The Quarant-Times
Volume 4

We value art of the times. Of the vulnerable, the raw, the honest. We uplift those brave ones who surrender to uncertainty through the process of creation. We are a community of makers, processing fear, grief, joy and love in times of quarantine.

I. Ben Billand

Leaving Lake Michigan

Chicago, IL

they/them—@pissbabyrevival

Ben Billand

II. Theresa Schwaar

Saturday Wind

Milwaukee, MN

she/her—@theresa.schwaar

I've been listening,I hear theThrum humOf grief and loneliness and boredomBut underneath, tooA step, step, step downReveals the franticPedestaled globe of FearSpinning wildlyCurtained off but emittingShrill whistles.
I understandThe ocean makes me nervousThe same wayWe just don't know enough.
I heard a couple discussing granolaAt CostcoSo ordinary I could have criedI've been listening for more of that.

III. Arianna Lucas

6pm on Tuesday

New York, NY

she/her—@ariannalucas

IV. Sarah R Cimarusti

When Spring Calls, Pick Up

Chicago, IL

she/her—@sarah.cimarusti

Today I filed for unemployment for the third time. Someone please tell me third time is a charm because I could use the reassurance.

I press 3 to get the automated man to repeat the menu of options back to me. My brain is having a hard time retaining information beyond walk dog, make coffee, brush teeth, wash hands.

I hear, but I’m not processing. Like when I heard the sterile sentence, “We’re gonna have to let you go.” My whole face buzzed and my vision began to blur. The words reached my body, but my skin refused to absorb them.

The automated voice for the Illinois tele-serve system reminds me of the L train. “Doors closing” sounds an awful lot like “you may press your selection at any time.”

I stopped touching my face, but I’ve been furiously picking, carving crescents into my cuticles, which bulge and burn whenever anything brushes against them.

One of my neighbors, maybe the one with the second eviction notice on his door, may have called this number hundreds of times this week. Somewhere there is a waitress with two kids who is chewing her nails down without realizing her fingers are in her mouth because she’s worried about where she’s going to find next month’s rent.

There’s only so much the nervous system can handle at once.

I drove my dog Maya and me to our favorite outdoor spot. It’s one of the few trails in DuPage County that isn’t closed or crowded. There’s a man-made pond in the center of it. During the evening, it transforms into a massive bowl of a liquid sunset that makes my heart leap like a fawn. Sometimes, I’ll let my dog off leash here. Sensing her freedom, she barrels through leaves and trips over her own legs.

It’s red-winged blackbird season. Red-winged blackbirds are basically the quarterbacks of birds. It’s best not to approach them in the reeds or venture anywhere near their nests. I admire them from a distance and watch them bounce from branch to branch like the natural athletes they are.

I pass a few people on the trail and smile. People on nature trails generally have this reaction. But it’s different during the time of corona. You and the cooped up marathon runner exchange looks of unprecedented understanding and mutual appreciation for the sun hitting your face for the first time in days.

Everything is alive, and spring is among us. Just the other day I saw a large congregation of ducks that waltzed by my window. They chattered about the happenings and politics of their day. It’s been a long time since the world was this way for them. “Can you believe it? Do you remember?” they ask each other.

V. Megan Driving Hawk

Nursing Beneath the Shadows

Phoenix, AZ

she/her—@mdrivinghawk00

VI. Alyssa Brown

Sun Child

Tulsa, OK

she/her—@alyssabrown2000

Child of the sunyou are a big smileafter two glasses of chardonnaygolden light pouring in throughyour bedroom window on ahungover Sunday morninga feathery kiss on the foreheada recognizable laugh in themiddle of a crowded houseI long for your velvet touchon nights like thesethe touch where you run yourhands up and down my backuntil we are intertwinedheart touches heartand we sleep.

