Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Poetry Diary: "Laughing" in the Face of Adversity

After hearing the WHO announcement ("Covid-19 outbreak is a pandemic"), I started writing my Coronavirus Poetry Diary: "Laughing" in the Face of Adversity.

If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day.  -- Jim Valvano
First Entry

coronavirus alert
this urge to touch the face
of  my shadow

Second Entry

rush-hour panic
at the subway station
Chinese Canadians
dressed in hazmat suits
chanting stop the spread of racism

Third Entry: written in response to the anti-racist message (" I am not a virus, I am a human being") conveyed in a viral youtube video posted by Massimiliano Martigli Jiang

Bridge of Sighs
Chinese boy and Italian girl

Fourth Entry for my favorite Italian novelist, Italo Calvino, author of If on a winter's night a traveler

the world smaller
but more distant and colder ...
my gondola glides
through the Grand Canal
in a virus-free dream

Fifth Entry

It is what it is 

"When you believe in God, he will not give you more than you can handle; when infected with doubt during a time of crisis, you should respond by seeking the right answer to your question," the pastor said in a firm, yet affectionate tone as he accompanied me to the parking lot. In the corner of my mind, God's words lingered, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

The following day, in the shadow of this one-hundred-year-old church, I pause to wonder, “Am I as strong in the eyes of God and his mighty power as a true believer?" The path to the church entrance seems long ... and narrow. The pastor starts preaching at this much-anticipated Sunday Service.

social distancing
spiritual nearing ...
sitting alone
on a long wooden bench
further away from myself

NeverEnding Story,  March 11, 2020

Sixth Entry

shelves wiped clean 
of hand sanitizers --
I have a footshake
with my new neighbor
behind his mask  

NeverEnding Story,  March 11, 2020
Seventh Entry

Reality Show Host

just like the flu ...
all eyes on the last pack
of toilet paper

social distancing ...
further and further away
from the President

Relax, it all will pass ...
this infectious silence
of the American Dream Mall 

we're doing great ...
in my virus-free dream
the White House locked down

NeverEnding Story, March 16, 2020

Note: American Dream is a retail and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States, that has over 450 stores and 33ooo parking spaces.

Eighth Entry

Chinese virus ... 
darkness descends on the White House
raven by raven

PoemHunter, March 19 2020

Ninth Entry for Rick Grimes who cries out in a storm, "Rest in peace. Now get up. and go to war," The Walking Dead, Season 5.

Chinese virus ...
in my infectious dream
the White House
toppled by the army
of the walking dead

PoemHunter, March 20 2020

Tenth Entry (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada)

nursing home silhouette
I air high-five my old friend
at the window

PoemHunter, March 21 2020

Eleventh Entry (Bergamo,  Lombardy, Italy):

the cathedral
silhouetted against gray sky
an old man
reads through ten full pages
of obituaries

Twelfth Entry (Siena, Central Italy):

floods empty alleys ...
one Italian
singing to another
on Juliet balconies

Thirteenth Entry

shades of gray
seen from my attic window
shelter in place

PoemHunter, March 25 2020 

Fourteenth Entry:written in response to "No Canadian" Trending on Twitter

CovidiotInChief: plan to send troops along the US— ——— —— .... Canada border 
Fifteenth Entry, A profile of Covidiots with guns

100 more
coronavirus deaths --

the lineup curls
around the parking lot
of a gun megastore

Sixteenth Entry,written in response to this alarming newAsian-Americans are rushing to buy guns as they observe an increased number of Asians being targeted by coronavirus-related attacks

Chinese virus ...
long wait at the iron door
of a gun store
an Asian-looking man sighs,
I just want some peace of mind

PoemHunter, March 31 2020

Seventeenth Entry, April Fools' Day, written in response to the March 29 tweet, "President Trump is a ratings hit." posted by CovidiotInChief, Donald Trump

We're doing great ...
goose-stepping Covidiots
OutTrump one another 

PoemHunter, April 1 2020

Eighteenth Entry, written in response to Pandemic could lead to home-cooking revival

April Fools' Day

the news host
almost yells, flattening the curve ...
head down, I look
at my pot belly
and take one bite of cake

for another two weeks...
grocery run
for a brand new copy
of Home Cooking for Dummies

NeverEnding Story, April 1 2020

the White House
encircled by the Great Wall
of N95 masks --
the face of a tired nurse staring
into the camera ... at Death

Twentieth Entry

refrigerated trucks
outside a hospital
an old man
under the shadowy gaze
of the Empire State Building

PoemHunter, April 6 2020

Twenty-First Entry

balcony workout
a side-glance at the bruises
on my neighbor's neck 

PoemHunter, April 8 2020

Twenty-Second Entry, written on the 100th day of the first Covid19 case reported to the WHO

after ten years of trying...
the distance
between my wife and me
shrinks to the space between laptops

Twenty-Third Entry, on Wuhan, China’s coronavirus epicentre, ending 76-day lockdown

A "Good Old" Day

touch of sunshine
a mother and her kids stroll
down a Wuhan street

Tsingtao beer gone flat
rainbow flowers blooming
in the sky

PoemHunter, April 9 2020 

Note: "Tsingtao Brewery Co. Ltd. is China's second largest brewery, with about 15% of domestic market share. It was founded in 1903 by German settlers in Qingdao, Shandong province... The Tsingtao brand is sold in 62 countries and regions around the world, and accounts for more than 50% of China's beer exports."

Twenty-Fourth Entry

Good Friday night
punctuated by sirens --
in my dream
a man on the road to Damascus 
wears the crown of thorns

Twenty-Fifth Entry, written for this Easter long weekend

staycation for the nation
I whisper to my dog 
... and myself

PoemHunter, April 11 2020

Twenty-Sixth Entry, written on Holy and Great Saturday

morning chill
the sound of an empty
St. Peter's Square

Twenty-Seventh Entry, Easter Sunday Service

through stained glass windows ...
will worry about itself
echoing in an empty church

Twenty-Eighth Entry, Easter Monday

the priest recites
Therefore do not worry
about tomorrow...
photos of the congregation
attached to wooden benches

Twenty-Ninth Entry

drive-thru confession
Father I have sinned ...
sinned against myself

PoemHunter, April 13 2020

Thirtieth Entry

wisps of snow
my old dog and I
six feet apart

PoemHunter, April 16 2020

crisis fundraising:
in the breezy sunshine
step by step
a WWII vet walking
100 laps of his garden

NeverEnding Story, April 16 2020

Thirty-Second Entry, a sequel to the thirty-first entry, written for Captain Tom Moore who raises £15m for NHS as he completes garden walk

garden walk done
a WWII vet trudges past
rows of honor guards

Thirty-Third Entrywritten in response to CBC News: Trump tweets support for 'responsible' protesters

protesters choke the streets
with their cars 
blocking ambulances 
from reaching the hospital

PoemHunter, April 18 2020

Note: This tanka could be read as a sequel to the seventeenth entry, April Fools' Day, written in response to the March 29 tweet, "President Trump is a ratings hit." posted by CovidiotInChief, Donald Trump

We're doing great ...
goose-stepping Covidiots
OutTrump one another 

PoemHunter, April 1 2020

Thirty-Fourth Entrya sequel to the thirty-third entry

Opening Up America Again
the size of this billboard
seen from my attic window

PoemHunter, April 21 2020

Thirty-Fifth Entrywritten for health care workers and Leonard Cohen

in breezy moonlight
Montrealers on balconies
burst into song:
Come over to the window
my little darling

Thirty-Sixth Entry

just still-time spent
with this attic...
I murmur to myself
and empty streets below

