Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, Essay

Dilema

Coronavirus has invaded our airspace at an incredible rate of infection using natural selection attacking the most vulnerable in our population first. Virtual prayers being sent to the heavens are asking for this demon to cease and that we be released from the clutches of this damnation plaguing our nation and the world.

Even before this pandemic as one of the coordinators of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry I’ve often wondered how long we would be able to keep going. Sustainability is a formidable issue. I think this because we the leaders are now senior citizens, some with underlying health issues. We’ve been truly blessed because our volunteers from the community with both the soup kitchen and the pantry are able bodied men and women. We have three primary leaders left that are all seniors that make up the planning committee and now we have the monster COVID 19 that has complicated matters further. One of our senior leaders succumbed to this deadly virus. She had underlying health issues and was living in an assisted living facility when the Coronavirus reared its ugly head and pounced. We are praying virtually three times a day now to keep ourselves in God’s perfect peace that surpasses all understanding and that we will be able to stand in the face of adversity.

Part of sustainability is having resources. The foodbank gives the pantry food for the community. Our main expense with the pantry is renting a U-Haul truck once a month, and taking care of the Orkin bill (pest control). The soup kitchen is not aligned with the foodbank because of certain modifications to the building that had to be made before we could join in with them as a partner consequently the soup kitchen does not get food from them. The food sources for the soup kitchen come from Seton Hall University which is part of the network of college recovery programs that are across the country. These programs have student volunteers recover leftover food from their cafeterias and then disperse it to various feeding programs in the community. This food otherwise would be thrown away. We also get donations from the Hilton Hotel in Short Hills New Jersey. As soon as COVID 19 exponentially multiplied in our area and New York City became the epi-center, and New Jersey as well was being infected at an alarming rate all the schools closed down, as well as some hotels; Newark imposed a curfew which was quickly followed by orders to shelter-in. The soup kitchen had to be temporarily closed but the pantry is still in operation.

Even though the soup kitchen had to temporarily close God has been good to us. In a way it’s good that the soup kitchen is not aligned with the food bank because we are a faith based organization. We have Bible study before our dinners but it is not mandatory for people to attend, and we also have prayer before we eat in which participation is not required. What I have found in my years at the soup kitchen is that most of our clients want to participate because many of them believe in God and are looking for consolation and comfort. Because of Federal regulations we cannot pray at the pantry, nor pass out tracts, nor engage in any kind of activity that might be perceived as infringing on our clients civil rights.

We enjoy having religious freedom at our soup kitchen though. Souls come seeking solace from a world that relentlessly beats them down. I can hear the voice of the community scribe reading from the Bible, I Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves…Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” Issues…issues…issues…I’m homeless…got no health insurance…need to go in a program…boyfriend abusing me…don’t have enough food for my children…tired of living in the shelter…and this was before COVID 19 that is now our reality.

In the midst of this pandemic from the depths of hell our country is being shaken to the very foundation of the sustainability upon which it was built capitalism being our economic system, and democracy our political system. The organization Feeding America has always been here as have foodbanks all across the country but now they have been thrown into the forefront because so many people have lost their jobs and now have no income. Millions and millions have filed for unemployment but for many the process is endless and they have not received compensation. On our last pantry day we serviced about 161 heads of households and the food bank on the same day had a drive through pantry where 5000 boxes of food were given away. This highlights the magnitude of the current problem of food insecurity in our country.

According to a New York Times article found at nytimes.com entitled Poor Americans Hit Hardest by job losses and amid lock downs…”thirty-six million people in the last two months have applied for unemployment; 39% of those who have lost their jobs make $40,000 a year or less as compared to 13% who make $100,000 a year or more.” According to the organization Feeding America prior to the pandemic about 37 million people were suffering from food insecurity, or having a hard time buying food with all the other bills to pay. One foodbank network reported that typically they service about 32,000 households weekly but since the unemployment crisis these numbers have increased by 26,000 people needing food assistance.

Many of the iniquities in our system are being exposed. Why have minorities and immigrants been hit the hardest? There is a direct correlation between health care or should I say the lack of adequate health care or no health care at all and our black and brown communities being ravaged by COVID 19. In the Washington Post an article entitled Democracy Dies in Darkness found at nypost.com states “As the novel Coronavirus sweeps across the United States it appears to be killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate…” In a survey done by John Hopkins University and participating state health departments it was found that “counties that are majority black have three times the rate of infection and almost six times the rate of death as counties where white residents are in the majority.” The information was taken from a sampling of counties most of the states being in the east. It is a known health fact diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease plague the black community. Once again these trends point directly to the inequities in our health system.

