S/Heroes . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of  Evgeni Tcherkasski, Unsplash

“They’re heroes, you know, real heroes
Not the ones in capes and caps, No!
The ones in scrubs, masks, nursing clogs”
Jamie Dedes, Latter-day Heroes



All over the world the heroes are stepping up. They are the first responders, the medical professionals and their support people, the police and firefighters, those who deliver essential services and supplies, the people in maintenance and transportation, the pharmacists and the pharmacy clerks, those who work in suicide prevention centers and services for victims of domestic violence, and the list goes on. The heroes of our day and every day. This week our poets present a small collection but one filled with gratitude in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Latter-day Heroes, March 25.  Thanks to Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, and Nancy Ndeke. Be touched. Be inspired. And do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


These Heroes

Folk call me a hero
as am a keyworker in a food shop.

I am not.

NHS staff, folk in nursing homes,
those supplying food parcels

to those self isolated,
those entertaining online
children out of school.

These are my heroes.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Cleaners

are unskilled

They wash away our dirt,

scrub our consciences,

cleanse the surfaces of what we do,

clean the remnants of our days,

polish the valuables of our streets.

Make the stains we make spotless,

unsoil the soiled

unstain the stained,

unsully the sullied,

unblemish the blemished,

make our world pristine, speckless,

dirt-free, hygienic, sanitary, disinfected,

sterilized, sterile,decontaminated, healthy

with the correct chemicals and appropriate tools,

deep clean the nooks and crannies of our lives.

Still we call these heroes unskilled.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.
HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


My Doctor

When thoughts come, to a still.
When the heart is overfilled,
When the mind is not at ease,
When you do not feel well,
And you cannot tell,what is wrong with you?

When there is pain
And your head aches
When you lie down
With a very long face,
When you want someone to sit near you;

To hold your hand
And to smile at you;
To take away your pain,
To make you well again;
To bring happiness, then after, here comes, The Doctor!

Fear goes away, and there is hope
When you feel the stethoscope,
So there is nothing quite wrong
“But, here is a mixture.
To make you strong.”

Such politeness and care
Is a quality so rare,
But it is there. And I must say
Though not from a bank
But from the depths of my heart

I owe, my doctor many a million thanks.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


S/HEROS.

Like swat teams, they sleep on the ready,
Never asking why or how,
Hearts worn on the giving hands,
The most unlikely of places you find them giving ,
The most precarious of spaces you find their hands extended,
Working beyond the call of duty and convenience,
Putting one tired foot ahead of another spasming in numbness,
Men and women life has got dependent on,
Even as few among us ‘ only look to the self’
Time of the double digit year that rose with a cold and runs with the heat,
Unsung saints have crashed from the weight of humanitys needs,
Undocumented stretches of giving and then some more,
Going the extra mile on fumes and the indomitable spirit of humanity,
Men and women beyond professional duties riding the waves of disastrous contacts to save a life,
Human angels filling the emptiness of commercial shelves with basics upon a cold night,
Medics walking on slippery quarrantine quarters to offer hope of a lone sufferer,
What of that ambulance man who last slept last week?
And the nurse whoses duty goes beyond administration’s of bandages into a listening and reassuring voice?
What of the old man who goes shopping on your behalf because you can’t?
The bedridden mum of three calling to cheer you up as your nose runs red,
What of that ‘highway man’ without a home and now down with flu,
His best shot would have been a blue look but for that lady berieved recently,
Times and seasons have a rhythm and a tune all it’s it’s own,
For the hurricane of worry that COVID 19 has thrust amidst humanity,
One thing has come up for sure,
Man is capable of being a human being for sure,
Discarding old habits and biases to stand and be counted,
To help within means and beyond those most in need,
And as the world sighs deeply with the burden of sick and dying,
Heros rise every day to perform tasks that make all proud,
It’s to such deeds and acts of kindly giving,
That tells earth is habitat of man,
A hard-work of a loving deity,
Once lost but now found,
At a time when such heroism is indeed needed.
Names may be forgotten but not the acts,
Time will pass and this monster conquered,
But let the lessons forever stay,
That with love, nothing is too hard to gain,
And that we are strongest,
When we are a brother’s keeper.
S/HEROS everywhere,
May you never lack a supporting hand while you live.
Yours too, shall be tended by the seeds you tend today.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Speaking in Poetic Tongues: A Salute to Women Activist Poets from Womawords Literary Press

