Blog: [#i n t h e n a m e o f l i b e r t y]

I can’t put it on
I think I have covid but I just can’t put it on
it fogs up my glasses it is plastic it doesn’t ventilate
I have difficulty breathing wearing it I just can’t do it
anyway I think I have covid
I keep coughing
it started when I was in France
and then I passed the quarantine undetected
then I came back and it went away
my friends and family tell me I don’t have covid
they say if I have they would have already caught it
in any case the quarantine people would have detected it
but when I hear about covid clusters
I think about where I’ve been
no I won’t wear a mask because I am a free human being
with no responsibility to anyone or anything
I am a citizen of the world like Epicurus
and I preach bad things while doing good things
I buy organic fruit and veg from the local farmer’s market
but I hate doing recycling properly
and deep down being an Asian I enjoy
using plastic bags and sometimes
it seems impossible to not use plastic bags
who wants meat juice leaking everywhere in your car
and in your reusable shopping bags?
I think I have covid
I have been coughing since Friday night
I went to a night club Friday night and there were [no dancing]
posters everywhere and posters re social distancing rules
but everyone was dancing and there was no social distancing
and it didn’t matter to me
we had to shout at the top of our voices
like pigs getting skinned
and I have been coughing ever since
I think I have covid but I’m not sure
at Christmas I will be sitting next to an eighty-year-old
I think I will just politely cough into my arms
and tell them about my night out
yes so it brings me back to my point
I can’t wear masks because it physically makes me feel uncomfortable
and I don’t care if I spread diseases
because herd immunity you know?
I won’t complain if I get it
if I don’t make it it means I am not fit enough
to survive
my partner is a scientist
we are realistic about everything
life is strange
this virus will mutate and kill off most human beings
this is just nature curing itself of overpopulation of anything
if you believe otherwise
it doesn’t matter to me
don’t try and guilt trip me though
I won’t wear it
I won’t hear it
life’s tough
you either shape up
or ship out.


Janet Jiahui Wu

Disclaimer: this poem is fictional and in no way reflects where the poet stands regarding the need to wear a mask during a pandemic or cover up anything at any other time.


Janet Jiahui Wu is a Hong-Kongese-Chinese-Australian visual artist and writer of poetry and fiction. She has published in various Australian literary magazines such as Voiceworks, Cordite Poetry Review, Mascara Literary Review, Rabbit Poetry, Plumwood Mountain Poetry, foam:e, Tipton Poetry Journal, Yes!, Gone Lawn and so on. She currently resides in South Australia.

Listen to Janet reading Blog: [#I n t h e n a m e o f l I b e r t y] (2:25)

© 2021 text and audio