Perennials blooming yet in May we still have 32 degree days. Nature is gathering all her forces to take a leap of faith knowing that God is in control of all that is natural and beautiful on earth and in our universe. The brilliant colors splashed across the sky at the beginning of a new day announcing new beginnings…the strength found in the solid rock mountains of his creation weathering the storms of life…the tides of the ocean controlled by the moon, the sun, and gravity as human beings go about their lives daily. Yet now we have been stopped in our tracks, constantly having to wear masks, and sheltering-in has become an intricate part in saving our lives…at the same time as states announce plans to open up mustering up our forces and our courage as we are adapting to a new reality.

In February my concern was how much longer the leadership of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry would be able to sustain our program. But in walked COVID 19 and sustainability took on new dimensions and we became infused with God’s limitless energy as we witnessed the crushing financial blow overwhelming our community reminding us that we are the people of God… the senior citizen leadership…In my mind I can hear our community scribe reading Galatians 6:9 “And let us not to be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” As long as food insecurity exists in our community God will provide and make a way that even in these devastating times his light will continue to shine at the House of Love Soup Kitchn/Pantry located in Newark, NJ.

© 2020, Tamam Tracy Moncur

TAMAM TRACY MONCUR is currently is the Outreach Coordinator for the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry located in Newark NJ. This is a community faith-based organization whose mission is to help individuals who are experiencing hardship due to life circumstances.  They partner with the NJ Foodbank, the Seton Hall Food Recovery Program, and the Short Hills Hilton Hotel to provide food to the community.

 

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, poem, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Linda Chown

A Time for God

This is the time for God,
for a roaring sonorous voice,
a biblical moment, indeed,
when we’re shouldering the slaughtered daily,
trying to assuage the fire of fear in and around us,
when leaders spring forth and speak
with the hallowed tone of the ancient tabernacle.
Ages old salt smells, a smear of blood
We’re ready for the divine, dying alive in our
concern. This big, larger than life moment
when life and death waver voluptuously around us.


Modern Life Is Being

masked faces in the cubist ball
that modern life is being,
that modern life is seeing
masked ones gloved and covered
floating mindless in Edgar Allan Poe’s hives,
his Masque of the Red Death breaking,
reality cracks & strange shapes rattle
much like Robert Louis Stevenson incubates
fabulous forms his boats steering far off course, heroes double vestiges of how they thought themselves to be what they were
Poe and RLS brilliant slantwise visionaries. Besides they spun torn lives on the edge,
blooming irregular tunes, masked and twisted.

© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Out There

I need to air out my brain
I say
to the walls
that never reply

will they miss me?
will they even notice I am gone?
I clip on my helmet
and mount my bicycle
she is stiff
not an easy ride
but she has taught me so much

as my feet spin
slowly
the air hits my face
sharp, cold

tears well up in my eyes
as I cruise along deserted streets
crawling past a speckling of people
walking in pairs or alone
like myself
alone

I slip into a world
all my own
forgetting the crisis we are in
I marvel at the incredibly skilled rollerblader
in front of me

Criss crossing
spinning
and somehow missing the many lethal potholes
I feel as though I am getting my own private show

Stopping I hike up to my spot
on a rock
amongst the trees

I watch as the sun slips away
behind the buildings across the way

sipping on tea
I think
we will be ok
this will all be ok
what ok looks like
I do not know
whether I can be patient
is uncertain

the cold creeps in
and my toes begin to transform
into ice cubes
I listen a little longer
to the rustling leaves
and whispers of bird cries
then lift off
and carry on this adventure
we all call life.

© 2020, Tricia Enns

TRICIA ENNS’ work explores how our relationship with the social and material spheres of the world impact the well-being of us as individuals, of our communities, and of the environment. She uses craft, illustrations, performance, writing, movement, playful interventions, humour and more recently electronics in her practice.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Mortality, Poems/Poetry

The Ebb Tides of Eternity by Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Kaitlan Balsam, Unsplash

“A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose



Eternity flows deftly through these pandemic* days
enfolding in her stream the many with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality

Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among
our relations and friends
……….a love that blossoms still, as fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles

We thrash and crawl and climb
………puzzling over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts are cupped in one another’s hands,
……….talking drums, they communicate across
……….time and space

Our measured moments grave lines
……….in real and phantom fears,

……….they fly, they hover, storm clouds above us

In words of jade, our softest speech is elegiac
Our tears merge into raging rivers
Our smiles mask our grief and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild and reckless

We see one another in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless faces
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

* pandemic days: COVID-19, environmental degradation, hunger and starvation, poverty and lack of healthcare, nuclear proliferation. Will we succumb or evolve to conquer?  Either way, nothing can take away the love we’ve given and received or  the life we’ve had.

