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Poems in Corona

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Contemporary poetry does not have to be hurried or subpar. This chapbook combines excellent poetry with immediacy.

Synopsis

Set during a pivotal period in America's history, Poems in Corona details the varied events of a modern day pandemic told from the perspective of young poet while in quarantine. Jay Green attempts to make the most out of his own situation amidst "Stay-at-Home" orders, an economic shutdown, and protests and riots, as his nation is being tested during a time of great change and uncertainty.

    Although Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as “emotion reflected in tranquility” remains more or less valid more two centuries after he said it, there are some events that demand our almost immediate attention. COVID-19 and all else associated with it certainly belong to that category.

    Most of the poetry I encounter that deals with current events has a strong tone of stridency that corrodes the actual poetry itself. When someone talks about poetic merit, the response usually is bitter and confrontational, with insinuations that ant criticism automatically includes opposition to whatever the cause is.

   Thankfully, Louisiana-based poet Jay Green avoids that. The most impressive thing to me in this chapbook is the sheer artistry of his words. He packs a lot of meaning into what he writes. Poems in Corona is his second book of poetry. (A chapbook, for those who are unfamiliar with the terms, refers to a shorter collection of verse, usually 35 pages or so, and often centered around a common theme.)

    There are varied verse forms here, as well as varied lengths. This is a chapbook that can be read in one sitting. By no means is that a criticism; rather it flows together so well that reader will want to continue until the end.


    Now for a few examples from the text itself:


    Covid Lovers is a rondeau that slightly tweaks the conventional form.


   Quarantine trapped us, pushed us breast to breast. Conversations walk the tightrope, don’t fret.    
   Or fall into arguments and lie.

   

  Some shorter poems deal with the onset of the pandemic, how high school seniors are impacted, along with cities and the entire nation.


    We Out Here talks about people resisting the virus and the lockdowns/ stay in laces that it caused:


    Hang a rifle off your chest and go about your business.
     Is it time to come out yet? I heard this virus ain’t even that serious.
      Scream freedom loud until the government delivers.
      They lyin' and inflating numbers. Wait till I post it on
      Twitter.


    The concluding poem, Cities Sing, expresses hope that despite all of the unrest and unease caused by the virus and the concurrent demonstrations about Black Lives Matter. Americans can unite.


    But I want the kids to know that there
    were also moments of solidarity.
   Know that there were officers that took
  the time to sing the rich words
  “We stand with you.”   

Reviewed by

I am a published poet with four books out there of my own, and two in collaboration with artist Carol Worthington-Levy. Additionally I have drafts of a novel and one short story in the process of being sent out.

Synopsis

Set during a pivotal period in America's history, Poems in Corona details the varied events of a modern day pandemic told from the perspective of young poet while in quarantine. Jay Green attempts to make the most out of his own situation amidst "Stay-at-Home" orders, an economic shutdown, and protests and riots, as his nation is being tested during a time of great change and uncertainty.

Poems

What Diaries Are For


What use are the pages of diaries?

A blank slate for those mental fingerprints. 

Spite Asians like some wish to spite a virus. 

A hand grips the slick pole on the subway

as a stranger breathes, “You dirty Chinese.”


What use are the pages of diaries?

To speak on knives gouging out Corona

from human flesh because of ethnicity. 

To deny a doctor’s medical care,

even if you are the one with Covid-19. 


These stories record shame in diaries. 

Skin bruised by stripping their citizenship. 

Virus exposes the disease within.



Covid Lovers


Rondeau for the drifting of you and I

were closest when we were just passing by.

Quarantine trapped us, pushed us breast to breast. 

Conversations walk the tightrope, don’t fret. 

Or fall into arguments and lie 


that you don’t Skype lawyers with a sigh

about us not seeing eye to eye. 

Tensions send my heart into arrest.  

Rondeau for the drifting of you and I.  


Lady calls an old lover and talks shy.  

To give their stitched-up bond another try. 

All the world may end if Covid won’t rest.  

She longs for stability in her chest. 

For both, individuality dies. 

Rondeau for the courting of you and I.



Sakura's Sestina


What do you say Mr. Washington?

Tap the shoulder of your Sakura. 

Tell her not to be so transient with her bloom. 

They’re popcorn trees, watch them dance. 

Hinted with the blood of the fallen. 

Petals pirouette in the air, a ballet with Lady Rona. 


Transparent acrobat. Swan dives down the throat does Lady Rona. 

Stagnant economy creates an awfully watchful Washington.  

White flowers shout revolution even as they’ve fallen. 

Sunlight ricochets off a somber Sakura. 

Obey distance girls, six feet if you want to dance. 

“Misunderstood,” cries Lady Rona. “I bring America’s new bloom.


From fractured status quos, new rules start to bloom.

‘Opportunity’ cries America. ‘Who’s gonna get rich from the Rona?’

Throw money into the market. Watch the jagged line dance. 

Two trillion reasons to care. Where’s your cape Mr. Washington?

The finale is a must-see. Don’t grow old too fast Sakura!

It would be a shame if you became one of the fallen.”


It’s Friday the thirteenth. More flowers than usual have fallen. 

How fitting for the year. An expedited bloom. 

White rain on concrete. Why do you cry Sakura?

A redder face than usual. Cherry-stained by a Lady Rona. 

Or is it the weather? This March sports a warmer Washington.  

Either way you still have the grace to dance. 


Could I win your favor next year? Might I interest you in a dance? 

Is it rude if I step on your cousins that have fallen?

Truth be told I’ve never been to Washington.

I’ll fill you in on all the details on your next bloom. 

Maybe we have a new roommate in Lady Rona. 

Seasonal like the flu. I guess y’all have that in common Sakura. 


And there’s a reason I wrote about you this year Sakura. 

It’s said there’s renewal every time you choose to dance. 

I’m reminded how we’re similar thanks to Lady Rona. 

Our beauty only transient before our petals have fallen. 

But we must leave good soil for the new flowers to bloom.

What do you say Mr. Washington?


Ms. Sakura. Aren’t you mesmerized by Lady Rona?

From Washington back around, she made this world dance. 

A million petals for the fallen, who couldn’t blossom past her bloom.

About the author

Poet & Prose Writer | Age: 23 | U.S. Marine Corps Veteran view profile

Published on June 15, 2020

3000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by

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