The Alien Buddha Contracts Covid-19 Act 2: The Ides of March

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Poetry From Heidi Blakeslee

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Heidi Blakeslee lives near Pittsburgh with her partner, James, and their seven cats.  Lately she has been experimenting with different methods of spoken word and music.  Her last novel, “The House,” and her last poetry collection, “Neurotica,” were both published by Alien Buddha. 

 

 

Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid Chameleon

My partner of 16yrs, James, is a worker

at a Masonic Old Folk’s Home.

He cooks and works in their kitchen.

Tonight we’re trying to stay calm

as all restaurants in Ohio are shut down, as

all schools in PA are shut down.

 

My mom calls, nearly hysterical,

just on the cusp,

to tell me she is worried about going to her job.

She works at a Conservation District as an educator.  We ask

each other how poor people are going to pay their bills?

 

Everyone is snapping photos of empty shelves

in every grocery store, in every state and posting them on social media.

 

Charities are figuring out how to get bag lunches to kids

in my town, so at least the poor here will have something to eat

for now.

 

The weird meta thing about all of this is I’ve watched

“The Walking Dead,” “28 Days Later,” and other end of the world disaster

entertainment and yelled at the screen

how I would do things differently from the way they chose.

How we all think that we’ll be the ones who survive,

blasting Michael Stipe and Boy George cds from a battery powered

discman

 

 

Things no one should ever have to worry about

two days ago my

step-grandfather passed away

 

everyone is self-quarantining and

i don’t know if we’re even going to be able to have a funeral

 

I feel the grief hanging in mid-suspension,

threatening to fall into me

with its relentless fog at any time

 

Where,

and when?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restless by James Penha

 

For the whole of last month,

I hacked all day, all night,

wheezed and dripped,

ached, and lived restlessly

unable to concentrate

until I walked into a glass

window at the mall and bled

enough for the emergency room

where they stitched while

I was infused. Corona?

“Maybe,” the harried doc said

testlessly, and so I worry for

all whom I faced in February.

A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his verse appeared in 2019 in Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness (Oxford UP), Lovejets: queer male poets on 200 years of Walt Whitman (Squares and Rebels), and What Remains: The Many Ways We Say Goodbye (Gelles-Cole). His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha

 

 

 

 

 

THE RED-WHITE & COVID-19 BLUES

by Scott C. Kaestner

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Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, husband, dad, and someone who eats cereal twice a day. Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

 

 

Social distancing, defensive hoarding

Coughs rattling nerves like gunshots

Fired into our being oversaturated

 

With misinformation and information

With empty shelves an empty existence

With no understanding of want vs need

 

With a healthcare system on the brink

With mass mentalities and zero empathy

With our schools closed minds distracted

 

With hapless and reckless leadership

With fear mongering and price gouging

With or without toilet paper

 

Wipe our ass then wash our hands

Maybe wake the fuck up and realize

The supply chain ain’t broken but we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art From Marcel Herms

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Marcel Herms is a self taught artist. His work is about freedom in the first place. There’s a strong link with music. Just like music his  art is about autonomy, licentiousness, passion, color and rhythm. He collaborated with many different, authors, poets, visual artists and audio artists from around the world

 

 

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“Day Two of Daylight Saving Time”

by Adrian Slonaker

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Adrian Slonaker crisscrosses North America as a language boffin and is fond of opals, owls, fire noodles and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Adrian’s work, which has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net, has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Page & Spine, EZ.P.Zine and others.

 

 

On the drizzle-spattered morning of Monday, the ninth of March,

the world’s stock markets wane in unity,

slipping away

like sloppy sand through spread fingers

thrust into a wave bitch-slapping a beach on

the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where

desperate colonists once disappeared from

Roanoke Island before it morphed over four centuries

into a photo-op stop for tourists tantalized by the mysteries of history.

Those rhotic Elizabethans never resurfaced,

unlike the portfolio funds that experts predict will

ultimately bounce back like

my blubber if I surrender to a recurring urge to

defuse my fidgety freak-out with toast blackened by a veneer of

Vegemite peeking through streaky amoebas of cheese

and a red party cup filled with chilled chocolate oat milk

because warmth and umami and fat and sugar

soothe like a remembered embrace from a parent now estranged when

the media drone (because “media” is a plural noun, damn it!)

on about the weed-like creep of the coronavirus

 

 

 

 

Virus by Red Focks

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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’,

 

 

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Clawed Eyes and 10ply by Levi Dunn

People claw each other’s eyes
for a roll of two ply
unaware of their rights
eroding where they
desperately plant worn soles
and half rate poetics
won’t wash away
rivers of waste
and the tunnels
of a constipated capitalism
when we all eat the same
social despotism
at the cafe at the end of the world.

Maybe we should diversify our diets.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pestilence by Christian Garduno

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Christian Garduno edited the writing compilation Evolver and his solo poetry collection Face while a History undergraduate at The University of California at Berkeley. His work can be read in over 25 literary magazines, including Riza Press, where his poem, “The Return”, was selected as a Finalist in their 2019 Multimedia Poetry and Art Contest. He currently lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie, young son Dylan, and pet bear-cub Theodore Bexar.

 

 

THE POLIZEI HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL
THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT
DO NOT PANIC
THE POLIZEI HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL

ALL THOSE WITH TEMPERATURES ABOVE 37C ARE HEREBY
REQUIRED TO REPORT TO SECTOR ZERO
DO NOT BRING ANY POSESSIONS
ALL THOSE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS WILL HENCEFORTH BE
SEQUESTERED IN SECTOR ZERO INDEFINITELY
EVERYTHING WILL BE PROVIDED FOR YOU

ALL WEAPONS WILL BE CONFISCATED
ALL BANK ACCOUNTS WILL BE LIQUIDATED
ALL MARRIAGES WILL BE ANNULLED
ALL PERSONAL RIGHTS WILL BE SUSPENDED

REMAIN CALM
DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO PUBLIC PARANOIA
IT IS UNPATRIOTIC TO PANIC
NO SELLING/TRADING OF RATIONS

THE POLIZEI HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL
THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT
DO NOT BE ALARMED
THE POLIZEI HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL

 

 

 

 

Open The Door by Carman Benoit

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Carman Benoit is an author and writer from Vancouver, Canada. She realized early on the her crafts are best enjoyed from a distance, as she has always been prime vector of colds, flus and the occasional case of scabies. She writes all her poetry from her bathroom office. But, promises she washes her hands before she submits anything. She has even been seen using the occasion gloop of hand sanitizer in these crazy times.

 

 

I need to open the door to let the fresh air in.

The din, uncomfortable wrong,

reels me back to 40 years before.

Suddenly it seem right.

Stuck inside watching the calls of my friends,

the moms have no food.

Before I went indoors,

the stores were full, save for the paper.

I see the pictures and seems far away.

I know it’s not.

I want to share.

I type.

I erase.

Sharing my food, means sharing my virus.

My heart sinks.

I hope they can be creative.

And I will help when I can.

9 more days to go.

 

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