VII. Ariel Baldwin

Week Five

Chicago, IL

she/her and they/them—@saintariel

VIII. Cameron Fairbanks

Lamps de quarantine

Bentonville, AR

he/him—@lightsby_cam

IX. Will Morris

i guess, worst case

Chicago, IL

he/him

i'll write you a letter, something to open cough in cold sweatcoffin all setkeep distance and it feels like touchother senses get perverted as well
all of our nicest friends are suffering the mosttearing off their arms to mail them to usrest this on your shouldertheir counters now community kitchenskeep eating, i baked it for you, take
i plan a short walk two days in advance and feel like dyingi watch anything that moves out my windowwhich is uncleanthe window that iseverything outside's more sterile than evermen still jog in shortseveryone gives up some i can't keep loving you from this farit's no fun

X. Debo Balogun

seasons

Chicago, Illinois

he/him

it’s fall,and i’m walking home from class -the world sailing by in akaleidoscopic montageunderscored by quintessential college bells,the crunching of textured ground.there’s a chill in the airbut the scenery is on fire.through the blaze you catch my eyeor do i catch yours...?time freezes in a flurry of golden momentssuspended in flight all around us
it’s winter,the air is sterile now.each breath is hollowand labored and stingsthe backs of our throats.trees overhead weepcrystalline chandeliers.the sunset bleeds throughand washes our bodiesin warmth.elated and naive weabandon our shoesand glide barefootacross the ice.we grind our teethinto smiles that lastus all the way home.
it’s spring,inside our apartmentspace has been flippedupside down.gravity has loosened its gripand again, we find ourselvessuspended in time floating in afrozen tempest of disruptedfurniture and scattered belongingsand unasked questions anddirt-patched wounds. a black holeripped into the center of the floorsucks in all light. we orbit around itlike lost pioneers barreling towards death.neither of us can breathe. we both swear it’sallergies but we know it’sthat the air is now stale and cancerous.the only movement is the breeze stillcoming in from the open window.it gently lifts your hair from your eyesand i think for the firsttime since all those autumns agowe really see each other
it’s summer,the dust and pollen of spring have settled.the furniture in the apartment has returned toits rightful place, but there are cracks in the wallsrunning jagged and deep from foundation to ceilinglike a saharan fortress.the air that seeps in is humid and heavybut at least we can breathe again.in the morning the sun greets us with vivacity;we share bacon and coffeeand tip toe on eggshells around the elephant in the room like a danceand we accept it because it’s the closestwe’ve been in months.and thick in the calm of nightwe’ll be enmeshed in old sheets -your head on my chestmy fingertips on your wristeyes closed but wide awake -desperately hoping that by dawnwe’ll have found a pulse to carryus over into autumn.

XI. Harris Nash

Untitled

South China

he/him

Harris NashHarris NashHarris NashHarris Nash

Appendix - Catherine Savage (she/her)

Letters in the Time of Corona

International

Every other day around 9:30pm, I write a letter to my friend Ida. I tell her what I did that day, I answer a question, I ask a question, I tell her that I love her. I don’t actually mail her the letter. Instead, I send her a picture of my letter and a recording of myself reading my letter. Some may say that is cheating the letter-writing process, but I say, who cares? On the days I don’t write to Ida, I receive a letter from her. She tells me what she did that day, answers a question, asks a question, tells me that she loves me. We post these on Instagram.

AppendixAppendix

These letters follow important rules we created for ourselves. For Ida, it’s that she won’t look at instagram unless she has something to share. For me, it’s that I will only post things that are rooted in goodness. We also wanted a project that felt personal. A piece of art out in the social media artsphere of two people talking directly to each other. A social interaction that happens in public. We’re moving that conversation online. And we’ve given it a hashtag: #LettersInTheTimeOfCorona

Ida and I are continuing to write our letters back and forth each night. And now, we’re writing letters to others. If you’d like to receive a letter from us (in the real deal snail mail!), fill out this form: https://forms.gle/91q2uGGhKQs8CmDWA

The mission of Quarant-Times is to be a beacon of hope for makers and readers alike. Offering a space of community and an artistic, digital forum that reminds us we’re not alone; that our world is so much more than the walls that surround us and the uncertainty of these times.

If you are able/inclined, we invite you to donate to this volume at: paypal.me/quaranttimes. All proceeds will be proportionally divided amongst the artist who submitted to be part of this volume.