Walter Blue | Dennis Formento

for Michael Rothenberg
All poets write about death…
—Bob Rosenthal
So I sit and listen and see you as if
you were really there—but you weren’t—
living in this invisible city, toying
with the idea of an invisible city
an international community 
                                    of poets

As if we were sitting on a bench
in a park where young people run free—
who can’t see the old men just sitting there
minds aglow, but their hands cold—
the invisible city exists alongside the real,
in the lap of the visible—just like
you and I looking at our hands
but not at each other—
                                    but we’re talking
Michael Rothenberg and Dennis Formento
June 2015, Salerno, Italy
Photo collage ©2022 Michael Dickel
I was just thinking of you— and now I hear
I’ll never see you again, I’ve been shielded once more
from death. Deaths I didn’t see—
the invisible deaths of my parents
my mother’s catatonic dementia
my father, alone but happy
deaths by aneurysm, auto crash
kidney disease, black lung pneumonia
murder, cancer. If it is true
that a successful poet who lives a long life
writes more and more about death
then you had your turn—
But no one has to be successful to die
and so I know I’m going
to write about death
whether I’m good at it or not. And seventy-one
is not very old to die, Michael, you had more
                                    to give

Farewell, Michael, struggling with anger
farewell, Michael, cooling arguments on-line
farewell, Michael, with your hand gripping my hand
farewell, Michael, was somebody there
to invite your soul to paradise or
another incarnation where
this life’s imperfections
can be knocked off your human shape 
and will your remains settle into earth and water 
                                    go to ground

Your soul— if there is 
such a thing as soul—
now enters the wind tunnel
to be taken on its way
Grief echoes in large houses
full of empty rooms 
in the house where Terri 
wakes up daily, now alone
speaking to no one until
                                    she’s ready

Which way was your head turned, Michael? 
Where were your hands?  What last words
did you hear?  Who spoke to you, & did you know
when you closed your eyes for the final time
who loved you?  I don’t think angels exist—
but in that final condition you didn’t go unsanctified.
Those were your hands—here are mine. 
Does a dying person remember being born?
Did you know you were sanctified?
Whatever this agnostic wish can be
for you—now—your suffering 
                                    is over.

©2022 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


All poets write about death: Bob Rosenthal was poet Allen Ginsberg’s assistant at the time of his death, and reported this observation about Allen’s passing in the documentary, No More to Say and Nothing to Weep For, an Elegy for Allen Ginsberg, Optic Nerve productions, Colin Still, director, 2006 [link]. 

Dennis Formento…

…lives in Slidell, Louisiana, USA, near his native New Orleans. Books of poetry include Spirit Vessels and Looking for An Out Place (FootHills Publishing, 2018 and 2010.) Cineplex (Paper Press, 2014,) Edited Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism 1990-2001 and fronted the free-jazz/free-verse band, the Frank Zappatistas. St. Tammany Parish organizer of poetry events for 100,000 Poets for Change, a network of poets for peace, sustainability and justice world-wide.



Ghosts that invade | Dennis Formento

Silence, still, quiet

Still, quiet, silence the mind
The ghosts that invade will determine your day
Silence, still, & quiet your mind
Removing the ghosts one by one.

Sunset 2
Photograph, ©2022 Miroslava Panayotova

“You who own the world’s pain”

You who own the world’s pain, please
give some of it back
          you don’t deserve it all.
You have told me for hours
about your miseries,
but you have not even begun
          to understand mine.
It is the violence that makes us mad
If we are at the point where a man
Is better off in jail than free, then
          where is God?

the mirror of sand

                    the old man
has entered the mirror of sand
“what are you doing, sir, what are you looking for 
                    in the pearly shade?
what are you looking for 
          there in the sand?”

“soon all these houses will be torn down”
          said the old man
          nothing left but the trees”
I said “never will someone come out
          of the darkness and rob thee” 

but he said
“the weapons that were
           once out there 
and sharpened themselves for war
          are now inside us 
                    sharpening themselves
          sharpening themselves
                    inside thee”

©2022 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


Dennis Formento…

…lives in Slidell, Louisiana, USA, near his native New Orleans. Books of poetry include Spirit Vessels and Looking for An Out Place (FootHills Publishing, 2018 and 2010.) Cineplex (Paper Press, 2014,) Edited Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism 1990-2001 and fronted the free-jazz/free-verse band, the Frank Zappatistas. St. Tammany Parish organizer of poetry events for 100,000 Poets for Change, a network of poets for peace, sustainability and justice world-wide.