Thirty-Seventh Entry, a sequel to the thirty-sixth entry:

for weeks in an attic
of shadows ...
I open the window
to birdsong and my heart

PoemHunter, April 25 2020

Thirty-Eighth EntryCoronavirus Poetry Diary, written in response to CTV News on April 24: A National Disgrace: 1475 deaths in long-term care homes and nursing homes are made up of 67% of the total number of coronavirus deaths in Canada

strong wind warning
four more body bags wheeled out
of a nursing home

PoemHunter, April 26 2020 

Note: This haiku is a sequel to the tenth entry: 

nursing home silhouette 
I air high-five my old friend
at the window

PoemHunter, March 21 2020

Thirty-Ninth Entry, a sequel to the thirty-eighth entry

an old woman
in the rain-streaked window --
new death toll

French Translation by Serge Tome

une vieille femme
dans la fenêtre balayée par la pluie --
nouveau décompte des morts

PoemHunter, April 26 2020

Fortieth Entry, written in response to Pawning During A Pandemic

lockdown lifted ...
a lineup stretches
10 blocks
from EZ Pawn
in the morning chill

Note: This tanka is a sequel to the 33rd entry:

protesters choke the streets
with their cars 
blocking ambulances 
from reaching the hospital

Forty-First Entry

death toll rising
in California sunshine
thousands flock to beaches

Forty-Second  Entry, written for Bill Withers

balcony concert
my dog and I sing along
to LeanOnMe

PoemHunter, April 29 2020

Forty-Third Entry, written on the day of  the US hitting one million confirmed cases and for Dr. Lorna M. Breen, medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, who committed suicide last Sunday

onslaught of patients
wheeled into the ER
in the fray
She tried to do her job
and it killed her...

Forty-Fourth Entry

a tired nurse
opens the bedside window
my friend's voice
flows in with the night breeze
as his mother's eyes close 

Note: This tanka is a sequel to the thirty-ninth entry

an old woman
in the rain-streaked window --
new death toll

Forty-Fifth Entry

this scent
of breezy sunshine ...
Hillary Clinton
wears a black mask
with VOTE in white letters

PoemHunter, May 3 2020

FYI: I’ve got the must-have accessory for spring. I’m wearing a mask (and voting!) for my country, my community, and my grandchildren-- Hillary Clinton, The Hill, May 2

Forty-Sixth Entry

We're all in this together

kill the virus
not our business ...
the city hall
by chairs and tables

flatten the curve --
in breezy sunshine
row upon row
of half-naked bodies
on a sandy beach

end the lockdown ...
alone with my dog
for weeks
now I open the window
to taste the noise

Forty-Seventh Entry

lockdown lifted
still no handshake, no hugno kiss
fading into the dark

Forty-Eighth Entry

brown spots
in the front lawn
spring rain
tapping on the window
and my quarantined mind

Forty-Ninth Entry for Prince Edward Islanders

at the briefing
the premier yells out
FU Covid ...
the lockdown lifted
under spring sunshine

PoemHunter, May 6 2020

FYI: The P.E.I. premier, who threw his f-bomb at the invisible enemy, Covid19, three days ago, now becomes a folk hero. And these FU Covid T-shorts are the hottest commodities on this tiny island. The premier's "cheap shot" is good for business.

Fiftieth Entry

two lion statues
at a Buddhist temple
bloodily defaced
with a sledgehammer ...
gathering dark in Montreal

FYI: Sixty per cent of all Canadian deaths linked to COVID-19 have occurred in Quebec, including more than one-third in Montreal alone.

Fifty-First Entry

Divided States of America

Reopen New York
one Trump fan hugs another
tight ... and tighter

business as usual
giant Stars-and-Stripes flapping
over a salon

NeverEnding Story, May 9 2020

FYI: The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is in New York, and is particularly concentrated in the New York City region. And these is a continuing series of violations of Covid19 restrictions across the US.

Fifty-Second Entry

for Søren Kierkegaard who called his melancholy “the most faithful mistress I have known."

death toll rising...
in illness and in fear
with my drunken shadow
apart together

quarantined for weeks
with my drunken shadow
in the attic
I tanka-barricade the door
to my mistress's chamber

in dim light
my quarantined mind races
back and forth
between the old and new normal:
this world of masked faces

Fifty-Third Entry

snowflakes swirl
in the mid-May air
a bear hug 
from my eighty-year-old mom 
an ocean away

Fifty-Fourth Entry

May snowfall
in Upstate New York
two golfers
hit one ball after another
harder and farther

FYI: The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is in New York, and is particularly concentrated in the New York City region.

Fifty-Fifth Entry

three rows 
of fifth-grade students 
at their grey-haired teacher
behind a face shield

Fifty-Sixth Entry

Back to School
a boy washes his hands
over and over ...

PoemHunter, May 13 2020

Fifty-Seventh Entry

sleeping while Black
an EMT shot dead
by police

PoemHunter, May 14 2020

FYI:  Yahoo! News, May 13: Sleeping while black: Family seeks justice for Breonna Taylor, killed in her bedroom by police

Fifty-Eighth Entry

Talk the Talk

To Justin Trudeau who addressed the House of Commons on saving the elderly from coronavirus on April 11, saying, They fought for us all those years ago. And today we fight for them. We will show ourselves to be worthy of this magnificent country they built.

at the briefing
the photogenic PM's mouth
opens and closes ...
a nursing home silhouetted
against the sunset sky

forty more deaths
slides across the bottom
of the screen ...
a nurse's voice falters,
this elder genocide

NeverEnding Story, May 15 2020

FYI: The Globe and Mail April 13 report, "Outbreaks at seniors’ homes linked to almost half of COVID-19 deaths in Canada, Theresa tam says." Toronto Star May 7 report, "82% of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care, new data reveals." And for more information, see Russell Richer's National Observer May 15 opinion piece, COVID-19: Chronology of the Long-Term Care Tragedy.

Fifty-Ninth Entry

gathering dark
she touches her father's face
behind the glass door

Sixtieth Entry

stay at home 
no pot and smokes sold here...
this small Reserve
encircled by red dots
on the Covid-19 map 

FYI: APTN's National News, April 7, "Influx of non-residents chasing gas, smokes and pot putting First Nation communities at risk," and APTN's National News, May 13 (starting at 4:04).

Sixty-First Entry

punched in the face
and knocked down to the ground
a Haida man
is told to Go back to China
while walking in Vancouver

PoemHunter, May 17 2020

FYI: Haida are a nation and ethnic group native to Haida Gwaii, an archipelago located off the west coast of Canada.

Sixty-Second Entry

business as usual  :-)
in the cafe dressed-up dummies
sit beside me

PoemHunter, May 18 2020

Sixty-Third Entry

the glint
of a butcher knife
lifted high ...
Delhi street kids stare
at pork dripping

Sixty-Fourth Entry

a food bank lineup
curls around the street corner
the silence
of my friend looking at the ground
and me staring at the sky

PoemHunter, May 19 2020

Sixty-Fifth Entry, for Yo-Yo Ma, renowned and beloved Taiwanese American cellist

Songs of Comfort
echoing against this wall
of ghostly shadows ...
note by note my heart reopens
to this infected world

FYI: For more about Yo-Yo Ma's Songs of Comfort, see PBS's Arts and Culture, "Yo-Yo Ma on encouraging 'Songs of Comfort' amid global crisis."