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Pandemic/ COVID-19, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Before Corona by Mike Stone

Once, a long time ago,
Before Corona,
People sat together
Talking in soft voices
That only they could hear
Heads almost touching.

People held hands
While walking along
A riverbank
At sunset.
Sometimes people
Held each other so close
They could feel each other’s bodies
Underneath their clothes.
Sometimes they kissed
Tasting each other’s mouths.
Sometimes
They pleasured each other.

And sometimes
There were the accidental touches
On crowded trains or buses or planes
That you each savored privately
Arms brushing against arms,
Hand touching hand
While passing a cup of coffee
To someone,
A head heavy with sleep
Leaning against you
Long hair spilling across your shoulder.

These were the times before Corona
That we lived for,
That we couldn’t imagine
Having to do without,
That we thought would go on forever.

April 22, 2020

©2020 Mike Stone
from “The Hoopoe’s Call”

Before and After
Time of Coronavirus
Digital Landscape from Photographs
Photographs ©2007
Michael and Aviva Dekel
Artwork ©2020
Michael Dickel
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Pandemic Haikus Collection by Anjum Wasim Dar

covid haiku

 

red killer virus

unseen contagious, small

stay clean, far, or  fall.

 

Social distancing

washing hands fast becoming

new law of all lands.

 

Corona dharna

houses safe, don’t wire us,no

lathi-charge*, just soap.

 

who locked me in first

now corona virus has

taken my revenge.

 

value the window

all the world is in it now

zoom in side, zoom out.

*lathi-charge: (India) The police tactic of charging a crowd with lathis or batons in order to disperse it.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Beyond Yearning to Hope

Courtesy of Nick Fewings, Unsplash

“This virus is teaching us that from now on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right versus wrong, life versus death.” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, American Protestant minister and political activist. Rev. Barber is the author of several recommended books. His Amazon page is HERE.



The dreams can drive you crazy sometimes
The ones that envision a just world, one
Where equity is the backbone of endurance
A vineyard of bliss, so to speak, a garden of joy
Relative to the greed times of unworthy living
In a penthouse with a golden toilet, while
Others sleep on cardboard outside, urinating
In the streets, begging for lunch and walking
Barefoot in the snow, betrayed from day one
By the false ideal of rugged independence,
Of monied might is alright, of resource hording
By the richest and unconscionable trafficking of
Children for the unhinged pleasures of the elite
Oh my God, how did this happen? and who
Might have thought that the munitions factory
Of a deadly virus would bring us nose to nose?
How COVID-19 recognizes no bank account or
Prestigious position, just drops its noxious tidbits
Indiscrimanently, into lungs of princes, prime ministers
Those sleeping rough on city streets, its travels
Enhanced by an uneven distribution of access
To water, healthcare, space, living wages,
Paid time off, the rudiments of a civilized life
Girded by compassionate societies, lessons
Learned, we await implementation, and
Dare we move beyond yearning to hope

Originally published by Brave Voices and as The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt 

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

This poem and post are dedicated to the much admired Rev. William Barber and to Bernie Sanders. 

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

Heroic Words by Adrian Slonaker

“How are you?”
Here’s a hackneyed platitude
sidelined like sticky bottles of
condiments at the edges of
booths in greasy spoons – way back in February,
when they were
open,
throwaway words in the time of
meet-ups and Tinder, when
free physicality flowed
like turbid streams
coursing from their sources.
Yet during the drought,
the bromide won’t abandon its
fair-weather friends
as our touches and taps
and caresses and kisses are
evicted by locks and walls and
worry and six feet-
or two meters –
of mandated
icy space.
“How are you?”
A phrase as familiar
as crammed cafés
or yell-laden yellow schoolbuses
or sweaty discotheques,
a sanity-sustaining
semantic squeeze,
a question of concern,
of care,
of connection
softens the strange
hole of isolation.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

ADRIAN SLONAKER crisscrosses North America as a language professional, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Adrian is fond of opals, owls and fire noodlesAdrian’s work has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ez.P.Zine, Page & Spine and others.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

Tomorrow by Ronny Sommek, Hebrew with English by Karen Alkalay-Gut

@2020 Ronny Semmek

מחר

בְּרֶגַע זֶה כָּל מִלָּה הִיא רַעַף בְּגַג הַבַּיִת
שֶׁאֶבְנֶה מָחָר.
בַּחוּץ קַר.
זוֹ לֹא סְטִירַת הָרוּחַ שֶׁל מֶרְץ אוֹ אֶגְרוֹף הַבָּרָד
מֵהַחֹדֶשׁ שֶׁעָבַר. זוֹהִי הַמַּכָּה מִתַּחַת לְאֵין-חֲגוֹרָה. הַטֶּבַע הוּא
אֶגְרוֹפָן הַמַּכִּיר רַק אֶת הַמִּלָּה
“נוֹקְאָאוּט”.

