Pandemic Ramblings

I haven't written many pandemic poems, but here are the few that I managed to put on paper. Three were published in pandemic anthologies. I begin with the first poem I wrote, when open mics were just starting to pop up on Zoom and I was horrified by my own face on Hollywood Squares!

Zombie Apocalypse

the first pandemic poem I wrote, and it was published in the Fuck Isolation anthology.

Sitting in solace, the virus triggers 

another malady deep within me.

Mutant tentacles constrict my muse.

Why am I not inspired by this new bug? This tweaked reality?

While poets are submitting to the abundance of Covid anthologies

I am creatively stunted. 

It's like I have Super Adult ADD.

I'm not reading or painting. I'm barely writing.

My colors shift to shades of gray.

I need to walk and shake out the restless legs.

Instead, I drive to Vons, making sure

I have plenty of wine and shots of Irish whiskey.

I watch Netflix, Hulu, and reruns of the Wendy Williams show.

What the fuck is up with that?

I live in sweatpants and the purple slippers

my granddaughter got me for Christmas.

I've joined two Zoom open mics so far.

Computer camera is hideously too close to my face,

so I turned off the video when I read.

I sit outside with the cats to steal a beam of sunlight.

We stress-eat in solidarity and our waistlines expand together.

Hummingbirds flaunt their freedom

to sip nectar from the sweeping butterfly bush.

No social distancing in the sky.

Tethered to earth, I dream with envy.




What is this, which has the world fractured and quaking?   

Viral stillness shrouds empty streets and shuttered cafes.   

The hum of humans has grown smaller,  

and we sink into a surreal slowdown of life.   


Our isolation lets nature take a breath.   

The earth vibrates with her bright colors    

and resonance to fill the vacant space.    


Songbirds praise the dawn for bringing fruit 

Even the crow’s call becomes softer.   

They gossip from rooftop to treetop 

the way grandmothers share secrets at the gate. 


Peacocks parade through abandoned streets of Spain.  
Their jeweled feathers fan and quiver.   

Coyotes trot through neighborhoods     

howling their dog-songs to reclaim the city.   


Catalina’s distant waves froth and crash,   

as shaggy bison roam the deserted island shore.   

 A wild resurgence keeps 

the moon circling in perpetual orbit   

until our disease shatters the spell.   



Release the Silence

My poetry is not a virus.

My verse invites you closer.

Don’t keep your distance.
My poetry will not be sheltered

or stay in place

or isolate in masked corners
If you want me,

touch every word.

Flood the empty space

with the quiver of your pen.



My cart pushes through the labyrinth of aisles

and I get claustrophobic behind

the breathing paper mask.

Why does that old lady touch all the damn brussel sprouts

nesting in pre-filled bags?

Without gloves, she plucks one at a time to fill her own bag.

Does she not hear my muffled gasp?

Every brussel sprout molested, inspected, and put back.

I hear their silent screams, “Me too!”

Standing on the tape, I hold my place in the awkward line.                              


The next two poems go together to describe an affair that developed during the pandemic.

1. Secret at Sunset

I was seeking a smoky sunset

when I was taken by your whiskey-soaked lips,

an unexpected shelter from the isolated storm.
Minds drunk with our secret,

we feast upon each other

behind the tinted windows.
Fill the glass with one more taste

and drench our wanting skin

until the sun drops into the quiet sea. 


2.  Pomegranate Center

You kneeled at my altar,

sinewy, open

and found my 

pomegranate center. 

But one call pulled you back,

and I was abandoned, , alone.

It’s not the crush of the tide

that leaves me empty,

but the sudden turning of a back, 

     and the way you shrink, 

                           walking away.


This was written about the California fires that blazed from San Francisco to the southern border, during the summer of the pandemic. This poem appears in the Pandemic Puzzle Poems Anthology, by Blue Light Press.

Ashes of the fallen

Feather, fur, blood and bone

hang in the violent sky.

Delicate, drifting funerals

anoint my windshield.

California, a grave now,

mourns beneath the charred

remains of a thousand souls.

I gather ashes of Coyote, Deer, Rabbit, Mouse

and piece them back together.

I weep blessings

and send them on their star journey.


This poem also appears in the Pandemic Puzzle Poems Anthology, by Blue Light Press.

What happened in my jigsaw brain

Busy puzzle lives barely fit

into the rush of a crowded day

I squeeze every perfectly formed piece

into the shapes I need.


Left brain sorts through

piles of crayon colors

until soft greens

form grassy corners to rest my feet.


White patches fit into a painted sky,

a wash of iridescent wings

hover above the nesting branches.


My fingers move across a horizon

of interlocking orange and red,

a map of sunsets and secret rendezvous.


A weary mind sees beyond the boundaries     

of meadow and resting light,

a brief respite before it all dissolves

back to shades of gray in the empty box.



Sam AAMCO said...

Lovely work, thoughtful

Deborah said...

thank you Sam, I just saw your comment!