BY Chester-Jehu Arevalo | Pandemic Diaries

Like a stranger lost in a land unknown.
My darling, the heavens bestowed your eyes
“Look,” you tell me, in dulcet baritones
I gazed — angelic — lost in paradise.
What do I do now in isolation
from the world, fear of a pandemic too.
When loving you has been my vocation;
true, can I quarantine from thoughts of you?
As days start to pass and nights get longer.
As winter departs and spring awakens
the memories I have of you conquer,
like a beacon, a love not forsaken.
If soon, you realize this love is rare
If soon you discern I do not compare.

Timely Conversation
“If you soon discern I do not compare,”
said the accusing Past to the Present.
How can one compare thee to what is lost
again, the portends of time says beware;
an Easter, a summer of discontent.
 Present said, “I am not you at all cost,”
“For you are what they want, but things must change.”
If they retard the things that must be done,
we will never again see the bright sun.
We will drift from the past, future estranged,
the present unknown, the seasons won’t change.
So, stay at home if you must. The outside,
will not turn to dust. Inside our houses,
we are safe, enough to preoccupy.

We are safe, enough to preoccupy
time under isolation, it reduce —
Instagram, a haven where teens reside.
Like, comment, and follow, it introduce,
you and me its modern muses, sacred,
a part of a routine. Used to be seen,
in quarantine, used, to feel elated.
Filter here, a story there, click the screen.
The grass outside is evergreen, hi summer.
But for now, we’re all in here, maybe till May.
No reassurance, truly, a bummer.
But we have Instagram till Mother’s Day.
Turn your phone off, we are finally out.
Just kidding, but hey, be on the lookout.

Tales of Seclusion

Just kidding, but hey, be on the lookout
Look out for Love in her rose colored dress
just kidding, but hey, be on the lookout
look out for isolation, blood in hands.
Just kidding, but, hey be on the lookout!
It is coming for you and for me too.
Just kidding. But, hey be on the lookout
Isolation murdered Love, overdo
Just kidding, but hey, be on the lookout.
Look for Serenity, sword in her hand
Just kidding, but hey, be on the lookout
Watch as she tries to slay it as if planned.
Once upon a time in desolate land,
Serenity, Love is high in command.


I circle the bedroom, worried, while counting the hour
When will he call, I waited, it’s been almost an hour.

A symbol of love, he caresses me like I’ve never been loved before.
He smiles and he converses, truly, a man of the hour.

The song of the isolated and the vow of the quarantined. I love you more and more.
When the sun has set and when the phone rings, he says “I love you” after hours.

He has secrets, and I do too. Who here doesn’t? Is there an “except for you?”
We meet again, ten past the hour.

A sister’s brother and a mother’s son, trust me, I’ve heard all the lore.
I am something yet reduced to nothing, still He kisses me fifteen minutes past the hour.

The burning desire and thrill of the secrecy, he offers me a lot.
Slow dances, French kisses, and the way he amuses me every hour on the hour.

I, for one, don’t have a treasure chest to offer.
Call me or don’t call me, I wrote a Ghazal, still I’ll see you at the top of the hour.


But, not for long, freedom is resonant,
in light of the pandemic it was stripped
of its sound, its rhythm, its elegance.
As if now, a hum, devoid of its script.
Now, we all claim that we want to be free
The hum, although distant, is within reach
but do we deserve to be free? We plea
For beaches to open; freedom of speech.
Yet we do nothing, refused to believe
That an invisible enemy is
tormenting most lives, do not be deceived,
a broken system is exposed, it says.
Stay at home, so the hum will grow its sound.
 Soon the script will come and we’ll run around.

Au Revoir

Soon the script will come and we’ll run around,
as we come to the end, I bid goodbye.
The script will say what’s needed to be sound
We’ll run around and we’ll reclassify
our thoughts, and the voices we hear inside
the feelings of none, the feelings of one
becomes the feelings of everyone, tied
to an endless number of connections.
What do we know? What do I know? We’ll guess
A panoply of interpretations,
makes one certainly wonder, what is next.
Sonnets used in clashing applications.
Au revoir, I will leave you on your own
Like a stranger lost in a land unknown.

Chester-Jehu Arevalo, ’21
Santa Clarita, CA