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What Brings Out the Worst in People

By Shannon M. Palmo

What brings out the worst in a person?

A question I have been pondering as of late

Currently we live in a world where we as humans are

          Stuck in our homes

                    Forced to wear masks when we go out

                              Unable to see loved ones

A Pandemic of epic proportions

Corona Virus or COVID- 19

Nothing quite seen for many of us

I am what is now called an essential worker

Working in customer service

I have seen many things in my many years in this industry

Always seeing something that leaves me speechless


It is now that I am seeing the worst in humanity

While many praise our health care workers

And other essentials

I am seeing the worst

I have always thought people couldn’t ever get worse

Until now,

Many people who come into the store I work at are




And many more words that at the moment I can’t find

I am hearing all these people complain

Watching as myself and my co-workers respond with sarcasm ourselves

Just because of how people act

I have had customers rip items out of my hands

I have been called names that I have to do a double take

And most of all

I have seen the most disrespectful people

And I am dumbfounded



How people can act like this

During a time like this

I am witnessing

The worst in humankind

While there are people who are just as kind and considerate

As there are the complete opposite

I didn’t expect a pandemic

To bring out the worst in people.

Nature Reborn

By Shannon M. Palmo

The past few months have seen nature reborn

While humans are forced to stay inside

To not travel

We are seeing the most astounding changes around us

Venice, Italy is seeing clear water ways

Jelly fish are swimming in the waters

And for once we can see them

There is no boat traffic

Polluting the waters

Cities are seeing clear skies

As air pollution is down

Due to lack of planes and cars driving around

Nature is healing

While we are home


It is astonishing what can happen

When nature is not affected by humans


It can heal

And be reborn

Welcome to quarantine

By Shannon M. Palmo

Welcome to sickness

Welcome to distance

Welcome to the current world pandemic

Families unable to see each other

Individuals who live alone stuck in an empty home

People scared because they are considered immune-compromised

People who are essential and immune-compromised

Still having to go to work and risk illness

Welcome to a world where we see humanity at its worst

And yet I see something else

I am immune-compromised

I am an essential worker

But I am not thinking of myself


I am thinking of my grandmother

I am thinking of the many emotions surrounding me

Happy, Relief, Sadness

It was just 6 months ago we lost her

I think about everything happening now

And know that she wouldn't have made it through this pandemic

As much as I miss her, I think she was better off to have passed when she did

I don't think of myself


I think of my mom and grandfather

Both who if they get sick, it could kill them

Even though like me they have compromised immune systems

I think about the positives of life right now


Our planet healing from all of the toxicity of humans

Seeing side by side photos of Venice Italy

One photo with a boat and the other without boat traffic


I see our planet becoming more alive

We still have a long way to go

But some good is coming of this


I post random memes and lists

Just to get a smile on at least one person’s face


I am choosing to not let fear take over me

Those with anxiety, not freaking out

We've already imagined the worst so this is nothing to us


But the choice to not let fear take over

That is hard especially with all we read and see


I still would rather be silly and keep everyone's spirits up

This is my choice


Maybe more should make the same choice

Let the fear dissipate into hope.


Shannon Palmo is a transfer student to the University at Albany, majoring in English with a double minor in Journalism and Creative Writing. She enjoys many different genres of books and poetry. 

Shannon Palmo
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