Sixty-Sixth Entry

a street apart
in the morning chill
a mask-free Trump fan
and a masked Trump foe
air-quote each other

Sixty-Seventh Entry

locked down
in his iron castle
she counts the days
until the vaccine is ready
or he's killed by the virus

PoemHunter, May 22 2020

Sixty-Eighth Entry

new death toll ...
our heart-shaped couches
six feet apart

Sixty-Ninth Entry, written on Memorial Day

a masked old man
raises a quivering hand
to his forehead
gravestones, row on row,
stretch to the horizon

Seventieth Entry

Jesus is the Cure ...
a protester half-covered
by the Stars and Stripes

Seventy-First Entry, written on the first night out for dinner after easing lockdown

gathering darkness
around each one of us
a bottle of wine
pushes me against this glass wall
of infectious silence

Seventy-Second Entry

a hu-hundred 
th-thousand deaths ...
his husky voice
echoes in a room
of the nursing home

PoemHunter, May 29 2020

Seventy-Third Entry

Tiananmen Square
masked soldiers goose-stepping
in summerlike heat

PoemHunter, May 31 2020 

Seventy-Fourth Entry

a lamppost
silhouetted against the sunset
Rent Strike Now

PoemHunter, June 1 2020

Seventy-Fifth Entry

in scorching heat
the prime minister takes a knee
at the protest
a masked black girl yelling out
Trudeau, stand up to Trump

Note: This tanka is a sequel to the following haiku, which was written in response to Justin Trudeau's response to Donald Trump's vow to dominate the streets by calling in military

21-second silence
photogenic PM mutters
we  all  watch...

NeverEnding Story, June 3 2020

Seventy-Sixth Entry

lockdown easing
behind the chain-linked fence
rows of airplanes

PoemHunter, June 8 202

Seventy-Seventh Entry

for two more weeks
in the attic
we're all alone together:
me, my shadow and my echo

Seventy-Eighth Entry

how long
before we can ___ again?
this blank space
growing wider and higher
into a glass wall of longing

Seventy-Ninth Entry

Is to mask or not to mask your question?

A notice posted on the large window at the entrance to American Beauty Salon reads:

Dear Customers: If you FEEL (not think) that you need to wear a mask, please stay home until you FEEL that it is safe to be out in public without one. No Mask Allowed.

business as usual ...
a masked woman mutters
to herself

NeverEnding Story, June 2020 

Note: The seventy-ninth entry is a sequel to the fifty-first entry:

business as usual
giant Stars-and-Stripes flapping
over a salon

NeverEnding Story, May 9, 2020

Eightieth Entry

fallen stars ...
a tired nurse murmuring
this large number
of faceless, nameless
Covid19 deaths

Note:The eightieth entry is a sequel to the fifty-eighth entry:

Talk the Talk

To Justin Trudeau who addressed the House of Commons on saving the elderly from coronavirus on April 11, saying, They fought for us all those years ago. And today we fight for them. We will show ourselves to be worthy of this magnificent country they built.

at the briefing
the photogenic PM's mouth
opens and closes ...
a nursing home silhouetted
against the sunset sky

forty more deaths
slides across the bottom
of the screen ...
a nurse's voice falters,
this elder genocide

NeverEnding Story, May 15 2020

FYI: The Globe and Mail April 13 report, "Outbreaks at seniors’ homes linked to almost half of COVID-19 deaths in Canada, Theresa tam says." Toronto Star May 7 report, "82% of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care, new data reveals." And for more information, see Russell Richer's National Observer May 15 opinion piece, COVID-19: Chronology of the Long-Term Care Tragedy.

Eighty-First Entry

sheltered for months ...
in the slanted sunlight 
with my old beagle
and a pair of caged wrens
warbling to each other

PoemHunter, June 17 2020

Eighty-Second Entry

the rainstorm sky
in her grandmother's eyes
nursing home window

Note: The eighty-second entry is a sequel to the eightieth entry:

fallen stars ...
a tired nurse murmuring
this large number
of faceless, nameless
Covid19 deaths

Eighty-Third Entry

Quiet, all alone

on the edge of this quarantined world, 120 square feet of attic space

yet again, I try
to wipe my drunken shadow
off the wall
but can't erase this shadow
of an infected mind

Note: The eighty-third entry is a sequel to the seventy-seventh entry:

for two more weeks
in the attic
we're all alone together:
me, my shadow and my echo

PoemHunter. June 10 2020

Eighty-Fourth Entry, about the aftermath of overnight beach parties

the sun obscured
by a blackbellied cloud 
the lineup
for covid19 testing
grows longer and snakier

Note: The eighty-fourth entry is a sequel to the forty-first entry:

death toll rising
in California sunshine
thousands flock to beaches

PoemHunter, April 29 2020

Eighty-Fifth Entry

lockdown lifted ...
morning sunlight slips
through a crack
in the blinds between me
and the world of masked faces

PoemHunter, June 27 2020

Eighty-Sixth Entry

10M mark
the President barefaced
in a campaign crowd

PoemHunter, June 29 2020

Eighty-Seventh Entry

campaign rally
under the scorching sun
one mask-free Trump fan
hugs another
tight ... and tighter

PoemHunter, June 29 2020

Eighty-Eighth Entry

campaign rally
at the half-full arena
a barefaced fan
yelling four more years
drops a killer fart

Eighty-Ninth Entry

Real News about This Barefaced Lie

Any resemblance to current events or actual locales, or to living persons, is not coincidental.

blinking EXIT
down the hospital hallway
six feet apart
from a line of masked generals
the masked President

In a dimly lit attic room where I shelter my time and my drunken shadow, I doom-scroll for the latest update: New Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Soar Past 68,000, Shattering Record.

Ninetieth Entrywritten in response to this troubling Forbes news, July 12, People Are Furious At Disney World For Reopening

Walt Disney Disease World
scrawled on the billboard
Florida sunshine

PoemHunter, July 13 2020

Ninety-First Entry

Life and Death amidst a Pandemic

onto the tree-lined street
for the first time
my old friend sings
to a songbird's melody

the smell
lingers in São Paulo's air
row upon row
of wooden grave markers
waiting for names

Ninety-Second Entry about a cross-border marriage 

rows of Americans
and a line of Canadians
along the border fence
in the sunlit breeze
the couple sign I do, I do ...

Ninety-Third Entry

Whisky Truth and Manly Lie

this is America
not Communist China
an unmasked man
yells and pulls a gun
on a store manager

it's patriotic
to wear a face mask now
bathed in the spotlight
the President claims
with a twist to his mouth

PoemHunter, July 25 2020

Ninety-Fourth Entry

Freedom Day:
the end of the pandemic 
wave upon wave
of mask-free protesters
crushing toward Berlin

PoemHunter, August 2 2020 

Ninety-Fifth Entry

on their t-shirts
my body, my choice, my life
and anti-vaxxers 
give each other a bear hug

PoemHunter, August 5 2020

Ninety-Sixth Entry

liberté, Jésus sauve...
thousands of barefaced protesters
snake through Montreal

FYI: With 64% of Canada’s coronavirus deaths, Quebec remains the hardest hit province.

Ninety-Seventh Entry

by viral demons for weeks
my old friend
paints the walls black
and covers the windows

FYI:  More people calling mental health help line as pandemic drags on: callers dealing with anxiety, family stress, problems with drugs and alcohol (CBC News, July 28)

Ninety-Eighty Entry

meteor shower
peaking on this night
of the outbreak--
across my skylight
a glimmer of hope

Ninety-Ninth Entry

her eyes fixed
on the rain-stained notice
of closure ...
will the ballerina dance
in her heart again?

