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     The Literary Review
                                                                          Issue 8

Page 53

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Pandemic Pandemonium from the Epicenter

Everyone’s divided
Everyone’s choosing sides
Any move towards the middle
Is seen as an act of treason or suicide

Not everyone’s taking a stand
Many are content
To hide their heads in the sand
Other’s throw up their hands
They just don’t understand

Few know what’s at stake
They let supporters of the status quo
Make the same mistakes

People will do what they please
Without compunction
Just as sure as we’re slaves
To our bodily functions

It’s obvious for all to see
There is no secure location available
For you to rest with your dreams
We are the results of our evasions

When we were young, the Vietnam War
Thinned out the ranks of the baby boomers
We being killed off by the Covid 19 Virus
During our golden years
In this election year of fear

  Drew Marshall__


All the Rage

Worn by the jagged whirlwind
We live in the aftermath’s scorn
Drenched in the stench of time
Navigating temptation’s wreckage

War torn minds house savage cargos
Hearing mercenary music
As snow buries fire under heaven

History is a race for political convenience
We reap the barren harvest
From the sewers of antiquity
While art escapes me at minimum wage

Some still seek refuge
Under the trees of pity
The remain civilized malcontents
Exotic neurotics, jaded romantics
Knowing that time is stronger than leisure

Well rinsed bandits can ignore their nightmares
Slave bowls, filled to the brim with comfort
Owning hard core vanities and punk hospitality
Immune to the cries
Of joyful tears and humiliating dignity

They rein over forgotten fugitives of existence
Whose vagabond eyes
Enhance their empty fortune
While fighting in their sleep
To restrain pedestrian rage

We are toxic willows
Blowing in all directions
Existing on false hope and blind faith
To plow through each day

  Drew Marshall__

Identity Theft

Mothers are ignoring their children
When I leave my apartment for work every morning
In the lobby sits a young woman, waiting with her child for the school bus
The lady seems oblivious to her son’s existence
She is immersed in a trance like state, wired to her smart phone

One look at me and the child runs over and slams his body into mine
Slaps me on the back while saying hello with a warm smile
The boy is starved for attention
The woman looks up, apologizes, then returns to her virtual companion

Another young mother walks about thirty feet in front of me
Her preschool age daughter lags about twenty feet behind her
The kid trips and falls
She picks herself up from the ground
The mom, never once looking back, reaches the corner

Tearing herself away from the cell phone
She looks around, noticing the girl is not by her side
Mother chastises little girl for not keeping up

The young man is walking his dog
Every time the poor pet tries to lift his leg or squat to relieve himself
The man keeps pulling him forward, never looking back
He cares only about the conversation he is having
Through the communication device

When I walk Brando, my Shepherd-Lab mix
I love to observe his behavior and talk to other dog owners
It is a pleasant diversion from the routine grind

I’m far from a Luddite
I use these devices and computers everyday
For business and pleasure
But I don’t welcome this new technology with open arms

I’ve been victimized by identity theft several times
The hackers got into my checking account though my debit cards

  Drew Marshall__

© Daniel Conklin: Moonlight
                          © Daniel Conklin: Moonlight

Welcome Mat

In the reception area
By the windowsill
On a coffee table
Sat a straw basket

Filled to the brim with condoms
In pretty, multi colored wrappers
They came in a variety of flavors

Quite casually displayed
As though they were candies
A treat to welcome visitors

I wondered what mixed messages
Are being delivered to our consumers

I am employed by
An alleged, mental health provider

  Drew Marshall__


Dead Friends Sonata

We grew up together
I knew you better than anyone else
You confided in me more than your wife
You never had it easy
Yet you wound up doing all right
Success has its price

You stuck with your life threatening job
For your adopted daughter and your wife
Trying to endure and ignore the stress
Hoping you live long enough
To see your pension benefits

The mortgage albatross hung from your neck
It had you in its vice like grip
Now your wife is a widow
Your daughter, fatherless

The reception that followed was morbid
Screams fell on deaf ears
The silence was crying
The dead cheered

I told the widow
The soul of the departed said to me
God spoke to him about his past
I asked what God sounded like
My friend replied
“Just like Johnny Cash”

To imagine that was satisfying
I’m trying to think positive
So it’s not lying

You were the last friend I had left
Several months later
I put my dog to rest

  Drew Marshall__