the trapper & the furrier

(inspired by regina spektor)

2020 a strange strange year
            like a time bomb waiting for breaking news to strike

beasts in filthy cages
              pellets and food pets from puppy mills

children sleep in soiled cages
              family separation asylum still out of reach

dystopian predictions dystopian facts

big business declares war on its workers
              unions wages healthcare live at triage

newspeak from the white house
              twists failure into praise fiction into history

our self-proclaimed leader plays mobster roulette
              the press elections & laws face execution
              he gives carte blanche to an alien dressed as the flu

& the sick keep getting sicker
              with too many fevers chills coughs & losses of smell & taste

death toll rising ghost towns replace cities
              bodies overflow morgues the homeless live underground

tests & cures not fast enough
              business as usual for corporate generals

2020 a strange strange year
              people shut indoors waiting not knowing what to believe
              their time bombs not knowing when to explode

send me an angel

(inspired by Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions)

wisdom comes with maturity   but it’s hard to be wise
            when your nation caters to avarice and ignorance

you never saw the storm seize the new year
            & like the government   life shuts down for struggle to thrive

anxiety doesn’t believe in social distancing
            sends cryptic messages between you and your mask

you did your best   prayed for that miracle
            that fell prey to lies & deceit

open your eyes   your angel left for another zoom call

stay locked in your quarantine
            watch gray feathers   etched in red   blow off the fire escape


Chet Baker’s trumpet sings

            unrestricted airwaves
in a senseless world

lonely trees by the promenade

            wooden arms and hands
            feel wind’s breath

an empty shore

            a bedroom for sea and mist
            to play without panic

courtyard ball games

            a father spends time
            with his son

a writer watches

            social distancing
            from the 2nd floor

Moonlight Serenade

Charlie was in bed,
tubes attached to his body,
listened to cartoons
on a nineteen-inch screen,
thought of Sophia,
his “Belle of Flatbush.”

When la luna was full,
Charlie used to sing
Moonlight Serenade
outside Sophia’s gate.
They’d slow-dance
to Glenn Miller’s rendition.
He’d relax his rhythm,
hold Sophia closer,
recall how safe she felt.
Her soft brown curls
would drape on his shoulder—
her smoky eyes—
stelle colorate, tinted stars
over a make-believe Brooklyn sky.

His protective hold couldn’t save her
from breast cancer twenty years ago,
their two sons from Viet Nam’s death call,
or their daughter from her husband’s fists.
A massive stroke took Sonny,
his last living friend.
His relatives were either dead
or couldn’t care less.

Charlie was in bed,
tubes attached to his body,
alone—except for routine visits from
the nursing home staff,
wondered if Sophia would be there for him
when he leaves for the morgue.
He hummed Moonlight Serenade,
but a dry cough cut his tune short.
Sadness, age, and high fever
drained his cognition and will to live.
His memory was of the past,
not the present.

He prayed for Death’s visit—
Death would wear a white coat,
walk past the rooms,
make decisions on who’s to come
and who’s to stay.
But Death forgot about him—
perhaps Death’s eyesight was fading
when he came by last week,
took Hector instead.
Tina, his favorite nurse,
no longer visited him—
was in critical condition
due to a new virus going around.

He closed his eyes,
saw Glenn Miller and his band
perform Moonlight Serenade
at the Waldorf Astoria.
Everything was in Technicolor.
radiant and youthful,
rose from her table.
She came closer,
her smoky eyes—
stelle colorate, tinted stars
over a make-believe Brooklyn sky.

By the entrance,
a man in a white coat
checked his clipboard,
greeted Charlie with a smile
and opened the gate.

Having a Party

Anna had a good time grooving to Sam Cooke on the radio
            time-traveled back to when she a teenager
                      teased her hair wore pencil skirts twisted to 45s
                      put popcorn on the Formica table drank Cokes from the Frigidaire
                      chatted to friends about Johnny the bad boy from Glenwood Road

her American dream resided in expectation
            the princess wedding gown the white picket fence around a Flatbush Victorian
            the family genes to be passed on

no matter how hard she tried Johnny left her for Sally

other men kept their distance & early menopause called her instead

her wedding dress burned her unborn kids buried
            her Victorian house sold to developers

for a lifetime of work a meager social security check EBT benefits
            & a cramped one-bedroom apartment with her tabby Jenny

a cracked mirror meant 7 more years of bad luck
            & further decline in her reflection

she lived in quarantine before it became mandatory
            held on to her past in boxes shopping bags & 45s

the song ended & Anna felt dizzy

on her torn sofa
            she thought about Johnny Sally & what transpired

with eyes still open her head rested on the frayed throw pillow

Jenny tapped Anna’s shoulder
            sniffed under her nose & mouth
            realized that she was not responding

Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include Alien Buddha Press, Bear Creek Haiku, BigCityLit, Concrete Mist Press, First Literary Review-East, Indolent Books, Jerry Jazz Musician, Live Mag!,The New Verse News, North of Oxford, Panoplyzine, Oddball Magazine, Orbis International Literary Journal, Silver Birch Press, et al. Her poem Paris the Beautiful won Poem of the Week from great weather for MEDIA Her latest books from Poets Wear Prada are Meowku and The Cupcake Chronicles, and Innocence from Finishing Line Press. Her novel, Angel Fire, is forthcoming from Alien Buddha Press. Patricia hosts Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.

Brooklyn, New York

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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