The A1 Verse: Fear and Contagion in Los Angeles

By Thomas Gaulkin | August 10, 2020

Every so often, a story in the New York Times is so well written, meaningful, and appropriate to the Bulletin‘s concerns that small snippets of it, properly chosen and arranged, produce something more than journalism, something that approaches … poetry. That blessed coincidence occurred today, August 10, 2020.

We suspect it’ll occur again.


Battling 2 Contagions: Coronavirus and Anxiety
(from the original by Jo Becker)

Radhika Kumar goes to work
every morning
hoping to save lives.

If that sounds easy, it is not.

To convince people to cooperate,
she has to get them to trust her.
She has to convince them they might be infected.
She has to let people curse at her.
She has to call them back the very next day.
She has to listen, really listen,
to how scared they are.

“Sometimes it can really get to you.”

Across the nation,
new armies of tracers
tracking down the people,
a Sisyphean task.

Fear, lulled by the state.


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