Jean Colonomos is a regular at our Online Zoom Open Mic and shares with us her wonderful and eclectic snapshots of thoughts, reflections, experiences and perspectives from 25 contributors to her magazine, The Canyon Chronicles, which has been independently speaking its voice since 1976 in Topanga, California, USA.
This selection comes from the Dear Reader section – a Covid-19 Diary where Jean has captured so much of the human spirit in all of its vivid movement through these turbulent, unsettling and uncertain times.
By Jean Colonomos September 17, 2021
from The Canyon Chronicle
Wanting some fun, I asked my contributors to write one to two sentences about what’s on their minds. There was no content agenda and I enjoyed the spontaneity of putting together what came in each day. I thank the 25 contributors who sent me their words.
“I’ve no idea where we are, but wherever we are, we’re getting there fast.”
Seti plays with her name: “SET you up. SET for life.”
“Stop; I just want the shenanigans to stop. Can we rise above our little selves?”
“How did I ever delude myself into believing that I could live with uncertainty?”
“I just finished reading an old Susan Sontag essay about Leni Riefenstahl’s cult of beauty in art and happened to think that it is little different from the art that created statues to Robert E. Lee and Father Serra, etc.—art celebrating the horrors of genocide. I am thinking about ramifying parallels in literature as well as in art and what they teach us about history, reason, and humanity.”
I was thinking as my town of Ashland, OR fills with smoke that we will never return to the pre-pandemic world.
How silly to think the sun only falls on others when you are feeling warm.
tick tock tick. the clock I carry is hurting my shoulders.
“He won’t let anyone tell him what to do; I like that.”
—Man overheard at Topanga’s Bistro restaurant.
“It was a dare and a spit and a hope that we were moving towards a new place, like chasing a storm or running through a batch of bad luck.”
—Millicent Borges Accardi, from her poem, “To Miss the Shadows.”
Who am I when I’m not doing for you? Do I know value myself in the stillness of the dark room?
What looks like a dead-end is only a different starting point. It may never be too late, but it can be too early. Time should be a tool, not a barrier.
I can’t fathom this world’s terrifying chaos, so look for goodness in my one little life.
Take a breath.
How many sleeps till camp starting? Who am I meant to be?
Can I stay home today all day? Going to the park is exhausting.
How much more summer do I have left before school?
I love summer, summer nights and summer dresses.
Reminder on iPhone: Do Laundry.
The greatest truth is what you conceive it to be.
Am I living now in a dream, feeling safe going to restaurants and stores? And/or did I have a very bad dream that I was locked in my house for 15 months with very, very limited human contact, my old celebratory self sinking into black?
—Jane Marla Robbins
I have a sense of calmness through my sister’s trip to Tehran where most of my childhood memories are, although that place is the most chaotic for most people.
If you travel to China, you quarantine for 21 days in a single room you pay for. If you leave the room, the count goes back to O.
August 5 Carol Davis; August 12 Alexis Rhone Fancher; September 9 Andrea Carter Brown, November 4 Bruce Willard, under the Ventura County Poetry Project.
—Hosted by Phil Taggart on Zoom which has been ongoing during the pandemic.
Once a week we volunteer at the Food Bank, a free, no judgment space. Joyfully we give the clients food to make them feel good about accepting the donations; We also give the homeless non-perishable food, some supplied by Starbucks.
—Perla and her partner, Leslie.
“reach the turning-around-point and I do Local cross-country teams/have passed me once twice sometimes three times by now// Jim Crow is making a comeback in legislatures all across the country even the Supreme Court…”
—Phil Taggart, from his poem, “Walking in Harmon Canyon.”
The Flat Earth Society has members around the globe. “Nuance is the word I’ve heard in the last few days.”
“This river is not tranquil; its mud-filled brown waters swirling with thinly concealed energetic currents. I know it’s only the flood tide meeting the water from the hills but this unique water has a sense that is strangely disturbing.”
—Ken Jones, from his poem, “The Thames in London.”
For a long time we will suffer with PTSD from Covid-19 and the attack on western democracy.
“Have we outsourced humanity?”
Thank you to Jean and her contributors!