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Corona Diary - May 2020

May brought increasing proof of our government’s utter incompetence. In America, Trump slid into total denial and began making a series truly insane suggestions. Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s key adviser and unelected power behind the ‘throne’ - having devised the lockdown - was caught flagrantly ignoring it himself. Johnson refused to sack him. He refused to go. The whole country realised our public school elite cared only for themselves. Johnson became a father and vanished again.Patronising overgrown schoolboys in the cabinet fronted the daily TV briefings with growing incompetence.

Corona Diary by Nick Toczek gold.jpg



Living day-to-day. Virus here to stay.

Knowing we’re its prey. Pray we’ll be okay.

We’ll all die but I say delay the day.

So, statement, not a question: Come what May?


After life no afterlife: flesh then clay 

Suddenly’s easy. Slow’s a lousy way.

Sod long lonely death stuck in some sickbay.

Awful April’s ending so come what May? 



Fiddle facts and figures, Matt,

Furthering this farce.

Pull your sound-bite triggers, Matt,

Covering your arse.


Twiddle with perceptions, Matt.

Twist the recent past.

Riddled with deceptions, Matt,

Truly you’re a blast.


But truth can’t be disguised, Matt,

Dismissed or denied.

No testing? Ill-advised, Matt.

That’s why thousands died.


Duck another question, Matt,

Mentioning the dead.

Just a small suggestion, Matt,

Admit you were misled.




In our empty cafes, pubs and clubs and schools

Covid waits, smiles and says: ‘Come back in, you fools.’

We’ll repay his patience. We’ll relax the rules.

We’ll reopen markets, libraries and pools.

Covid will multiply deaths and ghosts and ghouls.


Throughout vacant venues, airports, hotels, parks

Covid prowls with tiger-claws and teeth like sharks.

‘Soon they’ll return to me,’ he slyly remarks, 

And his thin voice crackles like electric arcs.

Our there in the darkness, a startled dog barks.


In our empty restaurants, offices, shops,

In take-aways, trains and planes, and at bus stops,  

Covid hides out of reach of bleach, soap and mops,

Needn’t speak, knows we’re weak, sees how our guard drops.

Lock-down’ll loosen. He’ll harvests human crops.




You lose track of day and date

Do booze till you put on weight.


You snooze way past half past eight

View news, clocking each death-rate.


You cruise and procrastinate

Blue shoes, Elvis, music’s great.


You choose dishes to create

Do queues shopping: wait, wait, wait.


You bruise beaten by your mate 

Knew dues paid just devastate.


You, whose future falls to fate

Brew views blaming those you hate.



Why care that life’s grown hard to bear?

Why care you’re rooted to your chair?

Why care that this just drives you spare?

Why care Corona’s everywhere?

Why care you’re scared to breathe the air?

Why care if you’ve not got a prayer?

Why care? Why care? Why care?


Why care about your body hair?

Why care about the clothes you wear?

Why care your home’s in disrepair?

Why care you hardly leave your lair?

Why care you only curse and swear?

Why care that this seems so unfair?

Why care? Why care? Why care?


Why care when caring’s really rare?

Why care the game is solitaire?

Why care that nothing’s yours to share?

Why care that you’re in deep despair?

Why care when you know no one’s there?

Why care about this whole nightmare? 

Why care? Why care? Why care?




We hear your voice whining, you winger, you moaner.

You say that you’re pig-sick of being a loner.


Each radio station’s self-pitying phoner

Is there to chuck bricks like some biblical stoner.


You’ve premises shut for six weeks. You’re the owner.

You’re not making money, you selfish brain-donor.


They’ve graves in Milan and more in Barcelona.

They’ve corpses from New York to south Arizona.


These dead, though, don’t matter to you, our new Jonah,

Soon joined by each grunter and griper and groaner. 


Pure profit paves pathways for each no-go zoner  

To open for business and re-spread Corona.



Clap for doctors, carers, nurses.

Clap though more loss intersperses.

Clap the coffins and the hearses.


Clap when rising death reverses.

Clap those who survive these curses.

Clap more funds from public purses.


Clap the cures each lab rehearses.

Clap for safer universes.

Clap when Covid’s threat disperses. 




Oh, but aren’t our western politicians smooth and smug?

