Viruses Guns and War / Dotty LeMieux


Viruses Guns and War

and Other Calamities of the Early 21st Century

poems by

Dotty LeMieux

~44 pages, $13 (+ shipping)

Release Date: March 29, 2023

The Advance Sale Discount price on this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $17/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Dotty LeMieux is the author of four chapbooks, Five Angels (Five Trees Press), Let Us Not Blame Foolish Women (Tombouctou Books) The Land (Smithereens Press), and I Ask Not Good Fortune (Finishing Line Books). She edited the iconic Bolinas literary journal Turkey Buzzard Review in the 1980s, along with the poets and artists of the town. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and anthologies. Dotty lives in Northern California, where she practices environmental law and helps elect progressive candidates to office.

Dotty LeMieux’s poetry collection, [Viruses Guns and War], asks us to consider an eclectic array of familiar tragedies—community and conflict, the fear of contact and yearning for love, white supremacy, a dearth of empathy, abortion. . . . Ultimately, the poetry asks, can we reclaim normalcy or does it no longer exist? In response, LeMieux’s poetry reminds us that art—creating it and consuming it—is sometimes the only reasonable answer. ~Kit-Bacon Gressitt


Dotty LeMieuux’s poems are vivid, insightful, lyrical, scathing, tender, and at times devastating—as in what happens to a brown-skinned boy with a toy gun out for a walk in the sun. These are poems of and for our fraught times, full of virus, violence, and war, but also coyotes, sunflowers, and owls. A deeply satisfying read. ~Priscilla Long, author of Holy Magic: Poems and Crossing Over: Poems

Nineteen Ways of Looking at a Pandemic

after Wallace Stevens



the sound a boulder makes
before beginning
its deadly downhill


in their art deco vase
track time by the sun
so well you can set
your watch by it


hush, don’t wake
the old man sleeping
on the park bench


one purple crocus
in my weedy front yard


hey, what do you think
you’re doing?
don’t you know
you can’t play basketball
without touching?


I’m calling the police!


rain in spurts
taunting us between
the times of quiet


why does standing in line at Safeway
for an hour and a half
remind me of the drought years?


they loosened EPA regulations
so people can get back to work
polluting again


the police are too busy
confirming deaths
on park benches
to answer calls
about unsanctioned basketball
games in the park


Presidential Press briefing —
I told him — don’t return
her phone call; she’s not
nice to me


the boy in California
who died
when the clinic
refused him entry
no insurance


in New York the first buds
of April break through
hoping for someone
to admire them


They’re not doing the tests;
they said to come back later —
blind man in the park smoking


I can smell his smoke


if you wonder where the homeless went
when they kicked them
out of the park
just check the far side
of the closed-down Community Center


winter has been its own very long year
this year


woman into phone, slumped
on the top step of her front porch —
they say the test won’t come back
for at least a week


after all this,



Sunflowers, Rain and the Plague


On the hutch
in front of my window
sunflowers slow dance
gaze through newly rain-washed
panes, moving together
in the artful confines
of their hand-blown
glass vase

their yearning yellow heads
tracking the sun,
the world outside,
lurch like drunken
blue rain asymmetric
as a heart
skipping a beat

In our flattened world
we eat three day old tuna salad
wash four day old
dishes so we can
do it all again

Once Plague was something
from history books
when hygiene was careless
for both the living
and the dead

Now we struggle
to remember
the day of the week
and to change the sheets
take out the trash
comb our tangles
as if the world were easing
into spring

like any other year.





all the old people are gone,
the ones who remember the First World War
or the Stock Market crash or the Holocaust
when the Vietnam vets have vanished
from their street corners,
the COVID survivors dead
from natural causes,

when the books they wrote and diaries they kept,
the photographs they took and preserved
in albums and basements and attics
and the films they made
with their 8 mm home cameras

when all these are all worm-eaten or ground
to dust or destroyed by fire or flood,
or unraveled on their spools,
the museums torn down for
housing blocks no one lives in
offices no one goes to

and there is nothing left but the Cloud,
nothing, that is, but a warehouse somewhere
in Iowa or Nebraska or maybe Ukraine,
with little bits of replicating data
watched over by the robots
who manage them,

then who
will tell us our truths who
will be left to remember
that we were once human,

why we had to die?



SKU: VG&W_2023 Categories: , , Tag: