Mask Time

by Faruk Buzhala


Masks seal mouths as shut-up does
mystifying lips, shrouding smiles; then our
Teeth are but hermits, what’s bad breath
then? as words sift thru sans regrets.

We wanna beat them viruses, beat
Them from coming in and going out

Masks scab makeup, rendering
Lipsticks oblivion, botoxed lips too
As we don’t believe we actually breathe

They sit on our falseness in this worst hour
As, not least responsible ones care for all

Streets are all masked people, come a familiar
Face, we let down guards sharing a glimpse 
A sign of the old tribe from an old habit!


Kohë maskash 

Bartim maska per te mbyllur gojet!
Nen to nuk na shihen buzet 
Nuk na shihen dhembet
Nuk na dallohet buzeqeshja!
Nuk na ndjehet era kundermuese
Dhe fjalet i nxjerrim te paartikuluara!

Bartim maska per t’mos na hyre virusi brenda
Apo per t’mos e nxjerrur jashte nese brenda ate e kemi!

Bartim maska mbi maske fytyre!
Grave nuk u shihet buzekuqi 
Nuk u shihen buzet e fryra me botox 
Nuk iu ndjehet fryma!

Bartim maska origjinale
per te fshehur falsitetin tone
ne kete kohe pandemie
ndjekim keshilla nga insritucionet shendetsore
se si duhet kujdesur per veten dhe te tjeret 
Edhe pse shume nga ne ato nuk i zbatojme!

Bartim maska derisa ecim rrugeve
dhe kur te shohim fytyra te njohura ner to
Heqim maskat per t’i pershendetur
Ne shenje respekti!



Faruk Buzhala is a poet from Kosovo. He was the leader and manager of many events in the city of Ferizaj, including “De Rada” a literary club, 2012 – 2018, and the representative of Kosovo for the 100 TPC organization. He also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, travel tales, etc. He has published five books: Qeshje Jokeriane (Jokerian Smile) 1998, Shtëpia pa rrugë (House without road) 2009, Njeriu me katër hije (Man with four shadows) 2012, Shkëlqim verbërues (Blinding brilliance) 2015, and Një gur mangut (A stone less) 2018. His poem appears in English and the original Albanian. Darren Anthony was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Largo, MD. After many successful years in fashion and later restaurant management Darren decided to pursue his love of photography. His work has been featured in Der Spiegel and Musée Magazines. He resides in Bed-Stuy, New York. 


Cenotaph

by Sheila DC Robertson


I walk earth’s edge 
   where sea stitches sand 
   in shells and fragments 
Tiny cenotaphs along wrack lines 
   empty reminders of life 
   marking ephemeral tides
I reflect: What is constant?
   What is temporary?

                   *

Standing in lines   
   six feet of separation     
   distance    tension    shortages
Anticipating  breadlines   eviction notices

News oppresses in waves
    exhausted nurses   anti-maskers
The new normal 
    haggard faces of essential workers 
Meat packers   maids   garbage men
Cogs in assembly lines   suffering the virus
Armed resisters   infecting Democracy
Who manipulated the warnings?

Who will gain?    Who will lose?    Nightmares
   mass graves     funeral processions
I lie awake wondering 
   where the next danger lies

                    *

As I walk this tracery     I mourn 
       the wrack lines
          of spent life 
          the death of truth
            compassion and caring   
For empty ideals 
   Will there be a Cenotaph?



Sheila DC Robertson seeks beauty off the beaten path in the varied landscapes that define the Northwest. She is happiest wandering the Pacific’s edge or camped out in America’s remotest deserts.  Her articles, stories, and poetry reflect these rich landscapes. They have been printed in publications including Crab Creek ReviewTravel & Leisure Magazine, Trouvaille Review, New Feathers Review,Writer’s in the Attic and North Coast Squid. Darren Anthony was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Largo, MD. After many successful years in fashion and later restaurant management Darren decided to pursue his love of photography. His work has been featured in Der Spiegel and Musée Magazines. He resides in Bed-Stuy, New York.