Lois Perch Villemaire captures the collective feeling we have in the world right now as we struggle through this pandemic. It is so important to express these things, keep ourselves sane through the insanity. Through these expressions we remind each other that we are all going through this together, and together is how we will come out the other side.
Covid Anxiety By Lois Perch Villemaire
Feeling anxious, something is crawling beneath your skin, Not knowing what to expect as today ends and tomorrow begins.
Confusion and uncertainty are unwelcome companions, Stretching, growing, filling spaces, wide and deep as canyons.
Sensations of falling through time, Nothing holds fast, Life passages are celebrated on Zoom, craving freedoms of the past.
Trying not to be hypnotized by the monotony of each passing day, Becoming sadly undone, Shadows lurking, to your dismay.
You recognize it, the weakness in your shoulders, the fluttering in your chest, the dryness in your mouth.
Closing your eyes and taking a deep breath, Trying to quell sensations. Digging fingers into your forehead, The pressure feels good.
Vaccines begin to emerge, hopefully the beginning of the end Of this time of required isolation, Setting you free, changing you forever.
Lois Perch Villemaire lives in Annapolis, MD. Her poetry, flash fiction, and memoir pieces have appeared in Potato Soup Journal, Ponder Savant, FewerThan500, The Drabble, Pen-in-Hand, Flora Fiction, North of Oxford, and Flash Frontier. Her work has been published in several anthologies published by Truth Serum Press.
Kelli J. Gavin poetry, my favorite line in this set: “I catch fire more often than I care to admit.”
Now let her poetry set you ablaze.
The Road Home By: Kelli J Gavin
I have walked one too many roads
A few stray paths have distracted me
Not always sure where I was going
Or why I was called away
Home should be where the heart is
But sometimes my heart would fail
A faulty human with a messy soul
At least I thought I should search
Maybe there was something more
Someplace where my mind could rest
Where I wouldn’t feel such constant flux
A place where sleep would come easily
But those roads lead to nothing I wanted
Everything I thought was for me- wasn’t
Joy couldn’t be found down any worn road
Happiness couldn’t be detected on a new path
Rest was absent from any trail my feet tread
Boldness was needed to turn back around
To return to where I had come from
I wasn’t going to accept how I had failed
I learned that acceptance was defeat
Finding the strength to make changes
Discovering new ways of loving life daily
The road home seemed to be a needed journey
I realized that I needed to be elsewhere
Only to find that road home
I needed to create a new life
This time I will stay the course and rediscover
That everything I need is already within reach
The road home is the only road for me
Fire Away By: Kelli J Gavin
Those words Every Last One Hurt and scarred Left me damaged Bruised Broken Unable to function I found my armor Where it had been stored For a time such as this Knowing it would be needed Knowing it was needed with you Those words Every Last One You fire away Each time Words Assailing Hitting Striking My armor protects It guards It deflects Enables me to move on To walk away To increase my speed Away From you From words That assail And hit Striking hot I won’t return Never again Not this time No Fire away Your words are not needed Never were Best wishes You no longer have a target Fire away
Me By: Kelli J Gavin
Do you really see me? The real me? The one that loves. The one who aches. Who burns. Who feels defeated. Even depleted. Do you? Really see me? The one that wants you. The one who desires you. Who smolders. Who desires nothing other than you. I think not. If you did, that love would be returned. It never has been reciprocated. What if you were the one that loved? That ached and burned. I would see you. I would really see you. If you felt defeated and depleted. I would help rebuild you. I would love you so deeply. You would always know you were wanted. Absolutely know you were desired. Please see me the way I would see you.
