The Last Words from Her Phone

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has done everything within their power to expunge Dr. Ai Fen’s interview off the Internet, and now she herself is gone, the last message on her phone in Chinese: “a river, a bridge, a clock chime.” Also disappeared are Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi, and Li Zehua, three citizen journalists who reported on the coronavirus in Wuhan and dangerously posted videos of overwhelmed hospitals and corpses piled in a minibus. Where are they now?

by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei

A river—flows beneath gray sky, gray empty, vast and wide,
A bridge—of steel crosses it; it goes from side to side.
A clock chime—rises over it; its faint sound barely heard.
That is the message from Wuhan; there is no other word.
Aye, when will it be over—this great plague that ‘s crossed the Globe?
Aye, when will Earth be healed from—all these agonies untold?
Aye, when will Life again be focused on the good and true?
Aye, when will Time release Us from such misery and rue?
We hear the message—quiet, clear—its purport loud and here.
It penetrates, aye, fen and street and vast, gray atmosphere.




by “Lice Brews” Ueda

Drinking tea alone,
scrolling for news on the phone:



(Twi-)Lights Out


by Raymond Gallucci

Apocalypse has come,
Coronavirus won.
__We dare not venture far from home,
__Or overseas to Bonn or Rome.

And even though we stay,
We’re likely not okay.
__For anyone we care to meet,
__We dare not with a handshake greet.

When everyone’s contagious
And normalcy’s outrageous,
__The Twilight Zone’s most dire fictions
__Now seem accurate predictions.

Appears we all are doomed,
Brunhilda Fat has boomed.
__So just before that final cough,
__If you’re the last, turn Earth’s lights off.





by Raymond Gallucci

Weeks of endless isolation,
Locking down humanity.
We’re Coronavirus Nation
Threatening our sanity.

Wearing masks like masqueraders,
Washing hands compulsively.
Danse Macabre as knight crusaders—
Virus fought repulsively.

Month of April has been cancelled,
With the prospects bleak for May.
Life itself is at a standstill
Till comes Summer Solstice Day?

Home has now become a prison,
Just parole for groceries.
Horsemen specters have arisen.
Wake me when it’s over, please.




by Joe Tessitore

There once was a plague from the East
Born of an unsavory feast
Of snakes and of bats
And of dogs and of cats




Pandemic Prediction

by Lucy Cortese

Decreed throughout the world in every city suburb and rural town
Do not travel! Shelter in place! and always hunker down!

In nine months come December arrives a novel Christmas story
Miraculous multitude of newborns named “Covida” and “Coray.”





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12 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Suggested last line for Joe Tessitore’s limerick:

    And that’s only saying the least.

  2. Mike Bryant

    The hard-hitting poetry above highlights the sorry state of a world giving support to a ruthless, totalitarian regime.
    The title “People’s Republic of China” illustrates the illegitimacy of the CCP. Authoritarianism is spreading along with the CCP virus.

    But… didn’t Hollywood and CNN and NBC and the NYT and others we know explain that the CCP are the “good guys”???

    Another suggested last line:
    The chi coms reveal they’re the beast.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Ever since Communism was overthrown in the Soviet Union and the Russians returned to sanity, Mainstream Media in the West has focused on Red China as the last surviving hope of left-liberalism. They would have preferred to worship Cuba or Venezuela, but those two places are now so obviously in the sewer that promoting them would have been blatantly laughable.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    OK, Joe, here’s my ending:

    And the bones of the lately deceased.

    Or this:

    And some sweat from the palms that were greased.

    Or even this:

    And the gall of a bishop or priest.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    With a nod to Lewis Carroll for this one:
    And a frumious Bandersnatch beast.

    And now the whole globe has been fleeced.

    Now the world’s population’s decreased.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    “The Last Words from Her Phone” is haunting, chilling, and heart-rending. It makes one think of the pure evil lurking behind the increasingly flimsy façade of the CCP. The last message on Dr. Ai Fen’s phone (“a river, a bridge, a clock chime) sounds very much like the beginnings of a poem noting a journey. The message reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s, “Because I could not stop for Death”. A truly moving piece.

    • Lu "Reed ABCs" Wei

      Ms. Bryant is absolutely right, and perspicacious: Ai Fen’s words are “haunting, chilling and heart-rending”, given the context of her disappearance. Were they her last message? Was she cut off, and that was all she could write? Were those words put on her phone or left on her phone by the authorities? When I read a news-story on her disappearance and saw the words, they did very much seem poetic, “very much like the beginnings of a poem”. I like Ms. Bryant’s idea of them being, like “noting a journey”, reminiscent of Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”, one of the classics of 19th century American literature. Though I do not possess Dickinson’s remarkable poetic vision, in striving for a different vision, her poetic works are often in my rear-view mirror.

  6. "Lice Brews" Ueda

    It is amazing how easily the work of Issa can be used at this moment in time.


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