It is it 

Sorted by: Theme: Poetry

Written Story by Tom

It is it 

I had Covid twice

I was more dead than alive

pale gasp walk to grocery

cooties consuming me

life fading lungs

I dreamt of stairwells

It’s done, the grandmas are in graves

masks in storage, we move on

no

its to remember and be kept

hurt stories and names

I love you all, kneel and cry

in a field of tranquil flower

my cup of mourning is full

among the rest

on this bus ride

I don’t want to be alone

sit next to me

and we will hold behind masks

I come home from work at a convalescent home

people die constantly

stand here and hold a hand

as it grows cold

watch the beeps diminish

again, cease breath and slide

its not time yet to cry

we have to go on weaving

we held death and shoved on

a mourner, with frown and bouquet

look at us on the bus

a forest away with lilac of death among

we should come to each other

sit with, tell your grasp of the raft

 

a vanishing point

I went among prairies

to mourn better,

bring cloth for graves

on hard roads

I went away with seekers

slept rough and fought truth

where I wanted to walk was all water

when I wanted talk, a bus bench

so I willow in vanish sorrow

among hay feather glass birds

you died in Covid

and we leave that to here

arms draw inward

geese weave reeds

honk and make silly the morose

hands sift loss among moon wool

inward we mourn

as lamps close

Written Story by Sierra

Archived

This is what it feels to be archived.
Tucked away in the dusty basement
in a filing system few remember
existing out of circulation

This is what it feels to be archived.
I haven’t caught the plague
it hasn’t killed me yet
but for now, I am a faded artifact
they want out of sight

This is what it feels to be archived.
To those with their heads in the ground
I am a emblem of their ignorance
a keepsake of their wrongdoings
a time capsule of their broken promises

This is what it feels to be archived.
And yet,
I will not let them ignore me.

Written Story by Sage-Curry

We have been learning to be strong little one

As the wind and rain have found no pattern against the windowpane It has been me and you

Together

Who listen to the howl of humanity’s suffering outside our window. When you first smiled

My own disappeared willingingly behind a mask

Your first words

Were for me only

As we are alone now

But they are all the more precious

As a word in joy has the weight of a precious metal in this time. In the endless darkness you nurse

Pulling life from my body into yours

What kind of world have I brought you into?

My tears tremble silently down

Upon your round perfect cheek

A beach, a ride in a grocery cart

The library, a grandma

Everything I took for granted

Before your birth

Of those things at least I could offer you

I thought.

I knew nothing of the storm that would come so soon after you were born And through the sleepless nights of your new life

I found dread knotted into my new existence as your mother. All I knew was that

I must protect the tiny pulsing light of your spirit

And I will

I promise you sweet innocent

My greatest love

Our ancestors.

Whoever and wherever they found themselves

Survived the cold, the pain, the loss

To bring me and then you to this place

Our storm will end

Someday

And when that time comes

I will take you by the hand

And show you how beautiful the world outside our window is.

Written Story by Anonymous

Course Schedule

Spring 2020 – French 340: Oral Skills

An advanced study in moving mouths around unfamiliar vowels

We watch the professors tongue hit his teeth, not like that mais comme ça

Sent home to distinguish pronunciations through delayed Zoom connections

Updating our vocabulary; contagieux, unprecedented, pandémie

Even en français these words can’t be romanticized

There is no skill in communicating the worry of unknowns

Only empathy and patience as time strides by and stays put

Why do we entertain the fanfare of academia in times like these

The only test I can bear to take is being withheld by our government

What do grade point averages mean to ghosts

Summer 2020 – Arts 310: Living with Dying; Analyzing HBO’s Six Feet Under

Syllabus finalized in early spring, seats filled before the hospital beds did

Somber introductions and acknowledgement of newly found relevance

Binge watching episodes between planning memorials

I’ve been waiting 15 years to stop whispering about death

But even now as we yell, they don’t listen

My final project is a business plan; implementing grief education in schools

There is beauty in creating the structures we wish we’d had

And anger in knowing our pain doesn’t necessitate change

I am no stranger to death

I know there are much worse things to face

Fall 2020 – French 400: Linguistics

Apocalypse, from the Greek apokalyptein, “to uncover”

Etymology turning despair to opportunity

The clarity of interconnectedness cannot be unseen

How can our words keep up with circumstance

Do we dare attempt to articulate our fragmented realities?