Courtesy of Levi Guzman, Unsplash

“The heart of a women is like an  ocean, thus she must be proffered a free platform to express concerns, to speak rights, to voice against wrongs, to sing experiences and more.” Mbizo Chirasha



Originally published in Cultural Weekly, this is Mbizo Chirasha’s acknowledgement of some of the activist poets featured by Womawords Literary Press, which is dedicated to giving space to the voices of women and girls. I am touched to be counted among them and to be included in Mbizo’s feature here. Womawords Literary Press is also the co-host of The BeZine‘s International Poetry Month April 2020 series of daily poetic offerings in celebration of the month beginning on April 1.  / J.D.

Speaking in poetic tongues is an homage to the evangelists of resistance and poetic prophetesses. The women poet wordslingers wielding their pen weaponry to unchain the world from the pressing yoke of stereotypes and the hard granite rock sufferance perpetuated by unrepentant moral morons.

as we stand the ground of one another’s battles
where peace would be evolutionary and
the unholy alliance of wealth and fear-mongering
might burn itself out, find its way into justice,
but here we are, once again, in thrall to the
sociopaths, they have us bloodied and bound ~
their eyes are the aged face of clockwork orange,
numb to the obscenities of maim and murder …

© Jamie Dedes

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The griot in JAMIE DEDES is dared–daring. The tone as accompanied with the hard- rock verbiage is sarcastic but riotous. Racists are jabbed by defiant swords of satire. Poetry Spaces are poetry washed into oxy-moronic fields of peace. Corrupt landlords, warlords and tyrants are roasted by flames of metaphor. Dedes irony exorcise political demons and rattles the grip of economic dare-devils. Jamie Dedes is a Lebanese-American writer and activist. In another lifetime, she was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. She’s had to reinvent herself to accommodate chronic and catastrophic illness, which has her home-bound, often bed-bound. The gift in this is time for literature, her primary passion, and social justice advocacy, her primary mission.


America is a blessing; it is blessed with the gift of word evangelist. It is the land of abundant literary arts culture talent. TRACY YVONNE BREAZILE‘s double edged razor sharp cutting poesy scythes against weeds of earthly stereotypes of political barbarism. Unsparingly ,the razor sharp tip of her poetic machete slice through Africa in quest for the freedom of her earth mates “Zimbabweans,” writhing under the heavy yoke of unbridled corruption as they suffocate from toxic, choking and command politics.

I gather my confusion and stutter my truths,
As you unleash your lightning bolt into the thicket,
Crashing into the night with a raging fire,
I dance with the embers ‘till morning light,
While you devise an avalanche to extinguish the fire,
You dropped your mask and it tumbled to the ground,
In the dust of the avalanche, beneath the rubble of your pedestal,
I will leave you there to mind your mazes,

© Tracy Yvonne Breazile

TRACY YVONNE BREAZILE is a Mentor in Residence of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign Projects–Brave Voices Poetry Journal, Word Guerrillas Café and WOMAWORDS Literary Press.


I hear the poetic giggles echoing from beyond century hills reverberating foothills of Kirinyaga Mountains. Nancy Ndeke is an African prophetess, her to poetic tongues echo the foothills of Kirinyaga mountain, her writings are pregnant with African emotion and spiritual resonance. She writes of her kindred, WOMEN with a bold spirit and an aura of sisterly stubbornness. Her pen jives on page leaves like a rock rabbit dancing to earthly acoustics of wind, tree branches and discordant village songs. Ndeke’s poetry is the tenor of deep but soft flowing river, the rhythm abound is undeniably scintillating. You need a calabash of fresh spring water to wash down the poetry dinner of realism, metaphor and satire.

……………Is less of the individual, and
More of the community, meeting as equals,
At the intersection of connectedness
The hubris,
That rules empires with iron tanks and nuclear weapons
The feel good notion,
That sets colors apart in racism,
Are months that blow evil dust on the arena of life’s rainbow
There is no joy whatsoever
In fear, in anger
With greed, with bigotry,
Peace flees,

© Nancy Ndeke

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NANCY NDEKE is a Poet of international acclaim. Her writings and poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology, world Federation of Poets in MEXICO.