Burn By: Kelli J Gavin
I catch fire more often than I care to admit I catch feelings that fan the flame I wonder if others burn the way I do I wonder if they have pulled all the alarms You can only fuel the fire for so long You can’t watch from afar
I burn up rather quickly My throat tightens My hands wring My eyes wince from the smoke I wipe the soot from my skin My feet tread carefully
Not sure where to turn Not sure if the floor will hold The beams crash around me The flames shoot up each wall Five alarm fire I am afraid No one cares to respond
The flame is extinguished Usually by me creating distance The ruins are all I have left The embers continue to smolder Nothing will ever be the same I don’t have anything to cling to
It must be obvious I sweep up the remnants Nothing left to piece back together At least the walls have been scrubbed New rugs have been laid All prepared for the next time I burn
Kelli J Gavin of Carver, Minnesota is a Writer, Editor, Blogger and Professional Organizer. Her work can be found with Clarendon House Publishing, Sweetycat Press, The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Zombie Pirates Publishing, Setu, Cut 19, Passionate Chic, Otherwise Engaged, Flora Fiction, Love What Matters, Printed Words and Southwest Media among others. Kelli’s first two books were released in 2019 (“I Regret Nothing- A Collection of Poetry and Prose” and “My Name is Zach- A Teenage Perspective on Autism”). She has also co-authored 17 anthology books.
MJ L’Espérance tender words encompass sweetness and sorrows. My favorite line, “Empty rooms filled to the brim of made-up memories that we pick up from the floor like children’s toys.”
Take in this captivating poem below.
A House of Cards
There is one little dirty word that makes the house of cards I built within myself collapse in a whirlwind of red and black, of hearts and spades.
The wedding ceremony where I would have worn a pretty velvet dress and arrived at the chapel on a sleigh dragged by two horses wearing bells, ringing in the cold air of a December afternoon. The father-daughter dance, probably a cha-cha so you could lead confidently and because it makes you laugh to count it out loud while I step on your toes. (Do you remember that it goes ‘one-two-three, cha-cha-cha’?)
The house I would have bought in the suburbs with a wrap-around porch and an apple tree in the backyard. A homey house, smelling of chicken soup and banana bread and a fireplace. A real dining room and a table large enough for twelve. The perfect house to have the family over every year for Christmas. And your anniversary. (September) And our birthdays. (December, February, June, November)
The sounds of your grandchildren running around, screaming and laughing as they tugged on the dog’s tail. Embarrassing traces of tears you would have wiped with the back of your hand after you would have kissed them goodbye. (Do you remember how you used to cover your face during sad movies?) All those times you would have whispered their names under your breath, a melody so full of promises, the sound of sunshine after such a long storm.
I do not live there anymore, and neither do you. The whole building threatens to fall apart. But in the confines of my heart, the place where I keep you warm within me, you are still there waiting by the door for me. We are long gone, but in my mind’s eye all of this is still possible because I made you the guardian of that would-be life. I entrusted that disappearing future within you.
Empty rooms filled to the brim of made-up memories that we pick up from the floor like children’s toys,
piece by piece like you build a home from a house.
MJ L’Espérance is a bilingual writer and educator who lives in Montreal, QC. She writes about mental health, disabilities, loss and lust. In her spare time, she likes to run after cats in back alleys and walk barefoot on the grass.
Get swept away in the romantic flow of words by Walid Abdallah! The line that struck me the most, “Your touch would make me alive again And pacify the heart knew nothing but pain.”