I study language to collect descriptors,

Work in health because care transcends translation.

Indefinitely distanced, I seek connection through expression

Covid dismantled my lexicon and sense of community

I rebuild them both

Written Story by I.G. Frederick

Karma

I hate racists, white supremacists, fascists, Nazis, sexual assaulters, abusers, cheaters, misogynists, pedophiles, immigrant haters, homohaters, transhaters, liars, malignant narcissists, fear mongers, and despots and cheer when any of those suffer from Covid.

Karma

I smile at the suffering 

of those who denied, who had 

power and took no action.

 

Who ignored science/data, 

put their own egos above 

others’ lives and well being.

 

I giggle on behalf of 

every store clerk abused 

enforcing mask policies.

 

I laugh for the hundreds of 

thousands who’ve suffered and died, 

those enduring life-long pain.

 

I cackle with glee for the 

millions who lost family

deprived of one final hug.

 

Karma can be a righteous, 

beautiful bitch even if

you do not believe in her.

Written Story by F.I. Goldhaber

Eugenics

First published in The Trick Is To Keep Breathing and What Color is Your Privilege?
September, 2022 

She said the quiet part out loud,
people “unwell to begin with”
don’t deserve to live. Just like the
poor, the Black, the Indigenous,
the immigrants, the Queers, the Trans.

Because once they figured out most
victims were marginalized, had
comorbidities, were “others”,
the fight to eliminate the
virus succumbed to the battle
to save the economy god.
in the name of the Profit you
must sacrifice the grandparents,
disabled veterans, nannys’
children, baristas’ mothers, clerks
at the corner stores, restaurant
servers, health care workers, drivers
bringing groceries, carry out.

The U.S. already makes clear
who is not wanted, including
those with disabilities, pre-
existing conditions, other
gods, languages, and cultural
traditions. No skin tones kissed with
melanin or “natural” hair.

Disposable collateral,
oblations necessary to
avoid missing brunch, a concert,
a chance to go out dancing or
cheer for the home team at a pub.
Millions already dead, millions
more permanently disabled to
ensure the privileged’s comfort,
the corporations’ bottom lines,
billionaires’ stock portfolios.

As we tumble into Nazi
sovereignty it’s worth reminding
those gambling with their own health and
risking the lives of others, that
among the first slaughtered in the
German Holocaust were those who’re
disabled by the “Spanish” flu.

 

Written Story by F.I. Goldhaber

Normal Life 

First Published, August 2020, in CHAOS: The Poetry Vortex

You have a nice home to shelter in,
food to eat, shows to stream, games to play.

You don’t live with an abuser or
parents who misgender you; insist
your orientation is sinful.

Yet you complain you’re deprived of your
social life, restaurants, bars, park visits.

You don’t need to risk your life and your
loved ones for minimum wage
without protection, sick leave, health care.

You’ve enough to pay your bills; credit
cards to order online; connected
devices allowing well-paid work.

But you miss the ball games, parties,
band performances, church services.

You don’t shiver in the cold, snow, and
rain under a tent if you’re lucky,
or just a cardboard box, or blanket.

If your throat is sore, your head feels hot,
you can telephone your physician.

You don’t have to stand in line for a
clinic that sends you home when they run
out of test kits. Or just keep working.

You know what the virus looks like,
how to prevent exposure and illness.

You don’t toil next to those who could be
infected with no information
how, or supplies, to protect yourself.

You fret about event and concert
cancellations, missed graduations.

You don’t worry about untreated
broken bones; forced sex without access
to birth control; deadly pregnancy.

The only people desperate for
life to return to normal are those
privileged to enjoy “normal” life.

