Poetry for Quarantine
by John Patrick Robbins
Nothing Changes But The Weather
Most the world was in a self imposed quarantine, and here I was hooking up with a semi stranger in the backseat of a car.
A life lived dangerously had been my mantra so just because the apocalypse was near why stop the party now?
She was a second date and beat nothing at all.
I was a drunk and not in the least bit picky.
She took the ride and I watched the traffic from the view of the parking lot and thought up this little ditty I'm sharing now.
You know it's memorable, when you're penning poems in your head with your pen in someone else's ink.
She was a second date and I just another empty soul to share space and grind against for the lack of anything better to do.
Never polish off the edges, leave them hidden in poorly penned poems for everyone to read.
I never high five myself for it's far from an achievement.
We all need something and I wasn't under the delusion they ever needed me.
We had our moment and went our separate ways.
I ended up with a poem and she simply got a goodbye.
Nothing changes but the weather.
by Brian Rihlmann
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
because of vestigial tooth and claw
the raised hackles and the roar
the avarice, the acquisitiveness
that served us well
through thousands of forgotten years
millions of atrocities
swept under the proverbial rug
this world will not conform
to our foolish images
there’s a mountain of dirt under there
bulging the stitches
of our carefully woven mandala--
how the roots of trees
shatter concrete beautifully
as drunken spiderwebs
and we, scampering
with darning needles
trowels in hand
by Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Half in the Bag
A single brass antique candle holder,
the top protruding out of a passing floral patterned
purse that rushes by in a hurry,
she must be late the same way pregnancy scares
are late, rushing around in flushed chubby panic
like that; with the bottom part of her new
brass candleholder half in the bag
slung over boney shoulder…
I can only see the top,
the various arms in need of dusting;
not quite Menorah or octopus,
but enough arms to do the job
which is all any of us can really ask for
on this living breathing Earth.
Author, Lane Mochow
by Julie Carpenter
If you go to Lane’s Author page, the review of this book is deceptively simple. It begins with a few lines of poetry from this sharp, sweet, and far too short book.
In the Cemetery
In the cemetery, I was standing on my knees,
reading verses of the holy book to the tombs
I was praying with tears on my cheeks
until the graveyard stopped me and asked me if
I was reading verses or reading sorrows
with an emotionless face, he asked to repeat
I started reading again and, his face was getting
red as his eyes were dropping my unrhymed tears
he stopped me with anger and screamed out
why more grieves, why more death, and less peace
I responded to him, why did hope sold us to traitors
why life is struggling with us, why did the wars rape us shamelessly
we cried together as he was saying that he’s listening to
spirits weeping with us, as the clouds will rain again
he asked me again, why our world is no longer bright
instead, it’s full of darkness and lots of bloody cuts
our grandparents were the farmers, who lift the sunshine
and brunt themselves to death, just to protect the seeds
our mothers stole the moon from the wall of the night
they hid in their coffins and the stars after our fathers
turned the rainbow into a solider in the zone of death
and made the snow into a drinkable water to survive
that James Cameron
made a movie about me
that had nothing to do
with my life
I was only referenced
the special effects making me
and it was a box office failure
even with 26 explosions
in the first three
and a woman
who jumps off a building
that used to be her
in an alternate
Phoenix Rises Again
There’s no logic in the land of emotions where tears drop
without explanation. I am attached to my past, keep pushing
my present into it; sucking my future into my present time.
When I saw him trying to severe himself from his past, I felt the pain
of his effort in his words and at his face. A sure connect, I lived
that pain and then it happened. Emotions swept my feet
clean from under me as I observed them flow silently, fiercely. They came
and I embarrassed myself in public, after a long time.
But men don’t cry!
I knew they’d come, those tears, just a second before they came
There was a chain of reactions that drew drops out and logged them
on the lenses. They’d leave their outline on drying, so I wiped
the lenses clean while the liquid and the emotions that sent
it there were fresh and alive.
From premonition to the actual wiping live emotions.
What stays behind is the guilt of letting the secret out; the
fear that someone would ask about it.
For men don’t cry.
It’s only thrice, or four times in his adult life that a man cries.
How many times can a phoenix die, and rise from the ashes?
by Lane Mochow
When I met the Jesus
He took my hand, kissed it.
He told me He was Jesus
Born with black skin.
He didn't tell me to follow Him,
To fall before his feet, to kneel low.
He told me my name
Meant "Heaven on Earth".
He didn't tell me I was hell bound,
Destined for smokey flames and torment.
He told me my nose hairs
Helped me smell the supernatural.
He told me I would be His
Sixteenth consort and bear His first child.
He told me He never truly died,
Just fell into an unconscious dreamscape.
by Julie Carpenter
Camping with Barbie and Ken
The following story is based on actual events
He must have trembled from his vantage point in the shoe box under the bed
When he saw them packing the plastic motor home with sleeping bags made from old washcloths and toilet paper.
Maybe the first time he thought it would be fun.
He probably didn’t understand when three of the Barbies were plucked out of the box before the trip by the small hands.
Nurse, Doctor, Reporter said the owners of the small hands.
