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 Culture/History, General Interest, Internet, John Anstie, poem, poetry, Resist

Sharing, a poem by John Anstie

Googol’s simply everywhere, Mamazon’s exclusive.
Big numbers likely would impress, were they not so intrusive,

but then those folk, who insidiously degrade our hard won grace,
are constantly, annoyingly, always in our face.

When the grass can grow untainted, and multiply in foison
and healthy sustenance prevails without the need for poison

it’ll be because we can commute opinion for the better
turn greed to need across the globe with immunity unfettered

but there’ll be no hope for freedom on the highways of the net
until some point in future time, if we’re not forced to forget

that much of our entitlement, accustomed as we are,
will fall into the purses of all those who would be tzar.

The truth would like to catch ‘em out for being so damned brash
yet if we give up easily, we’ll all be turned to ash.

© 2020 John Anstie

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry

Pride Month 2020, a poem by Carrie Magness Radna

Original gay pride flag with eight bars. First displayed at 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. / Public Domain

Rainbows,
that used to highlight Pride season,
are now painted & illuminated
on windows.

As we remain inside for protection,
many of the beloved population
are no longer hiding
in the closet—

Even in
contagion,
we are free to be
who we are.

© 2020, Carrie Magness Radna

CARRIE MAGNESS RADNA is an archival audiovisual cataloger at the New York Public Library, a singer, a lyricist-songwriter and a poet who loves to travel. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Tuck Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mediterranean Poetry, Poetry Super Highway, Shot Glass Journal, Vita Brevis, Home Planet News, Walt’s CornerPolarity eMagazine, The Poetic Bond (VIII & IX), Alien Buddha PressCajun Mutt PressJerry Jazz Musician, First Literary Review-East and The spirit, it travels: an anthology of transcendent poetry (Cosmographia: published August 3, 2019), and will be published in Rye Whiskey Review. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press: 1st edition; now out-of-print) was published in January 2019, and her second chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press: self-published) was published in August 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) was published in December 2019, now available online worldwide on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & IndieBound. She won third prize for “The tunnel” (category: Words on the Wall: All-Genre Prompt) at the 69th annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (2017). She also won 12th place for “Lily (no. 48 of Women’s names sensual series)” by the 2018 Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she is a member of the Greater New York Music Library Association (GNYMLA), and is a member/have read/workshopped for the New York Poetry Forum, Parkside Poets, Riverside Poets, Brownstone Poets and Nomad’s Choir. When she’s not performing classical choral works with Riverside Choral Society or New Year’s Eve performances with the New York Festival Singers, or writing art song lyrics with her choir buddies, or traveling, she lives with her husband Rudolf in Manhattan

Posted in Art, poem, Poems/Poetry

Five X Two, poem and digital art by Michael Dickel

Five X Two

Who blanks out one moment
sinks away from assault of light
covers provides thin shield—

but the night wraps me anonymously
protects me from dirty living-room windows
skins garlic in neglected kitchen corners.

What leaves biting gnats disturbs
perchance calm invisibility shines spots
interrogates shadows under the bed—

but the night emphasizes this
anonymously wiping glass clean
cooks up stews of sour lemons.

When whistles wastrel wind-
tunes wordlessly lifts dust grit
wastes faucet drips clock ticks—

but the night dampens eyes
anonymous echo in ears grief
wraps too many stricken.

Where sleep wrestles waking
nightmares slip into streaming
irreality shows cracked in paint—

but the night welcomes chaos
distrusts rhetoric hugs anonymous
crumbs like fine-grained death.

Why dwells here in this dark
so many tiny organic strands
unravels nucleotide secrets—

but the night reads novels
critiques plots of anonymous despair
writes poetry for morning trash.

 

©2020 Michael Dickel (Poetry and digital artwork). All rights reserved.


Michael Dickel’s writing and art appear in print and online. His poetry won the international Reuben Rose Poetry Award and has been translated into several languages. His most recent book, Nothing Remembers, came out in 2019 (Finishing Line Press) and received 3rd place for poetry in the Feathered Quill Book Awards–2020. He is Co-Managing Editor of The BeZine.


