Rainbow power by Carrie Magness Radna
Inhaling—Storm clouds caught in my body
departed through my toes,
cracking open the heavy, lazy egg
Exhaling—Soul feels like a blue sky;
rainbows form in my bloodstream,
with energized, bubbled-up stars;
I smile with inner golden light.
Even in dark times, meditative moments
can bring about some inner bliss.
Isolation Poems by CL Bledsoe
Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here: https://medium.com/@howtoeven His own blow, Not Another TV Dad, is located here: https://medium.com/@clbledsoe He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.
The jerky movements of death—first
a crawl, then the off jump. No matter
how much I ride my bicycle into
the wind, it never takes me anywhere
but home. Which isn’t to say some
random little girl won’t still drop
a house on me. The only little dog
I ever had, my dad shot one night,
drunk, thinking it was a skunk. I won’t
list the other pets he killed before I
figured out not to bring any more home.
This is why I live alone, in more than
one sense. Today has been a fucking
nightmare. Yesterday was a fucking
nightmare. I’m starting to see a pattern:
maybe I’m still asleep. I’m not the kind
of person who spends a lot of time talking
about the color of the stones being thrown
at me. I’m more inclined to duck out
of the way. It won’t matter. They find
you wherever you move, even if you
never go still.
It wasn’t long ago an itching in the ear
meant death, which is fine as long as
everyone can go out for ice cream, after.
My neighbors have been stoned since
the birth of their baby, who I suppose
has been stoned, too. I can smell it
in everything, the little death to tide
them over. Nothing is anyone’s fault
unless they choose it to be, which is
another way of saying free will, which
falls away with a complex enough
investigation. I’m not supposed to say
I understand what it is to be away,
to wish to be away from every moment.
Bourbon is cheaper than a casket. These
days, weed grows in the streets. You
can see the cracks in the sidewalk
where it’s poked through.
When the bastard kept bumping up against
my windows, I flung the door open, went
around the side of the house, and told
the night I was going to kick its ass. Some
of us have jobs in the morning, I said, fists
in close approximation of small balls, ears
already red. It didn’t have anything to say
to that, let me tell you. Just who do you think
you are, buster? I asked. And did it have
anything to say? All night, I’d been sitting
there, minding my own, while this jerk used
up all the light, made a mess of things—you
couldn’t even see the ground for all its sprawl.
We have to share this place, I said. I’m a
reasonable man. You just go away and never
come back and I won’t call the authorities.
It’s up to you, I said. I’m clearing off my
schedule. I gave it a good, fierce glare
and waited for any response. When there wasn’t
any, I nodded, proud, and went back inside.
I slept like a babe, let me tell you. When
I opened my eyes in the morning, it was gone.
Things I’m Going To Do When I Can Do Things, in no particular order:
-Get a tattoo of Tattoo from Fantasy Island, probably not on my face.
-Train a squirrel to vacuum in a little French maid’s costume.
-Start going to the fancier Dollar Tree that’s a little further away.
-Buy all those funny tee shirts I’m always seeing advertised, then sweat in them a bunch and sell them to fetishists.
-Travel…to the couch to watch TV.
-Buy a new set of tires…and set them on fire right outside the door of my neighbor’s apartment the next time they play music too loud.
-Maybe buy some new socks.
-Invest in sex robots, which are clearly the future.
-Finally watch Gilmore Girls.
-Find happiness and contentment…probably on my couch.
Bacteria Poems by Drew Pisarra
Drew Pisarra is one half of Saint Flashlight, a poetry activation project with Molly Gross. Their work has been featured at O, Miami Poetry Festival, Free Verse: Charleston Poetry Festival, and NYC’s Poets House. Individually, Pisarra had his first collection of sonnets, Infinity Standing Up, published last year by Capturing Fire Press. (The book received favorable reviews in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and other publications.) He is a 2019 recipient of a literary grant from Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation.
Catching Breaths in A Journal of the Plague Year
We draw in death when we breathe, and therefore ’tis the hand of God; there is no withstanding it.
We breathed death in every place, and upon everybody who came near us; nay, our very clothes retained the infection, our hands would infect the things they touched, especially if they were warm and sweaty.
Some of us proposed that we should breathe hard upon warm water, and that we would leave an unusual scum…
We were content to live hardly, and only desired a little room to breathe…where it was wholesome; to breathe…after the noxious particles…were dispersed and burnt up.
Who durst smell to that breath for information?
Who’s breath smells of impending death?
Bacteria Was a Meal in 1899
There was no illness whatever amongst those who did not drink the milk.
Everyone drank the milk in those days.
The milk strengthened bones.
The milk was cream.
