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poem

2021 Margaret Price Pandemic Pandemic Staff Contributors Poetry

With the Band

Written by Margaret Price

One bar, or two, or maybe even three.
You sit and beat on barstools keeping time
To jazz or blues or even bad Bad Company
Drink beer and smile to say: “I’m here. I’m fine.”

“My boyfriend’s there. The drummer with the band.”
That charm you use to keep lost souls at bay.
Most times it works, but still will they demand
Concession that the world still spins their way?

Unwelcome? Yes! And almost never meant.
Be gracious, girl, it’s just a compliment.


Margaret Price is a mother, lawyer, and occasional scribbler.

2021 Contributing Writers Pandemic Poetry

Heat, transferring

Written by Tamiko Dooley

She peeks in the window.

He’s busy; surrounded by colourful bricks.
Inside it’s warm, and the fire keeps out the
Cold January frost.

He spots her and beams –
And rushes to the pane.
He knows by now he can’t dash to the door.

Two hands meet on the glass –
Hers: shrivelled, wrinkly and well-worn
The hand that fed, clothed and bathed me;
His: chubby and pen-stained, still
Alternately clinging to my legs and pounding the floor in frustration.

For a moment the world stops,
And these two souls, two sides of me
Collide. Gently.
She tells him silently
How much she misses him,
And he does the same.

The icy glass begins to warm under their palms
Until it’s time for her to leave,
To stay safe,

To stay apart.

Long after she’s gone,
The handprint remains there,
As warm and comforting as the promise of Spring
And brighter times to come.


Tamiko is a half-Japanese mother of two, born and brought up in England. She speaks several languages. When there’s no pandemic, she’s hired as a wedding pianist from time to time.

Jonas Guigonnat Poetry Sybrand Veeger TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

What Would A Technecracy Look Like?

Written by Sybrand Veeger and Jonas Guigonnat

Sybrand:

There is something romantic about an etymological voyage,
Something utopically revealing –
The feeling is akin to tracing back your genealogical roots:
Familiarizing yourself with familiarity,
Fathoming alternative familiarities:
Unearthing roots
To imagine trees.

Let me share a genealogical log with you:

This time Heidegger was my guide,
That German Virgil of meaning –
We sailed down into the etymological piths of technology,
That timeliest of concepts.

Currently, he said while descending,
Techno means something radically different from its Greek root:
Techne signifies something other than
Instrumental manipulation,
The obsession with means,
The encasing and concealment of nature.

Techne, rather, is not opposed to nature –
The craftsman, artisan, manufacturer,
Akin to the poet and the painter,
Brings forth a creation,
And, like nature’s disclosure of light,
The technecrat reveals,
un-conceals.

From this root, I imagine a tree,
I utopize:
What would a technecracy look like?

Jonas:

What would it be?
A possibility
A rhetoric answer to the didactic –
What would hell look like?
A travel through the world of words,
Might not be worth the bet:

Forgotten corners
Of human abysses.

It is now my turn to share something with you:

This time is not different than any other,
Chaos shall be our only friend –
Time and words are no sea to be sailed on,
For near those places there are no grounds to be found.

Mistakingly, heading toward nowhere,
Techno means the same as any other word:
Techne suggests the dream of
Human’s manipulation,
The creation of means,
The enchaining and impairment of nature.

Techne, then, becoming an arm of nature –
The charlatan, conman, mindreader,
Attached to the same fear that drives the righteous one,
Brings forth an illusion,
And, similar to nature’s inexistent logic,
The technecrat steals,
Mis-reveals

From this abyss, I shall see no tree,
I temporize:
What could a technocracy look like?

Sybrand:

Surely, from the hellish wells of history,
From the depths of human chaos,
At least one meaningful bucket can be drawn,
To pour upon ourselves,
To awaken us from present drowsiness?
To quench our thirst for hope?

Techne – that hellenic understanding of technology,
Reinvigorates our relationship with Gaia:

Re-embedded in the natural,
Technological production
Mutates into technelogical creation:

Re-embedded in the natural,
Productivity re-evolves into an essential craftsmanship,

Re-embedded in the natural,
Power as coercion becomes
Power as potential:
Common statecraft replaces
Distant democratic delegation,

Desperately in need of reinterpretation,
Let’s unearth the roots of our technological foundation,
To give birth to an earthlier sense of future procreation.
Poetry Sybrand Veeger TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

To Whistleblowing

Written by Sybrand Veeger

“Living comfortably yet unfreely –
That is something many are willing to accept.”

“Not me,” he says.

He spotted abuse and recognized its accumulation –
He could observe, from within,
The architecture,
Intricate and infinitely pervasive,
Of the Orwellian Leviathan:
Big brother’s eyes and ears multiplying,
And multiplying,
To see and hear all things communicated.
The most intimate of conversations – recorded,
A sensual exchange of images – surveilled and documented,
A google drive of private poetry – filed and stored.

The panopticon turned almighty,
Turned God?

“Don’t you realize you’ve helped create this monster?
Blow the whistle or I will end you!
You filthy animal!
I will eat through you like a worm and you will die a slow, painful death.”

His conscience made him an offer he couldn’t refuse…

The whistleblower, the bureaucrat,
The coggest cog in the omnipotent machine,
Turned martyr of some sorts,
Sacrificing his freedom for democracy? For the people?

I’m not sure.

His conscience simply played Don Corleone on him,
Threatened him with capital punishment.
Did he act out of heroism? Out of courage? Noble valiance?

Did he transcend his individuality to reach out for something greater?

I’m not sure.

One blows the whistle to self-preserve,
To survive;
Like a meerkat, in panic, calling out for the predators that nobody else can see.

The predators are dangerous, surely,
They’ll invade, sack, kill and eat up till stuffed.

What if the meerkat remained silent?
Wouldn’t conscience, then, become the most threatening,
The most dangerous of predators?

The whistleblower’s cry is the sound not of courage,
But of necessity:
Instinctiveness,
Biology.

I unsurely conclude:
Conscience defies the line drawn
Between nobility of heart and primitivity of gut;
Between what is deemed exclusive to a few higher spirits,
And what is common to all creatures,
Base or brave,
Courageous or cowardly.
Poetry Sybrand Veeger THE BODY AS A PRISON - November 2018

That Godly Chord That Strikes My Ear

Written by Sybrand Veeger

That godly chord that strikes my ear,
Pounds me down to beastly state:
A punch or blow that meets no fear,
That sends me through a holy gate.

My eyes drown, my hairs erect:
A scale of notes can madden – paralyze!
Yet, music-shock means to resurrect,
To lift off and hear God or Nature’s cries.

Happiness, joy, excitement: words insufficient
To describe the beautifully invasive mania.
Description: to do justice insufficient
To the perplexity of clarity: experienced contradiction.

A mental ascension? A bodily hijack?
Chopin’s ballade is psycho-physical kidnap:
Is it accurate to distinguish body and mind?!
Not when music strikes – when I yield to the sublime.