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, interNational Poetry Month, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

S/Heroes, a poem by Nancy Ndeke

Like swat teams, they sleep on the ready,
Never asking why or how,
Hearts worn on the giving hands,
The most unlikely of places you find them giving ,
The most precarious of spaces you find their hands extended,
Working beyond the call of duty and convenience,
Putting one tired foot ahead of another spasming in numbness,
Men and women life has got dependent on,
Even as few among us ‘ only look to the self,’
Time of the double digit year that rose with a cold and runs with the heat,
Unsung saints have crashed from the weight of humanity’s needs,
Undocumented stretches of giving and then some more,
Going the extra mile on fumes and the indomitable spirit of humanity,
Men and women beyond professional duties riding the waves of disastrous contacts to save a life,
Human angels filling the emptiness of commercial shelves with basics upon a cold night,
Medics walking on slippery quarrantine quarters to offer hope to a lone sufferer,
What of that ambulance man who last slept last week?
And the nurse whoses duty goes beyond administration of bandages into listening and a reassuring voice?
What of the old man who goes shopping on your behalf because you can’t?
The bedridden mum of three calling to cheer you up as your nose runs red,
What of that ‘highway man’ without a home and now down with flu,
His best shot would have been a blue look but for that lady berieved recently,
Times and seasons have a rhythm and a tune all it’s it’s own,
For the hurricane of worry that COVID 19 has thrust amidst humanity,
One thing has come up for sure,
Man is capable of being a human being for sure,
Discarding old habits and biases to stand and be counted,
To help within means and beyond those most in need,
And as the world sighs deeply with the burden of sick and dying,
Heros rise every day to perform tasks that make all proud,
It’s to such deeds and acts of kindly giving,
That tells earth is habitat of man,
A hard-work of a loving deity,
Once lost but now found,
At a time when such heroism is indeed needed.
Names may be forgotten but not the acts,
Time will pass and this monster conquered,
But let the lessons forever stay,
That with love, nothing is too hard to gain,
And that we are strongest,
When we are a brother’s keeper.
S/HEROS everywhere,
May you never lack a supporting hand while you live.
Yours, too, shall be tended by the seeds you tend today.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

This was originally published on The Poet by Day in response to a Wednesday Writing Prompt

NANCY NDEKE is the Associate Editor of Liberated Voices,  a Poet of international acclaim, and a reputable literary arts consultant. Her writings and her poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology. World Federation of Poets in Mexico. Ndeke is a Resident Contributor of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal since mid-2018. African Contributor to the DIFFERENT TRUTHS, a publication that sensitizes the world on the plight of Autism edited by Aridham Roy. SAVE AFRCA ANTHOLOGY, edited by Prof. Dave Gretch of Canada and reviewed by Joseph Spence Jr., has featured her poetry and a paper on issues afflicting Africa and Africans. Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.

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.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three poems for the Time of Corona by Mike Stone

Walking Daisy in the Time of Corona

I don my surgical mask and plastic gloves,
Snap Daisy’s halter and leash together,
And we walk bravely outside
To take care of Daisy’s needs.
Outside felt like the times the missiles rained down on us
But there are no sirens for incoming viruses.
In the streets some people wore masks, too,
Others didn’t, but no one stared at me.
I meditate on Daisy, while walking her
I’m also walking her cancer cells.
They’ve spread throughout her body
So that my love can’t tell the difference
Between her living cells and the dying ones.
Yesterday I read about a dog with Corona that died.
Daisy’d have a lot to worry about if she were human
But she just sniffs the flowers
Like this is the only moment in the whole universe
And she’s immortal for all of it,
And I think to myself
Who’s the wise one?


Love in the Time of Corona

Yea, though I sit in the shadow of Corona
Watching the talking heads spew new rules
From a flickering screen two meters away
Thou shalt not congregate in groups more than ten
And thou shalt not hug or kiss anybody else.
Then I got to thinking about the people
I’ve hugged and kissed over the years
And thought I’d better make a list before I forgot
But then I thought of you, all of a sudden,
The thrill of you that rippled through my body
The shiver of warmth and coolness,
The seconds that spilled through my fingers
Though I tried to save them from oblivion,
How they rolled away like balls of mercury
Disappearing between the floorboards of a dark room.
I put the list down, still blank, on the desk,
And the darkness reached into the room
Through the window, replacing the afternoon light.


