Posted in interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Poems from Purpose | Gary Beck

Poems from Purpose, an unpublished poetry collection that calls attention to the horrors and beauties in this complex life…


Urban Entropy

The extremes of nature
shock city folk
unaccustomed to deluging rain,
suddenly vulnerable
weakend by mass comforts,
survival capabilities
in dire disasters
highly questionable.

Betrayed

The homeless sit
on crumbling sidewalks,
cardboard signs proclaiming need
disintegrated
from rain, snow,
being ignored
by almost everyone
almost as needy,
abandoned by the 1%
no longer concerned with
the suffering of the people,
the state of the nation.

Track Flower
Photograph ©2022 M.S. Evans

Usurpation

Since man first organized
into family units
one had to be above average
to advance in the clan, tribe,
early cities, city-states, nations,
all well established hierarchys
classified by rank, trade, wealth.

Thousands of years later
shortly after World War II,
returning U.S. soldiers
went to college on the G.I. Bill,
a free education
for seven million men
who jumped to middle class,
a social revolution
unprecedented
in human history.

Soldiers were usually discarded
when no longer needed,
for few had the skills
to make them desirable.
Then millions of graduates
went into the world
with valued professions
that produced wealth and comfort
only dreamed of in the past.

The legions of ex-warriors
unresentful of their treatment,
unlike many soldiers past,
took their places happily
as prosperous citizens
with little need to question
the practices of their rulers,
who successfully bought off
the makers of rebellions
blinded to the oppression
of oligarch exploiters
by the abundance
of goods and services.

©2022 Gary Beck
All rights reserved


Gary Beck…

…has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 34 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of plays.


Quote from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

April in The BeZine Blog


Motifs | Gary Beck

Hard Times

On many street corners
of my fair city
the homeless sit
resources exhausted,
the tattered cardboard signs
requesting aid
the last connection
between abandonment
and termination,
alternate options
totally expended.
Miroslava Panayotava
photo 1
©2021

Lunacy

Another school shooting.
Some of us grieve
for the lost children.
The President visits,
gives us thumbs up,
grins for the cameras,
another photo op
to tell us he cares,
but he just makes things worse.
Crazies cite the second amendment
as their right to buy automatic rifles.
Our leaders don’t understand
authority in the constitution
isn’t for nazi supremacists,
but was originally conceived
for the men and boys
who rushed to arms in 1775
at Lexington and Concord,
a well-regulated militia,
not like the nuts 
who allow AR-15s
to get into the hands
of demented shooters.


And the Children Shall Lead Them

Let’s put the kids in charge.
They can’t do much worse
then the current leadership.
They’re not venal and corrupt.
Maybe they’re inexperienced,
but it’s hard to be more ignorant
than the men and women
who can’t keep our government running.
Someday, the children of our young people
would like to breathe clean air,
not be helpless victims
of economic exploitation,
live in a safe land
where automatic weapons
weren’t the catch of the day.
It is painfully obvious
the system isn’t working,
except for the privileged.
Perhaps it’s time for an experiment,
select high school seniors on merit,
test them, find out what they know,
what they’re willing to learn.
We should design special courses
in government operations,
economics, the list goes on.
Let them run things for a while.
If it’s a disaster
we’ll go back to the old ways.
Let anyone with money,
influence, or connections,
purchase high office
however unqualified,
and not serve the people.

Poetry ©2021 Gary Beck
All rights reserved

Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in our Bodies

I am going to resurrect and modify a presentation I did a few years ago with Terra Morgan, Bjorn Peterson, and Denise Ritthaler. In this presentation, we develop the case for a theology of Liberation of the Body. Although we use references, occasionally, from Christianity, the topics transcend that particularity. And unfortunately, this dialogue has framed much of western culture’s understanding of our bodies.

This will be a four part series looking at:

  1. The case for a Liberation of the Body & Liberation of our sexual being
  2. Liberation of women and particularly body image
  3. Liberation of elder bodies
  4. Liberation of men

(Note: This already is too gendered and separated! But it is the beginning of our thoughts on the topic).

