written while walking out my front door

You weren’t born with that thing on your face,
So look in your mirror and see the disgrace
Of a coward whipped into his or her place—
Your dignity’s vanished and left not a trace.



Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.

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24 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Dear Joe —
    Thanks for starting this thread. Here’s my contribution.
    Masks are something on which none agree
    Yet most are wearing them. It seems to me
    That never seeing friends in company
    Or relatives, except occasionally
    Is even worse. When every litttle rule
    Exists until the ruler’s made a fool..

  2. Mike Bryant

    Saw this on some little known website:

    For years now, every study available on the efficacy of masks has proven unequivocally that masks are absolutely ineffective against viruses, while causing a huge advantage to bacteria in lungs and airways.
    Somehow, we at the CDC, assigned this study to a scientist that inexplicably had enough integrity to issue findings that the masks indeed are completely meritless.
    Don’t worry, though, we WILL find someone around here to get you back in those masks!
    Keep America safe!
    Wear your masks!

    Dr. Dillard “Sparky” Barker

  3. Mike Bryant

    Dillard even wrote this poem!

    CDC: Newest Mask Guidance

    From Dr. Sparky Barker

    The latest science is in.
    Listen, or else it’s a sin.
    The tiny advantage you’ll
    Get’s insubsubstantial
    From masks so just
    Burn ‘em to dust.
    All masks are reserved for the mulish,
    The fooled, and the fugly and foolish.

  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    The fools are we—it’s proven by the rules
    Nonsensical we follow, as if mules.
    No! Mules would be inclined to buck and kick
    At treatment apt to make the healthy sick.
    So few, it seems, have realized the point:
    Masks are a way to put us out of joint—
    Obedient, docile, cautious beyond reason,
    Fearing the least threat in and out of season*;
    Or else sick of it all and hopping mad
    That this goes on and on—circus so sad.

    *There are also, I admit, the belligerent types, who are outraged at your disregard for others’ health and safety if you fail to mask and “distance.” These are the same ones who used to sport the bumper sticker “Question Authority” (transl.: kweschun uthorudee).

  5. Paul Freeman

    If I may, in the name of balance (and humour):

    We were not born with clothes, not one stitch,
    but submit to convention’s modest pitch,
    while hard earned cash makes textile sellers rich;
    for shame this strange apparel we must ditch.

    My mask status: N/A

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Joe, thank you and I’m with you!

    Spreading Salvation

    You tell me that you wear a mask for MY sake;
    You’re virtuous and cannot help but care,
    And if I’m caring too, I’ll never partake
    In the breathing in and out of mask-free air.

    I tell you I won’t wear my mask for YOUR sake
    I care too much for you and ALL out there.
    My altruistic disposition dictates
    I take a selfless risk – it’s only fair.

    Those trotting with the herd in one direction
    Are lemmings headed for a precipice.
    I’m aiming for the herd’s fullest protection
    From Covid – I’ll defeat this nemesis.

    Statistics tell us health and wealth and freedom
    Depend upon a herd immunity.
    It’s my moral task to toss my mask and lead’em
    In the name of saving all humanity.

    Studies claim that wearing masks is futile;
    Efficacy is nothing more than nought.
    So whip your mask off now – your boycott’s crucial
    To the joy and liberty our founders sought.

    In the do-we-don’t-we-muzzle-faces show down
    That keeps the fight stoked morning until night,
    Just know when politicians use a sly clown*
    As their “expert” in this field – that just ain’t right.

    *Dr. Dillard “Sparky” Barker –
    Chief proponent of the Helicap, Large-Shoe Solar Collectors,
    and the Red-Nose Charge Indicator.

  7. Tonia Kalouria

    Foggy specs are bad enough, but …

    I, too, have a cogent comment
    — and not in refute! —
    Why now bother with makeup
    or even TRY being cute?

    • Cheryl Corey

      I enjoy the pithiness. I too experience “foggy specs”. I’ve even seen anti-fogging sprays out there now. Enough!

  8. Jeff Eardley

    If ever you travel to England,
    The question that everyone asks,
    Is, “Why all the menfolk of Stratford
    Are walking around wearing masks?”

    For it started way back in the 60’s,
    While their menfolk were down at the pub.
    That their wives and their partners had started,
    A Friday night play-reading club.

    This reading became an obsession,
    As the oil around midnight was burned.
    As many a play was completed,
    And many a page it was turned.

    Now some of them got in the habit,
    Of reading quite late in the night.
    As they sat up in bed in their curlers,
    With the light up above shining bright.

    As midnight was striking, their menfolk,
    Their bellies all swelled up with beer.
    Would stagger their way to the bedroom,
    Crying, “Please put that light out my dear.”

