We text first: Can you make it today? The responses: Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Enough can. We type in the password, enter the room online. It is not the same as being together. There are no warm hugs. Instead, we wave and smile. We share our lives, laugh together, read scriptures, ask each other questions. We dig deeper than expected. Unearth bits of wisdom, joy, tears. These women keep me alive on the hard days. Encourage me, remind me to love and accept love, to laugh and to sing. Prayers are lifted up. Amen, until we meet again.
––––––––––– “I write because the words are there, bone deep. I write for those who take refuge in books. I write because I am a writer.” – the writer
Thank you to the ones who, Before starting a repair, Say, let me record this.
Thank you to the ones who Act goofy, sing a song, and remind me, In my fit of frustration, To have a light heart.
But, thanks most of all For explaining the smallest detail. For making me feel that I am not alone In not knowing how to fix what’s broken.
Thank you for all you’ve taught me, For your generous impulse to share your expertise, And for being there, a click away, When I need you.
–––––––––– “During the pandemic my home has decided now is the perfect time to have an all systems breakdown … I have been tackling home improvement projects I never would’ve dreamed of trying. The generous folks on YouTube have saved the day more times than I can count.” – the writer
Augustin, the last Frenchman to die on Armistice Day, was spreading the welcome message, of ceasefire soup at noon. The shooting stopped at eleven, though the Treaty was signed at dawn. No one wanted to haul their ammunition home. Shot on 11th November, his ceasefire came too late.
Flora Buchanan was ninety, and died on New Year’s Eve. She cared for her Tom, with dementia, they shielded all year alone. Exhausted by the winter, she accepted care for Tom. An early Christmas present, the virus took its chance. The shot in the arm was December. Her vaccine was too late.
–––––––––– “I write to make sense of my thoughts and experiences.” – the writer
Where do those neighbors get their money? they’re up late on weeknights, drinking beer, playing games in the street – the young woman has glazed eyes, she’s always stoned; her boyfriend doesn’t have a care in the world, in a world where so many are dying & a feeling of impending doom clutches us by the throat
––––––––––– Nick writes to make sense of this incredibly bizarre world we live in.
I open windows to a New Year. Paint last year’s walls lavender. Rearrange books according to hopefulness, instead of most depressing. But credit card bills leap from screens. Student loans demand payment. They don’t recognize spaces I’ve finally tackled. People I’ve apologized to. Tempers I’ve combatted.
I close the computer. Pledge to pay X loan. Y card. Preempt numbers. But when I reopen the computer, they remind me I’m delinquent. A statistic who once withdrew into Merlot-induced euphoria. Discarded responsibility.
I clean, blast Tchaikovsky waltzes, polish my desk, open windows wider. But numbers dart out. I can’t paint over them.
“I write to explore human behavior, to ask questions, and to poke fun at the world.” – the writer
“It’s amazing,” said the county’s chief contagious disease expert. “The severity of this new virus is determined by the personality of the individual who is infected.”
“Yes,” replied his assistant, “the virus has very little effect on the people who are most arrogant and self-centered. Also, the more obtuse you are the less likely you are to contract the disease.”
The chief smiled and shrugged. “Well, I know what we have to do. We need to make a statement that it is important to wear masks to help keep other’s safe. That should work for everyone, one way or another.”
James Rumpel is a retired high school math teacher who enjoys spending his free time trying to change some of the many odd ideas in his head into stories.
You know what it’s like. Hide and Seek. Only in reverse. We are the ones who hide in full view and the virus, well, the virus is the seeker only it’s unseen, unseeable. And the chase is on, only there’s no announcement. You just know it’s happening, somewhere. Here or nearby. It’s happening everywhere. and when you’re caught, the game’s over for you but the game’s not over, it might never be over, not till everyone’s caught, maybe and it’s getting tiresome but the seeker, the virus, is not ready to call the game off.
“This poem has been a long time coming but it’s here now.” – the writer