He must have been puzzled but maybe not afraid.
The manipulations of the small hands were the substance of his life.
But after that time?
The motor home surely smelled like fear.
He was never chosen as Nurse, Doctor, Reporter – he drove.
Skipper was always a passenger too – always.
Sometimes Midge and Theresa went, sometimes they stayed.
Sometimes along with Ballerina Barbie they were chosen to be Nurse, Doctor, Reporter.
Cut up Malibu Barbie was always a passenger as well.
She had no expectations – maybe the fear had dried up in her.
Her breasts and hair had been hacked away in the hopes of making her a boy.
She would die. She always did.
The small hands were sometimes kind to Skipper.
Some days she lived. Some she died.
Ken never died. No he was never allowed the peace of death.
Unlike the Barbie who had been buried and forgotten, he was forced to carry on.
Every time he was the witness.
Sometimes after the small hands had plunged the motor home off the side of the ditch,
He found himself crawling with a broken leg trying to drag Skipper to safety
He’d given up on cut up Barbie – she was always dead.
Sometimes the small hands pushed the camper down the steep hill
Bouncing, careening towards the inevitable stump or tree
Ken’s hands were never on the wheel
Reporter Barbie showed up to take pictures
And Ken watched her dispassionately taking notes
She was glad to be on the sidelines this time – no room for compassion.
Then to the hospital – cut up Barbie always DOA
Covered with a horrifying tomato blood
If the small hands could steal it.
The others were in various stages of death, twisted up.
Once Midge was decapitated.
Ken crawled out to find her head staring at him, next to one lime green shoe.
Back in the dark box there was nothing to do
But wait to pay again for sins he’d never committed
The small hands would come again tomorrow.
1. Serving Wisdom
Tha wants to hear
'ow tha nannan saved tarn
al tell thee.
a were nowt but
a serving oik
to big bosses
on r tarn.
serving 'em sup a were
an they were in
a reet tacking
seein as son lads
from another tarn
as said 'Thas best
do as we ask else
we'll beat thee
black and blue.
Know what am saying?'
"We want tha lasses,
wives and girlfriends
fort neet or maybe
In a reet to do.
Well as bein a serving oik
a 'ad an idea.
So a pipes up
"al sort it for thee."
an they continued
wi their yammer.
" a said, al sort it.
an their still yammer,
yammer. a slams full
pint pot dahn so's it
splashes all o'er
"Lunk'eads! A said
al sort for thee!"
Well, they eyes me
up and dahn like a were
summat art a tarn.
A were a bit on a looker
then, tits pointy, reet curve
on ma hips and dash
a blonde hair.
Then been so engrossed
they'd not noticed us.
"Well!", chief boss says.
A outlines plan
to 'em while they're
eyeing up me goods,
int plan a volunteered
a stack o' me female
mates to join us.
An it were on.
2. Second Best Dress
Bosses telled their wives
an girlfriends o' plan,
an telled 'em to keep stum.
Some o'them lasses
as doubted us lot
lower dahn pecking order
could do job reet. Snobby
bitches. They says
"We'll tek 'em in an
teach 'em how to play part."
A told our stack o' lasses
an they were game. So
all on us volunteers
turns up at posh lasses
doors and got a reet
"Tha dunt want too much,
else tha'll stink like a whore."
she dabs rose petal scent on us,
rouge's me cheeks,
chooses second best
linen for us "Dunt want you
showing us up."
an a were saving her.
Other lasses had been tret
same, but now all on us
were off to meet
wi enemy artside tarn.
a gev lasses advice.
to get, first. Thas posh,
remember. Up to them
to woo thee."
When us turns up
they've laid on a reet spread
for us, hot meat and fresh fish platters,
rice, pasta and sweet wine.
bearded enemy is all in a line up
to the tables. "Are you their
wives and girlfriends?", one
o' them asks.
A walk along line o' men.
Stop. Pull a lads goatee
ma tits an say " No, we're
shit under thee booit. Av
got some goats milk
'ere that wants suppin'."
an ma tits in his marth.
One o' other lasses,
reveals a thigh an says,
"ma fig wants chewin' on."
Yet another pouts her lips,
"a need a tongue to tek,
ma nectar" an snogs
one o' the enemy.
soon all are coupled up,
an suppin' place dry
an ma lasses are play
fightin' wi enemies weapons
an hidin' them away
lad on ma breast as his hands
all o'er, a gently prise him off,
"Time, yet, lover, time."
an sneak artside
an climb a wild fig tree,
an raise a torch
art on folds a ma dress
leet it so's bosses can see.
an bosses come dahn
on enemy fistin', cuttin'
av blood splattered o'er
her second best dress,
ma rouge is redder.
beat 'em soundly we did,
atter wi were gin r freedom
fort savin' tarn.
an that's why we're 'ere
under wild fig tree,
suppin' goats milk
an lasses play fightin
Paul Brookes was shop assistant, security guard, postman, admin. assistant, lecturer, poetry performer, with "Rats for Love" and his work included in "Rats for Love: The Book", Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was "The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley", Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Recently published in Clear Poetry, The Bees Are Dead, Live Nude Poems and others.