פִילִיפּ שׁוֹלֵחַ מִמִּילָנוֹ תַּצְלוּמִים שֶׁל אֲרוֹנוֹת קְבוּרָה.
אֵיזֶה בִּזְבּוּז לְהַפְקִיר אֶת הַחוּם־אֲדַמְדַּם
שֶׁל הַמָּהָגוֹנִי וְלִטְמֹן אוֹתוֹ בָּאֲדָמָה. אֲנִי שׁוֹלֵחַ מַבָּט
לַטִּפּוֹת הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁנִּשְׁאֲרוּ בְּבַקְבּוּק הַמַּרְטִינִי,
וְנִזְכַּר בְּדוּכַן הַמְּכִירוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל הַמַּשְׁקֶה שָׁם בְּאוֹתָהּ מִילָאנוֹ.
לְמִי שֶׁשָּׁכַח, הַכֹּל מַתְחִיל בְּוֶרְמוּט וּשְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר אָחוּז שֶׁל
אַלְכּוֹהוֹל נָקִי מֻשְׁרֶה בְּעִשְׂבֵי תִּבּוּל. אָז בּוֹא נִשְׁתֶּה לְזִכְרָם. רוּסוֹ,
בְּיַאנְקוֹ אוֹ אֶקְסְטְרָה־דְּרַי.

סָלָח מִתְקַשֵּׁר מִפָּרִיז וּמַזְכִּיר לִי שֶׁהָרוּחַ הָרָעָה נוֹשֶׁבֶת גַּם בָּעִיר
בָּהּ נוֹלַדְנוּ. קוֹרוֹנָה בַּגְדָּדִית עִם עָרַבֶּסְקוֹת .הוּא מְחַבֵּר לָהּ קְלָלָה
שֶׁהִיא הַגְּרוּשׁ שֶׁהָיָה חָסֵר לַדִּינָר בַּבּוּרְסָה שֶׁל עִירָאק.

וּבְרָמַת גַּן אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לְהַדְהִיר אֶת הַמִּכְחוֹל
כְּמוֹ שֶבָּאשִׁיר אַבּוּ רַבִּיעַ מְמַלֵּא אֶת סוּסָיו
בְּצִבְעֵי הָאֵין־סוֹף.
אֲנִי רוֹצֶה שֶֶׁקְיוּזוֹ מִ”שִּׁבְעַת הַסָּמוּרָאִים”
יַצִּיל אוֹתָנוּ.
שֶׁיָּבוֹא וְיִלְפֹּת שׁוּב אֶת חַרְבּוֹ כְּיֶלֶד הַמְּאַגְרֵף אֶת הַסֻּכָּרִיָּה
הָאַחֲרוֹנָה בְּכִיסוֹ,
שֶׁיַּזְכִּיר לַצֶּלוֹפָן שֶׁעָלָיו לְהַסְתִּיר אֶת אוֹתָהּ סֻכָּרִיָּה
מִשִּׁנֵּי הָעוֹלָם.

מָחָר יִהְיוּ הָרְעָפִים מֵהַשּׁוּרָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה גַּג מֶטָפוֹרִי
שֶׁל בֵּית קָפֶה לְמָשָׁל.
שָׁם נָבִין סוֹף סוֹף שֶׁגַּם עִרְבּוּב חָלָב
בְּתַחְתִּית הַסֵּפֶל יָכוֹל לִבְרֹא
עוֹלָם חָדָשׁ.

Hebrew poem ©2020 Ronny Sommek


Tomorrow

Right now, every word is a tile on the roof of the house
I’ll build tomorrow.
It’s cold outside.
It’s not the slap of the march wind or a punch of hail
From last month. This is a blow beneath the beltless. Nature is
A boxer who knows only the word
“Knockout.”

Phillip sends photographs of coffins from Milan.
What a waste to sacrifice the red-brown
Of mahogany and bury it in the ground. I glance
At the last drops left in the martini bottle,
And remember the first kiosk of that drink in that very Milan.
In case someone has forgotten, it all begins with vermouth and eighteen percent of
Pure alcohol soaked with herbs. So let’s drink to their memory. Rosso,
Bianco, or extra-dry.

