Gerald Wagoner

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From a Covid Diary

—4/6 9:15 pm 48º Clear
Each car is audible.
To youth I am invisible. 
Two middle aged 
women drink vodka 
on their stoop. Their 
greeting, in passing, 
sounds too much 
like farewell. Venus 
gleams tonight. 
The moon is Islamic. 
It is setting. 

—4/14   2 pm 47º Sun and Clouds
My wool coat breaks the chilly, 
gusting winds that scud clouds 
overhead like once eager 
commuter trains. The sun breaks 
bright in gaps. Brooklyn’s
ornamental fruit trees blossom
yellow, white, pale pink. Tulips 
amaze me in red intensity. 
Azalea starbursts excite my 
iris. Lilacs bloom either lilac or 
white, yet this April, even more 
than before, they grow on me.

—4/17   3:28 pm 50º Sunny
I chatted briefly while 
waiting on line outside 
the hardware store 
with a younger man who 
years ago left Iowa 
the same way I left 
Montana. Both of us 
willing to trade more 
traffic for a mutable future. 

 —4/22/ 3:50 pm 54º Cloudy
Early morning I walked
to the hardware store, 
then did concrete work. 
Filled erosion gaps around
the stoop, patched shift 
cracks in the back wall.
Messed with words this 
afternoon. Hoped a few 
shy figments from sleep 
would drift close enough 
to the light I might pluck
them from their matte 
black fog. They hide like 
the trout you know are
there: tight to a big rock, 
shielded under reflected 
sky. I cast, expectantly,
repeatedly, all my best
lures until it felt more 
like a job, than a creek to 
be worked again, maybe, 
someday in this perpetual 
month of somedays. 

—4/27   3:15 pm 55º
Grey, rain periodic. Near 
the 9th street bridge people 
with no firm outlines; their 
details sketchy. An athletic 
couple jogs passed. A flash 
of white band underwing.
Many-songed mockingbirds 
fill tulip trees. Monet’s, I think.


Gerald Wagoner When New York City initiated shelter-in-place, mid-March of 2020, to maintain his physical and mental health Gerald Wagoner continued his nightly walks. He would leave his Carroll Gardens home around 10 pm and walk to Brooklyn Heights, or to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, or up to Prospect Park. The only other people out were the occasional dog walkers. The silence was palpable. He believed it was essential to record the changes, so he took notes that were specifically sensory and observational.