Earlier this year, I published a poem called “A Working Class Prayer.” I wrote this piece to express how powerless I felt in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. I was so touched by the responses I got to my poem that I created a video poem that captures the spirit of this piece of writing.
(Click on the image below to watch the video.
Subtitles are available en español also.)
So, why “working class”? And why “prayer”?
Well, perhaps like many of you reading this now, a lot of my friends and family members work in jobs that are considered absolutely essential now, during the pandemic. My mom works at a grocery store and my dad is a bus driver, both jobs that require them to come into contact with a lot of people. They don’t have the option of staying at home and have to venture out into the world despite the danger of infection in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, my parents–both of whom are in their sixties–aren’t the only ones that have to deal with these circumstances. My cousins, brother-in-law, and many other friends have to face these risks to keep getting a paycheck. (And, of course, it’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting communities nationwide.)
My family is thousands of miles away in the United States and since I live in Europe, visiting them wasn’t a very viable option since I’d risk infection myself. There were times early on in the pandemic when we were under strict lockdown here in Spain when, sick with worry, tortured with visions of catastrophe, when I fell to my knees and asked for otherworldly intervention. Not any specific deity, mind you, just a general supplication for protection, for blessings, for some certainty in these terribly uncertain times. So I wrote this poem as a way to express this: acknowledging the unfairness of the situation that my family (and countless other families) have been put in during the coronavirus pandemic, but also as a means to ask for help protecting my loved ones (especially my nephews) because there’s not much I can do from so far away.
Writing “A Working Class Prayer” brought me great peace and I read it whenever I’m feeling anxious. And I hope the video as well as the poem itself provides you with some serenity in these tumultuous times.