Salah calls from Paris and reminds me that the evil wind is blowing as well in the city
We were born. Baghdadi Corona with arabesques. He composes a curse
That it was the last piaster missing from the dinar in the stock exchange of Iraq.

And in Ramat Gan I would like to make a paintbrush gallop
The way Bashir Abu Rabia fills his horses
With paint of eternal colors.
I want Kyuzo from “The Seven Samurai“
To save us.
To come and grasp his sword once more
Like a child who clenches his last candy in his pocket
To remind the cellophane that it must hide that candy
From the teeth of the world.

Tomorrow the tiles from the first line will be a metaphoric roof
Of a coffee house for instance.
There we will understand, at last, that stirring milk
in the bottom of the cup can create
a new world.

English translation ©2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut


Pandemic / Tomorrow Digital Landscape from Photographs ©2020 Michael Dickel
Pandemic / Tomorrow
Digital Landscape from Photographs
©2020 Michael Dekel

Karen Alkalay-Gut’s latest books, due to be published next month, are the dual language Surviving Her Story: Poems of the Holocaust (Courevour Press), translated to French by Sabine Huynh, and A Word in Edgewise (Simple Conundrums Press). She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and an outdoor alley cat.

See her two pandemic poems on The BeZine Blog here.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Pandemic/ COVID-19, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Two Poems by Anjum Wasim Dar

The World Came to A Stop

Another day, another death,
another night, another sin
committed not regretted, nor repented,
routine pulled in pain, in beating
the grain for hours, sweat poured,
didn’t wash the hurt,

the baby cried, hungry, on the back
exhausted by jerky rhythmic jolts
then, the world came to a halt-
no cries sounded as bodies fell
listless without breath, awe and fear?
blood sacrifice, so near?

Take cover, take cover, unseen
strafing , women children men, free
of shades, cash or kind, Flee! Flee!
Death defies borders, barbed wires
make no sense, bullets batons guns
lose power.

Emptiness prevails on land, animals
watch caged humans, no honks for way
on roads. Yesterday what we loved to
touch, that very thing we fear, but will
life be the same again? Will there be
honest care?

The sun still shines, the moon in silver
smiles, rivers run for miles, ranges guard
birds twitter, trees remain calm and green,
fruit is plenty, clouds float in the sky, I—
alone, sigh, and cry—I hear my heart say

Now you know, why?
‘Because You would not stop for the World
It kindly stopped for you.’


The  Skean

Boomeranged, the skean slashed, unseen like phosgene on
the terrene, unforeseen unseen, it ripped smothered innocent
breathers, hundreds at once, to thousands in seconds.

Ominous signs forewarned, scary ghostly widespread happening
suspended in the blue expanses a cloudy white sinister skull trailing
horrifically, manifested across boundless, beyond measure,

unknown, space disturbed, restless undines sensed strange miracles in
ocean fathoms-staggering, half-clad, barefooted, marginalized living
bodies, swayed in dizzy drunken states,

dozing, drowning in Shebeen, for uncounted times, now fully wayward,
drifting, stepping, sinking in dunes, sliding aimlessly, what hopes
for humanity when denes destroyed by humanity itself?

Habitats erased mercilessly and clear silver streams
filled with propylene. No Hippochrine in soul and spirit awakens here,
silence the tambourines, smoke not the dudeen,

Sunk to Lethe lust and greed, oblivious of love kindness and good deeds
why to animal level have humans fallen? Believing not The One Unseen?
Now fearing this—though invisible?

The world in speed, metamorphosed  by tiny  Covid-19—enforcing equity—
knows not rank nor caste, nor color nor creed, nor walls nor wires of any
country, nor age nor gender nor family.

Humanity now on a single plane, no one to lose or gain, death is ordained
for rich or poor, dark or fair, all belong here, shrouds no pockets have, just
fabric layers—

Covid-19—with fear you conquer but one strong weapon will win over you,
Humans have faith and prayer, good deeds and Hope—
Hope is their strength—with Hope the pandemic will surely end.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

A Litany in Time of Plague (1593) by Thomas Nashe

Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss!
This world uncertain is:
Fond are life’s lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade;
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

– Thomas Nashe

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Jamie Dedes, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

Lockdown by Jamie Dedes

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy


Bronchi- and alveoli-seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of COVID-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly, and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear-hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

Originally published in Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine  in response to Michael Dickel’s Wednesday Writing Prompt

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Earthquake and Devastation by Michael Dickel

The poem Earthquake and Devastation as graphic art, with a photo of flowers in the background.
Poem, photo, and art
©Michael Dickel

Earthquake and devastation

Shaken earth weeps
floods of ice in all lands,
attempts to cleanse itself.