A public luncheon was followed by severe and even fatal illness.
Dessert was not on the menu that night.
Coffee was a given.
So too cigars.
The general symptoms of such meat poisoning are vomiting, diarrhœa, fever, and more or less prostration.
I’m going to opt for less prostration.
So what of the vaccine?
Where is the cure?
On the white of (a speckled) egg, it flourishes extremely well.
Shall we sit in our kitchen chairs by the window,
our feet on the floor, our just-washed hands in our laps?
Shall we watch masked neighbors, gloved-up and on the go,
then shut our eyes and take impromptu, seated naps?
Would you do this with me if I asked you, perhaps?
What a weird new era, this fear of contagion,
with overstocked larders, worldwide isolation,
and so much unknown… Just think of the weather!
And yet I can see in the window’s reflection,
a glimpse of shared likeness. We’re in this together.
The mundane’s bizarre: the groceries, the cleaning,
the laundry, the cooking, the tax preparation,
the calls to my parents, the live Twitter streaming,
the morning shower, and the cruel liberation
from the nine to five. Communal agitation
hangs in mid-air as I rise from an unmade bed,
no longer hearing whatever it was you said
that lifted my mood last night. What was it? No trace
of that insight remains. I’m here thinking instead
how my place looks the same but now it’s outer space.
Cell Number 1
The front-door’s shut ‘though the bolt’s not locked.
That one opened window lets in no air.
An uncertain dog barks; the wall clock tocks.
I’m still wearing yesterday’s underwear
which might sound nasty but I ask: “Who cares?”
This locked-down life is like Limbo on Earth,
a weird in-between where we’re forced to search
for friendship (and more) on the telephone
which sounds fairly awful but could be worse.
It’s a loneliness that’s far from alone.
Sheltered In Place by Heather Pease
Heather Pease, believes herself to be a writer and poet. Better known as a fighter, a wise soul, and smart ass. Some would even say a funny chick, definitely a girl with a bite, and a goof. he recently published her first book of poetry ‘Out of the Weeds’ and has had work appear in the San Diego Poetry Annual. She lives in Southern California, sheltered in place with 2 cats and her family.
My world is she, they, and he
She is bold, a quick wit, smart but
would rather not flaunt it. Plays
games, both indoor and outdoor. Prefers
making aces and side outs to
being stuck inside. Wants to feel
the wind in her hair and let
laughter float away on a
breeze. She is soft, with a gentle
heart. I see myself in
They are quiet, reserved, wearing
their heart on their sleeve.
About to come of age. Excited for their first
(or not) drink. Art fills their world, as does
laughter. I melt in their eyes so
big and green. They wish they were back
on campus, with friends. They find
comfort in plants, tarot cards, and
watercolors. He is the love
of my life, a father full of unconditional
love. My husband, my lover, my friend. He makes
the entire room giggle, can make
fear go away with a hug or
a soft kiss. He is perfection, to
all of us. A man both gentle and
brave. Served our country, teaches, and
kicks about a ball. He has a surfer’s
soul and arms that make
me feel safe at home.
We met in space by Lia Nicole
Lia Nicole is a school nurse and youth librarian living near Detroit, MI. She has enjoyed a lifelong love of all things literary, and is also fond of animals, art, music, coffee, and intelligence. An ethical vegan and feminist, she is often called a mom, daughter, sister, yogi, teacher, and friend. Lia is working towards a career change to full time librarian, and is looking forward to one day finishing that book… She lives with her daughter, some plants, and four fur-babies
What they called back then
Virtual reality, we transcended
Time and space, we transcended
Like Serepion had foretold
I had waited my whole life
So we traversed the time waves
And mind waves
And lyrical journeys carved out with fear and anticipation and breaking news updates that no one believed and everyone waited for and sent to their friends
And then one day
The signs turned to open, and the virtual fell still
Just as the world
Had rested these long days
And to feel her for the first time
A birth and a death
An awake and a dream
Had collided into this one meeting
In a brand new space
Nurse (For Katie) by Winston Plowes
Photo by Derek Adams
Winston Plowes shares his floating home in Calderdale UK with his seventeen-year-old cat, Sausage. He teaches creative writing in schools, universities and to local groups while she dreams of Mouseland. His latest collection, Tales from the Tachograph was published jointly with Gaia Holmes in 2018 by Calder Valley Poetry. http://www.winstonplowes.co.uk
Her small hands are experts at holding
at lifting people out of chairs
Her small hands are experts
at tying blue disposable aprons
at counting out pills
Her small hands are experts at catching falling leaves.
And over all those times
that she’s stood on the wobbly stool
in a life full of giving
those hands became experts
at sticking fallen leaves back onto their trees –