An Elegy to a knight My deep condolences to a noble knight Whose soul ascended heaven at night
Rivers of tears are not enough to shed For a gentle heart and a face of a kid
You were always a kind-hearted man Everyone knows you becomes your fan
You always left good memories with everyone You left life without a setting sun
Your thoughts exist everywhere Nobody will forget your care
You planted love in every heart you met That’s why your sun will never set
Nobody is going to forget your smiling face Your memory decorates every place
Everyone prays for you day and night You took with your every joy and light
Although you are no longer in front of our eyes You are now the celebration of all the skies
Everyone laments the gentle heart Who suddenly decided to depart
Angels really belong to the sky Whose memories will never dry
Rest in peace our gentle knight You are always there before our sight
If time went back
If time went back, I would have a life I wouldn’t suffer from a lifelong strife
I would hold your hand in the rain And hide my tears flood and pain
I would look into your eyes and say Your presence nearby makes my day
I would hold you forever And to leave you, never
I would hear your heart beats song And dwell your heart where I belong
I would see or hear no one but you Only for you, my heart would blow
I would taste the honey of your lips And touch the highest mountains tips
I would drown into your hug sea And plant an evergreen leafy tree
Birds would have their nests there And keep singing the love they bear
Butterflies would decorate its leaves Where love is born and never leaves
Our love would give life to everything Only happiness, fate would bring
There would never be a heartbreak You would always stay for my sake
Flowers would dance and swing Bees would rejoice and sing
Your touch would make me alive again And pacify the heart knew nothing but pain
Waves of the ocean would be calm and quiet Due to the love born from the first sight
We would never separate We would make our fate
I will be always there
I will be always there for you With much love that will always flow
When life is hard and really tough I will give you support that is enough
Whenever you want to cry I will be there your sigh
Whenever you want to fly I will be always there your sky
Wherever you go on this earth I will be always there your breath
When you feel lonely and under pressure I will be always your happiness treasure
Whenever you walk in the night I will be always there your light
Whenever you are afraid of the vast space My heart will be always there your place
When you are down and need support I will be always there your life port
When you are happy and excited For your happiness I will be delighted
Whenever you want to talk and speak I will be always your back that won’t break
Whenever you close your eyes I will be always there your warm sighs
Wherever and whenever you go I will be always there for you
For you, I am really ready to fall For you, I give my life and soul
For you, I will give my past away For you, I always care and pray
For you, my heart always beats and calls For you, the earth orbits and the rain falls
For you, birds flutter, sing and fly For you, rivers flood and never dry
For you, the sun rises every day For you, roses blossom without delay
For you, plants keep orbiting the sun For you, days and nights are full of fun
For you, plants and trees dance in spring For you, only true love my heart will bring
For you, the moon illuminates the night For you, the sun becomes very bright
For you, stars decorate the sky For you, I have wings to fly
For you, the beach hugs the sea For you, only true love you will see
Walid Abdallah is an Egyptian poet and author. He is a visiting professor of English language and literature in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the USA, his poetry includes “Go Ye Moon”, “ If you were here”, ” Dream” and “My heart still beats”. His books include Shout of Silence, Escape to the Realm of Imagination, My Heart Oasis and Man Domination and Woman Emancipation, and his co-translations with Andy Fogle of Farouk Goweda’s poetry have previously appeared in Image, RHINO, Reunion: Dallas Review, and Los Angeles Review. These translations won prestigious prizes in the USA like “Cause”, “Egypt’s Grief”, and “Strangers’ Cross”.
Bringing us into nature, Lisa Creech Bledsoe weaves poetry with earth and wildlife. My favorite line in this set of her work is: “A poem is part coyote, part road de-icer, garbage scow and threads of mold. It is motor oil, bone meal, and the witch hazel blooming in the snow.”
Enjoy her words on this fine February morning!
A Fine Seat
Today at the creek I saw a moss-covered buckeye stretched out low over the water then rising skyward
This tree will be a fine seat
better than my blue chair in the woods by the stream
So I wandered over and sat on the moss-covered buckeye stretched out low over the water then rising skyward
where I could watch the crawdads meditate as I had before
where I could watch the yellow jewelweed exchange glances with the orange-spotted jewelweed as I had before
having the same wonders, secrets, and determinations as I had before
Still I look for the next place from which to watch
A poem begins a shape
with chalk in the grit that gathers at the end of a city road or spelled in forks on a kitchen floor.
Any pen or pattern will do, but something sensible, some durable unity must be
Cancel it out with a hard smudge or a boot scuff or the kind of draught of air that wolves use to get at little pigs.
There must be passageways.
