Archives for posts with tag: Heroes

david

Haiku
by Roberta Beary

9/11
my brother pauses
to breathe

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this haiku about my brother David and his work on 9/11. Now retired from NYPD, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers were under attack, he safeguarded those living and working in lower Manhattan. In the days following, I could not reach him. I feared he had not survived the attacks. It was only years later that I learned he volunteered to be stationed at Ground Zero for an extended period, risking his own health in the process. This uncredited photo of my brother was taken during that time.

beary3ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Beary’s second collection of short poems, Carousel, is co-winner of the Snapshot Press 2019 book award contest. Her first short-form collection, The Unworn Necklace, received a finalist book award from the Poetry Society of America. Her collection of prose poetry, Deflection, was named a National Poetry Month Best Pick by Washington Independent Review of Books. A long-term editor at Modern Haiku, she lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, Frank Stella, and tweets her photoku and micro-poetry on Twitter @shortpoemz. Read more at her website or on Facebook.

Author portrait by Henry Denander

DHARNI 2
Behind the Iron Bars
by Vandita Dharni

Every morning I wake up to a familiar clattering sound. It’s the sanitation worker with the black mask. I wince—he always arrives a tad early to collect the garbage.

I flinch at the iron bars that distance me from the macrocosm as I watch him, and yet I don’t, vanishing into its folds. Then in a fleeting second, he reappears, offering biscuits to a black stray dog that eyes them hungrily—well, so do the ravens that perch on a tree above him every day. I know why he does this, for black is always lucky. The garbage van trundles towards the B-2 block where the road forks near the containment zone of our sector. The containment and non-containment zones are distinguished by yellow and black bags used for waste disposal, later transported to a compost yard in Sector 38. Pending electricity bills and crumpled clothes peer at me while I pour a cup of black coffee that has been brewing with my musings.

I often peer into the black bag he carries from a neighbour’s yard each day—the same vegetable peels, crunched paper balls, and household trash. I hear him instructing co-workers about safety guidelines and black bags that must be handpicked from collection bins and yellow bags which contain biomedical waste that needs to be segregated.

Our area has now reported twenty positive cases. The fences frown with boards restricting entry. He also collects trash from these locations. A week later, I notice him coughing incessantly. The iron bars of my heart bleed into ink that reads: “Two sanitation workers in the yellow bag area have tested positive.” My black coffee brews with thoughts whether black is still lucky or not.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There has been an escalation of Covid-19 cases in the city of Chandigarh, with the toll rising to 1092 active cases, according to today’s statistics. Twenty-two cases in my sector have been reported so far, and no fresh cases have been detected for a few days. We adhere to the norms of social distancing and venture out only if it’s really necessary. During these challenging times, I have been confined to my home most of the time and do my work online. A lot of people who provide us with essential services have impacted me, and one such worker is Charanjeet. ¶ This particular sanitation worker has always been very positive and does his duty with a smile. He picks up refuse every day without fail, as do the other sanitation workers in Chandigarh. His family lives with him in Derrabassi, a tiny village on the outskirts of Chandigarh, and he has to support them financially. India is a progressive, yet poverty-stricken country, and Charanjeet is making both ends meet to give his family a respectable life. He had a bout of viral fever recently, but thankfully it was not Covid-19, and is he is back on his feet now, which is a relief for all of us who really salute front-line workers such as him.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Charanjeet’s photograph was clicked outside my gate by me and is used by permission.

DHARNI 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vandita Dharni is an acclaimed poet, scholar and, a gold medalist from the University of Allahabad, India. She has a Ph.D.  degree in American Literature from the same university. Her articles, poems, and stories have been published in many journals, including Criterion, Ruminations, GNOSIS, HellBound Publishing House, as well as International magazines such as Immagine, Poessia, Synchronised Chaos, Poleart Albani, Sipay, Fasihi, and Guido Gozzano. Her books include The Oyster of Love,  Rippling Overtures, and Quintessential Outpourings, and she is the proud recipient of the Poetic Galaxy Award 2018, the World Poetic Star Award 2019, and the Rabindranath Tagore Award 2020. Her work recently appeared in Our Poetry Archive.

licensed Thomas Carlson
While many of us are working at home and limiting our time outside, the world has to keep moving – and people on the front lines are making that happen. Let’s celebrate these heroes with our PRIME MOVERS Poetry & Prose Series – and pay tribute to our health care workers, child and elder care providers, teachers, postal workers, delivery staff, warehouse workers, trash collectors, food service workers, grocers, gas station staff, auto mechanics, bus drivers, train engineers, veterinarians, barbers, beauticians, and so many others who are putting themselves out there to maintain life as we know it.

PROMPT: Think about a front-line worker that you’ve interacted with or have observed doing his or her work. Tell us about your interactions or observations in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer — this word limit also applies to prose poems).  We prefer narrative work written from a personal perspective, and avoid material that attempts to speak for the world at large or comes across as didactic or preachy.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media. We are a nonprofit blog and offer no monetary compensation to contributors — the main benefit to you is that we will publicize your work to our 10,000+ followers. If your piece was previously published, please tell us where/when so we can credit the original publisher.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press PRIME MOVERS Poetry and Prose Series on our blog starting in late August 2020. We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, email address). Also list your home state or country.

3. In the same MS Word document, include a one-paragraph author’s bio, written in the third person. You are encouraged to include links to your books, websites, and social media accounts — we want to help promote you!

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process written in the first person (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. If available, send a photo of yourself with the person you’re writing about — or a photo of the person you’re writing about — as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). If you submit a photo of the worker, let him/her know it will be featured on a blog and ask if the person would like us to include his/her name. (If the person agrees, ask for an email address so we can inform him/her of the post.) We are making reporters out of all who submit for this series!  If possible, also send an additional author’s photo for your bio. Title the photos with your last name (e.g., Jones1.jpg, Jones2.jpg).

6. Email to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com — and put  “PRIME MOVERS” in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

PHOTO: U.S. Post Office worker, Bisbee, Arizona (April 2020) by Thomas Carlson, used by permission.