Writing the Distance: Stephen D. Bolen

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Today, Stephen D. Bolen provides this poem and photograph.

The Strange Madness

There’s something eerie about these times
I’ve lost so many and have known tragedy
My entire life has been services and burials
My adulthood has been isolation and numbness
This sickness spreads and takes, nothing changes for me.

I protect all I love, my heart goes weak and hurts
But I forgive it for its pain; others are new to this

I hold the thought of the end close as I don’t mind hell
And silence is always welcomed
I smile and care for others as they spiral out of control
Nothing has changed. I speak to empty air,

“Prove to me that I am a dead man, kill me, or shut up”.
Life continues and I still have a degree to accept, a child to raise
Poetry to write and never publish.


Stephen D. Bolen is from Kotzebue, and he is a senior studying English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His work has been published in Cirque Magazine; online: 49 Writer’s Blog: Alaska Shorts; Qargizine; recordings on iTunes U (UA Bookstore Events); Understory, a UAA undergraduate publication; and Z Publishing’s: Best Emerging Poets: an Anthology.


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