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It’s often just in black and white,
my first thoughts. I will save, hoard
the old news for emergency reading
in the bathroom during the pandemic
because there’s a deficiency of toilet
paper and it is gratifying when I wipe
my mind clean of the partisan news
with so many unkind words that kill
the human spirit as much as the disease.
I want to read about winning the war
against the virus, about the emergency
first responders, the overworked nurses
and the diligent doctors demonstrating
what their oath really means. Tell me
about the minimum wage workers
who disinfect a thousand hospital beds
so we can have a clean place to die.

John C. Mannone has poems appearing/accepted in the 2020 Antarctic
Poetry Exhibition,
North Dakota Quarterly, The Menteur, Blue Fifth
, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. His poetry won the
Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest (2020). He was
awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and
served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry
Societies (2018). His latest collection,
Flux Lines: The Intersection of
Science, Love and Poetry
, is forthcoming from Linnet’s Wings Press
(2020). He edits poetry for
Abyss & Apex and other journals. A retired
physics professor, he lives near Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Previously published in
Eleventh Transmission:
"Doctor: A Warrior" by Chandana L. Reddy.

Published April 20, 2020

45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic


by John C. Mannone
(Niota, Tennessee, USA)
45 Poems of Protest: "Newspaper" by John C. Mannone
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45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic - - image shows pills arranged to spell, 'COVID-19'.
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