Panic, Don’t Panic! (pandemic) by LB Sedlacek
LB Sedlacek is the author of the new short story collection “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories” published by ABZ. Poetry books include “The Poet Next Door,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars” and “Words and Bones.” She published the free Ezine for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.” When she’s not writing she enjoys swimming, reading and playing the ukulele. http://www.lbsedlacek.com
How many times can you wash your hands
or dodge people too close way too close
move back forward stand to the side
stay six feet
don’t touch metal, don’t touch cardboard
it lives for 3 days
it lives for 24 hours
don’t touch anything, glare at the kid in the
coffee shop coughing and coughing until
his mother removes him taking him hacking
out into the cold winter air
hats and scarves and coats are not enough
is not enough
elderberry won’t help you
how can you avoid
how can you not
be part of the movie the TV show the very
real reality show playing out worldwide
except in Africa except in warmer countries
maybe, maybe will it last will the heat
kill or protect or save
open grave pits are being dug in Iran
Italy is in quarantine
everyone is sick
inhaling the disease
everyone is dying
as it spreads
with no cure
and we are
testing testing testing
and even after testing negative and being
released from quarantine people are still
because it lives
for 5 weeks in your
your weakened immune system
can’t fight it
how did we end up here
how did we get here
in this living nightmare
this walking dead
we are the walking dead
where are the zombies
is this the apocalypse
is this revelation
don’t act like you don’t notice
don’t act like we are overreacting
a disease transmitted from animals but
there is no cure
the animals are safe
we are not
avoid each other
stay 6 feet away
eat with plastic toss away toss away
stay away stay away
pick up take out order in
don’t dwell inside with others
stay home stay alone
with your hand sanitizer
your gobs and gobs of toilet paper
avoid the airplanes
avoid the cruise ships
we think we have problems
we think we have solutions
but without each other
we have nothing
yet everything to
we are the walking dead
but don’t panic
there’s hope in there
it’s a pandemic of being by Mike Zone
Mike Zone resides beyond the pines…the author of Void Beneath the Skin and A Farewell to Big Ideas, a frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl, his work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Piker Press, Synchronized Chaos and Cult Culture magazine. He wears ridiculous sunglasses to hide his insomnia stricken eyes.
Capricorn working in the shadows
dug too far in the earth
grounded in mechanics of things
we love what we destroy
we push it way,
live as if we don’t regret only left with misery
spread it like a contagion a host for alienation
once upon a time the Ares said in the drunken nocturnal hour of despair “Capricorn, you are the balance we all need, your purpose is to show us.”
What is to reap when they’ve already moved the harvest elsewhere?
Chaos brews inside us all
Even most well-ordered
trying to ignite the darkest of stars
consistently crashing further into Earth without ever really flying
Seeking shelter in the arms of those familiar with frenetic wanderings and random lusts
Capricorn “I accept chaos, I’m not sure chaos accepts me.”
Why can’t chaos balance me?
Let me transcend the bounds of dirt and sand, climb the mountains diving deep into atomic oceans breathing ever evolving star dust light into the cosmological argument for breathing and evolving beyond what there is in an ever-confining system?
A Gemini is love, two that are one with simultaneous journeys…embrace me
I see your pain and joy reflection
one feeding the other
destructive symbiotic fashion
Indulge with me without aimless descent
let’s expand consciousness
staring deep into those oceanic blue eyes
hands entwined the scent of your skin
let the air lift the earth
the earth ground the air
I promise you an eternal key to what we’ve never had
pandemic hysteria, bitter reflection, hurt
the death of genuine intimacy
it doesn’t have to be
perhaps we’ve murdered our own emotions
take me and my unused chaos
don’t fret to unleash yours
the spirit of living unbound
a natural manifestation of being
share this world with me
so we can discard the rest
the real world is just starting to be born
from ashes yet to burn
We Could All Die by Robert J.W.
Robert J. W. is a poet, author, and digital artist from Morgantown, WV. He is the author of the poetry collection Dusty Video Game Cartridges and the haiku collection Mania and Black Holes
Mass hysteria is
grocery aisles and
We could all
die but the
eat the dog.
sick and the main
Our president doesn’t
give a damn.
He tightens his
dusty grip on
apocalyptic policies as
the sick beg for
a drop of compassion.
We could all
die and no
God turns Her
laughs at the
mess in which
She had no part.