Mind / Body Epistemology — Dennis Formento

no idea what all I know

I have no idea
what all I know

buried inside that I’ve forgotten
what I’ve just said is true
because I feel it’s certain

difficulty in distinguishing personal perception
from objective reality, a reality 
always subject to power 

but do you bump into things
because you can’t tell where they are

so if truth begins with self-knowledge
evaluation of one’s own state of mind
manner of knowing
and ability to understand
bleeding into ethics

intend to do no harm

with one’s knowledge 
& seeking

knowing that much 
is to know myself
is the beginning

4-22-2019
7/29/2020

yuj         to yoke

	to yoke
to mind the source, the body

“I know my body, the body is the object”
	I the observer know the object
so I am not my body

I know my thoughts
I am not those thoughts
that rush through the halls of mindlessness
making riot in the Capitol

the guilt, the anger, repressed desire

I know my face, I am not this face
I am not this poem writing itself 
on the back of my hand
I am not my face and hands
I am not the observer, not the witness 
nor is there one 		mind
sealed in a small envelope

My god is constant self-interrogation
neuroses, my powerlessness and belief in this

time-consuming, life-consuming business
of filling our hands with stuff, keeping our faces busy
stuffing our mouths 
life consuming life
	being and becoming	



©2019–2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


Return to ToC

Crawfish / Haiku 2020 — Dennis Formento

The Crawfish

the little crawfish that nipped my finger 
has the coolest job on earth

rolling clods of wet humus
into moist balls 

to build a chimney & bring 
rich dark earth to the surface 

its chimney had closed somehow, so
I turned the tower over with my foot
thinking I did him a favor
opening an air duct

a cardinal mistake—

this tiny crawfish emerged 
from the thick gray mud
claws raised toward me
flexing & threatening

so I slipped a finger beneath it 
to lift it back into its hole
the mudbug pinched me hard
a little fold of skin

bunched up between the pincers, the mudbug
not half my thumb’s length 
squeezed it tight
today that hole was plugged again 
from the inside

when the weather’s warm & dry 
the crawfish rolls another ball
capstone to close the chimney 
and hold moisture in

until late winter rain 
or a much too early spring

Haiku 2020

“may we all have better vision in 2020”

          picked off my hand
the ant that just bit me
          —I might have killed it—
                                3-8-2020

          two bumblebees buzzing
	             belly to buttonhole
	             zizz over my head
                                  3-22-2020


                     turning over 
                     the garden shovel and-- 
                     out drops half a worm
                                  3-23-2020


second night of quarantine
          —the smell
of someone else’s barbecue
                                  3-24-2020



carpenter bees on 
corner of the garage next door  
eating the building            
                                  3-25-2020



The clouds are about 
to drop from the sky
Aw! They crushed the moon!
	                                  3-29-2020


a curtain over
          the window keeps lightning
                    from coming in
                                  4-19-2020


epigram

“it's either in this world
              or never”


waiting for the wind
          to raise a ruckus
                    tornado warnings again
                                  4-19-2020

it was just a handful of rain
          flung out of a cloud onto
                    the sidewalk
                                  5-16-2020

©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


Dennis Formento promises never to write a bio longer than the average poem. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, Mississippi Bioregion, USA. St. Tammany Parish co-ordinator of 100,000 Poets for Change. Author of Spirit Vessels, Cineplex, Looking for An Out Place. Poem “Amarcord,” appeared in English and Italian, in Americans and Others: International Poetry Anthology, Camion Press, 2nd ed., 2020. Poem, “the floe of ice,” performed with Simone Bottasso on organetto, is on Youtube  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlXNe9lKkxg 


Return to ToC

a pale reflection of the moon — Dennis Formento

if I have to sleep, I’ll sleep, but the moon isn’t there anymore  
what you see is a pale reflection, the moon
is self-generated light
what I mean when I say self-generated light 
I mean a solar sail like a giant curtain
dragged behind the moon & keeping it 
in perfect orbit above the earth’s surface

the real moon is gone, taken apart
by scientists from NASA, EU and the KGB
“the moon”
is just a thin metal disk powered by that solar sail
some people think 
the moon itself is the sail but
I think the sail is deployed behind the moon
trapping light from the sun, powering the engine
that keeps it in orbit 
you can see it if you telescope real close

astronauts know this—high-flying pilots know this—
just a few lousy miles across, the thin metal plate reflects the sun’s light
and the earth’s shadow just the way the moon did
well some people think it’s thin, durable mirror
but I think it’s metal—highly polished metal that resists
the pings and arrows and chips you’d normally get
from junk up there at the front door of space—
some people say it’s the frontier, but I say it’s the front door of space

The real moon is gone Scientists took it away
and left a lot of junk behind
Imagine all the lovers without a moon—
the bad poets—Jungian psychologists—I call ‘em
“spychologists”— basing their poems and prognoses on nothing 
but a thin metal plate hovering above the earth
Oh, the tides have nothing to do with the moon
they never did, the tides are created by the sun
Everybody born with their moon in Aries through Pisces
has to find another planet for their sign
Your lives are meaningless NASA and the Russians
have stripped the moon of meaning
and replaced it with a thin solar sheet

The moon people 
have nothing to believe in
The President knows this in his Oval Office
The Oval Office is a symbol of the moon!
He’s fighting to bring the moon back
but he can’t tell you, no one would believe him
and he’s got to keep his credibility intact
He knows why women are going crazy
their ovaries so accustomed to the moon’s 
spiritual pull— they have evolved for millennia to respond to it—

