The Heroes (for Eryk Hanut).

By Carolyn Gregory.

The heroes fill my heart with joy.
They open community kitchens
and shut down restaurants.
They reach an ancient birthday
after living a good life.

They offer face masks
to help the poor survive.
They write articles to help
readers know
what looms before them.

The heroes are both invisible
and also in our lives,
carrying good jokes and prayers
in equal measure.

We are lucky to have them among us,
offering peace and much better days
if we are alert
to all their good works.

 

 

Night and Day.

By Jan Tromp.

At home during our first lockdown
it’s as if the end has come
the whole world quieted by the plague
businesses closed, people sent home,
in some countries hospitals overrun
and death at the corner…
us, confined in the house
musing what’s to be done,
doves calling at sunset,
and there was evening
with its glinting star
and morning —the first day.

***

Futilely searching for the manual to all of this,
cut-off, we attempt
to connect by zoom, tik tok and whatsapp
seeking the safe centre,
the how, what and why in countless
burning digiscreens, one-world windows,
We open them to love and hate,
falsity, truth, we can’t resist them now:
chipped with the apple, scared of the doctor
and the dark laboratory churning under,
even as the antelope roam savannahs free,
we’re the planet’s freaks now
shivering…broken/hopeful in the lonely wind,
and there was evening
with shattered neon cloud
and morning —the sixth day.

 

Poet Bio:

 

 

Rim Canyon Road.

By Jack Bowman. 

It’s May, Frank’s eyes continue to blur,

he loses things, forgets, gets frustrated easily

some pressure;

a new found irritant,

an itchy wound where none was before

 

he gets his youngest, gives him the easy Canon, he uses his phone

takes off toward Tujunga, after 3 attempts to get through, they find it,

Mt Gleeson Rd., which leads up and over,

the road behind the mountains,

it seems, others have found it too,

many cars, hard to see the people, a few doing social distancing

the rocks are there, the cliffs, drying creeks, sand, bridges,

a kite

and then the view,

they stop exit the car and take it in, a few photos, but the expanse is wide;

a valley with high mountains on each side, green of spring, a misty fog makes him wonder if it’s all real,

but he takes it in anyway

shows his son how to work the camera,

 

it works, irritation suspended,

mountain driving, beauty and secrets

hidden in the travertine and limestone, 

it feels

just fine.

Poet Bio:

Jack G. Bowman is a poet, composer, performer and psychotherapist based in Southern California. His poems have been widely published in small presses across the US, UK, India, Mexico and on the internet since 1991. He has written reviews for Poetix and Poetic Diversity, he was a member of the poetry groups; Third Person Singular, Duotribe and The Furniture Guild Poets, in recent years, he has been published in Altadena Poetry Quarterly, Spectrum Anthologies and Fevers of the Mind, He was nominated for a Push-Cart Prize in 2016.

Look Away, Child.  

By Dan Mulinge

 

I’m in line at the hospital,

Seated, not standing

With an awkward distance from her,

Her two little incisors proudly present her smiles

Her scattered hairs, a sombre yet fun reminder

That we are all born bald, and delicate.

She’s playfully dancing on her mother’s lap,

As if it were a ball room and she, the ballerina

I make faces every time she looks this way

I wink, and she blinks twice,

I smile under my mask, she smiles back openly

Her little fingers clutch her mother’s skirt, she ascends

She’s stands, then walks, supported by the bench.

She looks up at me, wanting to be held.

I cannot touch her. I should not touch her. Or hold her. Or tickle her

So long are the days of abujubujubujuu!

So long, child, are the days we’d hold you and play along.

Corona is watching, I better not be her victim.

And neither should you.

So I let her walk around,

I have stopped making faces, she won’t be tempted to be held

By anyone but the mother.

 

BREAKING FREE

   By Agatha Malunda.

 

The slavery of free men has began.

A ruthless Queen has risen from the east and 

She, unlike the sun, is harmful to man.

Each day she exhorts the power of death,

many are struggling to survive;

 all living under the fear of losing their lives.

The world is under attack

And lockdown has become Noah’s ark

to protect us from this fiery flood.

We cover our nose and mouth with a mask

and  we’ve become accustomed to this task.

Large gatherings are restricted

our feeling of togetherness is afflicted.

Handshakes have become illegal 

They say hugs and kisses

contribute to the further spread of the illness.

 

The sun shines but we admire its beauty

through our curtain windows.

We can no longer feel its rays on our skin. 

We spend all day listening to news

hearing how the masters of science

are struggling to find an antidote.

But this pain won’t last forever

we will fight it together.

The reign of Corona will be gone

a new era will be born.

in the meantime let us practice safety

by washing our hands regularly and staying indoors as part of the remedy.

In so doing will defeat this enemy

and convict it for its felony.

Life is sweet and we will not let Corona

still the honey in our bodies.

Masks

By Mniko Chacha.

 

“Wear the masks,” the prominent governor announced,

Soon after Covid-19 emerged,

Despite the increase in price everyone demanded masks at any price,

So, I bought two masks to cover my face,

 

At home, the wise passerby uttered,

“Wear masks everywhere you go, otherwise, you will cease to exist.”