 

 


The Armenian spirit HOKIS returns the echo with indomitable metaphoric incantations. Here poetry walks confidently in the spirit land. Hokis is the Founder and Senior Editor of Headline Poetry and Art Magazine. She believes in supporting a range of voices at various stages of their craft for this is the most impactful design of grassroots revolutions. She envisions Headline as a platform that exemplifies the beliefs that all poetry is political and reflection is essential to effectively reshape conversations and culture—for writers and readers alike.

the let loose moments
of garbled wrappers and stenched bottles
drizzled over our bedside table
like syrup on empty caloried
memories.

© Hokis

hokis-main-photo


Again, We walk through the holy sands of Cape Verde to harvest voices of souls dead and walking. GLORIA SOPHIA is a deep, versatile and powerful Cape Verde-an poet with three published books and some more contributions in a number of anthologies. The poet is a creative began. She cultivates her creativity with determination and the required zeal. It is very critical to give poets, like Sofia creative spaces suitable platforms for purposes of growing them into literary stardom.

gloria-sofia-cartaz-0

Sun explodes in the sky
Burning the moon
Destroying the eternal blue
Germinates in my womb
Star packed with music It hurts everything
Swollen mother
Wrapped stomach
Blushing breasts
My undulating body

© Gloria Sophia


Nordic Europe have its on share of poetic prophets. Wisdom is not sold but served in cafes, restaurants, galleries and bookshops. DOLORES MEDEN is a versatile and a genius poet who mastered the power of art and the versatility that is found languages. She writes her poetry and translates them herself. She infuses her writings with visual artist’s drawings to bring about to the reader historical references of art, humanity and just life. ALLUSION is one great element of literature and most reader respect reference, history and currency

To read is resistance
to stupidity
to ignorance
to the unhealthy
relationships
you once
escaped from.

© Dolores Menden

doloresmeden_1-1

Meden was born in Sweden by Croatian parents and have lived there all her life. A graduate of Bachelor of Arts in History of Religion. She also studied some languages, mostly Slovene and Chinese.


MIRO60

The sun rises from the East and its rays bathe the world. The earth becomes beautiful and creative abundance is gathered to heal the world. MIROSLAVA PANAYOTIVA is one great poet of national and international repute in Bulgaria .Her themes are diverse from nature to confessional poetry, her style unique and her diction versatile. Her verses carry scintillating rhythm.

In the grass of the night,
in the sleeping mystery,
in the expiring pencil
to the blue notebook,
I outline the sunset

© Miroslava Panyotova

MIROSLAVA PANAYOTOVA graduated from the Plovdiv University majoring in Bulgarian philology. Her whole lot of poems, stories, tales, aphorisms, essays, criticisms, translations, articles and interviews in periodicals and collections.

© 2020, introductory text, Mbizo Chirasha; poets poems and photographs are under their own copyright.

Womawords Literary Press is a complex of efforts, the heart-child initiated and curated by Zimbabwean poet activist in exile Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet).  You can read an interview of Mbizo on Womawords and the opportunities offered there to women HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“Saturday” . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photo courtesy of Mila Young

“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” Edith Wharton, Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses

The Sun Is In Love With Me

what a morning, good morning
burst of apricot, showering light
drizzling glee, a child’s laughter
if I had to live for just one day
it would be this one, morning-glory
nodding her bright-eyed blue head
and i know, there’s no such thing
no such thing as a death star
there’s only life, over hill and field
shining into windows, on warm grass
Look! the daisies are smiling
and the California poppies are
popping yellow like corn in a pot
the moon was muse last night
today the sun is in love with me

© Jamie Dedes



And here we are still poeming away in the time of COVID-19. It’s not surprising that many of these poems reflect the global strategies for containing the virus so relentlessly dominating our thoughts. The poems collected here today are in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Magnolia Teacups, March 18, which encouraged poets to write about life on their day off. In one of his poems, Our Empty Shelves, Paul reveals what a shock it is to come back to work at his grocery after his days off and see the changes wrought by the pandemic.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can sooth our spirits and connect with others through poetry without passing anything more dangerously contagious than perspectives and experience? Much thanks this week to mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonia Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Miroslava Panayotova, Bishnu Charan Parida, and Adrian Slonaker for coming out to play and so gracefully responding to the challenge.