One-Hundredth Entry

a late night call
from his grandmother
this stormy night
splits into before
and after the outbreak

One Hundred First Entry

long lineup
at the new Dim Sum King
a woman
as old as my mother
with a masked smile

NeverEnding Story, August 23 2020 

One Hundred Second Entry

this soft voice
of a wrong number ...
I wish
I was the person
who wore a VOTE face mask

One Hundred Third Entry

just giving you 
a Covid bear hug...
his laughter
echoes in the silence
of Walmart shoppers

One Hundred Fourth Entryinspired by The Lincoln Project ad

a desert wall
of 180,000 coffins
on TV
a parade of MAGA fans
chanting build the wall

One Hundred Fifth Entry

a cluster of cases
linked to a house party ...
the glow of my iPad
at the tail-end
of a sleepless night

NeverEnding Story, September 4 2020 

One Hundred Sixth Entry

one shot
after another ...
at the bottom
of this bottle, a door
to my pre-Covid past

One Hundred Seventh Entrywritten on the first day of school reopening

slate-gray clouds
at the end of summer
cluster outbreaks

One Hundred Eighth Entry

covidsomnia ...
on this starless night
I start counting
the number of lies
the President has told

One Hundred Ninth Entry

Covid-19 Breaking News

Trump nominated
for Nobel Peace Prize
this endless gray ...

FYI: Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by right-wing Norwegian MP for Israel-UAE deal, Matt Mathers, Independent, September 9

One Hundred Tenth Entry

Forever Sunshine
blasting from the radio ...
a masked woman
undoes the ties
of her red bikini

One Hundred Eleventh Entry

village pub
a stream of chatter
about masked sex
One Hundred Twelfth Entry
sliver moon
a masked old man and his dog
on the bus stop bench

One Hundred Thirteenth Entry, written after a memorial for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

doomscrolling                                                                          Trump 
                                                              lineup                 the                rally
                         a                    snaking              ahead of

One Hundred Fourteenth Entry

the fly buzzing
against a store window --
masked throne speech

One Hundred Fifteenth Entry

at the UN
China and the USA 
talk past each other
the new neighbor and I
greet with a footshake

One Hundred Sixteenth Entry

me, my dog
and shifting shadows crowded
in this small room ...
on TV the doctors warn
the virus favors gatherings
the premier yells,
get their brains scanned ...
behind the news
coronavirus turns

One Hundred Seventeenth Entry
morning chill
stay at home for the nation
scrawled on her window 

One Hundred Eighteenth Entry

Trump Tests Positive
a deep look at the pattern
of tea leaves

FYI: Trump’s Age, Gender, and Weight All Count Against Him on Coronavirus by Tracy Connor and Olivia Messer, The Daily Beast, October 2

One Hundred Nineteenth Entry

In a viral tweet, a non-military attending physician at Walter Reed, Dr. James P. Phillips, comments, For political theatre, Commanded by Trump to put the lives of [Secret Service agents] at risk ... this is insanity.

barefaced crowds
line streets near the hospital
this chilly afternoon
Covid Show Host in an SUV
is coming to town

One Hundred Twentieth Entry
after vincent tripi who wrote this famous transcendentalist haiku:

with me the same cloud                    out of the covered bridge 

with Trump the same virus      out of Marine One

FYI: He soon tweeted a minute-long video from the balcony, saying he'd "learned so much about coronavirus" and believes he might be immune to it.  CBS News, October 6

One Hundred Twenty-First Entry
written after Facebook removed Donald Trump's Tuesday post in which he falsely claimed coronavirus can be less deadly than the seasonal flu.

an army of workers
in hazmat suits
cleaning the White House --
at misty twilight the virus
creeps into the Pentagon

FYI: The top U.S. general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the Pentagon's senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defence officials tell CNN -- CTV News, October 6

One Hundred Twenty-Second Entry

vice presidential debate
two adults argue back and forth
and they even ... smile

One Hundred Twenty-Third Entry
for my heroine, former Chicago teacher and activist Beatrice Lumpkin who voted for her first presidential candidate,Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1940 and hasn't missed a vote since.

the President claims
I'm immune from Covid-19 ...
woman in full PPE
casting a mail-in ballot 

FYI: Watch CTV's interview with Beatrice Lumpkin who explains why this year’s U.S. presidential election is the “the most important” vote of her lifetime.

One Hundred Twenty-Fourth Entry

The most famous person in the world by far

"'Oh, no, I'm not. I'm the second,' I said. Then my guest leaned toward me and asked, 'Who's more famous?' I replied, (the President pauses for a moment, and a silence reigns over the amphitheater ), 'Jesus Christ.'" 

In the North Carolina sunshine, this almost-totally barefaced crowd roars its approval as the President claps his hands, smiling.

piles of Jesus Saves
and Donald Trump Four More Years ...
new surge of cases

FYI: The Hill, October 15Trump says only Jesus Christ more famous than him

One Hundred Twenty-Fifth Entry

the President claims
we're rounding the turn
at a snail's pace
a miles-long line of cars driving
past the food bank parking lot

One Hundred Twenty-Sixth Entry

this look
of a masked street kid ...
the color
of an autumn sunset 
slipping away

One Hundred Twenty-Seventh  Entry
written in response to Trump's Monday claim:"news about COVID should be illegal."


COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation, one tweeter bomb explodes, and in the blink of an eye, another attack begins. The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election, the President blasts out at full volume.

the White House 
spewing red clouds of virus
in my ink-dark dream
if I stare long into this abyss
will it stare back into me?

One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Entry

Covid, Covid, Covid ...
crows on the white roof 
cawing back and forth

FYI: Corvid, a bird of the crow family (Corvidae).

One Hundred Twenty-Ninth  Entry
written in response to this real news, Oct. 28: The White House’s Office of Science and Technology listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of the top accomplishments of the Trump administration’s first term.

Bush stood proudly
under Mission Accomplished
I recall 
that lingering smell
of my friend's patriot socks

FYI: The United States has now reached an average of 60,000 daily coronavirus cases, and US logs highest number of Covid cases since pandemic began with 89,000 in a single day, Justin Vallejo, The Independent, October 29

One Hundred Thirtieth  Entry

rounding the turn
echoes through the barefaced crowd
on TV --
my African grey parrot screams
Covid, Covid, Covid ...

One Hundred Thirty-First  Entry
front porch forum
a row of jack-o-lanterns
with VOTE masks

One Hundred Thirty-Second  Entry

blue blood moon
between lines of Grim Reapers
spooky distancing

One Hundred Thirty-Third  Entry

Hogtown ghost house
under the blue blood moon
a Trump Tower
of giant jack-o-lanterns
with No Party masks

One Hundred Thirty-Fourth Entry

a masked old man
tells the same jokes to the grave
Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)

One Hundred Thirty-Fifth  Entry

row upon row
of small maple flags
in chilly sunshine
a weary face in the window
of the Veterans Center

One Hundred Thirty-Sixth  Entry

the surge 
of waves and whitecaps ...
more red dots
added to the heat map
of Covid-19

One Hundred Thirty-Seventh  Entry

the border wall
under the El Paso sky
row upon row
of makeshift gray tents
outside the medical center

FYI: El Paso, known for its large military presence anchored by Fort Bliss and Mexico–United States barrier also known as the border wall whose length is 1954 miles (3145 km), "has turned to jail inmates to staff mobile morgues, and local officials say hospitals are nearing a point where they could have to ration care," The Texas Tribune, Nov. 18

One Hundred Thirty-Eighth  Entry

lockdown announced
as new cases surge --
on the lawyer's desk
a pile of divorce files

One Hundred Thirty-Ninth  Entry

at false dawn
a double-shift nurse murmurs
to another ...
just like Dawn of the Dead
only the credits never roll

FYI: The Dis/United States of America topped 12 million cases of Covid19 yesterday

One Hundred Fortieth  Entry for Torotonians 

snow on snow ...
the weight of another

FYI: Toronto is now in lockdown, another record high for Ontario Covid-19 (CityNews Nov. 23), and Toronto was hit with a record-setting 19.4 cm snowfall last night (CityNews, Nov. 23)

One Hundred Forty-First Entry

rules for Thanksgiving 
barefaced men wave brand new copies
of 1984

FYI: ABC News, Nov. 18: As pandemic surges, Trump White House calls Thanksgiving restrictions 'Orwellian' and Reuters, Nov. 23: Millions travel for Thanksgiving despite warnings.

One Hundred Forty-Second Entry
more restrictions
for Thanksgiving holiday?
bare branches 
tapping at the windows 
of a nursing home

One Hundred Forty-Third Entry

Black Friday deals
two masked mother-to-be
compare their bellies
One Hundred Forty-Fourth Entry 
blasting loud on TV ...
my niece
not sure which face mask
to wear on Black Friday

One Hundred Forty-Fifth Entry

row upon row
of masked workers chanting
with fists in the air
we are more than robots
make Amazon pay!

One Hundred Forty-Sixth Entry

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

a 12-foot
monolith in the red-rock desert
appeared then vanished...
I recall the President's words
like a miracle, it'll disappear

the White House
shrouded in a cloud
of ravens 
in infectious dreams
I chant, January 20th

FYI: Insider, Nov.29: "The strange, metal monolith recently found in the remote Utah desert has mysteriously vanished" and CNN, Dec. 1: "'It's going to disappear': A timeline of Trump's claims that Covid-19 will vanish."

One Hundred Forty-Seventh Entry

the heat map 
turns from red to dark red
in Georgia's sunshine
the President pumps his fist
when the crowd chants, four more years

FYI: The New Yorker, Dec. 4: "Donald Trump, George Wallace, and the Influence of Losers"  by Steve Coll

Donald Trump will leave the White House in January, but Trumpism—that amorphous mobilization of nationalism, white nostalgia, and anti-élite grievance, twisted by disinformation—will likely remain a force in American politics for years.

One Hundred Forty-Eighth Entry

autumn deepening
as new cases surge
a lone crow
caws into the dark
on the power line

One Hundred Forty-Ninth Entry

surge upon surge ...
a phalanx of men with "grow up
mask up "sandwich boards

One Hundred Fiftieth Entry

the chainlink fence
between Trump fans and foes
shut upmask up ...

One Hundred Fifty-First Entry

bubbles of light
float in my quarantined mind
Hanukkah dream

FYI: Hanukkah, an eight-day winter festival of lights, is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts. This Jewish festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and of spirituality over materiality.

One Hundred Fifty-Second Entry

second         lockdown

One Hundred Fifty-Third Entry

moonlight through clouds
Covid-19 breaking news
on mute

One Hundred Fifty-Fourth Entry
an entry, which mysteriously disappeared two months ago and was discovered early this morning by my drunken Muse 😁, written for a History-Making Loser, Donald Trump

the Press Secretary
responding to questions ...
the Energizer bunny 
thumps its relentless drum 
across the screen of my mind

After his three-night hospital stay, the President removes his face mask upon arrival at a White House balcony. He waves, gives a thumbs-up and poses for pictures. He then turns to walk inside, the mask still in his pocket.

The cover of Time magazine features the red clouds of coronavirus spewing from the White House, now the center of an outbreak. These thick clouds even obscure the Time logo.

FYI: CBC News, Dec. 15: No one has lost quite like Donald Trump in nearly 150 years

One Hundred Fifty-Fifth Entry, written in response to CovidiotInChief Donald Trump's remark:It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear. February 27, 2020

the first shot
in grandpa's arm ...
all day long
rubbing prayer beads
grandma recites the Heart Sutra

One Hundred Fifty-Sixth Entry, inspired by the "largest protests in human history"

Dilli Chalo 
echoing through the market ...
a farm boy 
rides his masked father's shoulders
with his fist raised high

FYI: "Dilli Chalo" means "Let’s go to Delhi"

One Hundred Fifty-Seventh Entry

case numbers 
and deaths spiking upward ...
the President
hunkers down in the man cave 
of the Oval Office

One Hundred Fifty-Eighth Entry

Today's Daily Bread: First Isolation, 12:20 - 1:3

In front of a wall of giant maple leaf flags, the silver-haired retired general, who will be heading up the province's vaccine distribution task force, pauses for a while, takes a close look around the conference room, and finally rests his eyes on the youngest reporter. Then he speaks in a low, firm tone, 

"People are tired and some of them even say, 'Oh, my goodness! we can't carry on.' Well, guess what --each and every one of you can! Please remember this: it is not the first time in our history that we have faced these seemingly insurmountable challenges and gotten through. Our grandfathers could storm the 50-mile stretch of Normandy coast three-quarters of a century ago. Today, we definitely can stay at home, away from everybody else for just two more weeks."

no body
loves holiday gatherings
more than covid ...
I murmur to myself
and my beagle on the couch

One Hundred Fifty-Ninth Entry

like E.T.
he puts forth his finger
to touch my son's ...
the maskless mall Santa
inside the giant snow globe

One Hundred Sixtieth Entrywritten in response to Donald Trump's conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell pick for special counsel investigating voter fraud, The Guardian, Dec. 19 

Donald Trump
dragged kicking and screaming
out of the White House
a mask-free Santa Claus
in my Christmas dream

One Hundred Sixty-First Entry

under the mistletoe 
we air-kiss each other 
Christmas moonlight

One Hundred Sixty-Second Entry

air passengers
crammed shoulder-to-shoulder
in screening lines
everybody loves holidays
especially the virus 

One Hundred Sixty-Third Entry

feels a jab of pain 
in her arm ...
grandpa whispers to her
everything will be fine

One Hundred Sixty-Fourth Entry

domino pieces
patterned in a shape 
of covid-19 ...
this one-year-old dream never dies,
just the old dreamer

One Hundred Sixty-Fifth Entry

on Brexit Day
snow with brief sleet ... (note: Today's weather in London)
a masked old man
holding freedom
in his bony hand

One Hundred Sixty-Sixth Entry

New Year's deals
Covid-19 for Dummies
at 50% off

One Hundred Sixty-Seventh Entry

this world of masked faces
into five lines ...
I throw a stone of words
across the river of no return

One Hundred Sixty-Eighth Entry

inthistogether --
one by one
politicians like red bats
fly south in winter darkness

FYI: The red bat, an example of a "long distance migrant," can fly over 600 miles to its winter destination. And to the best of this covidholic's knowledge, Canada, a country with the highest rate of long term care deaths, has the most number of shameless highest-ranking politicians (Federal MPs, Senators and provincial MPPs) "caught" travelling over holidays. For more information, read Here’s A [Growing] List Of Canadian Politicians Caught Travelling Over Holidays, Huffingtonpost, "Politics," Jan. 3

One Hundred Sixty-Ninth Entry

for covidsomnia
this cold night offers me help
a talking raven and the man
in the Oval Office

One Hundred Seventieth Entry

barefaced mob
chanting, U-S-A! U-S-A! ...
cower under their desks
donning gas masks

One Hundred Seventy-First Entry

Overdose Death
on the covers of black coffins ...
row upon row
of masked young men and women
in a memorial march
One Hundred Seventy-Second Entry

the wail of sirens
slicing through this winter night
100 M ...
One Hundred Seventy-Third Entry

a bead of sweat
trickling down her face
the masked nurse
gives shot after shot ...
Make America Hug Again

One Hundred Seventy-Fourth Entry

outbreak briefing
the doctor's new strands 
of gray hair

One Hundred Seventy-Fifth Entry

sound of ice pellets
against nursing home windows ...
new cases surge

One Hundred Seventy-Sixth Entry

banging and beeping
echo through Myanmar skies ...
masked protestors
chanting drive Evil out
with three-finger salutes

FYI: The three-finger salute, copied from Hong Kong and Thailand pro-democracy activists, originally comes from the Hunger Game films. 