We diseased cells have
metastasized, eaten
its forbidden flesh,
perforated its bones.

What it cannot shake
off it sweeps away
with wind and rain,
or burns off in fires.

Glaciers wear down
what remains. Everything
known is now extinct.

Only new forms will emerge,
scathed and transformed
by death, cancerous greed,
into fallen-Phoenix grace.

©Michael Dickel

An earlier version of this poem appeared in The BeZine, Summer 2018. It is part of a selected and new poems collection with the working title, Necropolis. It is presented here as a metaphor for the pandemic.

MICHAEL DICKEL, co-managing editor of The BeZine, has writing and art in print and online in many venues. His poetry has won the international Reuben Rose Poetry Award  and been translated into several languages. His latest collection of poetry Nothing Remembers, came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press, and received 3rd place for poetry in the Feathered Quill Book Awards–2020. A poetry chap book, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017; The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, a flash fiction collection, came out in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us (2014), Midwest / Mid-East (2012), and The World Behind It, Chaos… (2009). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and -24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. With producer / director David Fisher, he received a U.S.A. National Endowment of Humanities documentary-film development grant. He currently is a lecturer at David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Dunce by Barbara UngAr

I love our new quiet life.
We sit like naughty children
in our corners forced to learn
what we should already know—
that we are one.
.
© 2020, Barbara UngAr
.

Barbara UngAr ’s (barbaraungar.net) fifth book, Save Our Ship, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019; it is currently a finalist for the IBPA’s Ben Franklin award.  A limited-edition chapbook, EDGE (named for the EDGE list of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species), is forthcoming in April 2020 from Ethel Press. Her prior books include Immortal Medusa, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015; Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize and a silver Independent Publishers award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she lives in Saratoga Springs.

 

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

So Enticing, So Delectible, So Now by DeWitt Clinton

Just think about it please, and don’t worry a bit
As no one lasts that long anyways, but here’s the
Scoop, I am still here, and so glad to know you
Are still here, but then, what can we make of
All those who now are not here, and somehow
I’d like to be acquainted with all of you who have
Up and left us, in spite of all the care and love of
Everyone who hoped to save you, and all you
Who probably inhaled the wrong wisp of air
That promised an early death to you and all
Those close to you, and this is what we all
Wonder about, as we try to go about wondering
How in the heck did any of us every plan for
Something as wicked and invasive as something
Like this, and nobody, nobody ever wants this
To keep dropping people, some of whom are
As close to us as a wife, or a loved one, or our
Dear grandparents who we love so much but
Are now gasping for air, and wondering who
Just now breathed this deadly gasp of air
Which now has infected almost all of us who
Seem to not have any idea that we’re
On the way out, even though most of us
Had hoped for a lovely evening with all
Of us, gathered around a plate of such
Delectables what we all so wanted to
Taste and savor and toast to our beautiful
Loved ones, who we simply cannot imagine
Not being here tomorrow, as we’re now
At the crematorium, wondering why Julie
And Maurice are now measuring just how
High the temperature is to send all of us who
Know how flesh will slowly sear to invisibility
Into what’s left of ash and bone, and possibly
We’ll be there too, in just a few days, as
Nobody really knows who’s coughed and
Sprayed so many unknown travelers that
Sooner or later, as in, pretty soon, you and
Perhaps even me, well, we’re all going to
End up as ash and bone, and nobody will
Ever remember any of this in even a few
Years, but isn’t this what everybody predicted,
That sooner or later, all of us would inhale
Someone else, and then we’d be the un-
Fortunate one who stopped breathing
In only a few minutes, and no one no one
Knew exactly what had just happened
Even though no one no one really expected
Something like this, for even the neighbors
Asked, are you okay, and of course, no one could
Even wonder that no one no one was okay as all
Of us, or most of us, will leave the earth for ever
And no one no one wanted any of this to happen
Except for a small harmless creature as so few
Knew anything about was harvested for its flesh,
And then, quite surprisingly, we all just died
Just like that, sometimes in a matter of just
A few minutes, and how, how could that
Be something we thought was so cute, so
Charming, so delectable, so enticing, so now?

