Rules Were Never Meant for Surviving inspired by Wanda Coleman’s Rules 

Carla Schick 

don’t walk so close
to the invisible lines
down the sidewalk
you might get crossed
don’t read
so much your eyes
might go askew
lose focus blur
into sunlight

to splatter
watch their words form
the same way they pummeled Jewish boys on a Friday night walking home from Shabbat services
watch the shape
of their lips throwing
curses out a school bus window at a Black man waiting
on the corner for the light
to change
learn to slide down

stand up throw bricks
when they pull out their metal knuckles on a Puerto Rican guy waiting for his dad
to wave him into the car
flick your lit cigarette
into the car seat
of the guys who beat you the guys who snickered
at men who wouldn’t catch them at women who drank their spirits
watch the flames
spread ear to ear
wipe the smile away
re-emerge in another life time so no one will notice acts of sabotage.

with smoke
remember your hands
are meant for rough
work fists
into walls
a scrawl
don’t stare
at the boys snorting
crystal meth in the back
of a school bus
they might bump into your head cause your brain

the dirt lot of broken glass
and used needles
learn how to blow smoke
in perfect circles
don’t walk alone
in the dark and if you must
stay in the gutter
where streetlights shine
masquerade your body
beneath plastic jackets
and three layers of shirts

Marketplace Prose · Paris Penaranda

What Time It Is quarantine, day # 101 Kitty Costello

It’s a different kind of morning
especially since it’s 1:30 in the west coast afternoon

still so near solstice
I woke up at 5
wondering if the sun had ever
gone all the way down last night

the all-too-familiar
quarantine jitters attending me
for no apparent reason

and after such a nice dream chat
with Governor Newson about the fine job he’s doing

then needlepointing my
heebee jeebees into
the leopard print eyeglass case
that sat for a decade half-done
on a high closet shelf
until quarantine
now almost finished
(the needlepoint that is,
not quarantine)

sewing away until
virtual meditation time

then a teapot’s worth

of chats with friends
across the bay
across the globe

Seattle, Toronto, Florence, Italy, Saudi Arabia where it’s almost bedtime by now and
by the way
where no Muslims may travel to Mecca this year
for their Hajj pilgrimage
due to COVID fears

which never happened before in all of history
except for during the Mongol invasion of 12 hundred something

this 5th pillar of Islam
and so much else
not to be leaned upon
just now

and the next thing you know it’s not morning