One Hundred Seventy-Seventh Entrywritten on the eve of the Senate impeachment trial and in response to the "Trumphole dilemma" (Liu-esque equivalent of "alcohol dilemma," coined and copyrighted by this Trumpholic poet)

each word I write
about the Loser-in-Chief
morphs into red spikes ...
my quarantined mind mismatched 
with the mouth of my Muse

One Hundred Seventy-Eighth Entryin memory of Gabriel García Márquez

Unlove in the Time of Covid

Valentine's Day,
it is what it is ...
the smell of snow

dark chocolate 
melting in her mouth then mine 
afternoon trance

two meters
between our masked faces
a snowdrift at night

One Hundred Seventy-Ninth Entry

first warm day
of this pandemic winter
my niece
sings her song with each slap
of a beaded jump rope

One Hundred Eightieth Entry

a surge of wind
social distance between me
and an unmasked white man

One Hundred Eighty-First Entry

midnight moon
the silence between me
and a masked driver

One Hundred Eighty-Second Entry
written in response to America's half a million Covid deaths 

The Toll

"We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's nothing ordinary about them." With a moment's pause for reflection, the President continues, "The people we lost were extraordinary. They span generations. Born in America, emigrated to America."

the flags
flying at half-mast
for five days
the White House 
lit by candles

Television light flickers on a wrinkled face. "So many of these extraordinary Americans took their final breath alone." His voice is scarcely above a whisper. 

the number
on the TV screen
in bold red
he stares into the future
from his nursing home window

One Hundred Eighty-Third Entry

in the clinic
on the edge of my chair
waiting for results
I'm alone, surrounded
by masked men and women

One Hundred Eighty-Fourth Entry

even when I'm not alone ...
in TV's light
a masked patient grasps
for his last breath of faith

One Hundred Eighty-Fifth Entry


One Hundred Eighty-Sixth Entry

bathed in sunlight
an eagle lies motionless
against the sky --
this quarantine life
and yet ... 

One Hundred Eighty-Seventh Entry
written in response to the "shecession (she-recession)" 

in her eyes
the thousand-yard stare ...
once a manager
now the Commander-In-Chief
with kids fighting in quarantine

One Hundred Eighty-Eighth Entry
written in response to "In Myanmar Protests, Women Are on the Front Lines" (Hannah Beech, The New York Time, March 4

smoky twilight ...
between a police phalanx
and rows of men
with their three-finger salutes
a masked nun in white

One Hundred Eighty-Ninth Entry

I guess Covidiots love company -- paraphrasing Cynthia Hand

the Idaho sky
darkened by columns of smoke ...
Burn the Mask

One Hundred Ninetieth Entry

third wave coming ...
on TV Spirit-filled protesters 
raise their fists
in winter chill, chanting
God is greater than Caesar

One Hundred Ninety-First Entry

at the rally
tens of thousands shout
no more lockdowns ...
flies bouncing around
inside an empty bottle

in this beach motel
for two weeks
the seawall of silence
between me and shadows

One Hundred Ninety-Second Entrywritten in response to the new report details 'disturbing rise' in anti-Asian hate crimes in Canada, CTV News, March 23

an old Asian man
knocked down by white men
one-day-old headline
replaced by mass-shooting news
as usual, life goes on ...

One Hundred Ninty-Third Entry

more variant cases
the wintry chill
in a raven's call

One Hundred Ninety-Fourth Entry
written in response to this "not-so-shocking" 😠 news: "Canada's COVID-19 case rate now tops U.S. rate," CBC News, April 12

a sharp spike
in covid variant cases ...
at twilight
the slow descent of a kite
severed from its string

One Hundred Ninety-Fifth Entry

the wisps spread
into a bank of dark clouds ...
three-million mark

One Hundred Ninety-Sixfth Entry

another coffin lowered
into a mass grave

One Hundred Ninety-Seventh Entry

the mournful sounds
of a lone Scottish piper
echo off church walls ...
the masked Queen in black 
alone for the first time

FYI: Wilfred Frost, CNBC anchor and son of David Frost, said on Saturday morning that the queen's "bubble" was her husband prior to his death. He added her being alone at his funeral is quite poignant, saying, she will literally "have no shoulder to cry on," "Queen Elizabeth says goodbye to Prince Philip with a note laid on his casket," Today, April 17, 2021

One Hundred Ninety-Eighth Entry

sharp spike in cases ...
through the hallway murmurs
of triage care

One Hundred Ninety-Ninth Entry

snaking lines
outside the testing center
a white man
speaks Chinglish at me
I respond with a smile, connard!
(French, one of the official languages of Canada: asshole!)

Two Hundredth Entry

a rover
searches the Martian dust
for ancient life ...
a masked shelter cook mutes the TV
then starts chopping bags of potatoes

Two Hundred and First Entry, written in response to Chloé Zhao's Oscar award winning movie, Nomadland

I'm just houseless ...
this social distancing 
between me
and a masked old woman
with an accent like mine

Two Hundred and Second Entry

the smoke
from row upon row
of funeral pyres
streaking the Delhi skies  ...
a stray howls into the night

Two Hundred and Third Entry

zipped body bags
this lingering smell
of monsoon rain

Two Hundred and Fourth Entry

the last breath
escapes their father's lips ...
his masked sons' anger
burns like row upon row of pyres 
darkening the Delhi skies

Two Hundred and Fifth Entry

into smoky darkness
stray dogs in Delhi

Two Hundred and Sixth Entry

talk again among themselves 
in gathering dark
Covid won't end anywhere
until it ends everywhere

Two Hundred and Seventh Entry

leafless branches
scratching hospital windows ...
sharp spike in cases

Two Hundred and Eighth Entry

gathering dark
hospital windows shut
against pyre smoke

Two Hundred and Ninth Entry

funeral pyre smoke and dust 
all week long
the workers enveloped
in their own unrest

Two Hundred and Tenth Entry

a flood of memories
from the black hole of the past ...
three white kids
ride their bikes by me
yelling SARS, SARS 

four years of Trump
and four seasons of Covid ...
I take sleeping pills
and curl into a race-blind dream,
the fifth corner of my world

Two Hundred and Eleventieth Entry
written after Biden signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act

The "New Yellow Peril"

kung flu ...
on a white man's face
this meaty grin

another old Asian man
knocked to the ground
job growth slows sharply

Go back to China
this voice at the back door
of my quarantined mind

FYI: A Chinese-American civil rights group is suing Trump for $22.9m for calling COVID-19 the 'China Virus' and 'Kung Flu'. That's $1 for each Asian American and Pacific Islander living in the US. Joshua Zitser, Business Insider, May 22, 2021

Two Hundred and Twentieth Entry

jump, jump, jumping
on the backyard trampoline
made in Wuhan ...
now I'm six feet higher
than the white neighbor's fence

Two Hundred and Thirteenth Entry

politician breaks the rule ...
we are all
under unseasonal heat

FYI: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh apologizes for breaking COVID-19 rules, Global News, May 27

Two Hundred and Fourteenth Entry

blank squares and cross-outs
on my appointment calendar

Two Hundred and Fifteenth Entry

a blackbird
splitting the sunset ...
spike in cases 

Two Hundred and Sixteenth Entry

one day less
and one day older
at first light
this winter stillness
of my quarantine life

Two Hundred and Seventeenth Entry

this smile
not the one I expected ...
an expanse
of blue in the eyes
of a masked cashier

Two Hundred and Eighteenth Entry

vaccines hit the landfill
in Detroit ...
under the smoky skies
rows of pyres in Delhi

Two Hundred and Nineteenth Entry

in windy twilight
a blackbird rising, falling ..
this pandemic life

Two Hundred and Twentieth Entry

pink-streaked sky
fades from her bouncy castle
shelter in place

Two Hundred and Twenty-First Entry

stranded whales
seen from my quarantine room
cumulus clouds

Two Hundred and Twenty-Second Entry

no strings attached
to vaccine donations ...
a spiderweb hangs
in the ceiling corner
of a UN-sponsored food bank

