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Songs of Pandemics and Wine

A Sampling of Verse
By Catalan Ghee
Persepex Brown

The hearse driver

      nervous in the lights

Jumped the curb

      and sheared off

The stately rose bush

At the entrance

             to the manicured cemetery

      pride of the little town

Lutherans on the right, Catholics left

A small triangular patch in the back

         reserved for “other”

Was the final destination for Persepex Brown

A sharp inconvenience for the news vans

Two from the state capital

              talk of the town

(As for Brown’s religious preferences

        nobody seemed to know

Turned down flat by Becca Smith at 20

      Brown resigned to a life of


Parents gone

A sole surviving sister in Florida

      with neither money nor patience

For a mid-western funeral

          failed to return all calls)

“Old Pers,” as few called him,

      mostly kept to himself

And mostly showed up on time to clerk

         the hardware store

A mostly adequate employee

Suddenly flamed bright

           as both

The first reported case

      and first fatality

from COVID 19

In all of the five counties

No viewing for “Old Pers,”

       no embalming even

He would go to his rest in his HAZMAT bag

          sealed hermetically

In an otherwise practical coffin

The whole town showed

      jostling for a better view while

Clucking about social distance

Only the sharp elbows of the photographers

          kept them at bay

The hearse had barely stopped

When a short round fellow

      with a porcine face

Burst before the cameras

“They got it wrong, they got it wrong!”

          he bellowed

“The medical examiner has mixed

      the records

This is the wrong Brown!

COVID Brown is a young farmer

          two counties over

Who has


Fully recovered after a mild illness

‘Old Pers’ here died of pneumonia

          brought on by the

plain old flu.”

A collective groan

Lights off, mics boxed

        the vans were off in minutes

Pastor Bob alone remained

      Bible in hand

Lamenting the passage

Of a slightly above average and really

      fairly decent man.

All glory is fleeting

Even in death


                  ….. especially in death

A Cake for the End of Days

What might you think

Will be your last act

          on Earth?

A wheeze into a respirator?

Perhaps to drop, stone-like, mid-line


One last mediocre couplet?

Or to bake a cake?

A new delicate twist

             on an ancient recipe

Not some nouveau experiment

With tar-pit texture

Flavored of kale and quinoa

Crunched with shards of mammoth tusk


Just a different variety of apple

       than dictated

Perhaps a hint of cardamom

   or allspice

Light, airy, subtle

Befitting your final day

      cut down while positioning the cooling racks

By the phage-of-the-month club

Or a light plane

           stalling out just a mile short of the runway

Or some nebulous genetic deficiency

    not yet know to science

Light, airy, subtle

You hope this cake is served

As Saint Peter’s interview awaits

    at the end of a very long line

Where prospects, if memory serves,

      may not be the best

With luck

           they might serve seconds

COVID 19 Primer Number 11

Arguing Causality Against

Grand Gaianists Takes

Alphabetic Consonance Glibly

Transmitted To Arching

Antagonists Through Alliterative

Gustatory Typological Tactics

Alarmingly Articulated Toward

Aggrandizing Gloriously Clothed

Golden Temptresses

The Sea Monster

They measure her decking in acres

The holding cells in feet.

Carvings out of carvings out of the great beast

Carving through the sea.

Drizzle goes to pelting rain

No ice-rhyme in these latitudes

No need to pray for wind to break the doldrums

The beast, fired inside,

Outwits the spluttering typhoon.


But now, much later

Is that not the great beast

Guarded at anchor?

Struck crippled, a floating prison box?

Laid low by a speck of a thing,

One millionth of a single cell.

A witless thing,

No typhoon

One millionth of a single cell.

Fearful Treatises

I sing thee fearful treatises

Afore my brow

    thou tremblest


         to the spineless dark

Invertebrated in your

     tide-pooled capacity.


Whimper if you will

     embracing the terror of all unseen things.

Poisons, toxins, phages, mycelia,


Electrons can kill you

Electrons will kill you

     (Protons? Don’t even get me started

            on protons!)

The binarity of fight or flight

     admits no nuance

No quantification

   No paused consideration.

Flight it is.


Fear the unseen world?

It’s necareous embrace

     engulfing from all angles

Twists and tangles in your eyes

            and lungs

            and ears

            and ghoulish viscera


And all your good deeds?

A single mote aflutter in a

     whispered breeze

Devoid of weight and scarce of mass

Unregistered on the cosmic scales

Go now! Cower

     Cower in the damp and dark

Cloaked in invisible things

     Cower in your dank cellar,

Stacked to the rafters with

            oat milk and toilet paper

Fight or flight, say I.

     Fight or flight rings from these

           fearful treatises


“Yes, I think we’ll go with flight, professor.”

The nodding young woman grabbed her

           yap-jawed boyfriend

And ever so carefully

     pulled closed the door to the

Lecture hall

     behind them


By Catalan Ghee

From Songs of Pandemics and Wine

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