Oh, the slimy trail that’s left by every single slug.

Oh, but soon we’ll all be fine. Just trust them. Touch and hug.

Oh, this spring is splendid. Sit and sun yourself, you mug.


Oh, I wish when asked of deaths they wouldn’t merely shrug.

Oh, how deep the hole that those burrowing beasts have dug.

Oh, we’re all in this together. Feel your heartstrings tug.

Oh, how hard it is to fend off every biting bug.


Oh, but what is nature when it’s money that’s the drug?

Oh, but here we are at home. We’re comfy, warm and snug.

Oh, what virus? Birdsongs choir us. We’re all in a fug. 

Oh, the leaves on plants and trees! The view’s a bright green rug.




Summer beaches

Handshake reaches

Sharing peaches

What life teaches

But not…

Terrorist threats

Mosquito nets

Paying our debts

Public toilets


Of course we miss…


Outdoor events

Sensual scents

Festival tents

Foreign accents

But not…

Shave underarm


Simper and smarm

Morning alarm


Of course we miss…


Nights in the pub

Working Men’s Club

Curry-house grub

Reggae ‘n’ dub

But not…

Appointments missed

Things-to-do list

All alone pissed

And the dentist.


Of course we miss…


Good hotel staff

Having a laugh

Food from a caf

Jokes that are naff

But not…

Motorway queues

More Brexit news

The wrong tattoos

Shit on our shoes. 




I’m leaving my lockdown retreat.

It’s night. You hear my pounding feet.

They beat on tarmac, flags, concrete.

I stride, repeat. I stride, repeat…


Somehow me and the microbe meet

Up on the corner of our street.

We step back, distance, nod and greet,

Use guarded words. We’re both discrete.


His monotone pours clipped and neat

To ring like rain on metal sheet.

I think of butchery and meat,

A restaurant which serves defeat.


We’ve Covid entering to eat.

The chef is turning up the heat.

But nothing lessens. Take a seat.

We live through days left incomplete.


Think language ladled sickly-sweet

And thickly larded with deceit.

We’ve deaths as dense as winter sleet.

Our virus picks up the receipt.




Hey! Okay, ladies, okay, gents,

Go back to work, you malcontents

As pawns in your own government’s

New viral risk experiments.


You’ve ministers. They make no scents. 

They flash dumb numbers and percents

Till hopes decay by increments

To leave what life misrepresents.


We’re fed false facts. Each voice invents

Its sins as if set in cements.

The lies lie clear though none repents.

Our fight-back’s what this circumvents.


Here’s where pure thoughtlessness ferments

And brews mere nods and blind assents. 

So sense explodes. It’s bomb fragments

On trains tight-packed, like mass events.


As war-dead, they’d be regiments.

With records, badges, documents,

Our lives allowed our loud laments.

It’s peacetime, though, so truth torments.




They don’t though they do, and they won’t though they will

Soon stop or start testing the are or aren’t ill.

They say down to me yet they say up to you.

We won’t so we will, and we don’t so we do.


Aware and alert to where viruses lurk.

We were staying home, now - knee-jerk - back to work.

Two metres apart till packed buses and trains.

We’ll lose use of lungs by not using our brains. 


It’s all straightforward, in a roundabout way

When weighing which meaning they never quite say

While switching the weight of their words every day. 

That’s roundabout forward but not a straight say.


Like Nightingales opened so that they could close.

Like do and don’t mask both your mouth and your nose. 

Changes to changes to rules and to choices.

Lies, contradictions and misleading voices.


We’ve had quite enough of this duffness and guff

And blather and bluff and all similar stuff.

Grant us, we beg you, this opportunity…

Let us acquire whole heard immunity.  



We’re picturing scenes which this virus requires

Of tormented souls writhing in rolling shires

With agonies, corpses and funeral pyres

The whole of it floodlit by flames from those fires.


These sights are more hellish than Hogarth satires.

They’ve demons all dancing with dead priests and friars

On bodies of peasants and merchants and squires

While devils throw townsfolk from towers and spires.


Plague visions like these in which all life expires

As once declaimed by Mediaeval town criers

Seemed long since abandoned to history’s mires

But bounce back because we’re led by fools and liars. 




It has always seemed somewhat spurious

When wars end, that those deemed ‘victorious’

Have labelled their mass deaths as glorious.