Reason is our
only hope and it
gasps for air with
We could all die.
Eternal silence blankets
An Excerpt from a work in progress by Red Focks
Red Focks is an American author, publisher, and folk artist. The 30-year-old lives in Phoenix Arizona with his wife, where he operates Alien Buddha Press. Red enjoys art with undertones of absurdism, cheerful nihilism, and rebellion. In addition to his contributions to Alien Buddha Press, Red has been featured by 17 Numa, Fishbowl Press, Ramingo’s Porch, Horror Sleaze Trash, Winedrunk Press, Transcendent Zero Press, Nixes Mate Pub, Rust Belt Press, Madness Muse Press, The Raw Art Review; his novel ‘Haight’ was published in 2018 by Cajun Mutt Press, and his short story collection ‘The Abandon’ was released in 2019 via Concrete Mist Press, whew his 2020 novella “The Bloody Waste” was also published. Red is one half of the art team ‘Pseudonym Lastname’ and is the head writer of the graphic novel ‘American Antihero”. Red’s other books include ‘Duffy Street & Other Dubious Incidents’, ‘The Philanthropist’s Suicide’, ’36 Haikus and a Horror Story’ and ‘Dead Celebrities’
“I don’t want to be in this group, Mrs. Sanchez are you trying to give me the Coronavirus or something?” the class clown joked. Most of the class laughed. The social studies teacher hushed the disruptive student. Young Corona even laughed a little bit as a defense mechanism. She didn’t want to seem bent about anything in front of her peers. Deep down she wished her parents were drinking hennesy the night she was conceived. “Hennesy is a pretty name, and there’s no virus named after it” she thought.
It was 4th period, the digital clock on the wall crossed 11:11:11. Principal Freeman stuck his head in through the door and called for Mrs. Sanchez into the hallway. While the teacher was gone the students chattered amongst each other. Every time Corona heard somebody talking about the Coronavirus she became anxious that people would stare at her or make a dumb joke about her name. Corona Catalina Carlyle used to detest the nickname C.C., but now she embraced the abbreviation. The fourteen year old wore thick lensed glasses over her eyes, and braces on her teeth. Her frizzy charcoal colored hair was done up in a messy ponytail. She wore her brother’s Mountain Goats band t shirt that he got at one of their concerts. The goat emblem was faded and the shirt sagged down past her knees.
The class clown was a boy named Kyle and he had a crush on Corona. “Do you think Mrs. S and Principal Freeman are talking about your virus?” Kyle asked Corona with an off-putting grin.
“Leave me alone Kyle. He’s probably trying to figure out who left a bunch of empty monster cans on the bathroom floor and punched holes through all of the stalls”. Corona’s counterjab was good for a laugh from her classmates. Kyle wore ultimate fighting shirts despite having no training in MMA, he we wore a ballcap on his head backwards, he called people bro, he did indeed drink monster, and yes, Kyle punched an occasional hole in his bedroom wall when life got challenging. Kyle was a total Kyle and everybody knew it. Corona on the other hand, while being far from the most popular girl in school, was generally liked by the students and teachers at ToCMS. She was a nice girl most of the time. She was friendly to Kyle when he moved to Truth or Consequence in fifth grade, which was when he developed his crush on her. He started picking on her in sixth grade, which was when she started to dislike him.
Mrs. Sanchez walked back in and addressed the classroom. “Kids; we are going to have an early dismissal today at noon, and school is going to be cancelled indefinitely. While we do not have an exact timeframe on when classes will resume, spring break was already set to start on the 20th and go until the beginning of April. It is probably a safe assumption that we will be closed at least until then due to concerns about the covid-19 virus. You will catch the busses home straight from this classroom, and I am sending you off with this packet of information for your parents. If anybody needs to call their parents or guardians to let them know about the early dismissal, you can use your cell phones now (we know you have them), or you can use the landline phone in the vice principal’s office. Does anybody have any questions?”
Kyle raised his hand and blurted out “I don’t want to take the same bus as her”. The pest pointed to Corona.
Sanchez shook her head and sighed. “Kyle, you’ve been making the same joke all week. Give it a rest. You can just ask her out so she can say no, which she will probably do, because unlike you she seems to have some good sense. Covid-19 is not a joke. Corona has nothing to do with beer, or Ms. Carlyle here. Remember to wash your hands, be considerate of what you breathe in and considerate of what you breathe out.”