    “Now shut your fat gob up, I’m reading,”
    Was the rude and discourteous reply.
    “If you’re wanting some sleep then you’d better,
    Put this mask on to cover your eyes.”

    So now in the tavern, you’ll find them,
    Their eyes full of hatred and menace.
    Like a bunch of Victorian hangmen,
    Or a Carnival party from Venice.

    So please take a note from this story,
    Avoid all the pain, grief and sorrow.
    Don’t marry a woman from Stratford,
    Or you might end up looking like Zorro.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Splendid, Mr. Eardley.
      I’ve been scratching my head (as maybe many of us have) over the circumstance that banks and the like are encouraging or compelling us to wear masks. Can’t you envision a comic bank robbery movie scene with surgical masks galore and the William Tell Overture blaring on the sound track?

      • Jeff Eardley

        What a lovely thought Kemosabe…. Hi Ho Silver…..away.

  9. C.B. Anderson

    Joe, you might have found the only good use for masks: being the topic of a poem. Why resort to Science when rumor and disinformation are available? If I ever meet you Joe, it will be face to face.

  10. Sally Cook

    Dr. Sparky,
    You are snarky!!
    I’m so sick of experts yapping
    On the TV, I stay napping
    Don’t inform me,
    Scare or warn me

    I am on to what you’te up to
    .Heli-caps or amask technique,
    We know it’s control you seek !

  11. Sally Cook

    Dr. Sparky,
    You are snarky
    While on TV youi are yapping
    I will spend my time just napping
    You sell Heli-caps and such —
    I do not like you very much,
    You’ll end up in a warmer place,
    Where pitchforks will invade youir space
    And prick youir bum, and slice your soul
    For putting us in your control.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      This has something of a Seussian ring, Ms Cook. I thought he was canceled ..

      • Sally Cook

        No doubt I, too, will eventually be canceled.
        In the meantime, let the adjectives fly and the expletives soar ! !
        Thanks for noticing, Julian.

  12. Joseph S. Salemi

    Here’s a tune for cringing wimps
    To be yelled out in rhythm:
    “Take off those masks, you spineless shrimps,
    And wipe your arses with ’em!

    Fauci’s a lying fraud and jerk,
    And we don’t need his preaching —
    Let’s dump the masks and go to work
    And ignore leftist screeching.

    If you’ve still got some manly blood
    And aren’t scared of Biden,
    Tear off those face-rags, stained with crud,
    And come from where you’re hidin’.

    Walk around and laugh and breathe,
    And never mind the whiners.
    If someone dares to pout and seethe,
    Just leave him with two shiners.

    That’s the mask that suits those guys
    Whose orders are so crushin’ —
    A broken nose, two blackened eyes,
    And maybe a concussion.”

  13. Mike Bryant

    George Knows

    George knows the time for masks is past.
    He knows that pats and cuddles last,
    That poxes lose their virulence,
    For George is walking vigilance.

    George marks the seasons and the times.
    He feels the reasons and the rhymes.
    He needs no fake Fauci decree,
    George sleeps awake and always free.

    If only folks could drop the yoke,
    Could cop the slop and get the joke,
    Could slap down every bureaucrat,
    They’d forge ahead like George, my cat.

    • Sally Cook

      Animals know to understand
      The kindness of a friendly hand
      And look you in the eye, without
      A worthless rag about the snout !
      Hail George
      (Who tried some of Dillard “Sparky’s” products and found them Medieval at best.)
      May he refer you to the “Beak Doctors” of the Great Plague?

  14. Cheryl Corey

    To Mask Or Not To Mask

    Is this the decade of the mask,
    Or do I even have to ask?
    I choose to wear the basic blue,
    But now they come in every hue,
    Not to mention prints galore,
    From posies to a chocolate s’more,
    And there’s a mask for every season,
    But ultimately, what’s the reason?

    I had the virus, then recovered,
    Which means, per science I’ve discovered,
    That I should have the antibodies,
    But not so fast, say busybodies;
    Though millions more are vaccinated,
    Don’t get it twisted or equated,
    Not til the virus disappears,
    That’s every trace from ears to rears,
    Can we then be let on the loose.
    Say pretty please, you silly goose!

    • Tonia Kalouria

      Love your “Decade of The Mask.”
      Do you think chi-chi Invitations will soon
      stipulate “Black Mask”?

  15. Joseph S. Salemi

    The masks serve no medical or health purpose. Their only function is to make a public testimony of one’s basic enslavement to governmental fiat. They are a political signal, like wearing a campaign button or an armband.

  16. David Watt

    Joe, I strongly agree with your poem. I have no intention of donning a mask.

    A mask just makes us muffled-
    And isn’t that the aim?
    They cover up opinions,
    And keep the masses tame.


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