© 2020, DeWitt Clinton

DeWITT CLINTON is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, and lives in Shorewood. Recent poems of his have appeared in The Last Call: The Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits Poetry, Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous Press, Meta/ Phor(e) /PlayThe Arabesques Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, The New Reader Review, The Bezine, The Poet by Day, Poetry HallMuddy River Poetry Review, and Across the Margin. He has two poetry collections from New Rivers Press, a recent collection of poems, At the End of the War, (Kelsay Books, 2018), and another is in production from Is A Rose Press, a collection of poetic adaptations of Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

The World as a Terror Field and other poems by Linda Chown

The World as a Terror Field

World as a Terror-Field
Think of those sunflower petals
Flying away so yellow in a golden light
Think of the anarchists’ red shirts
Pungent in Guadalajara, overt and blood-drenched,
Think of you this sunny morning receiving a spam email
Threatening to contaminate your whole house with Coronavirus.
There is no safe place anymore to dream of La La Land.
We can be reached anywhere and pulled and tugged,
Unhinged even from the safety of our soul.

I think of Virginia Woolf having coffee, her mind,
Measuring the world of decades, stirring the sugar in her coffee.
It’s as though her mind-place reached around the world.
At a glance, with her word nest intact.
Now, we are within walls polished so transparent,
Our souls close like an x-ray’s light, all seen into.

There’s a terror of no intimacy, leaking passwords and invasive viruses.
Megabytes of someone else’s knowing
When all we need is what we know
Curse those who disparage the robin
Plucking away, the stalwart bluejay.
Curse those who say we don’t matter
Anyway, any way.


Rebels everywhere

This talk of corpses likely to be,
These flat charts with hollow corporate names
Remind me of the 50s when people popped into mushroom clouds.
Those consonant-heavy names Malenkov, Andropov, Chernenko
and Stalin loomed large in unseeing brutality.

This was a time for the feminine way,
a time for pockets of air and lavender,
That way to reach between things, to slither love
like Dickinson finding new feet for poems
to say what wasn’t said, for Emily Bronte to
take love out of bounds.

While HUAC measured people as
stones and lashed at pinkos
I voraciously read of rebels everywhere,
Those who spoke for something
I found latent
In my sick little-girl heart.


Death into this spring

Spring finds us speechless
to say, to say how terror is,
how death turns our head.
We’ve been used to letting life go by without us.
I breathe hard for life with addled lungs.
After all, we are life, all there is of it.
Now in the heart of growth,
death is climbing hard
toward us all over.
Now, we have to stand out in the balance
and ring our life for living,
jump and plunge
over the edge into what comes next.
Quick the blue iris is coming
And the red peonies
And all your wonderful life.

© 2020, Linda Chown


LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three Poems on the Pandemic by Faruk Buzhala

The following poems are in Albanian. Each is followed by an English translation.



JETA

Trazimet shpirtërore më rrahin
siç rrahin valët brigjet
siç rrahin erërat detin e trazuar.

Nuk e kuptoj
porsi foshnja shikon botën rreth tij
plot dritë ngjyra e nuanca.

Ashtu siç lëvizin hijet
në dritën e qiririt
mendimet më luhaten.

Fëmija në djep përkundet
duke ushtruar balancimin
që i duhet më pastaj në jetë.

Rrugën e kam të trasuar
me shenjat udhërrëfyese
të vendosura anëve nga babai im.

Ç’më duhet më shumë të di
janë gjymtyrët e trupit tim
ku shenjat e fatit tim lexohen.

LIFE

The spiritual torment beats me
as waves beat the shores
as winds beat the troubled sea.

I don’t understand, confused
as an infant looking at the world around
full of light, colors, and hues.

Like shadows
of a flickering candle,
my thoughts sway.

As a mother rocks a baby
in the cradle, to rehearse balance
needed later in life.

The road is clear
with signs placed along the side
by my father.

What I need to know more,
other than my body limbs,
where are signs of my fate deciphered?



Pika dhe kuptimi i saj

Mision i njeriut në këtë jetë është të gjejë lumturinë e tij
Që i jep kuptim përpjekjeve dhe sakrificave për të njohur
Kuptimin e kuptimit thelbësor të asaj
që në mendje është mister, i bartur ndër breza!

Vallë e kuptove o njeri
Se ç’deshi të t’thotë urtaku
Që jetën e çoi si eremit
I tretur në shkretëtirën e zemrës së tij.

Breza e breza kalojnë
Dhe treten në pluhurin e kohës
E ti o njeri
Do mbetesh gjithmonë
Një pikë e pikësuar nga tjetri!

The dot and its meaning

The mission humans in this life is to find happiness
that gives meaning to struggless and sacrifice,
to know the essential conception ,
the mystery of the mind, passed down through the generations!

Have you understood, o humanity?
What the wise one wants to say?
The one who, like a hermit, spent his life
Wasting in the desert of his heart?

Generations and generations pass
And dissolve in the dust of time
And you, o humanity,
You will always remain,
One dot punctuated by the other!



Laj duart!