Now add water, or a splash of your coffee. Give it your blessing with fir cones, a handful of thread and broken tiles and leave it for three days or seven years.
The poem is rather a mess— loutish and uncivilized now, and has probably lost its letters
Pine needles have gotten into your poem.
Cigarette ashes, a mayfly wing, moss spores. Particles of straws and six-pack rings. Refugee politics and phone calls with terrible news.
And (maybe) some idea of what plants provide a remedy for a cough, or a tonic for grief.
A poem is part coyote, part road de-icer, garbage scow and threads of mold. It is motor oil, bone meal, and the witch hazel blooming in the snow.
With dissemination and unmaking the words come hard to their senses unpuzzling, efflorescing— sending out streamers.
They are apprenticing to the wood nettles and ozone; native ghosts are pointing out constellations in a night sky from a thousand years back.
I hope you’ll forgive yourself if your words must be regularly unstitched and regrown, or if no one hears what you said in quite the normal way.
These blessings can give one something of a limp.
The question may be better put a different way.
It’s not so much what a poet does as what is making and unmaking her.
1. Between squalls I hiked up the mountain to the pine grove where the wind roared but couldn’t reach and the woods were yellow and livid with dying.
The story is told of our chipmunk cousins that one teased great bear for not being strong enough to stop the sun from rising— then narrowly escaped his claw and now bears three swiped stripes running head to tail-tip, memento mori.
Each instant is ordinary; everything and nothing important. Perhaps the stories we know will be still in the burrow when we venture out, before the storm falters and evening drifts in, wet and tattered.
2. Pushing forward in the murk and wail we walked until a tiny striped cousin leapt across our trail and instantly the cat surged away, then was trotting back to me with the chipmunk curled and clutched in her jaws.
Life happens in an ordinary instant; nothing and everything important.
I’ve spoken with the bear, made treaties with crows and learned from vultures and weeds. There is knowledge on the mountain of a deer shot, stumbling away to die and a vole carried up by the owl. Rivers diminish and others arise. Winter bears down, unrestrained by the bubbling summer within us.
Interested only in our hike, the cat dropped her living gift at my feet and slipped up the trail without looking back.
3. There is so much you are planning; so many triumphant histories and cautionary scars you’ve collected and stored. Receive blessings wherever you find them— no one will stop the sun from rising. Leap headlong, live and live again while the trees let go their leaves and the pine grove breathes and gathers itself to wait for night.
One Persian Silk Tree in Suburbia
I was raised in the delicate shade of Albizia julibrissin, a displaced seedling cut off from clan, no messages passed root to fungi to root with sugars as gift in a bowl of silence. The mimosa shrank away from my touch. I hung suspended, between worlds.
A white Italian nobleman gave it his name first, then got the Persian wrong in the rest. It would be forty years before I heard it and recoiled, discomfited by the corruption of language and graft. Many troublesome things must be learned.
In a treelife of captive isolation was one girl— deaf to leaf chant, no kin to horsemen, soaked with a damp sun—small consolation? One half-electric girl with no phosphorus or nitrogen to offer and mostly only branchweight?
Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, The Main Street Rag, Sky Island Journal, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and River Heron Review, among others.
I am so excited to dive in with you as we take a look at the incredible efforts of artists from all over the world! Each one a reminder that we are here and our very existence is continuous creativity.
I love how art teaches us new perspectives. For a split second we get to see the world through other people’s eyes and step into their shoes. We can find that we are not alone in our feelings. In turn we can hold the artists thoughts with them to help carry their burdens. It’s an ebb and flow of giving and receiving even if we never meet the other person directly. A cycle of celebrating our humanity even in our isolated state that we have been in this past year.
Join me in celebrating these artists and the intricacies of their inspired work this year.
Never mistake short poems for lack of might! Anannya Dasgupta’s short poetry is filled with the depth of complex emotions, and full story telling.
