Many thanks to Youngstown’s native son Dr. Gaylord for sharing this poem with us.
Ode for COVID 19
Covid 19, so much to adore.
Your lightning journey around the world
Hitchhiking in the cells of human travelers
Riding shedded droplets
Is no less an adventure than our noble attempts to explore the universe.
Not alive, you stir the passions of an entire species when you changed ever so slightly the RNA
strands nested in your womb
And then quietly, like a soft breath blowing out a candle, went dancing in the air into your host
Finding fertile ground then multiplying and filling cellular minions uncountable as the stars.
I can’t help but admire your tiny package with simple threads of chemical code that becomes “us”;
When you stab medieval spikes through our last protective lining and empty your load into the
very cells we need to breathe, and hence to live;
No wall nor team of tyrants can stop you.
But your cowardice is revealed as you attack the weak and drown them — from within — in their
Leaving them lifeless with lungs soaked like sponge in the ocean.
And when you prey upon us using our own kind as carriers making us unwitting accomplices,
Our unwitting baptism allowing your greasy membrane coating to explode your vile contents so
carefully transported to avoid detection strike through an armor of mace-like tentacles
Creating a path of utter destruction in those who cannot respond.
But still, a small group of people spread over those very airways and wet surfaces you traveled
and who, in a global effort, are weaving a trap of tools that your hosts and victims created
exclusively for you.
We can find your RNA sequence, we can find your composition and structure.
We can kill you with the simplicity of soap and water. And we can work to smother you with
antibodies stimulated by pieces of your body. We have a loom, and we will make a fine prison
for you. Your clever method of escape will keep us busy, but we will not fail.
Covid 19, you are not life
Covid 19, you are not alive.
And we refuse to die.
Gregg M. Gaylord, MD, was born in Cleveland and raised Youngstown. He attended Rayen and Liberty High School, and graduated with the class of 1972 before studying psychobiology and philosophy at NYU. He graduated in 1981 from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He is a fellow in the Society of Interventional Radiology and Medical Director of the Vascare Ambulatory Surgery Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Join us in profound thanks for a programming grant from the Youngstown Foundation Charles W. Darling Family Endowment Fund. The $5615 grant will support programs in 2020 and 2021, including the First Wednesday Readers Series, the monthly Teen Writers Workshop, Adult-teen creative writing classes, and a paid internship to provide support for the Fall Literary Festival.
We are honored to celebrate the legacy of the late history professor Charles W. Darling, known for the folk music show on WYSU that ran 48 years. He was also the author of science fiction novels. The Foundation’s gift will support other Youngstown and regional writers, and we thank them.
Lit Youngstown, in collaboration with the YSU Art Department, is seeking memories for an Andrews Ave. mural. The mural will be painted by students of Professor Dragana Crnjak, in a special topics class on creating public art. Continue reading →
The 2nd Annual Winter Writing Festival planning is underway and NEW this year is an Speaker Series featuring Kent native Jason Prufer who authored: “Small Town, Big Music” and Award winning Author Angela Johnson! Writing workshops will be scheduled at locations all around town, The WICK Poetry Center from KSU will again be leading a poetry slam, a Story Walk is being planned and more! Register here. Like to carpool with Lit Youngstown? Send us a note: LitYoungstown@gmail.com.
We published our 2019 Annual Report! Thanks to all–you put the light in Lit Youngstown. There were so many to thank, our hearts are full. We hope we haven’t forgotten anyone, but if we did, please let us know.
Even better than a chicken dinner! Congrats to Vi Aguirre on winning our drawing for a copy of Mark Winne’s newest book Food Town USA: Seven Unlikely Cities That Are Changing the Way We Eat. After Lit Youngstown, working with many community partners, invited Mark to speak on nutritious food access, he returned to the Mahoning Valley to conduct research, and included inspiring local work in the new book. Like to get your hands on a copy? Order it from Island Press.
Five years! It’s gone by in a flash. Let’s take a moment to celebrate all we’ve done together. And then let’s have a party!
Jeffrey Murphy, Laura Grace Weldon, Jeanne Bryner & David Lee Garrison at the dedication of the Words Made Visible poetry-in-sidewalk squares
Since January of 2015 we have hosted nearly 400 writers, celebrating local talent and visiting writers who have won prestigious awards. Local writers from age 6 to their 80s have shared poems and stories at open mics. (Photos: Mary Biddinger & Mary Quade, Lena Carson, Yahia Tahat, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jimmy Sutman, Marjorie Maddox)Continue reading →
We are so excited to invite you to the official kick-off of our NEA Big Read! Many thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown for being wonderful hosts. Please bring a food or drink to share, and join us at this free event. If you haven’t yet read the book, don’t worry. If you have, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Continue reading →
Sarah Davis took a break during her summer internship for Lit Youngstown to be a counselor in the Summer in America program at Youngstown State. We asked her to tell us about her experiences.
Summer in America, a program hosted by Youngstown State University’s International Programs Office, was held from July 12th to August 2nd, 2019 and invited students from other countries to live on campus and experience life in the United States. This year, the program saw an increase in participants from 14 to 68 students and faculty members from China and Taiwan. My time with Summer in America is one that I will truly never forget I got to meet a lot of students who I really connected and became friends with that I will miss dearly. Continue reading →
Sometimes in a workshop or other setting, a writer will bring up the question of the MFA, Master of Fine Arts, in creative writing. It’s a big commitment of time, and often, money, so we asked our intern Sarah Davis to share some thoughts with us about her experience in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts (NEOMFA).
One of the questions I’ve received the most while working towards my MFA is “what are you going to do when you finish school.” But for me, it’s not as much about what I’m going to do after as it is with what I’m doing now. I have found great value in pursuing my MFA in creative writing as it has allowed me to expand my craft and knowledge of the creative writing world. Continue reading →