Kur mendon se ke gënjyer
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke shpifur
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke intriguar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke mashtruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke abuzuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqinterpretuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqpërdoruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke tradhëtuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke lënduar
Laj duart!
P.S.
Edhe Ponc Pilati pati larë duart duke thënë:
Ishalla s’më bjen Korona Virusi!

Wash your hands!

When you think you’ve lied
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve slandered
Wash your hands
When you think you’re intrigued
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve cheated
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve abused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misinterpreted
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve betrayed
Wash your hands
When you think you hurt
Wash your hands!

P.S.
Even Pontius Pilate washed his hands saying:
“Hopefully the coronavirus doesn’t bug me!”


All poems and translations © 2020, Faruk Buzhala



FARUK BUZHALA is a well-known poet from Ferizaj, Kosovo . He was born in 9 March 1968 in Pristina. He is the former manager and leader of “De Rada,” a literary association, from 2012 until 2018, and also the representative of Kosovo to the 100 TPC organization. In addition to poems, he also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, traveltales, etc. Faruk Buzhala is an organizer and manager of many events in Ferizaj. His poems have been translated to English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Chinese, and are published in anthologies in the USA, Italy, Mexico, Albania, China, etc.

He has published five books : “Qeshje Jokeriane” (Jokerian Smile) 1998 , “Shtëpia pa rrugë” (House without road) 2009 , “Njeriu me katër hije” (Man with four shadows) 2012, “Shkëlqim verbërues” (Blinding brilliance) 2015, and “Një gur mangut” (A stone less) 2018.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Seeking Greener Pastures in Symptoms That Fever Me by Nnadi Samuel

in my dark moments, i am a wild night eating a blind bat whose belly button is untidy.
my silence a broken hourglass, i plot every breath & mouth into it—to create plastic suspense,
to know how echoes die in an empty room crammed with silence.

i sneeze my childhood into rubber toys,
a girl’s anime, broken arms, a detached thigh.
i make to assemble them,
but it humpty-dumpties into a fresh past.

i carry my absence like the sky’s white stretch marks,
& the moon holds my resemblance in the dark.
the clouds here do not stay woke if it’s not an indian boy dying,
this is where i alarm myself in red.

nature files my fingernails into an arc where a whitlow quarantines me,
looking for the symptoms that fever me.
the fingers are the most populated things our body ever nurtured so much,
that we sometimes forget to observe it census.

fate delays my visa in a world seeking greener pastures too.
life reshuffles my luggage,
& a century prays me into a quick recovery.

© 2020, Nnadi Samuel

NNADI SAMUEL is a twenty-year-old graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Artifact, Inverse Journal, Awakening Review, The Collidescope, Jams & Sand and other online and digital journals. He was shortlisted in the annual Poet’s Choice writing and was the second prize winner of the EOPP 2019 contest. If he is not writing, you find him burning meals in search of his muse.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

In Which I Fear the Coronavirus Is All My Fault by Barbara UngAr

I started out gently enough, with a Green reader,
but it was out of date. The Norton Anthology
of Nature Writing didn’t suit. I tried Half-Earth,
then The Sixth Extinction, mentioning that semester
The Uninhabitable Earth was way too scary—
so of course they wanted to read that. We began,

It is worse, much worse than you think,

and were only a few weeks in, up to the chapters
in “Elements of Chaos” called “Plagues
of Warming” and “Economic Collapse”
when the stock market crashed and pandemic
shut down our school, sent them packing
and all of us panicking online, where I posted,

How often does your course work get this real?

Suddenly, I was afraid, like when I had to quit
teaching Satan in Literature because weird shit
began to happen, like when Marlowe’s Doctor
Faustus was first performed, and the audience saw
an extra person onstage and, fearing the words
spoken by the actor playing Faust had conjured

Lucifer himself, the theatre emptied in terror.

© 2020, Barbara UngAr

Barbara UngAr’s (barbaraungar.net) fifth book, Save Our Ship, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019; it is currently a finalist for the IBPA’s Ben Franklin award.  A limited-edition chapbook, EDGE (named for the EDGE list of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species), is forthcoming in April 2020 from Ethel Press. Her prior books include Immortal Medusa, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015; Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize and a silver Independent Publishers award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she lives in Saratoga Springs

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

A Doctor Watching Sunset with His Patient in Wuhan—Wang Ping

©2020 Wang Ping

PING WANG published 12 books of poetry, prose, and translation had many multi-media solo exhibits. She’s recipient of NEA, Bush, Lannan and McKnight Fellowships. She’s the founder/director of the Kinship of Rivers project. She teaches Creative Writing as a Professor of English, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.