Two Hundred and Twenty-Third Entry

her masked face pressed against
the nursing home window

Two Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Entry

We'reAll In This T o g e t h e r

the drive-thru speaker 
with a note taped over it:
We are closed
because I just quit this job
this thankless low-paying job

with his fist raised high
the manager shouting out 
to masked workers
one dollar an hour
pandemic pay hike

Two Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Entry

this speed racing
between Covid variants
and second shots --
UN aid workers stare
at one rickshaw of rice

Two Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Entry, inspired by The New Yorker June 21 article, "What Will Become of the Pandemic Pets?'

one pet fad
after another ...
in TV's light
my robo-dog and I 
sink into the loveseat

Two Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Entry

dewdrops of sun
on a bent blade of grass ...
this quarantine life 

Two Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Entry

smoky twilight
body after body floating
in the Ganges

FYI: Poverty, stigma behind bodies floating in India’s Ganges River: Villagers along the river say cremation expenses rose during the pandemic, forcing many to immerse or bury the bodies in sand.  Saurabh Sharma, Al Jazeera, 2 June 2021 And the latest news, Photos show bodies of COVID victims floating along Ganges River in India,, Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, June 29

Two Hundred and Twenty-Ninth Entry

words on a banner 
We're All In This T o g e t h e r 
twisting in the wind ...
in a single text message
one thousand nurses laid off

Two Hundred and Thirtieth Entry

living alone
in this friendly world
of masked faces ...
through a glass barrier
my friend looks deadly quiet

Two Hundred and Thirty-First Entry

new cases surge
a guard social distances further 
from the nurse

Two Hundred and Thirty-Second Entry

What has been will be again

after months
of wearing flip-flops
a masked woman 
in red high heels
teeters toward the mall

in backward baseball caps
across the downtown square 
first day of re-opening

a young dude
with a pack of cold beer
heads for the park
hip-hop songs blasting
at a mask-free crowd

a masked guard
in the breezy twilight
a dozen
line up at the clinic
with the Vax-A-Million sign

FYI: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes, 1:9, NIV

Two Hundred and Thirty-Third Entry

suddenly awake
with my heart beating fast
I hear my cry
in my disheveled wife's cries:
Vax-a-Million winner!

Two Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Entry

quarantined in an attic room
face to face with my inner child

Two Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Entry

a billionaire
blasting off into space ...
a masked old man
turns off the TV and walks
to the soup kitchen line

Two Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Entry

alone for weeks
in a quarantine motel
the sound
of my body rolling
against midnight quietness

Two Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Entry

weeds sprout
through cracks in the pavement ...
breakthrough cases surging

Two Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Entry

first homecoming
all these masked faces 
now strangers

Two Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Entry

the bitter sting 
of late night black coffee ...
for weeks without thoughts
of touching myself

Two Hundred and Fortieth Entry

Grand Re-Opening
bikini-clad mannequins
watch a masked man

Two Hundred and Forty-First Entry

No Mask banners
high above a phalanx
of protesters ...
a masked teen holds his hand
in an L shape near his face 

FYI: The hand gesture, widely used by teens,  in Ls 4&5 means the Loser.   

Two Hundred and Forty-Second Entry

distant sirens
break the predawn stillness

Two Hundred and Forty-Third Entry

one crow on the wire now three more variants on the rise

Two Hundred and Forty-Fourth Entry

heat shimmer
a spike-studded virus
branded on my door

Two Hundred and Forty-Fifth Entry

A Fourth Wave Brewing

under the heat dome
face to face with banners
in red and blue:
go back to normal
covid is not over yet

sunlight flooding
through stained glass windows ...
from the rows
of masked congregants
a cough echoes

no mask
no contact tracing 
no quarantine ...
a heat mirage on the road
to Build Back Whatever 

Two Hundred and Forty-Sixth Entry

heat haze ...
beneath a willow's shade
mud-stained masks

Two Hundred and Forty-Seventh Entry

warehouse gossip
spreading aisle by aisle
new variant

Two Hundred and Forty-Eighth Entry

lockdown lifted
seeing me, the neighbor turns
into a side street

Two Hundred and Forty-Ninth Entry

racism virus ...
at City Square, an Asian man
in a hazmat suit

Two Hundred and Fiftieth Entry

graveyard billboard
put up on Friday, 13th
in neon lights
not vaccinated yet
you may be here soon

Two Hundred and Fifty-First Entry

I trust God
to be my shield and healer 
loud and louder ...
holding his cross, a patient stares
at masked doctors and nurses

Two Hundred and Fifty-Second Entry

lockdown lifted
boys and girls rolling downhill
into squeals of laughter

Two Hundred and Fifty-Third Entry
written in response to Canadian snap pandemic election

crisscrossing from coast to coast 
Alpha, Beta, Delta ...  

Two Hundred and Fifty-Fourth Entry
inspired by CBS News, August 17Catholic Cardinal [Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis] who spread vaccine misinformation now on a ventilator battling COVID-19

covid skeptic struggles
for his breath ...
cicadas calling loud
and louder in summer heat

Two Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Entry

bedside candles 
light the silence of her room
new surge in cases

Two Hundred and Fifty-Sixfth Entry

a clot of shoppers
arguing in the hallway
vaccine pass check

Two Hundred and Fifty-Seventh Entry

breakthrough cases surge
sheltered in my attic room
I feel safe ... for now

Two Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Entry

Zoom therapist's forehead lines
deepening ...
and mine too (I think)

Two Hundred and Fifty-Nineth Entry

lockdown lifted
children's laughter circling
grandpa's farm house

Two Hundred and Sixtieth Entry

in a cheap motel room ...
new variant
added to her list of complaints
about her husband
Two Hundred and Sixty-First Entry

for another two weeks
on the loveseat
my first kiss
from the old beagle

Two Hundred and Sixty-Second Entry

window shopping
a new line
of masked mannequins

Two Hundred and Sixty-Third Entry

Snap Pandemic Election

six feet apart
and their minds miles away 
from each other
five smiling party leaders
shout, get your shot

question after question
answered with talking points
my parrot babbles
in the unseasonal heat

thumbs up
from the photogenic PM
forward, for everyone --
a masked gig worker 
gives him the finger

nightly barks
penetrate the thin wall
of my room
build back better blasting
from my neighbor's tv

same old, same old?
I stare in the mirror
on election eve
wondering if I can flatten
the curve of my pot belly

campaign signs
along a winding stretch
of highway
on election night
I sink deep into the couch

Two Hundred and Sixty-Fourth Entry

wave upon wave
of new covid variants ...
my world shrinks
to the size of a friend's garage
doubling as my bedroom

Two Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Entry
inspired by recent news stories and headlines in the most vaccine-rich country

driving around
unmasked freedom protesters
on both sides
of a funeral home van
don't get vaccinated 

the wife dies
as the husband gets last glimpses
of their newborn ...
stony silence among five kids
of these two anti-vaxxers

1 in 500
Americans have died of Covid
in my quarantined mind
red letters of the headline
morph into waves of viruses

you, fucking Chinese
don’t fucking get me sick ...
the sultry air
explodes with cluster f-bombs
as onlookers come and go  

Two Hundred and Sixty-Sixth Entry

Fridays for Future strike
she puts a Green New Deal mask
on her daughter's face

Two Hundred and Sixty-Seventh Entry

chemistry (tubes) between lab partners
with masks under their chins

Two Hundred and Sixty-Eighth Entry

quarantined mind
the sound of one hand washing
over and over

Two Hundred and Sixty-Ninth Entry

jolted awake 
by a recurring nightmare:
my body floats 
in a world of styrofoam balls
dotted with red spikes