So, here’s something even more curious…


No way is this pandemic war-ious,

Its lonely deaths slow and laborious.

Small wonder so many are furious.


War rhetoric’s crass and injurious.




Stuck in lockdown week on week.

It’s no game, this hide-and-seek.

You soon sense you start to freak.

Don’t we all? You’re not unique.


Weather forecast stalls on bleak.

All the timbers start to creak.

Ship seems like it’s sprung a leak.

Whole world’s on a losing streak.


Pews unused in God’s boutique.

Faith says turn the other cheek.

Some dumb stuff about the meek.

Virus decimates the weak.


Governed by this dodgy clique.

Info’s Double Dutch or Greek.

Can and can’t work, meet or speak.

We do. Deaths rise. Second peak.  



This virus for which there’s no cure

Has sure made the world insecure.

In one killing bout

It’s now taken out

A third of a million or more.


Me, though, I’m chilled to the marrow

That Britain’s this lone wheelbarrow

Being pushed up Plague Road,

Our dead as its load,

By old boys from Eton and Harrow.


Global should be our polemic

To fight this fearful pandemic.

Yet Johnson’s like Trump,

A go-alone gump,

Dumb, when we need academic.


Bad now but the next time far worse,

The virus, I mean, not my verse.

If you’re infected

And it’s detected

Sod limericks. Get to a nurse.


Corona has started to pack.

He’s planning a break from this flak.

He’s scribbled a note

And here’s what he wrote:

‘Stay safe, all. In Autumn I’m back.’



Covid returns by train again

By cruise ship and by plane again


We’ve outbreaks to contain again

As even more are slain again


Deaths enter that fast lane again

At speeds that are insane again


From Brisbane to Bahrain again

Ukraine to Bloemfontein again


In Britain and in Spain again

For Finn and Swede and Dane again


A U.S. hurricane again

As we see Trump abstain again 


All contact to constrain again 

Mass lockdowns to maintain again


And business down the drain again

And all that fear and pain again


Familiar refrain again

As ministers explain again


And go against the grain again

Their reasoning inane again


And when we all complain again

Excuses drop like rain again  


More half-baked plans are lain again

While we fight back in vain again


Against the viral strain again

Which bounces back again, again… again, again, again… 




Education, education, education.

It’s a mantra that returns like constipation

And is greeted with bemused exasperation.

Our dictators issue it like rote dictation.

“Back to school, the first of June,” their proclamation.


Education, education, education.

It’s their lack of it that’s causing consternation,

Their decision reached devoid of consultation.

Pack the playgrounds so our youngest generation

Can be rashly used to test viral gestation.


“Send ’em back! Send ’em back! Send ’em back!”

Fifty years ago, they used to chant that cack,

Only, then it was about repatriation. 


Education, education, education.

Teach the virus to re-learn its germination.

Give it lessons in its own multiplication

From the classroom to the wider population

Spelling out the re-infection of our nation.




Day one: you wonder whether to prune that rose.

Day two: you think of using the garden hose.

Day three: you’re aghast just how fast the grass grows.   

Day four: you’ll mow the lawn soon, so you suppose.

Day five: your open gate really needs to close.

Day six: the sun shines and a gentle breeze blows.

Day seven: you sit out, doze, and the day just goes.






I’m out walking. I would be happy but

Nowhere’s open. I do my bloody nut. 


All the bloody pubs are still bloody shut

So’s MacDonald’s and bloody Pizza Hut.


I’m out walking. Down sunny streets I strut.

They’re dead as hell. That gets my bloody gut.


Total dearth where I want a bloody glut.

Newsagents can’t even sell bloody smut.


I’m out walking. Sport’s off. I’m in a rut.

No goals, no runs, no pot or bloody putt.


The barber’s closed, so no bloody haircut.

Gregg’s shut. God! I want a bloody doughnut.





I wish we had a government which didn’t cause offence.

I wish we had a government whose policies made sense.

I wish we had a government not prone to pure pretence.


I wish we had a government with leadership less dense.

I wish we had a government that read the evidence.

I wish we had a government worth pounds instead of pence.


I wish we had a government wrought in the present tense.

I wish we had a government with more intelligence.

I wish we had a government not sold on self-defence.