Enjoy! Be inspired, comforted, stirred,  … and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.  All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


sábado de manhã*

dew drops shape
coffee slowly drips
from the hallway foot steps fall
Cortana plays old time country tunes
the gray cat her ocean green eyes watch me write words that will remain unspoken

*Saturday Morning

© 2020, mm brazefield

mm’s site is Words Less Spoken, Gen X’er chronicles the art form of living in the Angelino metropolitan environment through poetry, creative writing, art, photography, and creative writing


Morning Turn

three keys to half raise a defensive eyelid.
Enter storm of the eye.

Listen to hum of preservers.
Two must be cleansed.

Tears sucked out,
waste removed.

Reloaded with boxes of insight.
Our fingers crinkle with their cold

as each box is placed so all can read
the new delight, the fresh view.

A new order of the day.

From Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2019)

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Our Empty Shelves

This Saturday morning in the shop.

there is a glut of emptiness.

Labels advertise what is missing
Like headstones.

We wait on the delivery.
It is late today.

No Sugar, pasta, flour.

We apologise to customers,

some in decorator’s facemasks.
Others wear ordinary gloves, mouth covered
by handkerchiefs like bandits
in childhood cowboy and Indian films.

Once the delivery arrives.
It is a joy to fill the spaces.

Often in the same motion,
Customers take what you have just placed.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Her Fur Elise

I awake to Beethoven as Mam taps the upright
Piano downstairs in the through lounge

where morning light highlights dark brown dining table
And varnished coffee table both polished

with Pledge until you see yourself. Later
chemo will make her petite fingers fat,

Fur Elise break into fragments as disease progresses
and piano sold as her hands come to rest.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

I Fry Me Chips

in proper fresh Beef fat for better flavour, in a proper chip pan. Don’t let
old fat lie. Keep it new, not like neighbours, nowt against them,
not meaning to be offensive but veg don’t put hairs on your chest,
or give a bloke owt to hold onto on a night. There’s yon young un out
on a morning in her slippers and pyjamas hangs out her undies,
as if no ones looking. Him next door in his loose dressing gown lumps white
bags in grey bin, pussy cardboard boxes in blue. Like I said don’t let old fat lie.
Tha allus sees summat proper fresh
out thee windows.

From As Folk Over Yonder (Afterworld Books, 2019)

© 2019, Paul Brookes

A Rubato

A book begins and ends in a garden.
A book begins and ends in delight.
See the coloured pages
Scattered like pixels.

Each bird note is a colour.
Each rustle is a colour.
Sometimes a rubato
out of the usual rhythm
of this morning and evening

The garden of memory.
His rock garden reminded my late dad
of Lake District mountains.
Each page is a leaf,
each leaf an instrument
played by the gust.
Every chorus of leaves
A fresh painting of the garden.

An as yet, unpublished poem, part of last year’s poetry month

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.
HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Such Were Some Saturdays

Saturday mornings
omelette jam tea breakfast
rest with peaceful sleep

Day off, no duty
visits by kids, family
smiles hugs fun laughter,

much awaited day
to complete pending projects
watch classic movies.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

After Jamie Dedes

It was Friday night quite late, a silent voice told
me, ‘ pull the curtains and look’, right in front
suspended, illuminating the sky, smilingly
appeared the crescent, another bright star in its
company, ‘we are here, and you are not alone’

Lucky me to have seen them, I returned to my
desk and thought, ‘would I be able to finish my
pending work, the story that my son wishes me
to write? The poems, that are in the files needing
printing? The half knitted baby sweaters, and afghan

squares? the clock’s needle kept moving smoothly
not ticking, soon it will be predawn prayer time,
time to pull aside the curtains and see the first light
reveal the hillside, alas here there are no magnolias
nor roses nor tulips, but fields and a few farmers-

Birds will appear, to feast on the crumbs put on the
wall, crows fly over from time to time, strangely they
are silent, Saturday mornings are silent as schools are
closed, children are silent too sleeping late, peaceful
is the atmosphere- Saturdays are ‘get together days’

The village farmer will bring fresh vegetables, lay
them on the ‘charpoy’ on the roadside close to his field
and the day’s sale will soon begin-the city nearby will
gradually rise from its drowsy numbness, half opened
eyes watching vehicles begin to race as work begins

on a much slower pace, asking for and giving space
just a selfish concern and soon busy in the worldly
race….