 

Written Story by F.I. Goldhaber

Alone, Now and Forever 

More than twelve hundred days — but who’s counting —

trapped in my home (still, at least I have one) 

by privileged selfishness, corporate  

greed, government neglect. I dare not roam 

amongst the infected who will cough in  

faces and spit at those whose masks remind 

them that they place a higher value on  

entertainment and paltry pleasures than  

on the lives of me and others who are  

immunocompromised, disabled, old, 

poor. They never tested vaccines on us.  

No matter, the jabs stop working after  

two to six months. Or when new variants 

mutate from oligarchic policies  

creating cauldrons perfect for brewing  

more lethal forms of SARS and other types 

of respiratory infections, as 

well as poxes, fungi, bacteria 

that’s resistant to antibiotics. 

Four shots from three different companies

but I still can’t risk exposure. Not a  

matter of if. Just how long until death  

comes, how painful the organ destruction, 

traumatic the stroke, devastating the 

brain fog, debilitating the fatigue. 

The media speak in past tense of a 

virus that still kills hundreds every  

day and disables thousands by the week. 

Forty months since I ate at restaurants.  

Or went to the senior center where I  

once took fitness classes, used weight machines.

To the barber for a competent cut. 

Since I spent an evening with friends or  

attended concerts, plays, or poetry 

readings; Pride and other festivities. 

I even stopped pushing events on my  

calendar off until next year when there  

might be less peril. Because safer will 

never come for me I just delete them.

 

Written Story by Daniela Ortiz Mendez

We met at Amelia’s

Saludos, mi nombre es Daniela Ortiz Mendez, 

and I want to share a poem, a story, a memory with you. 

This all took place in my head, in her head, in our countries, and across a border. It was May 2021. 

We met at Amelia’s 

And we sat down for tacos and coffee 

It pained me to see her so sad, but I knew it was nothing compared to her loss. She told me she hadn’t taken a break 

“The business isn’t going to run itself” 

I hate how legalities can stifle grief 

She gave me a golden box, her most prized possession 

It was heavy, 

the weight of responsibility, 

of sadness, 

of wanting to desperately do more 

I’m so sorry I couldn’t. 

This gold urn with ashes of loved ones was the cost of our healthcare system 

I traversed airport lines and land borders, carrying this urn on my back; I arrived in Tijuana, next to the kiosko with bright crepe paper hanging from the wrought iron This plaza that had once been my childhood stomping grounds 

Now I stood there, 

So much anger and guilt, my insides felt wrought too 

This American Dream turned to systemic letdown, 

I’m sorry this country didn’t do more. 

The feeling of having to hand over the loved one of a loved one, 

Because they can’t leave 

Because lack of business benefits 

Because legal status 

BECAUSE OUR COUNTRY DOESN’T CARE ENOUGH 

He flew from a different state to retrieve his father 

And as I handed him to his son, 

Transference of weight, 

We shared a moment that I hope in the future will not exist,

Where loved ones can cross country lines to be with each other in life, “en vida”, without borders and visas holding them back instead of carrying their ashes on our backs, Where our healthcare system gives quality treatment to all of their patients, even those of us who can’t advocate in English, 

Where we don’t have to be crying at a fucking Amelia’s because we lost someone. 

More pandemics will come 

And I hope we can learn, change 

Because saline sadness don’t belong on café y tacos 

And we are tired of tallying up lives, 

of bringing home people who should have had more years, 

More breathing, 

laughing, 

crying, 

and loving in the arms of their amor

Written Story by CJ Smith

Covid

Outside of my windows live trees 

They continue as 

Seasons march on with vibrancy of autumn 

Bare branches scratch at a wintry gray sky 

Then comes citrine buds and pop they open 

Inside leaves stretch and open wide 

I think of my bedroom as a child-wished treehouse 

Yet along comes a virus, virulent and dread 

It can’t stop the trees outside my window 

It can’t stop the seasons from changing 

Still its morbid threat stops me 

Stops me from walking freely out into the seasons 

The seasons go on and my trees go on 

But immune suppressed I do not 

My room provides me with safety 

Will keep me safe until people start to see 

Covid needs to stop 

Its grasping arms outstretched 

Needs to not limit me anymore