Remember Jesus has a house on Mars—but NASA
doesn’t want you to know—
there are pictures Jesus would have to be eighteen feet tall
to be seen in this resolution some people say eighteen I think that’s impossible
but he’s the son of God so you never know
The scientists don’t know
The Moon the wolves howl at, the one we see
dipping into the Western sky—our Western sky
that belongs to us—remember the flag that was planted there?
It’s in a museum in Russia with Lenin’s tomb—
the Russians must hand over the moon—
a thin sheet of glass—some people say
—but I say it’s metal 
sometimes visible during the day 
reflecting the sun’s light
and the earth’s shadow in a perfect imitation of the real
psychological moon. The one in our dreams has been stolen
and the scientists have stolen our dreams.
Only the President and his queue
of anonymous advisors know this.

Poem ©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


Return to ToC

Dennis Formento promises never to write a bio longer than the average poem. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, Mississippi Bioregion, USA. St. Tammany Parish co-ordinator of 100,000 Poets for Change. Author of Spirit VesselsCineplex, Looking for An Out Place. Poem “Amarcord,” appeared in English and Italian, in Americans and Others: International Poetry Anthology, Camion Press, 2nd ed., 2020. Poem, “the floe of ice,” performed with Simone Bottasso on organetto, is on Youtube  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlXNe9lKkxg 

rootes in solide erthe & 2 other poems

Le Meschacèbè (Palmer in the Pocket)

                                                              For Jo Beth Britton

The river pours out of the Peabody Hotel
through a lobby fountain full of ducks
cotton floats on barges through the air
sky sweeps down to the sea
cloud wind bellows across the oxbow lakes
abandoned by the river where it turned
away in its elegant course
le Meschacébé

& the Corps of Engineers can’t do nothin’ about it
when the river changes course again
when the flood waters rise whole villages move
when the flood waters rise above the natural levee
delta sea-foam spreads humus across the valley
rich oleaginous loam
fish swept between trees slipt through houses in outer
space and hid in the clouds of stars
rivertopped houses soaked in nutrients at roots
pike crushed to fish meal beneath their feet
pushed south from lakes up north
downriver by floodwaters cold
to a Delta visible from Mars
& when the waters receded
the first mounds appeared

Eros is possibility
& the most erotic unleashes the most possibility
Le Meschacébé flicks its tongue into the moon

mother out of which flows
tap water ice car washes
the senseless articulated by a migrant thrush
jays squawking in the fields below the crescent
gulls swirl across the grass, sweep and return
sweep and return
searching for seeds

& all the water in the world rushes down, the people
crushed atop their houses
one hundred miles above the river’s mouth
or 300, where Monroe now stands & Sonny Boy
broadcast blues
live over mythic radio
in the valley known as the Delta
Ouragan stroke
when the Corps blew the levee
the world disappeared
and Houston Stackhouse levied the blues

“The first time I heard Muddy’s “Flood,”
wrote Robert Palmer
“I remembered
an afternoon, years before, when I felt
an overcast sky
dropping lower and lower, increasing
a peculiarly disturbing
pressure I could feel
physically
in my blood. I was sure
the heavens were going to pour down
rain and lightning bolts at any moment.
But the storm never came—
it was inside me, a perception of a gathering
emotional storm
that I’d unconsciously projected
into the cloudy skies.”

I didn’t know it was history
I just thought it was great music
poetry pushed through a guitar’s neck
blasted out of a sound hole
a taste of the best basting
a drum ever took
roasted pearls of twilight
scratched into the sky

Night Notes, an Email

                                              to Kathleen Kraus

Patricia's birthday is tomorrow &
I guess we're going to have to find a way
to celebrate after all.   I mean,
for better or worse, the day of her birth
brought some joy into my life.
 
We got it bad.
We're in Memphis. Our neighborhood
is probably under water. Our house
might not be standing. Patricia's school
might be the one we heard
had been destroyed. We'd just gone
into her studio to make sure
a particular photograph was
off the floor. Our lives have been changed,
 "changed utterly," as Yeats put it
"a terrible beauty is born"
 
The city is 80% under water.
Our town, across a very large lake,
is also under water.
We had just bought the house in April.
It is also possibly
under water. It might have been reduced
to a foundation slab. We don't know
and won't for a few days
 
We think we'll probably stay near the Delta
until martial law is lifted in Slidell.
Our house is in one of the worst hit
neighborhoods. But I was thinking about the little house
on Jourdan
and my dear friend Kathleen...
we're using wifi at a coffeeshop here.
 
Red Roof Inn rocks.
They let us bring in our dogs & parakeets!
 
Oh, you know the score,
our whole town
was built on what used to be wetland,
used to be lagoon, used to be water.
now water wants it all back.
 
The storm they said could happen has happened,
and please let there NOT be another one next week.
 
No matter what happens to the physical city,
the spirit that created the second line will never die.
 