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Saturday

Saturday mornings begin best with
Awakening while the sun still sleeps, dressing then
Trotting down the stairs with sneakers in hand, quietly making a PB and J yet
Ultimately waking the youngest ones with the coffee pot’s final hiss,
Rushing to get them back to bed then, quickly into the car, fueling and hydrating
(me not the car)
Driving to a favorite trail, late, but relieved that my tribe waited for me to
Arrive before starting on our group run.
Yes, this is the best way to begin a Saturday.

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is I Do Run, And I do a few other things too …


.the day off work.

Dull here this morning. Cooler. The graveyard is quiet; traffic moves distant.

Your saddle was a try out, now you will not be hankering after that design and may settle on what you have?

Things disappoint often. I try not to have expectations much. Is not easy after years.

Your place is your home with all that entails. Enjoy it.

The flowers never fail to delight and now I know the colour patterns. Yesterday learned the seed germination times.

Ate a few strawberries from the garden and watched the hay being bailed down the lower field.

I too gather and build from the wild
as you may know.

it is a focus on those things some overlook
a focus on time passing
while i like your verse
this cannot compare

I have a day off from the mill as I worked extra in the week. I have croissants bought ready for later. At work I mainly have a yogurt and liquorice allsorts.

Poetry man is sweet, he asks questions i never answer, We have googling.

I had hoped to sleep late, yet that never works. Have a good day. Tell me more adventures……

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


My Saturday Morning

I have lived, I have been bereaved,
I have known joy leaping in bubbly bounces, and,
I have bowed completely defeated and defenseless,
But this one Saturday, is uniquely born,
A day of anxious waiting,
A day of tedious praying,
Marooned inside my mind and space,
Common nature sounds refuse to led the old tongue,
For my attenae is pulled long and hard into my chests behavior,
Listening to the engine humming,
Keenly hearing the erratic thrum,
Is it so is it not so?
Am I “goosed” am I not ” goosed”
I remember leaving my appetite at the doctor’s place,
I forget where I misplaced my seen of peace,
Photographs seem to mock my staring eyes,
My moves are jerky and my nerves frayed,
I want to pray but my tongue plays roof top stuck,
This Saturday morning is quite a mouth full,
It exposes the cowardly self of my self,
Preaching loneliness in a severe tongue and jeering at my speeding heart.
Across the fence a child cries and a mother sings,
In the distance, the train whistles,
Further still, thunder rolls,
The smell of moisture in the air fills my lungs,
I take a shower and a hot cup of coffee,
I have a load of mail to answer to and,
And a poem for this day,
Yes.
Was advised to socially distance till this cough runs out,
Yes.
Am alone but not so lonely,
And this Saturday is a day of and for lessons,
Sometimes, we take for granted the beauty of togetherness,
A fact if I survive, I do promise on this Saturday morning,
Never take for granted the simple joys of interactions.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Saturday –
not like all others
It’s like we’re in a movie
I wanted to become an actress
We are all actors now
Our way is a theater

© 2020, Miroslava Panayotova

Miroslava’s site is OKMSP


This Saturday Morning is Silent as a Dark Night

As the gentle zephyr blows,
Sweeping the dry leaves fallen on my colony streets,
The fear of Covid-19 curbing the human activity around,
This Saturday has begun with a morning, bizarre

As usual, yet,
The two street dogs Kanchia and Kalia, as I call them,
Greeted me with smiles at my gate, with wagging tails,
Rejoicing the March morning at their freedom best

A scanty footfall
Of the early risers, the morning walkers
Has added to all the doom and gloom, stilling,
The streets

The humans have chosen to stay home,
To stay safe, in a measure of social distancing
With the declared lock down, my hometown,
For the first ever dawned to a Saturday, as silent
As a dark night

© 2020, Bishnu Charan Parida

Bishnu’s site is: Bishnu’s Universe


At Liberty to Loaf

Nestled naked in a king-size bed,
I banish the brashness of Saturday morning sunrays
with blackout curtains
and quench a parched mouth with
starfruit sparkling water –
an upgrade from the Lucky Charms-infused moo juice
of my youth,
neutralizing the gorgonzola and mushroom pie
acquired from that quirky pizzeria run by hipsters
and the sucrose-laden liquid thought to be coffee
quaffed during the frenzy of fringe freak shows
known as Friday night trash TV,
trailed by an extended dose of calming darkness
with pressures popped like a succession of cracked knuckles
and a heart rate relaxed by
a fresh paycheck in the belly of my bank account
and a satin-bound blanket that doubles as a hug
when you’re single.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