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 Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

Practical Cat on Cinco de Mayo by Jamie Dedes

“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, Gigi and the Cat


had we homÍnidos our wits, we’d
have had his cojones clipped before
some mean perro changed him into
a crippled capon, that tomcat, he
was boisterous and adamant
and ready for trouble, it wasn’t
just his maleness he lost, it was
his life, poor thing and he left

the other mourning and
coughing up chicken bits and
hair balls, too woebegone to steal
fatty succulents from Mexicali Rose
while she was busy adjusting the
barbeque grill, flirting with Brian ~
those two spiced their tacos
with a bit of kissy-face touchy-bod

in the heat of the heat of that
summer in ’86 when we celebrated
Cinco de Mayo in the park off
Alameda de las Pulgas and a new
little furry calabaza came into our lives,
half-starved and dehydrated with a
heavy chain-choker some gamberro
put around his neck . . . el idiota!

Brian freed him, we rushed
him to the vet hospital where
they repaired the damage and
he became el hermano pequeño
to the black and white, the essential
practical cat, forgetting her
tom and her mourning, letting
sweet boy stroll into her heart

© 2018, poem, Jamie Dedes; Photo credit Darren Hanlon, Public Domain Photographs.com

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Presidential Griot by Mbizo Chirasha

Courtesy of Kevin Nice, Unsplash

“Human rights don’t trickle down.” Heather Marsh, Binding Chaos: Mass collaboration on a global scale



Sometimes memories smell like a dictator’s fart
We once jived to our own shadows under the silver moon
and our shadows danced along with us, we rhymed to the
nightmares of hyenas and hallucinations of black owls.
Our desires sailed along with gowns of fog back and forth
at village dawns. Wood smoke smelt like fresh baked
bread.Time bewitched us, we ate William Shakespeare and
John Donne. We drank lemon jugs of Langston Hughes and
Maya Angelou. Soyinka’s lyrical whisky wrecked our
tender nerves. We bedded politics with boyish demeanor
and dreamt of the black cockerels and black Hitler’s

Sometimes time is stubborn like a sitting tyrant
Last night, commissars chanted a slogan and you
baked a dictator’s poetry sanguage. Zealots sang
Castro and Stalin and you brewed a socialist crank,
the president is a stinking capitalist. I never said
he is Satanist.Back to village nights, hyenas are
laughing still, black owls gossiping, silver moon
dancing still over rain beaten paths of our country dawns.

Sometimes time stinks like a dictator’s fart
Your lyrical satire sneaked imbeciles through
back doors. Your praise sonnets recycled suicidal
devils and polished revolutionary rejects, Back then,
smells of fresh dung and scent of fresh udder milk
were our morning brew and under the twilight the
moon once disappeared into the earthly womb, Judas,
the sun then took over and every dictator is an
Iscariot. I never said we are now vagabonds
Sometimes time smells like a dying autocrat

Mwedzi wagara ndira uyo tigo tigo ndira – the moon
was once sour milk silver white and fresh from the Gods’
mouth and sat on its presidential throne on the
zenith of bald headed hills and later with time
the moon was ripe to go mwedzi waora ndira tigo tigo ndira
Sometimes wind gusts whistled their tenor through elephant
grass pastures, we sang along the obedient flora . . .

Chamupupuri icho…oo
chamupupuri chaenda chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho…oo!

Our poverty marinated, yellow maize teeth grinned to
sudden glows of lightening, the earth gyrated under
the grip of thunder, then Gods wept and we drank
teardrops with a song mvura ngainaye tidye makavu,
mvura ngainaye tidye makavu ..

Pumpkins bred like rabbits, veldts strutted in
Christmas gowns. Wild bees and green bombers
sang protest and praise. I never said we are
children of drought relief.

Sometimes time grows old like a sitting tyrant,
Tonight the echo of your praise poetry irk the
anopheles stranded in tired city gutters to swig
the bitter blood of ghetto dwellers, gutter
citizens eking hard survival from hard earth
of a hard country , their rough hands marked
with scars of the August Armageddon, their sandy
hearts are rigged ballot boxes stuffed with corruption,
they waited and sang for so long . . .

Chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chaenda
chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho..oo

Originally published on Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of the Zine team and  a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017). He is a Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York, 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund, Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in poem

To Rise From Falling by Ann Privateer

I fell in love
At a homeless shelter
With a man
With the bluest eyes
A Czech Republic man.
We talked and talked
Just the two of us
So much in common.
Two nights later
I sat at his table
For dinner but he
Was occupied
With a young man
Didn’t give me
The time of day.
Sometimes love
Is like microbes…
They fly in
And out
your window

© 2020, Ann Privateer

ANN PRIVATEER is a poet, artist, and photographer. Some of her work has appeared in Third Wednesday, Manzanita, and Entering to name a few.

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.