Friday, April 3, 2020


Love in a Time of Coronavirus

Before the inevitable
days of judgment,

with Death,

the fear of mortality
is a stimulant
like no other-

a prime motivator
for love ,

for exuberant lust
in all those
heat stifled nights

free floating,
miles from shore,

a yellow cross
painted on
our bow;

no land ahoy
for us to step
out on

Love each other
while you can,

we think,

the universal
virus is
among us

--Alan Catlin

Thursday, April 2, 2020


Lions And Lambs

a photo shows the lamb
lying on its side, skinned
in the butcher shop window
the raw meat
dark pink and red
white of sinews and bone

the head’s still attached
a lidless black eye stares too wide
above the sign advertising its life
for 4.99 a pound

a creepy image, to be sure,
but I think people should look...
maybe even be forced to look—
into the eyes of a creature
they’re about to devour
for 4.99 a pound...

or 9 bucks an hour...
10, 7.25, whatever

but our lions so rarely
meet their lambs
they roar their dictates
from behind iron gates
on high and faraway hills

from behind a shield of laws
twisted to fit the shape
of their cannibal hearts

--Brian Rihlmann

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


(D.T.) Delirium Tremens

In the end,
they will crown him Emperor.
Rose petals
will be thrown at his feet from baskets
by porn stars and beauty queens
for him to walk upon.
People will come to him
and be healed by his touch.
His touch will turn them into gold
and they will become like statistics
on Stock Market charts.
He will pour goblets of oil for all
to quench their thirst.
A bounty of Big Mac's and Filet o Fish
will be eaten.
Gluttony will abound.

Scriptures will be tweeted
and read aloud in the virtual public squares.
No one will understand them
so they will be transformed into fables
of unlimited profits for all who can grab them.
His pale, untarnished image
will adorn every news feed on every phone
and many will kiss his ass.
Strip malls will be erected in his honor.
Jobs will be plentiful
at every WaWa, Wal-mart and Sheetz.

Desire, disposable plastic and insatiable lust
will become the new ecology
and will take the form of a flag
flying from the back
of someones gas guzzling pick-up truck
racing off towards the edge of a bottomless ravine,
the driver still clutching his gun as he falls.

All hail the Emperor!

--Carl Kaucher

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


            "If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone,"

                                Eisenhower wrote the night before D-Day.

                                              "I don't take responsibility at all,"
                                Trump says of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic

                                         --Steven B. Smith

Monday, March 30, 2020



In this time of virus the news and
The places I search for my muse
Vie for attention

Attention is a ragged thing
Torn by fear and disgust
For the time

I hear the sparring words of our sitting President
Pushing platitudes and racism
Pointing our attitudes toward despair

I cannot bear to
Leave my attention there
I turn to prayer

Read the Daily Office
Seeking breaths of fresh air
In a language long dead

That yet helps me to recall the anguish
Of recent plagues and plagues
Of centuries past

It is not the virus that haunts my thoughts
But the decay of democracy and decency
That makes me long to be free of America

To escape the pain I go
For a walk in the rain
Through the wetlands

By the Napa RIver
I maintain social distance from my neighbors
Converse with birds and watch

As the fowl glide indifferently by

--Charles Kruger

Sunday, March 29, 2020


The Epidemic Within the Pandemic

As the pandemic’s numbers double
on the tote board like the national debt,
the United States already was fighting
an infectious epidemic. A virulent strain

Where more citizens were susceptible
than estimated and were contaminated by
the xenophobia, racism, and distrust of science
spewed by patient zero, the president.
These strains have infected political discourse
with his toxic word salad sprinkled with
long-discounted narratives, a tortured
national mythology, to feed the fascist hunger.

He believes in the church of make-believe
where our lives and this country are mere
foils in his reality tv series with
the next episode now streaming:
“Desperate for an enemy: Pandemic.”
With the log line: Believing he is
worthy of being a wartime president,
DJT usurps more power, but fails to use it
and remains oblivious the military
has been engaged in a War on Terror,
since he took office.

With script and prompter, he stands in front
of the world with a wrecking ball of false hope,
lies and non-sequitur attacks.
Like Marie Antionette, he dismisses his charge
with a wave, “try getting them yourselves”
as though he were running late for a tee time
and Ivanka and Jarod asked him to buy a cake,
only to grudgingly offer assistance.

While not the first president to inherent
an unexpected flex point in history, he is
the first to adamantly declare
the buck stops elsewhere.
What war crimes await at the end
of your series, Mr. War President?
The very real responsibility of snuffing
more lives unnecessarily because
of his carelessness and antipathy
towards the suffering, like those
on the border before the pandemic,
Now it will be the soldiers
of medicine who battle without
enough personal protection
equipment, and other necessary
weapons to flatten the curve.

War should galvanize a nation
where citizens’ sacrifices work
in concert with federal power.
Instead, we are left singing
alone for crumbs of compassion
of a heartless wanna-be dictator.

Should we still be surprised?
Three years and a half years in?
Nearly 250 years in?
Our national health confronts
this epidemic every generation
when the established power is
threatened. It infects by with-
holding the healing medicine
and instead resorts to ramping
fear addled lies over truth.

Today, all of us are susceptible
with every cough, fever, sneeze
or runny nose. Today
we are the “other” for being
too something in the white, rich
man’s last heartless gasp of control.

Justice continues be fought for
by those willing to take a bullet,
to be beaten, and to not hide
behind daddy’s money.
People bravely working
shoulder to shoulder
to bridge the social distances
Mr. War President longs to torch.

Hunker down, citizen scientists
artists and entrepreneurs.
Get to work at home in your
garages, basements, and kitchen
tables. Build respirators, ventilators
or better yet vaccines to stop these viruses
and heal a country struggling for breath.

--Tom Lagasse

Saturday, March 28, 2020


the recession virus blues

it's strange it's the same feeling
every time. whether you want
the job, whether you were ready
to quit, whether the next job
is waiting. when you hear it
again, laid off... laid off

it's that feeling of watery knees
the way the room blurs
instantly if only a second
the air busts out of lungs
desperate not to be trapped
you walk in circles, listless
an imposed value snuffed

its grimly funny, I don't identify
my life and my work together
I consider myself an artist
who works to maintain
the goal of making art
that I don't make money from

I don't identify my life with my job
but in these desperate times
it's clear we are vessels
to a system that expects two things
produce and consume

what happens when both
streams dry up?

a friend texted
the apocalypse
is only one very
long business meeting

she's right, like filing
for unemployment in the nineties
first of the morning forms
then looking at a bulletin board
of losing manufacturing jobs
write down the job numbers
to apply for while waiting
endlessly for an interview
a determination to come

every morning more birds
chorus out my bedroom window
I hear an intermittent slow century
of traffic, I have nowhere to be
sorry to say son, but right now
I am not capital and capitalism
has no use for me

--Jason Baldinger