We'll be ok even if our house is totaled.
I wasn't ready to let go yet. We'd only been there four months—
 
with no New Orleans across the lake,
there is little in St. Tam, even for Patricia,
who has spent most of her life there—
 
As refugees we're not doing too badly,
 
You are a joy. Don't forget that.
 
Don't lose touch.
 
            8-30-2005
            in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

rootes in solide erthe

feet bare padding soil
last week, I paid
last insult to hip and thigh
now an early spring and narcissus
all coming up: late planted arugula
spinach lettuce and Chinese cabbage
& I hope we get a good crop before
the summer heat arrives
         and it all dies

the blueberry out of its tub has rootes in solide erthe
leafing a bit and the new citrus too
I’m trying to remember what I told them all this morning
& what was that song I sang

                   “so come all ye rolling minstrels
                   and together we will try
                   to rouse the spirit of the earth
                   and move the rolling sky”

                            (“Come All Ye,” by Sandy Denny & Fairport Convention)

©2020 Dennis Formento

Donatella D’Angelo | unpublished poems 2016

Per quella luce sospesa
tra le ciglia degli angeli
morirei infinite volte

e infinite volte tornerei
corona di spine.

 

For that light suspended
between angels’ eyelashes
I would die a thousand times

and a thousand times
come back crown of thorns.

 

*

 

Nel cavo della mano la verità
e le sofferenze colte appena
nell’indulgenza dei silenzi
di abiti dismessi:

Donatella D’Angelo

eppure

risorgeranno verticali i draghi.

 

In the hollow of the hand, the truth
and sufferings just picked
in the indulgence of silences
of clothing put off:

and yet

rise again vertically the dragons.

 

*

 

Spiegami il profumo del basilico
il passo invisibile della tigre.

Nell’antro salvifico della vita
separo la notte e i suoni scordati
il muto cadere dei corpi celesti.

Perché fa tanto freddo qui?

 

Explain to me the scent of basil
the unseen step of the tiger.

In the salvific den of life
I separate night and clashing sounds
the mute fall of celestial bodies.

Why is it so cold here?


© 2016, Donatella D’Angelo; English translations by Dennis Formento with the poet

Summer 2020

Ultimately, talking points preserve narratives seeking to keep the status quo or create a reality that aligns with the person’s ideology or personal needs.

Marshall Shepherd
3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020

We want to start this introduction to the SustainABILITY issue of The BeZine with a pause and breath.

Go ahead, breathe in deeply. This is both calming and symbolic of the interrelated crises of humanity at this time.

Three huge, potentially shattering issues loom large today, what commentator Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Director of the nonprofit Climate Interactive calls “three massive threats”:

Climate Change, COVID-19, Racism
a sustainABILITY pastiche


Climate Change

Climate change concerns the atmosphere and excessive carbon.

Breathe in again, deeply. Breathe out.

That exhalation, as you probably know, is CO2, carbon dioxide. We breathe the atmosphere.

And, as we pollute it, we poison our own breaths through industry, fossil fuels, factory farming, and other human activity. We poison the globe. And as climate change continues its charge ahead in leaps and bounds, it will be increasingly difficult for us to breathe, literally.

Climate Change hits much more than White areas in what Hop Hopkins (“Racism is Killing the Planet,” Sierra Club) calls the “Sacrifice Zones,” where White Supremacy’s “Disposable People” live. The 1% remain more secure and protected.

Have you tried to breathe when the temperatures go above body temperature (37C / 98.6F)? Imagine what it must be like for those locations that have had recent record-breaking temperatures of around 50C / 122F?

Where do you think waste is dumped? Where are polluting industries and power plants built? Who lives in areas that risk their health the most? Certainly not those with money, status, and power in societies.

How long can we continue this way? Are we able to find a path to sustain life on earth (human and otherwise)? That is the goal—sustainABILITY.


From Climate to Pandemic

What we should fear now is a perfect storm: a health, economic and mental health crisis. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

According to a 2015 study published in PNAS, a 30,000 year old virus was found in the permafrost of the Arctic, raising concern that rising temperatures could lead to the rise of deadly, archaic illnesses. —cited in Science Alert (Melting Glaciers Are Revealing Dead Bodies And Ancient Diseases, 23 March 2019).

The economic problems will compel those in power to take actions that before this crisis appeared to be radically leftist measures. Even conservatives are having to do things that run against their principles. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

Climate conditions are classified as top predictors of coronavirus illnesses (Dalziel et al., 2018) as wind speed, humidity, temperature and wind speed are critical in the transmission of infectious diseases (Yuan et al., 2006). Bull (1980) reported that pneumonia’s mortality rate is highly correlated with weather changes. —cited in Correlation between climate indicators and COVID-19 pandemic in New York, USA, (Science Direct 20 April 2020)

Higher temperatures and respiratory problems are also linked. One reason is because higher temperatures contribute to the build-up of harmful air pollutants. —U.S. CDC and American Public Health Association (Extreme Heat Can Affect our Health)


COVID-19

COVID-19 blocks our lungs. It literally stops us from breathing. Yes, also organ damage, including heart problems. But it stops our breath, in a world-wide pandemic. Like the global crisis of climate change will, eventually, stop our breath.