A Heavy Fog Descended

In a country that I shall not name
A heavy fog descended everywhere,
From the sandy shores of the wide sea
To the meandering river,
From the mountains to the deserts,
The fog smothered everything
With a damp white blindness,
The tall buildings of the cities
And the low houses and fields nearby,
The tall trees and fallen logs of the forests,
The beasts and the people,
Young and old, powerful and weak,
Rich and poor, and the strange and familiar,
The fog covered one and all
So that they couldn’t see each other
And could barely see their hands reaching out
Or their feet where they walked.
People bumped into each other.
Some said excuse me while
Others became angry and cursed,
Some tripped over logs or walked off cliffs.
There were leaders who told the people
They would be ok if they just followed their voices
But the leaders led their people around in circles
And lost many of them to the logs or the cliffs.
There was one leader, however, who understood
That all people were needed to save all people
And he explained this to everyone he met.
Each person who understood tied himself to the others
So that if one person fell, he’d be stood up by the rest
Until he could walk beside the others
And nobody fell off a cliff.
They still walked around in circles
But at least they were safe.
Besides, even our world circles our star
And our star circles our galaxy.
After a while, the heavy fog lifted
And moved out to sea
Evaporating into the feathery clouds.
The people untied their ropes
But continued to stay together
Because that was what people were for.

© 2020, MIke Stone

MIKE STONE (Uncollected Works) was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. He lived in San Diego and Chicago. Mike played clarinet and saxophone in his high school marching band, dance band, and concert band. He also composed music. He started out with a Fine Arts major but then graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army (stationed in Germany) and the Israeli Defense Forces. Mike has traveled throughout Europe and to several Arab countries. Mike has been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU. He has published four books of poetry (The Uncollected Works, Yet another Book of Poetry, Bemused, and Call of the Whippoorwill), a book of essays, and four science fiction novels (The Tin Man, The Rats and the Saps, Whirlpool, and Out of Time). Mike is currently working on his fifth book of poetry (The Hoopoe’s Call) and a fifth science fiction novel (H4N5-2080). He supported his writing habit by working as a computer programmer, specializing in information security. Mike speaks English and Hebrew, as well as a smattering of Spanish, German, Russian, and a bit of Arabic. He also speaks several computer languages fluently. Now he is retired. Mike moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and seven precious grandchildren.

Check out his blog. You can read his latest poetry, short stories, and essays, while they are works in progress. Mike also has an Amazon author’s page HERE.

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

in this time of community isolation by gary lundy

at least school shootings have been halted. we worry as everyone seems to. that close relationships have ended. but at least the climate grows slowly back to an earlier normal. were it not for commercial greed. and the ignorant denials banking in their bunkers of wealth. we might pull through. little hope of that happening though. to hold a young child in such light rather than comforts aggravates those consigned to terror. in such solitude language takes a back seat. even thoughts become glued onto the surfaces creating compound fractures. whether or not cleaning occurs or continues. tones familiar and left slightly ajar. at least here the water still runs. even if poorly. open the blinds and enjoy the indifferent sunlight. it’s a good thing you stocked up on brown napkins. this nearly first day of spring. one problem has to do with rereading an event until it turns rigid and fixed. they find some kind of security in lobbing accusations toward any other group. which lies outside their chosen domain. homemade soup and brief even though distant visit. keep up with the dishes. keep washing hands. maybe get around to vacuuming. anything more than an afternoon nap a change in venue. i suppose we all must act as if forever was a positive outcome.

© 2020, gary lundy

gary lundy is the author of five chapbooks, including: when voice detach themselves (is a rose press, 2013), and at | with (Locofo Chaps, 2017); and two full-length collections: heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving (is a rose press, 2016), and each room echoes absence (FootHills Publishing, 2018). His poems have appeared most recently in Ethel, The Collidescope, The McKinley Review, Filling Station, Shark Reef, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fence. gary is a retired English professor and queer living in Missoula, Montana.