The Alien Buddha Contracts Covid-19 Act 8: The Price of Hydroxychloroquine in China

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Plague Poems by Howie Good

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Howie Good is the author of The Titanic Sails at Dawn (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), among other poetry collections. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.

 

The Last of the Avant Garde

 

What a computer thinks a man looks like,

adversarially evolved hallucinations,

is the kind of shit that just wears me out,

but apparently no one else, their focus

too much taken up with acquiring the essentials –

liquor, guns, hand sanitizer – to even notice

the heart lying in rags at their feet,

or the Magi rafting across the Atlantic,

or the pipers shrilly piping in the background,

an uncanny sound that can be roughly translated

amid the sins of old age, pestilential fevers,

the last of the avant garde as “abracadabra.”

 

 

 

Mood Piece

 

The day was long, but the night is already longer.

I seem to have discovered my shadow side –

a wardrobe with mystery contents. Which isn’t

 

to say I feel sad or lonely. Rather, I’m noticing

different details; for instance, that the sky

is purple and blue and full of leprous spots.

 

There’s even a grudging moon. It shines wetly,

like the eye of the Cyclops, now that spring

and its things are closed until further notice.

 

 

After the Plague

I’ll step into the cold of new geometries, long stretches of emptiness bequeathed by tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. There’ll be decaying leaves scattered on the floor like notes from the kingdom of the sick, and the radio will play party songs from the sixties that, after our months of listening to liars, will sound unintelligible. I’ll feel rather than see the close proximity of broken oaths and blood debts. All around us, the world will gratefully resume its ritual practices, preferring old familiar crimes to novel diseases. Night will end, only to begin again, a great black coffin.

 

 

 

 

 

quarantine nose ring by Tiffany Shaw-Diaz

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Tiffany Shaw-Diaz is a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award nominee who also works as a professional visual artist. Her poetry has been featured in Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Bones, NHK World Haiku Masters, The Mainichi, and dozens of other publications. Her first chapbook, says the rose, was published by Yavanika Press in 2019, and her second chapbook, filth, was published by Proleteria in 2020.

 

 

it’s been nearly six weeks

or maybe ninety (i have, admittedly,

lost track of time) since i left my home

without fear

of breathing the air

that you have breathed or touching

the places that you have touched

so i have contemplated,

perhaps a few times,

what it would be like to pierce

my septum

with the limited tools

i have in my possession, simply

to shake up

this achingly dull routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virus Poems by Paul Koniecki

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Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal.

His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.

 

 

Code Twitching

 

Yoking

was to now

an initiate of the disciples

 

of the less obscure

inquires

has this light

 

already passed?

What the lens

won’t tell

 

as we snatch

sun-death

and hide it in our phones

 

is whose release

whose pardoning

whose definition

 

of escape-hatch

God-hunger

dereliction and radix

 

is the taproot here?

In the distance

an undertaker stork

 

has the horizon in it’s bill.

Not the beast of some

who hound

 

love like an answer

but the first small thing

that hid

 

by building space on space

wider than silence

and silence’s desires

 

as the world drowns

in a mouth

filled with suet and down.

 

Above tonight

the stars on loan

are an abandonment

 

of eyes

Mars and Venus sluicing

the blue-black latticework

 

praying for all

who remain unnamed

a bit of soul

 

blenching each new breath

cold skeletons ready

as a dark god wakes

 

farther and farther

away. Silence tastes of iron

and soon.

 

Dressed by touch and feel

the sky holds fast

to gravity and turning

 

like goings on

going on to the vanishing point

might mean something.

 

The last sortie to freedom

is captain-less and fell.

Silence, our disaster.

 

Life is hunger and bombs.

The universe is expanding because

God is a tired parent hiding.

 

I am a tamasha.

I am a tangent of commotions.

I am a marabou

 

in three forms

mystical, aggressive,

and distracted.

 

Look, things flying in the air.

Click, click, click.

Save to photos. Forward. Share.

 

Where the spirit and the body

divest

leave me uncontrol

 

warm belly of butterfly blood full

inexorable loneliness

and code twitching

 

the queasiness of final light

setting all about

is you

 

last ray

before the universe implodes back

into a red legume

 

before you taught

me how to make

your favorite soup.