There will be more pandemics with continued Global Warming. There will be more disruption, economic loss, social unrest, and all of the things we have seen so far in this pandemic.

Will we avoid the next pandemic? Could a 30,000 year-old virus, or a 150 year-old virus revive to attack? If so, who will have our back? The government?

How will we be able to sustain human and other life on earth if we continue on this path? Will we build a sustainABLE future for our children, our grandchildren? Ourselves?

In the US, even the current CDC admits that COVID-19 has hit POC and Indigenous Peoples, especially African Americans, harder than White people. The 1% remain more secure and protected.


From Pandemic to Race

The effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging; however, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. —US CDC (COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups page last reviewed on by CDC June 4 2020)

Robert D. Bullard is a professor at Texas Southern University who has written for more than 30 years about the need to redress environmental racism. He welcomed the statements of support this week from the leaders of big environmental groups but he lamented that the vast amount of donor money still goes to white-led environmental groups.

“I’d like to see these groups start to embrace this whole concept of justice, fairness and equity,” he said. “Those statements need to be followed up with a concerted effort to address the underlying conditions that make for despair.”
—(Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

It’s essential to have anti-racism baked into the goals that even white-led organizations are pursuing because both political racism and environmental racism are drivers of our excess pollution and climate denialism. —Heather McGhee, senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group, and the author of a forthcoming book called The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

Police violence is an aspect of a broader pattern of structural violence, which the climate crisis is a manifestation of. Healing structural violence is actually in the best interest of all human beings. —Sam Grant, executive director of MN350.org, the Minnesota affiliate of the international climate activist group 350.org (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)


Anti-Racism

Racism has come to the fore with the anti-racist, anti-police-brutality protests and riots since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His quoted last words, echoing those of Eric Garner (murdered by police in New York City six years ago): “I can’t breathe.” Protest signs and chants have repeated this phrase thousands of times since last month.

George Floyd, a Black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20, was strangled by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Eric Garner, a Black man selling loose cigarettes, was strangled by police using a “choke hold.” The 1% remain totally secure and protected.

Structural, systemic racism is an integral part of our extraction economy, according to Hop Hopkins, writing for The Sierra Club. It keeps those in power in power by dividing us against each other—so that the 1% (or 3% or 5% or 10%) can keep in power and grow their wealth. It is built into not only the U.S, but Western Society.

Hopkins writes:

Devaluing Black and Indigenous people’s lives to build wealth for white communities isn’t new. White settlers began that project in the 15th century, when they arrived in North America. Most Native peoples of North America lived in regenerative relationships with the land; they were careful to take no more than the land could sustain. The settlers had another ethic: They sought to dominate and control. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)


From “Three Massive Threats” to SustainABILITY

One of the most baffling things throughout the coronavirus pandemic is that even with a life-threatening global pandemic, sides emerged. At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember thinking that this threat to humanity would unify us and strengthen public trust in science. Boy was I wrong. The economic realities of the pandemic, cries of “just the flu”, and protests against social distancing policies tell a different and complex story. —Marshall Shepherd (3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020)

I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. The answer is for all of us to figure out together.

All I know is that if climate change and environmental injustice are the result of a society that values some lives and not others, then none of us are safe from pollution until all of us are safe from pollution. Dirty air doesn’t stop at the county line, and carbon pollution doesn’t respect national borders. As long as we keep letting the polluters sacrifice Black and brown communities, we can’t protect our shared global climate. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)

Today we face threemassive threats, and the only way to neutralize any one of them is to succeed at addressing all three at once.…

…we must as soon as possible – in our cities, states and nations – convene emergency task forces to tackle equity, the pandemic and climate change as an integrated whole.

These task forces will need expertise in climate, clean energy, equity, public health, epidemiology and people-centered economics. Each task force should include an additional kind of expertise: the life experience of those who are most impacted by inequity, climate change and COVID-19. Those who live with the impacts of multiple problems often have the most creative ideas about addressing them.

Time and money are in short supply. There isn’t enough of either to treat equity, climate change and the current pandemic as separate issues. A holistic, multisolving approach is an effective, cost-saving way to tackle the great challenges of our times. —Elizabeth Sawin (US News & World Report, Commentary, Why We Can’t Ignore the Link Between COVID-19, Climate Change and Inequity, April 1, 2020)


The June Theme of The BeZine: SustainABILITY

We can’t wait. The time to act is now.

We may want to say, “God save us.” But we have free will, so it is up to us to move forward and make the change, so that we are ABLE to sustain the earth.

Then, perhaps 100% of humans (and other life) would be more secure and protected.

