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KCKPL Staff Editors Alyssa Grissom Jesseca Bear Joshua Peck Isaac Halberstadt

Cover art by Krista Suter

The opinions in this journal are those of the authors. They do not reflect the opinions and views of Kansas City, Kansas Public Library or Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. We have tried to respect a range of differing ideas and opinions while also limiting gratuitous and/or derogatory language. Patron authors are responsible for their own ideas and editing. Special thanks to KCKPL staff and administration for assisting in this project and thank you to all patron contributors.


WYANDOTTE WINDOW Table of Contents

Bryan Whitehead Quarantine............................4 Vickie Escarpita Untitled #1...........................5 Boyd Bauman Coronation….......................6 miceLLe Two Women........................7 Pandemic………………….8 Jim Schweers A COVID Moment..............9 Christen Fornal Untitled #2.........................10 Untitled #3.........................11 “Sad Sack” COVID Haiku Collection..12 Raziya Marks Prince and the Pandemic....13 Cedric Saunders “Here I Am”.......................15 G. Leayn Losh Untitled #4.........................16


QUARANTINE Bryan Whitehead


UNTITLED #1 Vickie Escarpita

One never expects to encounter silence and tranquility at the cinema, especially in the middle of the summer. On a typical summer evening the cinema would be filled with the sounds of popping popcorn and excited patrons. This summer was different. The theatre stood there, alone, a silent reminder of the virus that caused its temporary abandonment. It was as haunting as it was beautiful. The frames which once held an array of movie posters now hung empty. The inside consumed by darkness. The outside illuminated by its many bulbs. In times of desperation I would wind up here, seeking comfort in its stillness. The theatre served as a reminder, a reminder that at any moment all we hold dear could close its doors. A reminder that despite the madness, the lights continue to shine. Illuminating passerby’s with a sense of hope. A hope that those doors would open soon accompanied by a new normal.


CORONATION Boyd Bauman Barack has vacated in concert with competence, honesty and grace under pressure. We’re uncomfortable with every pretense of comfort coming from the mouth of the less than potentate, upon his golden throne staring at the sun’s golden ring, his limited focus focused on economic systems, while we citizens cringe at every cough coming from our respiratory systems, become acutely aware the gaps in a nation’s care systems, the hourly employed in its systems of commerce, systematic insurance inequalities, systemic gaps in safety nets, 24-7 systems of information, misinformation. I am among the fortunate sons whose family affords our cabin fever, this stir craziness, this March Madness, this quarantine, fr. 1: a period of 40 days, the intervals of trial for Noah, Jesus, and those of us with less-direct lines, less faith in expiration dates. In a final lesson before school closings, my seven-year-old was taught the recommended duration for hand washing: the happy birthday song two times through. This learning curve is steep, but we scrub, and sing, and scrub, as if prepping for some crowning achievement, and though we are a celebratory nation, we seem to be aging at twice our usual rate.


TWO WOMEN miceLLe Being overwhelmed by the sadness of loss is easy. Those thoughts of those whom we miss and will never see again, will never share with again, will fill us with a void so empty we cannot muster enough to erase the darkness. Rather, it is easier to recall and celebrate the beauty we took for granted, the happiness we shared, the comfort of the relationship, the years of memories that ought not be deleted. An apartment I had in New York was up eighty-four steps one way. My cousin Debra lived in Brooklyn on the fourth floor of a walk up, steps to climb. She would come to visit me. To do that she had to take the train, sometimes the train that stopped in the sub-basement of Bloomingdales would be switched to the express track which stopped at a sub sub-basement which means two hundred twenty stairs more to climb. Debbie was the gentlest, softest and kindest of people. When you looked into her eyes her kindness would soothe as much as hug, her heart was always filled with love. She died on April seventh this year after living several years in a nursing home after quadruple bypass surgery, diabetes and no longer being able to walk. She died of covid-19. Her mother, my Aunt Terri on the other hand, the toughest and gruffest of dames you would ever encounter. Her vocabulary was mostly X-rated expressed with a robust bellow to let you know the words were truly meant. She was a single mom to Debbie working as a waitress. She was a creature of the 'reverse psychology' school. Even though she adored Debbie she indulged in insulting her most days. Aunt Terri was a woman to be respected, she was always poor, could not repair her twenty-year-old car, could barely pay her rent even though it was rent controlled and the same place she lived in when her husband was still there more than seventy years ago. She loved to laugh. Aunt Terri fell last year, was moved from the hospital to a nursing home, a different one than where her daughter Debra was. Aunt Terri died April eleven this year from COVID-19. While there is the sadness and mourning for my personal loss I have the happiest of memories of two women so very different and both so close to my heart. Both women had positive impacts on my life and I am celebrating who they were and not crying for my loss.


PANDEMIC miceLLe The loneliness of loss surrounds us. The telephone rings, we want not to answer. A search for solace in memories of yesterday: aches, sorrows, smiles, satisfactions. Pleasures peek, a short wink, then we smile and wander through the pages of reverie, we fall into slumber hugging with fondness, the past.


A COVID Moment Jim Schweers You unwrap a new bar of soap. Nothing unusual, Except that there's nothing where there should be something: a whiff of cheap perfume. You hold it to your nose: NoThing. You think, "It's got me." Do you feel it, the other, inside you? A buzzing behind your eyes? In your body, a rider? As the wrapper leaves your hand to fall into the waste basket, you glimpse the word: unscented.