After Mary Oliver’s Uses of Sorrow
Used-up sorrow has no fresh edges but a blunt, gnawed up everyday surface. Darkness leeched out of its gift wrap is indistinguishable from this winter’s gloom. The only gift that there is – between bushfires and homelessness – is that the whole world has become our home in pain.
The Most Perfect Love
After the most perfect love came and went, I am as a page before a poem and after.
Dr. Anannya Dasgupta Director, Centre for Writing & Pedagogy Associate Professor, Literature and Arts Krea University, Andhra Pradesh
Anannya Dasgupta is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of the book of poems Between Sure Places (2015)
Martina Rimbaldo’s enchantingly sorrowful poetry and photography fills you with many emotions. Her work makes the haunting of such emotions a beauty to behold.
Graveyard for never sent letters
One afternoon when the late summer smelled more like autumn,
she came to her room and took the pen, in order to make his wish come true.
She wrote a few lines on a heart – shaped paper . Lock of her hair, ring, and two photographs she placed inside the envelope, but feelings change ,she and him are not the same.
Now she thinks of letting go, where will her letter go ?
Still hidden in the drawer,
away from curious eyes .
Still the question : “What shall i do with it? “ Hovers around her mind as a vulture around the dying prey .
Burn it , throw it , send it …she doesn’t know , it is just that painful.
There should be a graveyard for never send letters,
I have heard, she maybe found its final resting place: „Museum of Broken relationships’ ‘.
Above the letter, now a showpiece left behind underneath the plexiglass ,one may read the sign :
“It was never a relationship, just an online thing ,it was not meant to be . I am sorry if we were stronger maybe …but still…it is not a guarantee…“.
Now she attempts to be strong , but tears betray her every time she finds herself alone, she attempts to be free she still holds on …..to thee… And she wishes silly things like ,to have a giant Teddy Bear, the ones she owns are not large enough, to pretend, to imitate the human shape.
She just does not want an empty bed …of loneliness…She needs a hug ,somebody who will warm up her freezing heart and body…
She has been alone for too long, but does anyone care at all…….??? 😦
I guess some can not pass trought the darkness
Without the darkness glues herself on to them
They drag her around like the treasure chest filled with black pearls
If the chest is opened they end up on their neck
Suffocation becomes their end
For them pearls are precious friends
But all they bring is death …
lunar silver rug is on the floor
her lifetime is here no more
river of tears hits the piano keys
creates a heartfelt melody
her life was taken so violently
she can’t find the open door
Earthbound by this place
still enslaved can’t escape
dark hides her cry
harm is done cant be undone
church bell chime midnight
drawes her last breath
cant see why the stranger to her eye made her die
he was too blind to see his belief was a lie
dark hides her cry
harm is done cant be undone
heatspell brought her hell
summer waves please erase that few days
her faith is sealed forever
follows her to the final resting place
what have they done
blood on psychedelic neon starlights was her own
his cold-blooded eyes stare at her no more
Unrequited love is a stillborn
Never took his first breath
Never opened his eyes
Never spoke a word
Never got a chance
Gave up at the start
Defeated by death
white corridors hide the secrets once stored in your mind
as the only silent wittiness who saw it all
from Alfa to Omega
White marble slabs broke down
under the heavy steps of the angry ones
could not stop the pain
nothing was ever the same
Tell me who is to blame?
oh how sad it is
oh how they miss
even after all this years
fear still sleeps near
finding the sane reason in the senseless crime
is the hardest task
so we should not ask
so many words left unspoken
from the lives that were taken
falling down to feed the roses on 13 graves
but where are the 2 more who lost themselves
what happened to their souls
torments us all
Lord do you know how to mend our hearts
from all the brokenness
Please tell me you saved them all
that no one was lost in the infamous lake of fire
I’m offering you my strong embrace
to protect you, to save you from yourself
oh if only i could ….
oh if only i could stop you now ….