I Name You Fear . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy



Of special note:

  • Please don’t miss Iron Wind, Zimbabwean poet in exile Mbizo Chirasha’s response to the current prompt. An explanation for its solitary publication is included in the post.
  • Wisconsin poet, DeWitt Clinton, wrote, “I’ve visited many hospital rooms over the years, and occasionally, I was a patient. I’m always drawn to Sylvia Plath’s poem about her stay in a hospital following a surgical procedure.”  I didn’t have enough time to get Harper Collins’ permission to publish Tulips today. You can read it in its entirety HERE.
  • Irene Emmanuel and Diana Lundell, if you have sites or Amazon pages to which you’d like me to link, email the links to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

Today I am pleased to present the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, At the Beginning of the Pandemic, March 11, in which Michael Dickel asked poets to ponder: “How to bring illness (personal or pandemic) of the ailing body, pain, and language to point to culture, philosophy, and consciousness in poetry that also points ‘…to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life’? Especially at this cultural-historical moment of an emerging pandemic?” The result is a journey through a spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

The poets who contributed to this collection are: Paul Brookes, Jamie Dedes, Irene Emanual, Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan), Corina Ravenscraft, RedCat, and Clarissa Simmens. Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, and RedCat are new to Wednesday Writing Prompt and warmly welcome.

Please do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.

Stay safe and healthy,

Warmly,
Jamie


As I write this, my daughter is watching a YouTube live stream lesson. The Ministry of Education streams a lesson to all first graders from 9–9:30 each school morning. My son is working on tasks and following links posted on this class web page. At 11 am the fourth graders, his class, will have their half-hour live-streamed lesson. I have a moment to write while they work, before I leave for an “essential” appointment, which will likely be my last meeting this week. Later, I will go to the grocery store to pick up three or four things we are running low on. I’ll probably notice a couple of other things to get, just in case. The people I see and I will try to maintain a distance of two meters. Yesterday I went for a walk, just to get out of the house. The sun was warm, so I sat on a bench with my iPad and answered some emails. Those of us out kept our distance, but more than usual we made eye-contact, greeted each other, wished each other good health.

Welcome to COVID-19 time. I think that it is important to make eye contact, to acknowledge each other, especially as we make wide arcs around each other. I think it is important too keep our connections, even across distance. And this is something poetry does. Here, we offer the week’s responses to my prompt on writing poems about illness (personal to global) and pandemic, creating a literature that points to culture and meaning in the time of COVID-19.

We have amazing and strong responses. They range from cancer to COVID-19 pandemic panic syndrome, from personal to observational. The language is strong. The poems succeed in doing what Ann Jurecic, (Illness as Narrative: Composition, Literacy, and Culture, p. 131)  “…all point to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life.…”

In this COVID-19 time, please do your best to stay healthy. Support your community as you can, especially in helping to prevent spread, but also by catching a distant eye, nodding, smiling, saying “Shalom, manishma?” (Peace, how are you?) And wish them, “Libryut” “to (your) health.” Social distance need not be without connections.

Shalom, how are you? To (y)our health!

—Michael (Meta/ Poor(e) /Play)


The Virus

On my till
An old lady flinches when I touch
Her handing her change.

Boss is stockpiling anti-bac wipes.
Wash your hands as often as you can
As money is the dirtiest of things.

Anti-bac wipe your touch screen,
And where folk lift up the fridge doors,
And the price strips.

Toilet rolls are disappearing.
It dissipates the virus,
While it rests on other surfaces.

Folk avoid public bannisters,
Walk down the middle.
That old woman’s flinch
Stays in my mind.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

My Caladrius

All white bird a ghost who stares intently
into my jaundiced eye,

then flies towards sunblaze
where it sweats all my illness
in droplets to the earth.

If the bird looks away
this disease succeeds.

Some healthy hide the bird
under their coat,
refuse to offer it
with the thought
nobody gets owt for free.