I resisted it for a while and tried to disbelieve my mind,

Then, I recalled what the Television broadcasted. “Those who will wear masks will defeat this pandemic beast.”

 

I thought a little bit and took the face mask,

And covered my face,

I looked on the mirror and saw that my face was becoming the dusk,

The confusion disturbed my eyes, so, I broke the mirror with my fist,

 

Afterwards, I moved towards the sitting room where my wife drank a beer,

“Woo the ghost is coming to kill me right here.”

She shouted and struck me with the whisk broom,

And fled from my sight like a ripe plum,

 

I threw down the mask thinking that it brought the pandemic ghost in my home,

“Take care, nowadays, the face masks are rare to find,

Like the dust of gold.”

The fading mouth roared to me,

 

Later, I shook my head to grasp the reality,

And restore into me the sincerity,

To the best of my own ability,

I wore another mask and got back to my sanity,

GRAVITY UNGRATEFUL

By Mark Blickley.

 

Yes, I am dressed in mourning

Dark clothes for a dark time

Yet I yearn to escape

Pandemic imprisonment

With the germ of an idea

That will allow me to soar

Above my confinement

In an airborne threat

Against complacency and boredom

As I reach up to a blue heaven

That promises social distancing

On a cosmic scale,

But that old bitch gravity

Bears down on me,

Slapping me down

Like a petulant child

Crying out

For what she cannot have,

Slammed back

To a blanketed earth

Of red white and blue.

 

Poet Bio:

Mark Blickley is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center. His latest book is “Dream Streams”, is a text-based art collaboration with Amy Bassin.

Prisoners Of Hope.

By Modest Dhlakama.

 

We had the freedom and privilege,

To go anywhere and at anytime.

Now we need a pass for the essentials.

Streets are no longer congested or polluted ,there’s

More traffic in kitchens and lavatories.

Beds complaining of overuse,

Even the rats have  no playground anymore

The Author of Life ,has done it!

We are all convicted and sentenced

To lock-down.

But we hope on…

Here we are the prisoners of hope

Trading with faith for His mercies ,for ,

Somewhere, outside  the gates Corona is waiting.

 

Poet Bio: 

Modest Dhlakama is a Zimbabwean writer and nutritionist. She is  a freelance writer who enjoys writing poetry, songs and short  stories. Some of her poems are published in Poetry Potion 10, The Mc Gregor Anthology 2016 and others.

 

Corona-Shaped

By Babitha Marina Justin

This is the first pandemic since
my birth. Believe me, I know
chickenpox, madness and
herpes — I was afflicted with
typhoid twice – all had vaccines.

This virus has taken the city down
people don’t walk on the streets
without masks, I am terrified if my
father would spit on the roads as
a force of habit and gets arrested.

Meanwhile, the tailoring shops
are shut tight, parlours shuttered,
they have opened community kitchens
in schools, I am almost tempted to
go and work with some strange faces
and socialise at the time of
social distancing.
My days and nights stretch-out
in an endless sleep on the bed-spread
with the Corona print, it blooms like
a lotus in my dreams,
cascades its terror on me,
swims like a jellyfish
on its super slow batwings,

it mushrooms like a cloud
before it goes, Kaboom,
the Big Bang that has buried our love
in your house and mine.

Our glistening love is
lotus-eyed, in a half-open
trance, buried in a corona-shaped
casket called waiting.

 

 

Poet’s Bio:

Babitha Marina Justin is an academic, poet and artist from Kerala, South India. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, 2018 wose poems have been published in over 20 forums including Chaleur Magazine, Kritya and Journal of Post-Colonial Literature.

Her first poetry collection, “Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills” was published in 2015 by the Writers Workshop in 2015 and the second, “I Cook my Own Feast” was published in 2019.

 

We Won the War.

By Dan Mulinge – Kenya

 

We went to war, son.

Everyone, including your mother.

No one left home, yet to war we went,

For the war was within.

 

Son, the enemy was brutal!

No one ever saw him, except with a cough

No one could touch him, except with masks,

With soap and water, we fought.

 

Many lost their lives, son.

Fear killed us before its hands could.

Restrictions killed us before the war murdered,

It was hard fighting what you couldn’t see.

 

Mothers never saw the graves of their sons,

Husbands too, couldn’t bury their wives!

Death was slow, and painful.

It was death without blood. Cunning!

 

Nations staged a world war, son.

States began fighting together,for the first time,

Never has an enemy been ruthless.

In an emotional world,it was a cold rage.

 

So the rich pleaded with the poor to cough less

The poor begged the rich to travel less

The young begged the old to forget sunbaths

The old urged the young to never hold hands

 

Governments needed the people

The people needed governments,

Tyrants stayed home at last

Terrorists too were awed

 

We fought,son,with all we got.

All we got was discipline,water, soap.

All we got was division,

The far we were the more we won.

 

We fought with masked faces and gloved hands.

Bullets of running waters and grenades of soap

An enemy was this easy to kill.

Were it not for our love of our faces.

 

We won, son.

With clean hands and foaming buckets

We won with division, and unity

Yes,we won.

That’s why I hug you like a trophy.

That’s the prize of winning the war.