once and for all…
Martina Rimbaldo is a 30 year old woman who lives and works in Croatia . She always wears a pen and a notebook in her purse in the case of a sudden inspiration in order to write it down . Her work is published in Nightingale &
Sparrow, Oddball Magazine, The sage cigarette magazine, Spillwords com .Thruly you, TheStreet Light press, Six word stories, Poems, and Poezija noći websites, and her artwork is published at weekly blog of Royal Rose Magazine, her photographs are published in Bleached Butterfly and Anti heroin chic. Loves to paint abstract paintings, read religious books, watch horror as well as old movies with Audrey Hepburn, Sharon Tate, Brigitte Bardot who happens to share her birth date and (over)thinks specially about death, what some people find morbid but not her, it is a part of life too. Her goal is to be a good person.
What a special tribute this poetry is by Frogg Corpse that was written for his brother. The expression of internal struggle while handling such a great loss is truly a powerful testament of complete and genuine love.
Eulogies in Quicksand
by: Frogg Corpse
For what I’ve grown to know
Numbness towards my end
All these wars inside,
Tearing my dreaming head
Quaking rites find comfort
Second guessing in the sand,
Separate the folly,
Of what makes us meet again;
Changing words of scripture
Writing our eulogies,
Hero I need you now
More for them, than it is for me,
I am counting down the time,
For what emotion has in store
I would wish it all away
To hear your final words.
In memory of Jeremy Robertson
My brother who took his own life.
April 25, 1976 – June 22, 2020
Frogg Corpse is a poet, vocalist, and actor from Louisville Kentucky. Frogg’s poetry has been published by Artifact Nouveau, Cajun Mutt Press, Necro Magazine, and Louisville’s LEO Weekly. Frogg has performed poetry readings on the Quintessential Listening: Poetry Online Radio w/ host Dr. Michael Anthony Ingram. As well as Bar Poetry, and Easton Book Festival’s Open-Mic: Halloween Edition. He has also read his work numerous times on Poetry Super Highway w/ Rick Lupert. Frogg has performed Live at Gonzofest during 2014-2016 which is a Louisville festival that honors writer, native, and journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Frogg has also been a contestant in 2020 for a Poetry Slam hosted by spoken word artist Suli Breaks.
Abiodun Peter Ekundayo fills our day with serene poetry. Take some time to read his beautiful work below:
Letter to a Traveller
I remembered scaling the fence of your house just to see you bathe with the pail on your head.
Through the walls of your house have I called
You to play with the stones on your roof as my emissary,
Whistling with the calls of your name behind my damp palms, and the shy knock on your door, requesting to see you.
Do you remember?
I came again tonight,
Under the rolling eye of the sky
Like a stagnant water set free,
To play under the rain like we do always.
I walked through the passage that boils like the brain of a lunatic,
Only to see it
Flowing like the blood of a new-born.
I whispered again tonight,
Through the knob of your door
With my flip-flop orchestrating my gait.
I called Papa ,
He told me you went on a journey,
To a place far away from home, through the Seven Junctures.
I asked Mama ,
She said you’ve danced well to the tune of the Sacred soil and you’ve been invited for a festival that might last forever.
I asked Bingo ,
He barked and looked at the sky, I looked too .
I saw the moon in its half, sailing on the sea of fluffy clouds and,
The Stars , charging the chagrin along with the tempest of clouds .
I searched your room, perhaps, you dropped a letter to tell your destination.
I rummaged,to get
nothing but the silence of a labyrinth
Spiced with seductive lime that garnished my eyes. You left without telling me.
Dear friend, come back soon ,
To tell me the stories of the Seven Junctures
And the festival of your ancestors.
Abiodun Peter EKUNDAYO is an undergraduate student of the Federal University Oye Ekiti. A poet and an award winning essayist who was born and raised in Lagos. An indigene of Ogun State, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area. He loves fantasising and musing the moon ; he could also fit in for an actor. He plays football with passion and enjoys company of his friends likewise tranquility and music.