Some say the bird is a saviour.
Some put faith in fleeting things.

Originally published in the Blue Mountain Review

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Disease Is A Gift

It was really cool to see who could get
illest first, cos you’d like get all this fuss.
My bestest mate Rhianna, reporters interviewed her, and she’d be on the news.

And folk who felt sorry for her gave
her lots of money so she could go
to Disney in America and have
the most expensive doctors,

and like, get well, but she didn’t,
and they wouldn’t let me see her,
said she was too ill, and then
she died and I cried a lot,

she wasn’t on the news anymore
but to me she was even famouser.

Except from Paul’s collection A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes 

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.
HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Lockdown

Bronchi and alveoli seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of Corvid-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Jamie is the curator of The Poet by Day.


Never Named

Chatter-clips in muffled murmurs
overheard.
Overt opinions in strained silence
suspended.
Tactful teacups in stilled saucers
of tears.
Reverberating reels of sudden shock
echoing.
Mystified minor in innocent ignorance
unaware.
Death danced in devilish delight
unnamed.
Years later, I learned about
CANCER.

A TOUCH OF CANCER

Unasked, unwanted, it appeared;
a black dot on the middle of my right cheek.
A spider bite? A probable assumption.
It developed a white head,
I squished it, it spurted and grew a scab.
Then it became an unsightly scabby growth
of potent ugliness, taking over my cheek.
A skin specialist was consulted.
He was fascinated, he concluded that this “spider bite”
needed an investigation.
He cut and sent a sliver to be biopsied.
Final diagnosis:
“Squamous Cell Carcinoma” of the cancerous type.
Remedy:
Immediate removal, non-negotiable.
Twenty-one stitches later, the growth lay vanquished.
As “Frankenstein’s” distant cousin, I faced the World.
Vitamin E oil has finally smoothed the scar
into a faded memory of a major scare.
I am eternally grateful to faith and Dr. J.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel


The Virus 

A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.

We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?

Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.

Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.

© 2020, Joe Hesch

Joe’s site is A Thing for Words


Pandemic

I have a small cold
and a library book to return.
Should I wipe it clean with disinfectant
and return it through the book drop?
Or let it become overdue?

I have a hair appointment
for next week Thursday.
If I feel better by then,
should I keep it?

I have a massage appointment
for the following week
which I really need
because I’m stressed
but they tell me not to come
for two weeks from the onset
of an illness. Do I count from
Monday when I began feeling
run-down or Friday
when I finally I knew why?
One means keep it,
the other cancel.

I don’t know if I have a fever.
My thermometer’s broken
and there are none in the stores,
but I’m in the target age group who die.

I have health insurance. Should I get tested?
The news says not to just show up
at your doctor’s office,
if you think you have the virus.
But will they then show at mine
making a spectacle, lights a-flaring,
outing me to the neighbors?
Or will it be like China
removing me by force?

My job tells us to stay home if sick
but they don’t provision for those
who don’t have enough sick leave
so I don’t call the doctor and go to work,
pretending to be perfectly well.

© 2020, Diana Lundell


..spoons..