—Michael Dickel, Co-Managing Editor

Much thanks to Michael Dickel for stunning and exhaustive editorial collaboration and technical innovations on this issue, to the whole of the Zine team for stalwart efforts and supports, to our readers and supporters who share our peaceable values, and to Margaret Shaw for the wonderful header-art gracing this edition of the Zine.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,

—Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and Co-Managing Editor

Given the scope and magnitude of this sudden crisis [the COVID-19 pandemic], and the long shadow it will cast, can the world afford to pay attention to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda at this time? Our firm belief is that we simply cannot afford to do otherwise.

McKinsey & Co., April 7, 2020
Addressing climate change in a post-pandemic world

Table of Contents

Poetry

“Earth care, as it turns out, is really about self-care and other-care. What we design today impacts how we live tomorrow. For better or for worse, it impacts far into upcoming generations.”

—L.L. Barkat, Earth to Poetry: A 30-Days, 30-Poems Earth, Self, and Other Care Challenge

Dreaming—Poems, Mike Stone
Three Haikus, Irma Do
Cento, Eric Nicholson
A Walk in the Park, Eric Nicholson
Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem, Linda Chowen
Do We Need To?, Munia Khan
The Veggie Lady, Adrian Slonakar
One Sky, One Earth, Ambily Omanakuttan
Tread Softly, Irene Emanuel
Tomorrow’s Question, John R. Ehrenfeeld
creatures today, Connor Orrico
Nature We Failed, Wayne Russell
Three Poems, Shoko Cosmas
A Series of Haikus, Chris Northrop
rootes in solide erthe & 2 other poems, Dennis Formento
Côte-Nord, Candice O’Grady
Daylighting, Candice O’Grady
Migration, Candice O’Grady

Essays

“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”

—Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

World’s End or World Without End, Corina Ravenscraft
Clothing Production for a Sustainable Earth, John Anstie

Folktale

“The main thing, Ruby said, was not to get ahead of yourself. Go at a rhythm that could be sustained on and on. Do just as much as you could do and still be able to get up and do again tomorrow. No more, and no less.”

                     —Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

In Your Hands, Margaret Read MacDonald

Fiction

“The environmental movement of the 21st century created a new path to sustainability for cities, the path of wilderness.”

        —Archimedes Muzenda,  Dystopia: How The Tyranny of Specialists Destroy African Cities

Accepting Adversity, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
The Virus of Reason and Fear, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
On a Palm Leaf, Allen Ashley
Soul Searching, Riley Simmons

Art / Photography

“In the end, the term ‘circularity’ may just be one way to make us aware that we need a more encompassing, integrated and restorative sustainability path that includes people as much as technology and nature.”

                                               —Michiel Schwarz  A Sustainist Lexicon

Imagined Futures, Images, Noelle Richard
Habitat Loss, Eric Nicholson

“..despite myriad differences in beliefs and value systems, people have the capacity to acknowledge that the one constant across the board is the Earth. Her health is our health. Her life is our life.”

                     —Heidi Barr, Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth

News

Austrailia’s Failure to Protect Great Barrier Reef Prompts Demand for UN Action

Video

WE ARE NATURE, Considerations on the Antropocene

Sierra Club Op-Ed

Sierra Club Op-Ed: Racism is Killing the Planet

We need to stop thinking through a capitalist prism. I don’t agree with those who claim that now is no time for politics, that we should just mobilize to survive these dangers. No! Now is a great time for politics, because the world in its current form is disappearing. Scientists will just tell us, ‘If you want to play it safe, keep this level of quarantine,’ or whatever. But we have a political decision to make, and we are offered different options.

Slavoj Zizek
Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020
Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World


The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be 

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Mission StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.



 

Posted in The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

The BeZine, Vol. 7, Issue 2, June 2020, SustainABILITY

Ultimately, talking points preserve narratives seeking to keep the status quo or create a reality that aligns with the person’s ideology or personal needs.

Marshall Shepherd
3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020

We want to start this introduction to the SustainABILITY issue of The BeZine with a pause and breath.

Go ahead, breathe in deeply. This is both calming and symbolic of the interrelated crises of humanity at this time.

Three huge, potentially shattering issues loom large today, what commentator Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Director of the nonprofit Climate Interactive calls “three massive threats”:

Climate Change, COVID-19, Racism
a sustainABILITY pastiche


Climate Change

Climate change concerns the atmosphere and excessive carbon.

Breathe in again, deeply. Breathe out.

That exhalation, as you probably know, is CO2, carbon dioxide. We breathe the atmosphere.

And, as we pollute it, we poison our own breaths through industry, fossil fuels, factory farming, and other human activity. We poison the globe. And as climate change continues its charge ahead in leaps and bounds, it will be increasingly difficult for us to breathe, literally.

Climate Change hits much more than White areas in what Hop Hopkins (“Racism is Killing the Planet,” Sierra Club) calls the “Sacrifice Zones,” where White Supremacy’s “Disposable People” live. The 1% remain more secure and protected.

Have you tried to breathe when the temperatures go above body temperature (37C / 98.6F)? Imagine what it must be like for those locations that have had recent record-breaking temperatures of around 50C / 122F?

