Editor’s Note: We wish to thank Teresa Mei Chuc for sharing these poems that are of the moment and yet timeless. Laughter, love and life are what we cherish the most now.
Love in the Time of Coronavirus
People are buying groceries and other
needed items for the elderly in their neighborhood.
With people on lock down, social distancing,
school shutdowns, the air is cleaner
and the water is cleaner.
We’re spending more time with family,
and we have time to read.
There is an immediate need for universal
health care and basic income.
We are taking care of our health.
Los Angeles is opening more than 6,000
beds available in 1,600 emergency
shelters for people experiencing
People in prison are being released.
Food centers are open to give food
to students and others in need.
More people are gardening
and growing their own food.
A dream of a different life is crawling out
of this darkness where we could
reimagine and realize another world.
Morning light. Photo by Eddie Wong.
Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus
I saw my high school students for the first time today,
about a week after the schools shut down
to curb the spread of covid-19.
Seeing my students on Zoom and hearing
their voices, listening to their worries, laughter
and stories was so healing even on a computer screen.
I can teach literature and the human condition,
but the lesson my students will learn
the most is from this situation, about life,
and the importance of our ability
to imagine something different,
to create, to connect
and to help each other survive.
Reeds in morning light. Photo by Eddie Wong
Poet Laureate of Altadena, California (2018 to 2020), Teresa Mei Chuc is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, Red Thread (Fithian Press, 2012), Keeper of the Winds (FootHills Publishing, 2014) and Invisible Light (Many Voices Press, 2018). She was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. under political asylum with her mother and brother shortly after the Vietnam War while her father remained in a Vietcong “reeducation” camp for nine years. Her poetry appears in journals such as Consequence Magazine, EarthSpeak Magazine, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Kyoto Journal, Poet Lore, Rattle and in anthologies such as With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century (West End Press, 2014) and Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees (W.W. Norton, 2017). Teresa is a graduate of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and teaches literature and writing at a public high school in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Skyline from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Photo by Mike Murase.
Editor’s Note: Dispatches are bulletins from near and far as we cope with the public health crisis engulfing people across the globe. Tell us your story and show us how you feel about struggling to create a better world while living amidst great uncertainty. Submit by going to Contact Us, which is on the menu bar underneath the masthead.