yes, we have been indoors a while now

it has happened before, do you remember

that year the snow came & i had to have a

taxi to get there

how all the guttering & aerials went with

the weight of it

suspension springs snapped

then after everything was repaired

some words we google then change

the letters about to confirm with

that which is deemed correct

granny had special knives too, fish

and butter and some others. on a

rainy day she would let us play with them

i still enjoy cutlery

i am not called that, mine is more

the usual without the d, however

now he texts me i am abbreviated

into gma

which is cool

i am enjoying being in so much

yesterday i was already and coated

then saw the snow warnings on the

pass

so made coffee and ate malt loaf

the only other issue being some virus

out there

another reason, should i say excuse

for staying home

with my google assistant

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


I NAME YOU FEAR

Like the wind, your exact birth is shadowy, even murky,
But the flow, and rush, like an old bull, is marked by scores of bruises,
Laughter is now whispered jest,
Camaraderie is thinning like a slippery path,
Ten fingers pointing at one location,
Might we be missing the point?
Like the wind on a sneeze,
Breath carries death so they say,
Goose pimples on a population that now hibernates indoors,
Scrubbing hands behind masks to keep the stray bullets off the air waves,
Palpable is FEAR rippling down the spines of the assumed healthy,
Boarders shrinking before the eyes of a cruise ship afloat a memorable trip,
Statistics roll out with diversity,
Some minimizing, some maximizing,
Along while back, we learnt a sweet investment called individualism,
Fenced diffences against the onslaught of our privacy,
Would the wind honor this paid service or even approve it?
Death is a chief garantor of flesh after a time,
It’s the fate of birth,
But fear is the monster that serves deathness to the living,
As we suffer shortage of basics in the war against a warring virus,
Some have hoarded food supplies for a decade,
Some are stocking distance for their own in remote homes,
Some are breathing through masks In bunkers below the ground,
History has a thing about life,
Mans best intentions are tested by calamity,
And the world has one right now,
The morbid fear of catching a dreaded virus,
That has already taken some down and has no respect for boundaries,
How we die depends on how we live,
If fear governs our senses enough to barricade ourselfs away from those in need,
We shall for sure die,
But before the physical,
Our Soul will have died Twice over from fear,
And thrice over from the meanness of withholding help to the needy, in an effort to preserve ourselves,
So ” I name you fear”, O you colonial hunter of human health,
And banish you to the deserts of dusty horizons,
Where your barren unconcern must remain buried,
To give man a chance at rebirth in the genuine concern of one facing this ultimate test of living,
I ” name you fear” O you coward who escaped your masters rogue shed to shade the color of life a night without the dance of the stars,
I ” name you fear” and tag you loser for records show others came before you and perhaps did worse,
So we know we shall survive you for life is a survivor from the realms of amniotic fluids to the trenches of war,
For life is held by a divine hand that constantly looks onto it wellness,
So though unwelcome you came and may stay a bad season,
Tomorrow is not yours except in records.
And those too, shall remain in archival shelves,
Once more to remind tomorrow that the human soul is a giant ,
And indomitable to any spirit that is not from it’s maker.
We shall suffer pain.
We shall lose some.
But we shall overcome the fear that you sow indifference that kills the living.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Viva Italia

because we all
get influenced by all
and all is you
and the air is heavy on the shoulders
let’s sit down all
(the night is a round table)
accept each other and
give ourselves to all
then the song remains
eternal
(because is chanted)

after your voice comes mine
around fire

© 2020, Bozhidar Pangelov (Bogpan)

Bozhidar’s site is (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия )


~ SK was Right ~

They call it COVID, magic number 19,
One letter off, from birds who pick the bones clean.
Who are the carrion crows of this battle?
Who rake in profits from each, extended death-rattle?

The child king fired all the medic Gunslingers.
Now that he needs help, he only points fingers.
Has “Captain Trips” finally come at long last?
Does the Man in Black wear a plague doctor’s beaked mask?

“KA is a wheel…its one purpose, is to turn.”
Maybe Gaia just got tired of watching the world burn?
Each life snuffed out: a brick in the Dark Tower,
Each one, marking Mankind’s plummet from power?

All the child king’s puppets, and all his “Yes-Men”
Can’t put the world back together again.
If only we had some sort of Pandemic Team!
Or money for tests, instead of golf on the green.
Hindsight in 2020? Remains to be seen.

They call it COVID, magic number 19,

Perhaps it’s KA…and “All things serve the Beam.”

(Stephen King fans are probably likely to enjoy this piece a bit more than other readers. The number 19 is important to him, and figures deeply in many of his works, but none more so than in his Magnum Opus, “The Dark Tower” series.)

© 2020, Corina Ravenscraft


Novel Virus

Can a novel virus teach
What climate emergency so far have not?
The interconnectedness of a global world
No country beyond its reach
Collective action the only sensible plot
Work together without accusing insults hurled

Can a novel virus show
What’s closest to our hearts
What we value most of all
Do we dare accept, have courage to know
Faithfully confess what we display in all our art
Happiness only ever lay in following loving soul calls

Can a novel virus reveal
How compassionate living will be
Only way out the materialistic maze
Can we make a New Green Deal
Accept responsibility humbly
Changing our planet wrecking, extreme storm inducing ways?

© 2020, RedCat

RedCat’s site is The World According to RedCat


C-VIRUS

Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Technology
Uselessly
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Chaos
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Cordoncillo
Jaborandi
Lapacho
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens


Jamie Dedes:

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The New New Deal

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“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton