Poems written by Untold Stories poets in response to the prompt “This pandemic brought…” from the untitled poem, posted on Instagram, by Charlene Carruthers.
- Irene Inatty
My trickster, my opportunist, my darkness, my hungry animal
The flecks of the abyss that live in me. (I love this person).
They are feral and fearless.
all the things that worry me are useless
and made up and
all they want to do is set fire to those kinds of things and to writhe
in the embers of a dying world.
They have been waiting for this. All my life. I was made for the apocalypse.
So when I figured out what was happening I called them.
I laughed and I danced and I thought of fire
as I shaved my head ready to burn the fear off my old dying skin.
And then I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see them. I just saw fear.
I was so ready to become lightning and storm
y azotar mi vida con los vientos de mi huracan preferido.
To burn. to burn. As if the fear that had clawed into me
since before I was born would burn off like clothing atop my skin.
As if it weren’t part of the skin itself,
no matter how much I didn’t want it to be.
How could I, who have been waiting for this moment all my life,
be so paralyzed by its arrival?
Perhaps because forgot
The language of possibility: nonsense.
When we unmoor words from meaning
and we are left floating in the ocean of not knowing,
untethered and sure that a great beast will snatch us into the deep,
keenly aware of the yawn of the earth miles below us,
we have the chance, in the face of all that metallic-tasting fear
to relax our muscles
and feel the oldest pull from the deepest trench
calling us to stop pretending
that we’re not part of its mantle
Calling us to join it once more.
I want to run into the warm salty surf
when it is wild and feisty in the dark of night during a full moon
and swirl along with the current well under the waves
until I can’t even tell where up is,
and let my body go,
letting the water do with me what it will
until I burst through the surface tension,
and gasping, laughing, moonlight blinding me
I want to remember I am not the same
and the world is not the same and
I don’t want it to be.
I will try to speak in the tongues of nonsense,
trying to say the unsayable
until a new alphabet is born in my mouth.
And my comrades will hear me and not catch my words
but they will know what I am saying
because what I am saying is also in their hearts.
And we will be in awe of this and fear it.
Maybe fear is the key ingredient in courage. And we need courage.
- Julie Quiroz
The virus brought my daughter home
lugging overstuffed suitcases
to my front porch
I step out
letting her pass
as I clean her things
Inside she walks
a straight line
to the shower
plastic bag in hand
for clothes she wore
on an almost empty plane
That day we still believed
that time moves forward
a subway car racing
from point A to point B
But time melts
into tide pools
when death hovers
in the air
Once upon a time
I held you
in my lap
watching the towers fall
before my eyes
You were born
at the end of a story
we must now untell
Harvest the weeds
we will make tea
Whispers Travel Best Through Silence
- Desiraé Simmons
I miss waking up with a quiet mind Even as I write that, I try to remember It was longer than this era in which we find A pandemic- started in December or November This pandemic brought me heightened senses A sense of silence that I never knew In the middle of the street as if behind fences Losing my voice. Shedding tears. More than a few A sense of touch that instantly connects me To the fear, the pain, the confusion, the anger We have all felt, and finally others see The need for a woven web that protects us from danger A sense of vision that awakens my imagination No longer do I feel bound to the here and now Just like coronavirus spread across all these nations I can see further and deeper to the seeds we need to sow A sense of my body, a sense of myself A sense of time, a sense of love I breathe in fresh(er) air in relief I hear wisdom whispered from the clouds above While I sleep soundly, I awake already on the move
- Erika Murcia
has taught me to slowdown
I am sitting in stillness
has brought out to the surface
who I am when feeling pain
has unveiled the wounds of emotional loss
it has ripped out the shelter
we've built during a decade
has pushed me in a dramatic way
to listen every core emotion as they come
and deepen my understanding of
what is happening within
has allowed me to let the tears crashed like waves at the ocean shores
while reaching out to my collectives
asking for support
giving and receiving are essentials for survival
has been like a muse
who calls me to recognize
what a miraculous being I am
has become an opportunity to unleash my creative power
at the same time that I hold space for a heartbreak
we are impermanent beings
in this spiral of change
it is a beautiful reminder
that self-love is a radical practice
necessary to love others unconditionally even when they are at their lowest
- Leseliey Welch Church bells ring Inviting Scorched earth, grief grounds To sprout dreams Inside elders In ruby red church hats Hold white handkerchiefs and weeping women To centuries-wise bosoms and sway From side to side By and by One hand held high to signify The possible Church bells ring Serenading Scorched earth, grief grounds To sprout dreams The cardinal flies low Radiant red messiah I am with you By and by Guiding Reach deep and reach high Tomorrow is yours To grow The weeping women sway From side to side By and by They lift their hands too One by one Testifying It is possible To bloom