in case of emergency

A poetic call for #SocialSolidarity

I want to call requests through heating vents

And hear them answered with a whispered no

 — (Manifest) by the Weakerthans


In case of emergency, I love you.

(And you and you and you                                                          

Don’t care if you handle the stress with less than perfect grace

Your face is the perfect grace

Don’t care if you eat the whole bag

and reach for more

Don't care if you scream meltingly at the radio                    

Harmonize with the off-key chorus ringing round the bend

Don’t care if you call me from the thrift shop

After heading out for rice and beans and is there fish?

Thinking Kate would like this sweater

You shaking with the gift of it)

If you know one thing, know that.


In case of emergency, break class.

(Not all of us can “work from home.”                                                                     

Journal of the vague spring:

Let us give thanks

To those who collect the garbage

Deliver the mail

Work the fields, grow the food we eat

Good enough to work, good enough to stay;

Those who check the roads

Keep the threads woven and strong,

Roast our coffee beans, know what I mean?      

You can skip the dishes but the courier can’t

Could we all be as noble?

As the cashiers at the grocery store

Flight attendants, health care workers, long-term care workers

Personal support workers

The cleaners, the cleaners!

Who by their heroic labours

Save us from a worsening worst?

Let’s see them today, let’s see them first

Let’s see them every day henceforth

The elites can panic, we know who the heroes are)

If you know one thing, know that.


In case of emergency, social solidarity.

(Keep physical distance away from me

Not too far tho, nearby still, just beside

I stand with you and you with me

Arm in arm in metaphor now

Hand in hand in metaphor now

We stand ready to resist

The iron fist

Extended to non-citizens;

The matter at hand is all for one

And one for all

It never left our fingertips

Persists yet on tonguetips

We are for each other

We always have been, and always will

So what else is new? We know what to do)

If you know one thing, know that.


In case of emergency, stay human and stay close.

(Allow inspiration from the

Style and zest of the most of us

Bringing the very very best of us                                              

Bang pots and pans

Sing from windows and porches and all our front doorses                            

Call your requests through heating vents

And hear them answered with a whispered yes

Throw poems about

About nothing, everything, some one thing

To flutter down

And spill across the grounded normativities; wee

Seedlings of connection

Through physical distance

A heartful closeness draws closer

The elites can panic, we know which way the wind blows

Our hearts a mile wide, or two

The strength of our spirit on an M-class planet                  

Our arms wrap full around it

Around those who need us, those we need ourselves

We hold each other’s strengths and fears

Mixtured in image and song                                                                         

With the crocus, the robin, the tears

Of laughter still.                                                                                                               

Our humanity is all I need,                                                                                          

It’s all I ever wanted)

If you know one thing, know that.

David Robbins is a writer, union communicator and settler living and working on unceded Algonquin Anishnaabe territory in Ottawa-Gatineau. He is part of a growing co-conspiracy to shadowforge a future.