Corona texted her mother who was at work along with her father; together they ran a floor at a casino just outside of town. The text read “I made the school close down. I’ll be home before you.”.
C.C’s mother texted back “I heard a rumor that they were going to close the whole casino too. I will see you this afternoon at the latest. There’s leftover roast and potatoes from last night in the fridge”.
at the 7 Mountains Casino
Diehard gamblers wore white masks, some of them cut little cigarette sized holes in the middle so they could smoke while they pulled their levers, threw their dice, and exchanged cards and chips. Austin and Marley Carlyle have been working at the 7 mountains since it opened, back during the Clinton administration. They both got hired on the spot as poker dealers. They found themselves in their late-forties, still fit and full of stamina. Considered by the young and impressionable of t or c as a silver fox, a cougar, or even a milf, and something about the latter title appalled Marley. Well-to-do white baby boomers with over a thousand people working under them.
Now the guys working above them is breathing fire down from the sky. The day to day managers of the establishment were failing to keep the casino stocked with hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Top health inspectors were on site. People coughed and sneezed into their masks. The toilets in the bathrooms overflowed after folks left their complementary buffet and ended up flushing their socks and underwear.
Austin was relieved when he got the official announcement declaring that the casino was going to close indefinitely. The Carlyle’s were under a lot of pressure, and frankly they were both paid salary which would be unaffected by a temporary closure. The casino’s patrons were not as happy. A sense of hostility filled the air as the lights flickered and everybody was instructed to evacuate.
An Alaskan man sneezed near a trump supporter. The trump supporter thought the Alaskan was Chinese and told his ‘Keep you fucking ching-chong-wu-flu germs off of me!’. The Alaskan was drunk and responded to the trumpster’s remark with a fist to the face that knocked the red hat off his skin head. A small gang of white men butted in and jumped the Alaskan, knocking him to the ground and giving him a rude boot-party. Marley Carlyle shouted for the men to stop, and she radioed security. One security guard showed up to raised his voice at the assailants who continued to kick the Alaskan gambler.
“Get in there and stop this!” Marley shouted at the big security guard.
“This is beyond my paygrade, Mrs. Carlyle. I’m going home and locking my ass inside” said the germophobic bouncer. Marley removed bear mace from her pocket and sprayed the racists faces with the nozzles strong stream and pinpoint accuracy. The blinded cursed Marley Carlyle and their more aggressive sympathizers advanced on her. Austin ran across the floor to have his wife’s back; but all the same she stood strong and raised her canister high, all the while asking the question “Anybody else?!” The four men who caught the spray directly cried, and leaked snot, and vomited. Everybody in the general vicinity’s eyes began to burn just from being near it. Nobody else wanted any of it. The attackers fled the scene. The gamblers dispersed and a more sympathetic security guard came in from another section to escort the victim of the attack outside to be picked up by an ambulance.
“That was badass” Austin said to his wife. “You’re going to do well against the covid-19 zombies we’re going to face in the impending apocalypse”.
A Corona Virus Poem by Jay Miner
Worldwide Corona by Sophia Behal
sophia behal author of #Wuhan – empowering poema and pros-a about feelings and such. available at bit.ly/wuhanpoetry
Corona you are strong.
Person after person be strong.
An unknown substance with a crown is lethal.
It a bit of a surprise for us all.
World wide danger.
Corona you are wrong.
People we have to unite and be strong.
Corona unknown substance:
“You can’t have us all.”
It’ s like meeting a stranger.
Corona is so very strong.
Let’s pray to god, for our chance.
Humanity must be well.
Corona, deadening, one cant see ya.
Corona you are not acceptable.
Corona be ready we are strong.
Killing us all would be wrong.
Humanity needs to survive well. We have a greater mission.
Corona we promise we won’t have ya.
Corona you are an invisible danger.
Corona we, vaccines, and all will be stronger.
Oh, God let’s get together and pray for our chance.
Corona you are not getting us that’s all.
We will unite and fight ya!
I SURVIVED THE WALMART RIOT by Kevin Ridgeway
Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.
People have clean assholes
due to all of the toilet paper
they have stocked up on
because they are not only
afraid of their own shadows,
they are terrified of their
own shit so it doesn’t stink
enough to remind them
to pull their heads from
out of their many asses.
Praying Doesn’t Help by Marcel Herms