CORONA WITH A TWIST
Punta de Mita, March 2020
by Ed Walker
Last night we watched stars
gaze over cheering crowds
before the curtain fell
and now I stare at a Mexican sunrise
bobbing on the Pacific
a surfboard between my thighs
the sun peeking out over the Sierras
a sea turtle surfacing looks up at me
or the sun too and it’s so fine
paddling for a wave forgetting
all the beers of yesterday
by Daniel Goldberg
Spring is oblivious to human difficulties,
Why should she care about our cares,
Forsythia and Daffodils usually bloom
Their sunny yellow smiles.
But this year, the Forsythia bloomed
…….And she was sad,
Not the sunny yellow of yesteryears,
Even the Daffodils seemed
Not to smile, but bowed their heads.
We mask our sadness, our boredom,
Our restlessness, our loneliness.
Eyes meet eyes, but not our grins.
We live in the large, the unfathomable,
The pinwheel of the Milky Way,
Our home, vast and mysterious;
Yet, it’s the little things that trip us up,
The unseen, the reshuffled deck,
The unexpected cosmic curveball.
Elemental forces appear, like four
Galloping chariot horses,
Thundering towards us, unwelcome.
Yes, I think it’s time to wash our hands,
Dream of better times, love, care, smile.
by Gordy Whiteman
it’s as though the judge has banged his gavel
and given you a sentence of home confinement
but he’s locked up the whole bunch….you….him
her….them….it’s like you’re looking at your cellmates
on the first day in the pen and seeing that the
space is not as big as you would like and the others –
that is how you see them at this moment – the others
have taken over the prime spots – the tv – the radio –
the beds – and they are a surly bunch they have
established a routine and who the hell are you suggesting
that they consider your ideas so now it’s a case of how
do you get through this mess – you can say screw the
edict you’re going out on the street and they won’t even
know that it’s you……..you’ll have a mask on and sun glasses
so good luck with that and you’re not sure that you want to
go back to that mad scene where the arguments are
unending and why did you get hooked up with that bunch
in the first place and you can bet that when this is over
you will be so out of here because in truth it really does take
two to tango and you have decided that you have picked
the wrong dance partner and the band is not playing your tune
“Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride to the wide
open country that I love.
Don’t fence me in… ”
by Juliana Harris
will be horrified
when (and if)
she sees me again.
This morning, in a fit of pique,
I chopped off
an offensive tuft.
Just pretend you don’t notice.
I hope, when distancing lifts,
her skillful hands
will restore me
ODE TO MY SHOPPER
by Sharon Olson
I was seventy-one and still counting
when I counted the grocery bags arriving
at my front door, each one labelled
I guess for the shopper’s convenience,
some mnemonic only he had derived,
Poems 1 of 8, Poems 2 of 8, and so forth,
and they were like poems, each item
of slightly different size and voice,
tuna can haikus next to sonnets of milk.
I chalked it up to coincidence, until
the next week new bags came, this time
marked Lyric 1 of 7, Lyric 2 of 7, so
we knew we were in some sort of
telepathic, telegrammatic finger-
tapping sync-apathy, as if he knew
I must write poems and would eat
to write them, not eating words
but snippets of lyric, edible syllables.
The market has stipulated one week
between orders, and I am as I said
earlier seventy-one and still counting.
And so I find myself wondering
what the next code will bring, what
subliminal message my messenger
will write to signal our connection.
He must be a poet, too, composing
behind the front lines and so essential.
FROM SHARON: “Originally appeared in The New Verse News. The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues. They have published several of my poems. I’m always interested to see what poets they present. There are new poems every single day.”
IMAGE: Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
A POEM IN THE PANDEMIC?
by Margaret Iacobellis
You should, they said, be able to write lots of poetry,
it’s very quiet now you are confined at home
you are free to do what you want, you can choose
your words. You must be filled with words!
there are no happy trails
filled with synonyms or rhymes with happy singing
No, there are no outlets which are unexplored.
All drawers are cleaned out. All closets closed
Each bookcase shelf dusted and reviewed
Then replaced exactly as before or joining the
tall tall pile of unwanteds now dusty with age
or filled with useless wordage
Even the discovery of a long lost photograph
brings only pain. A smiling face. no longer
No……no happy trails the cost to leave now
too high to pay.
A PANDEMIC REFLECTION
by Jen Payne
It’s hard to hide from yourself
in a pandemic, day in day out
living without distractions,
your reflection suddenly more real
reveals the things you forgot,
or your grandmother
stooped over the sink too,
her familiar refrain
your familiar refrain
Oh god, you wake one morning
realize this is the same day, again
day in day out day in day out
and not just because of some virus
but because you, YOU have
worn down a path from the bed
to the bath to the sink
where you stoop now
see your reflections in the mirror
as the sun rises and the birds sing
and trickster fox laughs from the yard
laughs at you, your bucket list,
that wisp of gray descending
so long you can’t ignore.
(Image: Mirror II, George Tooker.)
by Ed Walker
is my job
it is not
I break shit
I fix shit
in this rare air
I’m waiting for your call,
chickadees, owl, vultures
but it’s your call
why I’m still here
for the givers,
and the takers
by Jane Muir
My mother, as a child, was sick one weekend and didn’t visit her grandparents.
That weekend their house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
Both grandparents died in the fire.
I grew up with a fear of lightening.
My father, as a very young man in Scotland went to sea
As a cabin boy or whatever lowly job was available.
When one voyage finished, he took another
But missed the one to India
That boat sank before it reached Gibraltar
The whole crew perished.
And now I and all my children
Face our own dire threat—
Not a lightening strike
Nor a leaky boat
In China who
by Norman Thomas Marshall
A POEM IN WHICH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS HAILED AS A
VISITATION UPON A WORLD OF SIN NOT YET READY TO RECEIVE
THE MESSIAH OPENLY AND FREELY SO THEREFORE THE WOLRD
STUMBLES BLINDLY– IN, AMONG AND AGAINST EACH OTHER AND
WE HAVE SOMETHING TO CONSTANTLY TALK ABOUT WITHOUT
ANYTHING GETTING SAID.