Quarantine Blackout Poetry–Volume 6: A Father-Daughter Project

The Quarantine Blackout Poetry Project is a weekly project my 12 year old daughter and I work on together. It is my attempt to create “our thing.”

This week Haley and I present four new blackout poems–two by Haley and two by me.

This week poem’s are themed on confusion.

Haley’s poems attempt to capture the emotional confusion felt by a 12 year old in these unprecedented times– by which I mean both being 12, an emotional stew of hormones and uncertainties, and catching a glimpse of the terrible weekend news.

My blackout poetry took a political turn.

While I do my best to keep a safe social distance from politics, this week I was swept up like a broom to a shard of glass shattered from a Minneapolis store front window.

I spent too time this weekend binge-watching protest, civil unrest, and human violence. Too much time watching blue teargas spiral over a city street, as masked people scatter, as smoking silver canisters clink on the blacktop. Too much time shaking my head. Too much time listening to my heart break.

Buildings in cities I’ve never visited all burn the same way.

There’s a black puff then a black cloud, then the black cloud becomes a black smoke stream–a dirty stairway between earth and heaven. Yellow flames dance up the stairway like a careless child. Glass shatters. Paint bubbles. Carbon dioxide chokes out oxygen. And the fire, whose performance is the same in every city, burns hotter and hotter until you can’t help but to stare and choke on the char and feel the living heat from man’s finest creation.

These unprecedented times are pissing me off.

They read like the familiar setup to a joke:

A plague, a protest, and a politician walk into a bar…

These blackout poems attempt to capture my confusion, as I sat on my suburban porch, under the enormous sky, watching Haley spin cartwheels in the grass, fragile heart thumping in my chest, feeling the heat and smelling the smoke spill from cities I’ve never visited.

Wherever you are, in these unprecedented times

Stay safe.

Be kind.

Be well,

Haley and Jay

Haley’s Poems:

A Whole New World

It’s Heavier Than You’d Think

My Poems:

We Will See

Bring Down Another


Jay Armstrong is a writer, blogger, speaker, and recipient of the Teacher of the Year award in his school districtDiagnosed with a rare neurological disease that resulted in a hole in his brain– Jay presses on. He hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:
1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
4. Hearing his children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents and a beer with his friends)

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