UNTITLED #2 Christen Fornal


UNTITLED #3 Christen Fornal


COVID HAIKU COLLECTION “Sad Sack” Are you there Covid? It is me, Sad Sack, please do Not come for me, thanks. If you want to be My COVID boyfriend, leave your Baggage at the door I don’t mind wearing A mask unless there is a Damn dog hair in it. The best thing about COVID-19 is getting A dog. I love her. I could have worked out During this pandemic but Of course I did not. Writing these haikus I learned this about my life: It is depressing. When will this end? I Do not mean the pandemic, I mean my haikus.


PRINCE AND THE PANDEMIC Raziya Marks Our story begins in a beautiful castle. With a King, a Queen, and a Prince. The castle sat in a plush village of colorful fruits, vegetables, trees, bushes, flowers, and wildlife! The Royal family were truly a beautiful trio. They were three different shades of stunning browns, their hair was thick with bounds of black strands streaming from their crowns and their smiles were radiant bolts of ivory. They were a happy family and enjoyed playing music and singing together. From the time Prince Hasani was born, music was used to celebrate births, weddings, graduations and served as a tool to bring families together and showcase individual talent throughout the kingdom! Music is a part of the rich land of Quansas and its people. Hasani was touched by the music fairy very early. Before he could walk, Prince Hasani loved to make noise and dance! He would stand and wiggle, stomp one foot, or shimmy before falling on his diapered bottom. He would bang pots and pans, tap pencils, strum curtains, pluck strings, whistle and attempt to sing. He always thought that he was making music but some people who were in ear’s distance of his musical performances would sometimes beg to differ. As he grew, he kept a song in his heart, and a beat in his step. One day, like so many before, Hasani was overtaken by a beat created by the wind blowing through an open window as it slapped against the castle wall. Following the beat, Hasani searched the room for a dance partner. Hasani, asked for the hand, hmmm… stem, hmmm... or branch of the nearest and largest plant he could find. A towering African Violet plant was whisked from the floor to join Hasani as he twirled and stepped to follow the rhythm of nature. The room changed to a ballroom. Hasani smiled widely, and a ray of pearls arose from his grin. The plant grew legs and the two were off! The dance ended in Hasani dipping the potted flower. As the dance ended, Queen Zola was entering the room. She strolled across the floor just in time to catch her lovely flower before it hit the ground! (I say she strolled, instead of ran. The Queen never ran. She was never too hasty in any matter.) The Prince awoke from his daydream as the Queen startled him! The Queen sat her son down and discussed with him the worries of his father. King Kama wondered how strong of a king Hasani would be one day amidst his love for music and dancing. The Queen urged Hasani to take his future responsibilities more seriously. Hasani listened and stopped dancing and singing and focused more on his training to prepare for battle. The Queen noticed that her son was not as happy anymore. She thought of ways to help her son be who he wants to be. And so, the plans were made to have a ball in Prince Hasani’s honor. She spread the word and put up flyers about the affair to be held at the castle. Queen Zola put up the last flyer and she began to walk back to the castle. A green covered hand grabbed and balled up the flyer. That hand belonged to Queen Rot. She was not an actual Queen but rather a low-budget leader of an underground wretched bunch of creatures called the “Slug people.” She did not want music to be heard again in the kingdom and she went to work to make a spell.

14 “Toad’s fingers, Shark’s ears, search far and search near. Stir it slowly, add some fear. Salamander wings, and Cobra feet, a dab of mistrust makes the potion complete. Repeat after me. Smoky, smoky, smell the aroma, spread to the people, I call it Corona.” And just like that a sickness fell over the country of Quansas. The ball was cancelled! The villagers were ordered to stay in their homes unless they needed food or water. If someone needed to leave their home, they were given instructions to cover their faces with cloths to cover their sneezes and coughs. This dark time to seemed to last a long time. The people of Quansas began to lose hope and they felt alone and isolated from one another. The Prince came up with an idea to still have the ball but keep the distance of a broom between dancers and people talking to try to stop the sickness from spreading. But the broomstick trick did not seem to keep everyone from getting sick. The music and the vibrancy of Quansas was gone. Queen Rot loved this and her Slug People thrived on the feelings of hopelessness. Until… There was a family on the end of town that was planning to move to another village to flee from the sickness. This family had a daughter named Rye and she loved to play the violin. She wanted to play a song for the prince before she left. She stood outside of the castle and played her violin so beautifully that it woke the Prince from his stupor. As she played, life and hope and joy returned to Quansas. The song of her violin hurt the ears of the Slug People and they retreated to the forests. Queen Rot’s spell was lifted by the love that filled the heart of Prince Hasani and the kingdom once again! The moral of the story is that music can still connect us when we are going against something as dividing and devastating and detrimental as a global pandemic. “Play on, until there is no one left to listen.”


"HERE I AM...” Cedric Saunders Here I am writing for a bit While in quarantine I sit Ponder for hours to think of something funny instead sound like a dummy What is meter, what is prose? We ain't got none of those. What is tp what is class? I learn on Zoom and wipe my ass.


UNTITLED #4 G. Leayn Losh

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