migraciones Peru, my first entry into Peru was in 2009 but we were married here in 2000 (remember, we are in the office of Migraciones);
  • Ana Maria’s official birth certificate from Mollendo, Peru had to be certified as real in Peru;
  • My marriage certificate had a second last name, my mother’s maiden name, but that name did not appear on any other document, so I have to prove that I am the same person in all of the documents and that my mom is my mom- rest in peace, mom.

Conversation ended, I went downstairs to figure out how I could make corrections to my official entries and departures list.  (While I did that, Ana Maria officially cancelled the appointment we just had so we did not lose the money we paid for the appointment- it was nice we could do that.)  Turns out Migraciones had three different names for me: with and without my middle name, with and without my mom’s maiden name, and with an additional last name of Ley. Who knew? We performed the necessary paperwork to join all three records together. Now my first entry into Peru is listed as 1996. At least I think it has been changed- they would not show me the change on the computer screen. By the way, I still have no personal documents with my mom’s maiden name.

The part about certifying Ana Maria’s official certificate requires no comment. What could I possibly add to certifying an official certificate? It only requires 10 working days and a return trip to RENIEC.

As for the marriage license, back in 2000 when we married, the official filling out the paperwork for the marriage license insisted in putting a second last name. Both Ana Maria and I protested because I have no document that has my mom’s maiden name. The official really insisted and added the name from my birth certificate. Now we have to request the original paperwork from the town where the civil ceremony was held… which is easier than requesting a birth certificate from Minnesota.

If all of this takes longer than a month I will have to begin again at INTERPOL because that document is about to expire. I think our official copy of the marriage certificate already expired; it’s only valid for one month.

A big thanks to Ana Maria who has done most of the work to get me citizenship! Happy Thanksgiving!!

The president of Peru has declared 2017 El año de buen servicio al ciudadano. That means, the year of good service to the citizens. What might a year of bad service look like?