 

In the rear view mirror

on the hard-road

of my pupil’s depthless

 

enigmatic lake

four words float.

Nothing will touch me.

 

 

 

apple underneath

a chance of bruise

 

What if Rapunzel were African

and locked in a pyramid? My

wife is growing out her own

corona black natural and high.

I toe the dressed masonry

 

edge. A stronger wind blows.

My hands are catcher’s mitts.

She cinches us with rope. We

rise as great balloon and slender

tow. She kicks limestone blocks

 

off one million at a time. Air

notices when water cleans

itself. She is made of heights.

We swim the forethought ragged

breaking wail

 

and history. Enemies shatter

enemies. She is never post-

traumatic or maybe doubtful

wrong. I could be mistaken. She

requests I pull her harder hair

 

to help her fall. At rest the smaller

bricks unstack themselves

in the safe dark apple under-

neath a chance of bruise

unsafety of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19: A Perfect Predator by Michele Mekel

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Living in Happy Valley, Michele Mekel wears many hats of her choosing: writer and editor; educator and bioethicist; poetess and creatrix; cat herder and chief can opener; witch and woman; and, above all, human.  Her work has appeared in various academic and creative publications.

 

 

It’s the invisible beast that came for us.

That’s the worst kind, you know—the predator you can’t see.

 

It’s not like we didn’t know, of course.

We’d had plenty of warning, after all.

 

It’s just that we’d evolved for a different kind of fiend—lions and tigers and bears and the like.

With those, we knew what best to do: run, play dead, or use a weapon—if it came to that.

 

It’s the unseen nemesis and its asymptomatic sneak attack that we’re not designed to fight.

Going against our primate nature, the viral vector preys on our contact, our connection, our humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Death Haiku by Jay Miner

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Covid nineteen poem

Poets: stay home forever

Poetry is dead

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 ghosts by Carrie Magness Radna

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A fortnight ago,

I woke up, with 4 famous ghosts surrounding my bed:

Emily Dickenson, Allen Ginsberg, e.e. cummings & Clara Schumann—

saying nothing, as if they were on watch.

 

16 hours later,

as the crowds clapped

for medical workers changing shifts,

I heard the awful news:

 

4 of my acquaintances.

(3 poets & 1 musician)

had died that day.

(Friend Bob did resemble Ginsberg a bit…)

 

As of today in New York City, (from Weather.com and NY1 (total)):

 

New York County: 19,348 confirmed cases; 1,366 deaths.

Kings County (Brooklyn): 39,354 confirmed cases; 3,540 deaths.

Queens County: 44,904 confirmed cases; 3,520 deaths.

Bronx County: 31,659 confirmed cases; 2,335 deaths.

Richmond County (Staten Island): 10,590 confirmed cases; 506 deaths.

Total: 141,754 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 15,411 deaths.

(145,855; 11,267? NY1’s math may not be right,

or did they not count victims in nursing homes?)

 

Yesterday

Trump touted out bleach & sunlight

as a possible cure for inflected humans.

I predict many more deaths

& ghosts appearing

thanks to stupidity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As If (For The Michigan Protesters) by Red Focks

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You’ll never be cool

but fashion’s an afterthought

and I don’t like you guys

but I support your discourse

because they herd you around

box stores with impunity

taping-off your home & garden

as if covid-19 obeys yellow tape

as if there wasn’t a food shortage

as if gardening was never essential

taping-off spring clothes and electronic gizmos

as if, as if.

 

I’m not Alex Jones

I’m not saying

The virus is a hoax

But the death tolls are lower than anticipated

Death certificates forged and fabricated

and the elitists have waited for the day

when we thank them for telling us

where we can walk

what we can buy

what’s essential

As if

 

So to the brave antifascist protesters

of Michigan, I thank you

and fashion’s an afterthought

but maybe take those

stupid fucking red hats off your head

because it needs to be said

that if this happened under the last guy

you’d be bitching and complaining

pinning all of the blame on his black face.

 

By the way, Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

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