Quarantine Won’t Be Forever, but Pandemic Humor Is Timeless 

A Century Before TikToks and Memes, the 1918 Flu Inspired Rhyming Poetry and Skeptical Satire

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, as society shut down and social distancing became the new norm, user-created media content about life during the pandemic exploded. Today’s technology makes it easy to produce and share such messages with the world. However, expressing what life is like in a pandemic through available media is nothing new. Writings about disease—poems, prose, songs, and quips—have long flourished during epidemics, as people have struggled to emotionally and physically adjust to isolation, sickness, and death. Sometimes such writings have been serious; just as often they reflect …

Defend the Eastside

The 5, the 101, the 10
Suavecito for President
A funeral procession out of City Terrace
No ICE on the overpass
Just a shot on the countertop
Next to hot …

THE MOUNTAINS AND WATERS OF THE IMMEDIATE PRESENT

When I love another person, after I close the circle I say, “I know that things are not always all the way one way.” This is an idealized tenderness. That …

How Billy Collins Breathes Light Into the Post-9/11 Darkness

Like Robert Frost Before Him, the Former Poet Laureate Strikes Dissonant Chords That Surprise the American Public

Is there any poet like Robert Frost today? Billy Collins comes close. Unlike so many poets—but very much like Frost—Collins writes work that sells. He was given the title …

The Last Bite of the Emergency Apple

Silver Canyon, Santa Catalina Island

You take the last bite of the emergency apple,
while the teeth-y skulls of Barbary goats stare up from dusty shale,
from boulder strewn creek beds …

Stone Soup

The note sent home said
we are making stone
soup–soup of the poor–
soup from nothing–so
please do your part–bring
a stone–a carrot–
I sent three carrots–
a bag of …