Where do you think waste is dumped? Where are polluting industries and power plants built? Who lives in areas that risk their health the most? Certainly not those with money, status, and power in societies.

How long can we continue this way? Are we able to find a path to sustain life on earth (human and otherwise)? That is the goal—sustainABILITY.


From Climate to Pandemic

What we should fear now is a perfect storm: a health, economic and mental health crisis. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

According to a 2015 study published in PNAS, a 30,000 year old virus was found in the permafrost of the Arctic, raising concern that rising temperatures could lead to the rise of deadly, archaic illnesses. —cited in Science Alert (Melting Glaciers Are Revealing Dead Bodies And Ancient Diseases, 23 March 2019).

The economic problems will compel those in power to take actions that before this crisis appeared to be radically leftist measures. Even conservatives are having to do things that run against their principles. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

Climate conditions are classified as top predictors of coronavirus illnesses (Dalziel et al., 2018) as wind speed, humidity, temperature and wind speed are critical in the transmission of infectious diseases (Yuan et al., 2006). Bull (1980) reported that pneumonia’s mortality rate is highly correlated with weather changes. —cited in Correlation between climate indicators and COVID-19 pandemic in New York, USA, (Science Direct 20 April 2020)

Higher temperatures and respiratory problems are also linked. One reason is because higher temperatures contribute to the build-up of harmful air pollutants. —U.S. CDC and American Public Health Association (Extreme Heat Can Affect our Health)


COVID-19

COVID-19 blocks our lungs. It literally stops us from breathing. Yes, also organ damage, including heart problems. But it stops our breath, in a world-wide pandemic. Like the global crisis of climate change will, eventually, stop our breath.

There will be more pandemics with continued Global Warming. There will be more disruption, economic loss, social unrest, and all of the things we have seen so far in this pandemic.

Will we avoid the next pandemic? Could a 30,000 year-old virus, or a 150 year-old virus revive to attack? If so, who will have our back? The government?

How will we be able to sustain human and other life on earth if we continue on this path? Will we build a sustainABLE future for our children, our grandchildren? Ourselves?

In the US, even the current CDC admits that COVID-19 has hit POC and Indigenous Peoples, especially African Americans, harder than White people. The 1% remain more secure and protected.


From Pandemic to Race

The effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging; however, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. —US CDC (COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups page last reviewed on by CDC June 4 2020)

Robert D. Bullard is a professor at Texas Southern University who has written for more than 30 years about the need to redress environmental racism. He welcomed the statements of support this week from the leaders of big environmental groups but he lamented that the vast amount of donor money still goes to white-led environmental groups.

“I’d like to see these groups start to embrace this whole concept of justice, fairness and equity,” he said. “Those statements need to be followed up with a concerted effort to address the underlying conditions that make for despair.”
—(Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

It’s essential to have anti-racism baked into the goals that even white-led organizations are pursuing because both political racism and environmental racism are drivers of our excess pollution and climate denialism. —Heather McGhee, senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group, and the author of a forthcoming book called The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

Police violence is an aspect of a broader pattern of structural violence, which the climate crisis is a manifestation of. Healing structural violence is actually in the best interest of all human beings. —Sam Grant, executive director of MN350.org, the Minnesota affiliate of the international climate activist group 350.org (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)


Anti-Racism

Racism has come to the fore with the anti-racist, anti-police-brutality protests and riots since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His quoted last words, echoing those of Eric Garner (murdered by police in New York City six years ago): “I can’t breathe.” Protest signs and chants have repeated this phrase thousands of times since last month.

George Floyd, a Black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20, was strangled by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Eric Garner, a Black man selling loose cigarettes, was strangled by police using a “choke hold.” The 1% remain totally secure and protected.

Structural, systemic racism is an integral part of our extraction economy, according to Hop Hopkins, writing for The Sierra Club. It keeps those in power in power by dividing us against each other—so that the 1% (or 3% or 5% or 10%) can keep in power and grow their wealth. It is built into not only the U.S, but Western Society.

Hopkins writes:

Devaluing Black and Indigenous people’s lives to build wealth for white communities isn’t new. White settlers began that project in the 15th century, when they arrived in North America. Most Native peoples of North America lived in regenerative relationships with the land; they were careful to take no more than the land could sustain. The settlers had another ethic: They sought to dominate and control. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)


From “Three Massive Threats” to SustainABILITY

One of the most baffling things throughout the coronavirus pandemic is that even with a life-threatening global pandemic, sides emerged. At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember thinking that this threat to humanity would unify us and strengthen public trust in science. Boy was I wrong. The economic realities of the pandemic, cries of “just the flu”, and protests against social distancing policies tell a different and complex story. —Marshall Shepherd (3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020)

I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. The answer is for all of us to figure out together.