Two Hundred and Seventieth Entry

a sudden rise
in breakthrough cases ...
hush of leaf fall 

Two Hundred and Seventy-First Entry

a long line
at the checkout counter
as sunlight slants in
the masked cashier smiles
with her hazel eyes

Two Hundred and Seventy-Second Entry

Thanksgiving buffet
dining tables six feet apart 
under the same roof

Two Hundred and Seventy-Third Entry

police station banner waving 
we are still smiling under our masks

Two Hundred and Seventy-Fourth Entry

the masked teacher's dry cough
classroom silence deepens 

Two Hundred and Seventy-Fifth Entry

maternity ward
the masked husband answers
with silence

Two Hundred and Seventy-Sixth Entry

I was the first one
but I don't want to be
the last ... 
a masked woman looks back
at the sky smoky in Kabul

Two Hundred and Seventy-Seventh Entry

Orthodox graveyard 
into Covid reality 

Two Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Entry
written on Halloween Eve

gathering dark
the masked Grim Reaper's eyeballs
bulge out of his skull

Two Hundred and Seventy-Ninth Entry

prolonged quarantine
the sound of midnight
rough sex next door

Two Hundred and Eightieth Entry

Halloween: Behind The Mask

dripping blood
from my front door banner:
no trick or treat

hazy streetlight
teen vampires kissing
with masks under their chins

more hotspots 
added to the Covid heat map
déjà vu nightmare

Two Hundred and Eighty-First Entry

the click of a fan
in my quarantine room ...
breakthrough cases surge

Two Hundred and Eighty-Second Entry

5 million deaths ...
at the end of the G20 Summit
masked leaders
toss coins over their shoulders
into the Trevi Fountain

Two Hundred and Eighty-Third Entry

the long gaze
of a masked policeman
a black hooded teen

Two Hundred and Eighty-Fourth Entry

variants of concern ...
I dip my immigrant life
in formalin
encase it in this room
of 20-square-meter freedom

Two Hundred and Eighty-Fifth Entry

singing and dancing
around a covid gravesite ...
a circle of women 
with their faces covered 
in white powder

Two Hundred and Eighty-Sixth Entry

awake alone
this face in the motel mirror ...
prolonged quarantine

Two Hundred and Eighty-Seventh Entry

Journey into the Long Night

winter rain
darkens the soil
covid burial

slate-grey skies
the young widow's sobs
break through her mask

the way home
early nightfall turns
to snow

Two Hundred and Eighty-Eighth Entry

midlife crisis
the therapist's mask
softens his tone

Two Hundred and Eighty-Ninth Entry

one pandemic pet
comes to me after another ...
we are all
inthistogether on the couch
to watch day's end in silence

Two Hundred and Ninetieth Entry
written in  response to CNBC's breaking news, Nov. 26: WHO calls special meeting to discuss new Covid variant found in South Africa with "a large number of mutations."

new variant
the worst we've seen so far ...
muting the TV
a shelter cook starts chopping
as early nightfall turns to snow

Two Hundred and Ninety-First Entry

watching my toddler
watching a fly climb the wall ...
prolonged lockdown

Two Hundred and Ninety-Second Entry
J   e   s   u   s 

Two Hundred and Ninety-Third Entry

my friend claims
omicron, just a scariant
made by Big Pharma ...
between our hearts and minds
this maze of distance

Two Hundred and Ninety-Fourth Entry

face to face
with the Zoom therapist 
for fifty minutes
I chitchat, I joke and I smile
with the mask of a stranger

Two Hundred and Ninety-Fifth Entry

alone face to face 
with winter night shadows
omicron surge

Two Hundred and Ninety-Sixth Entry

Merry (Omicron) Christmas

a pile of gifts 
under the mistletoe 
we air-kiss 

the masked smile
of triple-vaxxed Grandma
Joy to the World ...

Two Hundred and Ninety-Seventh Entry

a sandwich man
at a corner of the mall
singing loudly
the pandemic isn't over
even though you're over it 

FYI: A sandwich man is a person who wears a sandwich board. The human billboard is the cheapest and sometimes most effective/personalized walking advertisement.

Two Hundred and Ninety-Eighth Entry

Boxing Day Deals
in the mall a busker singing
jingle jabs, jingle jabs ...

Two Hundred and Ninety-Ninth Entry

Trump's praise of vaccine
booed, booed, booed by MAGA fans ...
omicron surge

Three Hundredth Entry

curbside pickup
of dinner for one
a stray's stare

Three Hundred and First  Entry

vaccine shopping
from one pharmacy
to another ...
the schools move online
as parents, Omicron rage

Three Hundred and Second Entry

a polar station
wrapped in snow light
omicron surge

Three Hundred and Third Entry    
homeless shelter

Three Hundred and Fourth Entry

learning Greek letters ...
another variant emerges 
as rain turns to ice

Three Hundred and Fifth Entry

on a power line
the corvid's caw caw cawing ...
omicron winter

Three Hundred and Sixth Entry

upon murder
of corvids
descend in gathering dark ...
the unvaxxed and omicron rage

Three Hundred and Seventh Entry

The Truth North Strong and Free!

a cacophony
of wing flutters and caws
crows in gathering dark

storm clouds roll in
amid lightning strikes 
omicron rage

freedom convoy trucks
from coast to coast 
new variant emerging 

Three Hundred and Eighth Entry

freedom convoy trucks
snake past Parliament Hill
with his mouth open
a white-haired man staring
at truckers with yellow stars

Three Hundred and Ninth Entry

one variant 
after another …
the caw-caw-caw
throughout the night 
of winter crows

Three Hundred and Tenth Entry

this unvaxxed patient
grasps my hand, mumbling
about death ...
exhausted,  I only think
of the patients next door

Three Hundred and Eleventh Entry

social distancing       across this endless blue a pair of hang-gliders

Three Hundred and Twelfth Entry

time to learn
to live with Covid-19
on the news ticker ...
a nurse turns off the TV
and starts her midnight rounds

Three Hundred and Thirteenth Entry

subvariants rise ...
in a waiting room chair 
ten hours of winter

Three Hundred and Fourteenth Entry

news of variants
outpacing my flight
winter gusts

Three Hundred and Fifteenth Entry

"freedom" truckers 
steeped in TrumpTalk
echo slogans  --
arms linked, young women chant
make Canada boring again!

Three Hundred and Sixteenth Entry

long Covid
the smoker's voice rasps
everything’s just fine

Three Hundred and Seventeenth Entry

stealth omicron ...
I tune up the volume
of Lennon's imagine

Three Hundred and Eighteenth Entry

shelter in place
I count strays passing
beneath the window

Three Hundred and Nineteenth Entry

a great loss
when only one man dies
of covid
but millions is just a number ...
this twist to my doctor's mouth

NeverEnding Story, March 11, 2022

Three Hundred and Twentieth Entry

does it matter
to mask or not to mask ?
in dim light
Ukrainians crammed
into a bomb shelter

NeverEnding Story, March 11, 2022

Three Hundred and Twenty-First  Entry

quarantine room
shifting shadows of me

NeverEnding Story, March 13 2022

Three Hundred and Twenty-Second Entry

St. Patrick's Day
the warmth
of unmasked hellos

Three Hundred and Twenty-Third Entry

my sex drive 
on and off in lockdown ...
spotty showers

Three Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Entry

green shoots
on an oak stump ...
lockdown lifted

Three Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Entry

unmasked hellos
and laughter at the mall  ...
I click off the news
and doomsurf
with my drunken shadow

Three Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Entry

sticker shock
at the grocery store
like stealth omicron passing
among unmasked politicians                                                                                                      
                                                          ... to be continued