Online Open Mic – July

With the COVID-19 situation, our Open Mic Night meetings were temporarily derailed. However, we kept our poetry community engaged through Online Open Mic venue.

We had such a wonderful response, we’ve decided to keep the Online Open Mic poems online and available for viewing. So if you missed any, you can re-visit the poems that were submitted during the Summer of 2020.

We hope you enjoy our poets and their thoughts in these trying times…

Return to Online Open Mic

Elaine Smith

It’s six in the evening. I’ve brushed
my teeth and taken the bath
I’ve been thinking about for three days
put off vacuuming again or sorting
and straightening papers and books

When Simon says “they” have run
into supply line limits for making vials,
a demanding and time consuming process,
vials which must be glass for viable storage
of vaccine, “the vaccine” being
of course, the Corona virus vaccine

But there are so many of us now
so many that need the vaccine
that the timely delivery of the earth’s store
of sand for making glass
now becomes a significant, perhaps fatal,
snag in our mission to save us all

The all, that is, the too many we are
now pushing other species to extinction
whether bats or coral or pangolins or grass
with plastic and concrete and asphalt

The too many of us now being
why we are in this botch together
unable to curtail
our species production or reproduction
even to survive on earth
our only and last home.

alison nolz
     covid considerations

shopping during a pandemic
which would you choose
bags of flour
or bottles of booze

step! step! step! repeat 10,000 times
exercise is the key
cozy couch, plush pj’s, simple snacks
tv all day for me

mask, sanitizer, wipes
all within ready reach
stupid! nonsense! don’t complain
just drink the darn bleach

flowers still bloom, a child smiles
bright sunshine, a bird sings
contrasting with the turmoil
this grim pandemic brings

economic, social, medical
how will it really ever end though
when people feel safe again
where will all this plexiglass go

David Fonfara

     July 2020

I have nothing to offer but my words.
Words matter.

I have nothing to offer but the truth,
the truth as seen through my eyes.

I have nothing to offer but courage,
the courage of my conviction.

I have nothing to offer but my integrity,
the integrity to stand firm in the face suppressive censorship.

In this time of peril,
In these hours of desperation,
I offer these humble words.

Shame to all of those who defile the hallowed ground,
the ground that is the birthplace of democracy.

There are those among us who are self-anointed censors:
they who silence any voice but their own,
they who chastise any thought but their own,
they who darken the bright light of creativity,
they who distort history for their own venal purpose,
they who scarify the truth for the aggrandizement of their own conformity culture,
they who vilify those among us not unto their own image,
they who desecrate art, ban words, smash monuments -the book burners – the anarchists among us.

Beware of the mutant swarm,
they who unleash a tempest of tumultuous turmoil,
they who spread a viral contagion of hatefulness,
they who hollow the vibrant ring of the liberty bell,
they who under the guise of protest, create lawless anarchy.

Let freedom ring loud and clear.
Let voices of reason be heard.
Howl the sacred words – life, liberty, freedom, justice.
These are the truths we live for.
These are the truths we die for.
Shout out these words from every roof top – from across the digital divide.
Words matter.

Peggy Johnson

Leon Petty
     Boiled World

The Fathers and the Freedoms are tossed onto the fires
as the schemes of greedy minions boil the land
The muddled frays of faithful run a race behind the shallow
as I realize the ugliness of man

What a vain stream of reality this is
What comedy, if only I had known
Had I humbled myself, would it have meant more
than the cold occluded silence of a stone

I ride my whirling Cadillac, contrite
holding tight onto my wages and my sins
I wax ever ugly in God’s soul and sight
But to guide us both a beast’s heart beats within

What a horrid little world our gods have left
with the sainted and the saviors packed and gone
Gift of love and gift of wisdom, still bereft
Miffed and starving stupid soldiers raze the dawn

Dotty Armstrong
     Two Worlds

My first world is a small
one-horse town
drama behind closed doors.
If it was a poker game
cards would be held
close to the chest.
Cowboys wearing masks?
too much to ask
keeping social distance?
even more ridiculous.

The TV and the computer
open up the big world.
Dr.Fauci from the big city
steeped in knowledge
and experience tries to tell
our future with the virus.
Stay home, keep social distance
wear masks. The Prez tries
to shut him up, but
can’t quite.

My small world
produces inconveniences,
no pedicure, no haircut
postponed routine doctor visits,
grocery delivery, no shopping
but the big world is alarming,
blossoming with virus,
no room for the bodies
not enough masks
whole countries being swallowed
including ours.

Our TV connects us to the big world
by the thinnest thread but flays
our hearts. We watch videos
of police beating life
out of those with darker skins
because they can.
We are too old to march
through the plague
where the virus might
have its way with us.
We are restless
in our whiteness.
There was a time when
we would not miss a march.
Now the young
must march
for us.

Claire Carpenter
     The Good Ship Solitaire Sails Pandemic Seas

We are a life boat in these pandemic seas
provisioned with jigsaw puzzles
and garden vegetables.
More luxury cruise than overcrowded refugee boat,
we aren’t (yet) fighting over the last rock-hard biscuits
or scrabbling for the driest spots as our little vessel takes on water.
Though sometimes adolescent tempers,
frayed by months of isolation,
can erupt with such intensity
you could imagine they are arguing over
who drank the last drops from a nearly empty canteen
after weeks adrift.
Mostly, though, this journey is oddly pleasant.
I have hand-picked the crew
and there is no shortage of fresh-baked or home-grown provisions.
A fresh breeze fills the sails
and though the lookout perched atop the rigging
declares no land in sight,
we are making 20 knots to somewhere.

Constance Schultz
     harvest near the wheat

inviting reaping finished, sweeping
bulging skins flattered branches
apples falling cherries flying
flaying failing to stay small
to stay on the tree to only
accept a small section of space
near the leaves & dried
fields under the hilled

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