All I know is that if climate change and environmental injustice are the result of a society that values some lives and not others, then none of us are safe from pollution until all of us are safe from pollution. Dirty air doesn’t stop at the county line, and carbon pollution doesn’t respect national borders. As long as we keep letting the polluters sacrifice Black and brown communities, we can’t protect our shared global climate. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)

Today we face threemassive threats, and the only way to neutralize any one of them is to succeed at addressing all three at once.…

…we must as soon as possible – in our cities, states and nations – convene emergency task forces to tackle equity, the pandemic and climate change as an integrated whole.

These task forces will need expertise in climate, clean energy, equity, public health, epidemiology and people-centered economics. Each task force should include an additional kind of expertise: the life experience of those who are most impacted by inequity, climate change and COVID-19. Those who live with the impacts of multiple problems often have the most creative ideas about addressing them.

Time and money are in short supply. There isn’t enough of either to treat equity, climate change and the current pandemic as separate issues. A holistic, multisolving approach is an effective, cost-saving way to tackle the great challenges of our times. —Elizabeth Sawin (US News & World Report, Commentary, Why We Can’t Ignore the Link Between COVID-19, Climate Change and Inequity, April 1, 2020)


The June Theme of The BeZine: SustainABILITY

We can’t wait. The time to act is now.

We may want to say, “God save us.” But we have free will, so it is up to us to move forward and make the change, so that we are ABLE to sustain the earth.

Then, perhaps 100% of humans (and other life) would be more secure and protected.

—Michael Dickel, Co-Managing Editor

Much thanks to Michael Dickel for stunning and exhaustive editorial collaboration and technical innovations on this issue, to the whole of the Zine team for stalwart efforts and supports, to our readers and supporters who share our peaceable values, and to Margaret Shaw for the wonderful header-art gracing this edition of the Zine.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,

—Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and Co-Managing Editor

Given the scope and magnitude of this sudden crisis [the COVID-19 pandemic], and the long shadow it will cast, can the world afford to pay attention to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda at this time? Our firm belief is that we simply cannot afford to do otherwise.

McKinsey & Co., April 7, 2020
Addressing climate change in a post-pandemic world

Table of Contents

Poetry

“Earth care, as it turns out, is really about self-care and other-care. What we design today impacts how we live tomorrow. For better or for worse, it impacts far into upcoming generations.”
L.L. Barkat
Earth to Poetry: A 30-Days, 30-Poems Earth, Self, and Other Care Challenge

Dreaming—Poems, Mike Stone
Three Haikus, Irma Do
Cento, Eric Nicholson
A Walk in the Park, Eric Nicholson
Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem, Linda Chowen
Do We Need To?, Munia Khan
The Veggie Lady, Adrian Slonakar
One Sky, One Earth, Ambily Omanakuttan
Tread Softly, Irene Emanuel
Tomorrow’s Question, John R. Ehrenfeeld
creatures today, Connor Orrico
Nature We Failed, Wayne Russell
Three Poems, Shoko Cosmas
A Series of Haikus, Chris Northrop
rootes in solide erthe & 2 other poems, Dennis Formento
Côte-Nord, Candice O’Grady
Daylighting, Candice O’Grady
Migration, Candice O’Grady

Essays

“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”
                     —Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

World’s End or World Without End, Corina Ravenscraft
Clothing Production for a Sustainable Earth, John Anstie

Folktale

“The main thing, Ruby said, was not to get ahead of yourself. Go at a rhythm that could be sustained on and on. Do just as much as you could do and still be able to get up and do again tomorrow. No more, and no less.”
                     —Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

In Your Hands, Margaret Read MacDonald

Fiction

“The environmental movement of the 21st century created a new path to sustainability for cities, the path of wilderness.”
                     —Archimedes Muzenda,
                     Dystopia: How The Tyranny of Specialists Destroy African Cities

Accepting Adversity, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
The Virus of Reason and Fear, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
On a Palm Leaf, Allen Ashley
Soul Searching, Riley Simmons

Art / Photography

“In the end, the term ‘circularity’ may just be one way to make us aware that we need a more encompassing, integrated and restorative sustainability path that includes people as much as technology and nature.”
                                                   —Michiel Schwarz
                     
A Sustainist Lexicon

Imagined Futures, Images, Noelle Richard
Habitat Loss, Eric Nicholson

“..despite myriad differences in beliefs and value systems, people have the capacity to acknowledge that the one constant across the board is the Earth. Her health is our health. Her life is our life.”
                     —Heidi Barr, Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth

News

Austrailia’s Failure to Protect Great Barrier Reef Prompts Demand for UN Action

Video

WE ARE NATURE, Considerations on the Antropocene

Sierra Club Op-Ed

Sierra Club Op-Ed: Racism is Killing the Planet

We need to stop thinking through a capitalist prism. I don’t agree with those who claim that now is no time for politics, that we should just mobilize to survive these dangers. No! Now is a great time for politics, because the world in its current form is disappearing. Scientists will just tell us, ‘If you want to play it safe, keep this level of quarantine,’ or whatever. But we have a political decision to make, and we are offered different options.

Slavoj Zizek
Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020
Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World


The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be 

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Mission StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.