#FlattenTheCurve: Lockdown, Day Three by Ace Boggess

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Sun is out after days of clouds
that left their grief as a parting gift.

I step outside, & pollen marshals troops.
It scratches my throat. I cough &

think, Is this it? Have I died &
not yet figured it out? God,

why does my brain corrupt
a peaceful moment in the light?

Even here in my comfortable prison,
the virus that can’t reach me does

until I panic at a bead of sweat,
a little ache, a misspent breath.

It’s a beautiful morning
to write my own obituary.

Somewhere else, it’s raining—
each drop a survivor of the storm.

 

 

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming 2021.

#FlattenTheCurve: The Shopkeeper’s Daughter by Yuyutsu Sharma

yuyu tree

In the local tea shop,
my regular haunt

to write fresh poems
each morning in Kathmandu,

I pull a page
out of my sheaf of papers

to let her read what I’ve been
working on since morning.

She looks at it for a second,
then almost uninterested

as if she has made a mistake
twitches her nose

twisting her face eerily
lifts it as a blade against her cheeks

turning the page
with my Corona poem

as a protection wall
to sneeze behind and return

the sullied page
as a fitting token of appreciation

from some cranky critic.

 

 

Recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, Yuyutsu Ram Dass Sharma is a world renowned Himalayan poet and translator.

He has published ten poetry collections including, Second Buddha Walk,  Annapurna Poems,  and A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems. Widely traveled author, he has read his works at several prestigious places and held workshops in creative writing and translation at  Heidelberg University, Germany, California, Beijing Open University and New York University, New York..

Half the year, he travels and reads all over the world and conducts Creative Writing workshops at various universities in North America and Europe but goes trekking in the Himalayas when back home. Currently, Yuyutsu Sharma is a visiting poet at Columbia University and edits, Pratik: A Quarterly Magazine of Contemporary Writing.

yuyutsurd@gmail.com

#FlattenTheCurve: Pandemic Positions, Tour of TV Stations a Few Weeks In by Laurinda Lind

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It can just, you know, eat
its way through your upper
epithelial layer. We need
thirty thousand of them,
the government has twelve.
That’s officially not a dry cough.
It’s not true about eating
a bunch of garlic. The numbers
are getting so big, I saw
the spirit of heaven descending
like a dove. You’ll be taught
to sit and repeat a sacred word.
You have to call those things
which be not. Think of
the coronavirus as blue paint.
You can go from being chained
to a tank to being free to live
the life you want. The media
has been much nicer, but I
shouldn’t say that. Like
there’s these expectations,
try not to hold any.

3/19/20: Sources: CSPAN, WPIX, AMVO, NEWSY, WPIX again, BIBLE, EWTN, TBN, OWN, RENEW, WVNA, STDIO

 

 

Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country. Some publications/acceptances are in Blue Earth Review, Midwest Quarterly, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media).

The Aftermath by Kushal Poddar

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In every twelve months
she applies Ruby Woo.

It feels moist, moony, a ruse,
and her man walks to the terrace

again, on the railings then, drops a cigarette
and leaps. Every time. In a loop.

The blood streams the darkness.
Darkness clots the blood.

This relationship spins pinning
give and take.

And she ekes the Ruby Woo,
a gift that never forgives the giver.

 

 

Kushal Poddar has authored The Circus Came To My Island, A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood, Scratches Within, Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems, Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems, and now Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel (Alien Buddha Press).

 

Painting by Gustave Caillebotte.

When Gray Is Beautiful and When It’s Not by Trish Saunders

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I live in a city where ghosts of giant Douglas fir spear
themselves up through grimy sidewalks. These ghosts,
the real cause of winter storms, slip quietly through
cobblestones, looking for osprey that died eons ago.

Winters here never end; gray falls everywhere–
beards on old sailors, pin curls on my grandmother’s tiny
head. Gray is beautiful, I tell her. Trust me, it’s not, says she
In particular, gray pubic hair is ugly. That frontier I have yet
to discover, but I shall, I have no doubt that I shall.

 

First published in Right Hand Pointing.

 

Trish Saunders publishes poems from Seattle and Honolulu and, in her imagination, from the shores of Crater Lake, Oregon. Her poems have been in Califragile, Pacific Voices, Right Hand Pointing, Eunoia Review, among others.

 

Art by Jenn Zed.

Then by Linda Wimberly

Then for pasting

Linda Wimberly is a writer, artist and musician from Marietta, GA. A former Vermont Studio Center resident in writing, her poetry has appeared in The Raw Art Review, Lunch Ticket, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems and others; and a short story appeared in Cricket. She is a self-taught, abstract artist who works in acrylic, oil and mixed media and her images have appeared in or been cover art for Critical Pass Review and Inscape Magazine. Her image “Woman on the Move” won the 2019 Art Contest for So to Speak: feminist journal of language and art. (lindawimberly.com)

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

ROOM_12_WEST_WALL,_LOOKING_WEST_-_Painted_Desert_Inn,_Navajo,_Apache_County,_AZ_HABS_ARIZ,1-NAVA.V,1-86.tif

*
To listen you work this bowl
and each evening crouch
with your lips in all directions

wrapped around a warming spoon
near, nearer to the side she slept on
filled with sharp corners

and lower your forehead, let the soup
cool –you swallow a bed, are fed
on windswept fires, the sound

that has become the mouth
you’re drowning in –arm over arm
making room for her and lower.

*
Don’t move closer –with such talk
you back down, hands more on your chest
than hiding from the moon behind the moon

to cool as dirt left over for shadows
and the suffocating shovel after shovel
falling from a sky already back –you dead

have given up the whisper, its flames
called off with a single yell
ripping open the narrow space

between its memory and the surprise
when an embrace covers your head
the way this gravestone turns green each Spring

shines from the breath bent over your name
come back for you and flowers
warmed by this comb breaking in half.

*
This battered window box
has found an opening
–with a single flower

is taking on the sun
though you use well water
fitting it into its shadow

as if madness needs a corner
for its darkness reaching out
the way your heart was filled

with river noise
that has nothing left to give
–what you hear is the sun

swallowing ice as the antidote
to flower after flower and the mist
from someone breathing.

*
In the space between two chairs
then each night you crack open a shell
let it darken and begin from there

–it’s already home to the silence
making room the way this rug was torn
for one more shadow and the floor

that mourns forever –each board
still lowered with some mountain
breaking up from the bit by bit it needs

to begin again –all these shells
just for their emptiness and slowly
to stir as in fingertips and magic.

*
With the door gone now
you set out for the waterlogged
as if some makeshift plank

could face shore as a stone
already upright, filled
with branches and salt

though there’s no sail
and even more than the sea
you have no place to mourn

–you need driftwood :a mask
held in place by an emptiness
certain it arrived before you.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His collection The Osiris Poems is published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com. To view one of his interviews please follow this linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8