‘New Normal’ Catch Up

by Mary Chydiriotis


Saturday night as I prepare for our catch up

cocktail glass enthusiastically stands upright

double shot vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice

a hint of lime     a smoky room

encased in laughter and music (fills my mind from another time)

Alicia Keys sings about leaving Brooklyn and being inspired by bright lights Empire State of Mind

I throw my (never worn) Damson blue pantsuit on the white cotton sheets

an elegant Mikimoto pearl necklace and earrings

mismatched they make for a funky ensemble

twenty-three minutes to seven

I gulp the drink and pour another

months ago an eighteen-dollar Cosmo sufficed

now two for one at bottle shops               free delivery

it’s cocktail paradise                            

hair iron heats

I apply eyeshadow

Mulberry Red lipstick

My bunny soft slippers are on stand by near the laptop

My recent book purchases stacked for show and tell

twelve minutes to seven and my hair still looks frizzy

five minutes to go I get into my outfit, slip on my heels, pour another drink

my hair is as straight as it’s going to get

(I could always use a Snapchat filter)

I enter Zoom, pout and wait for Laura to start the meeting

I hear the whirr of a mini drone outside my window



Mary Chydiriotis lives in Melbourne. In 2019 a selection of Mary’s poems featured in ‘Poetry of the sun and the sea: from Homer to slam poetry’, a Greek Studies course at La Trobe University. Loud and Red, her first collection of poetry, was published by Ginnindera Press in 2020. Viswan Zorba is a stereo composing artist who burnt midnight oil in a Pune film studio for three years, before returning to Kerala to rediscover so many things including its weather and cuisine, alongside developing camaraderie with his father. The duo hit bumpy roads across Kerala in a beat up car, meeting people and filming his father’s meditation tutorials for a YouTube channel, thus exploring his interests in film-making.  

Corona

by Judith Barrington


Some people think I’m overdoing it—
crip on a mobility scooter,
face like a bandit,
friends visited courtesy of the web
(which is how we must enjoy theatres,
concerts and anything else we grab
from out there in the virus-heavy world.)
In Zoom, our heads, like the rest of us,
shrink daily. But no—I am hardly overdoing it:

all my life I took risks, but now, old,
I make do with common sense,
no longer take chances—
not with emergency rooms where
I’ve spent oh-so-many hours; and not
with that heart-centered ward where
last year, my fisted organ bulged out—
something like a lobster pot—and its name,
“coronary,” smiled wide enough to swallow
up all the letters in the virus’ name.



Judith Barrington’s sixth collection, Long Love: New & Selected Poems came out from Salmon Poetry in 2018. Her poems have appeared in journals including Prairie Schooner, Americas Review, Kenyon Review, ZYZZVA, The American Voice and Poetry London. Her Lifesaving: A Memoir won the Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. She was a faculty member at the University of Alaska, Anchorage’s MFA Program and has taught for The Poetry School (UK), Stanford University, The Arvon Foundation, and programs across the US. She is co-founder of Soapstone Inc., an organization offering study groups on women writers in Portland, Oregon. Viswan Zorba is a stereo composing artist who burnt midnight oil in a Pune film studio for three years, before returning to Kerala to rediscover so many things including its weather and cuisine, alongside developing camaraderie with his father. The duo hit bumpy roads across Kerala in a beat up car, meeting people and filming his father’s meditation tutorials for a YouTube channel, thus exploring his interests in film-making.