I wish we had a government less fixed on the expense.

I wish we had a government whose care was more intense.

I wish we had a government whose lies were less immense.



Normal? Take us back to that

Getting out of house or flat

Spending less time with the cat

Giving teachers back our brat.


Normal’s without caveat

Open door and welcome mat

Meet the neighbour, stop and chat

Gossip, hearsay, chew the fat. 


Normal’s not some bureaucrat

It’s just where we once were at

9 to 5 and all that tat

Mates who tell you you’re a twat.


Normal’s where I’d hang my hat

Pay my way and pay the VAT

Hairdresser and laundromat

Cafe, pub and cricket bat.


Normal’s not this new format

Banged up like some caged lab rat

Spending night on night just sat

Trapped inside your habitat.



We’ll stick with herd immunity

And live in cattle-sheds.


We’ll give up on community

And just take to our beds.


We’ll break rules with impunity

And act like knuckleheads.


We’ll fracture in disunity

And rip roadmaps to shreds.


We’ll miss each opportunity

And turn down tests and meds.


We’ll act with importunity

And dance while Covid spreads.



You set the rules for us to bear

But you don’t toe that line.


For common people: common fare.

You self-indulgers dine.


Pick up a lie like an éclair.

Drink arrogance like wine.


You travel here, there, everywhere

As if your right’s divine.


It’s privilege, and you’re the heir.

You’re selfish by design.


You’d have us wash your underwear

When you should just resign.


You’d let us breathe infected air

So long as you were fine.


You’re scum. You’re numb cos all you care

About is thee and thine.



Our problem was identified.

Their phones rang. Nobody replied.

Nothing we needed was supplied.


With figures altered, blame denied,

We were quietly pushed aside

By those on whom we’d all relied.


They didn’t act. Meanwhile we died

Like flies sprayed by insecticide.

Where do their consciences reside?


Government’s heartless underside:

‘Our ring of care’, they later lied

And claimed ‘the science’ was their guide. 



You mumble

And grumble


And bumble

And fumble


And jumble

And crumble


And stumble

And tumble.


Never humble, you.


We rumble you.




It’s not a race.

Months too late

They’ve put in place

Test, track, trace.


Dodgy deal

On unsound base,

Cobbled at

A frantic pace,

Test, track, trace.


Far from what

We’ll all embrace.

No time left,

Though, to replace

Test, track, trace.


System weak,

No style, no grace,

Fishy as

A plaice or dace,

Test, track, trace.



Not face-to-face,


For case-by-case

Test, track, trace.



Can’t check or chase.


Proved far from ace.

Test, track, trace.



Or world disgrace?


Gives a grimace.

Test, track, trace.


Will it work?

Just watch this space.

Chances are

We’ll soon misplace

Test, track, trace. 




On the wall next to our side-door

Are two white boxes.


One contains our gas meter,

The other our electricity meter.


The two have been thus separated

since this house was built.


That was thirty years ago.

All that time, they’ve waited.


Now that the pandemic’s arrived,

They’re normalized.


They remain two meters apart,

Just as we now do.  





Although Cummings hasn’t gone,

Johnson tells us to move on…


We the people of this nation

We who’ve dealt with desperation

We who stuck in one location

We will not move on.


We who’ve gone through isolation

We hard-sold miscalculation

We deprived of preparation

We will not move on.


We short-changed with devastation

We hide-bound by legislation 

We force-fed falsification

We will not move on.


We through hardship and privation

We who long for vaccination

We not prone to deviation

We will not move on.


We not fooled by fabrication

We not here for your dictation

We with higher expectation

We will not move on.


We withheld investigation

We with cause for consternation

We see through this situation

We will not move on.


We who’ve walked through death’s damnation

We brim-full of accusation

We say with no hesitation

We will NOT move on.




This lockdown life is losing sense.

As hidden price becomes expense

We think too much. These nights grow tense

And old disruptions recommence. 


The simplest words can cause offence

And bring things to the boil, and hence

Like steam, emotions soon condense,

Turn sensitive to self-defence.


Our inner worlds now seem immense

While out beyond our garden fence

We see no trees. The wood’s too dense

And pounds go while we count the pence. 


Our love is real. The rest’s pretence. 

This poem’s yours. It’s frankincense.

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