And we just barely touch the iceberg!

Why do I consider this sacred space? I consider that we are in relationship with three things:

  1. us and bodies
  2. us and the world
  3. us and the divine

If we are not at peace with our bodies, our own selves, our angst and anger will spill into our treatment of the world and into our understanding of the divine. If we believe the Divine is within, and within us we hurt ourselves, then the Divine is also hurt. If we believe the Divine is outside of us, and has caused this, the Divine becomes capable of vengeance and capricious pain. Either way, it seems a difficult place to hold. Throw in the world and how we use it, and we are done for. So in an effort to move into peacefulness within ourselves and then in relationship with the world, let us consider our bodies as sacred space worth liberating.

Additionally, since nobody has really written “Let’s liberate our bodies!” what you will experience may be music, images, factual stuff, poetry…it’s all fair game!

Do you want the geeky stuff? Here it is!

The Theological Problem: Liberation of the Body

by Terri Stewart, Denise Ritthaler, Terra Morgan, and Bjorn Peterson

We are talking about liberating the body in a variety of forms. It is a theological problem that has developed from Platonism which brings us the realm of forms and particulars. In forms we have transcendence, the soul, and reason. This is the optimal way of being in the world. In the particulars, we have our senses, opinions, and our body. This is not the preferred way of being in the world. Separating ourselves into dualistic (tri-istic?) bits ignores that we are one integrated body and only one way to experience our senses.

Platonism impacts Christianity through an interpretation of Jesus’ ascetic personal practices. Then Paul, who was Greek and had a greater influence from Platonic sources, brought a more extreme sexual ethic into his writings.

Then, through the source of tradition, we then have Augustine who tells us that the body is sinful and that the soul and reason are to be preferred. This places God as “out there.” Away from the body because clearly, God is not sinful, therefore, even though the Divine is incarnational, the Divine has nothing to do with the body.

Maya Rivera, theologian, says, “This privileges “sameness over difference, of the One over the multiplicity, of the universal over the particular…in such systems there is no place for real otherness. Totalities reduce persons to categories.” (Rivera, 57)

However, Neale Donald Walsh reminds us of the inseparability.

“Your mind holds the past,
your body holds the present,
your soul holds the future.
Put another way,
the mind analyzes and remembers, Slide5
the body experiences and feels,
the soul observes and knows.”

So who are we really?

We are the body of the Divine participating in one diverse reality that would cast us all as other.

And who is the Divine?

Slide6God is love in the recognition that we and all of creation exist together and yet the Divine is so much more. The source, the center, the spring of existence. The Divine is other, existence is other, and we are other to ourselves. And yet, we are all each an incarnational part of Love’s cosmic creation.

This approach to liberation of the body is through a demonstration of what it means for humans as sexual beings, humans as women and their body image, humans as the elder body, and humans as men. (Note: I would also consider that this is entirely too gendered, but it is a starting point.)

Liberation of the Sexual Body

We are all sexual beings. Whether or not we have sex, we are sexual beings. In Western culture (and many others around the world), our sexuality is frowned upon. The appreciation for eros is limited. In ancient Greek, we have three words for love – agapos, philos, and eros. Each one describing a different aspect of love. Eros is believed to be that type of love that is the seat of creativity. In sexuality, we see this as the drive to have children – create! Some scholars believe that eros is the seat of all our creative desires. But our religious authorities rarely express this. This is because of a theological battle endured 1600+ years ago between Augustine and Pelagius.

Slide9If we had only chosen Pelagius! But the foundation is there to have a theology based in free-will and the idea that we are indeed born in a state of being good rather than in a state of being a worm. And it was good! Very, very good!

created by Terri Stewart
graphic created by Terri Stewart

The Unity Church developed a philosophy of “The 12 Powers.” Spiritual abilities that we are perfectly able to express and that are present in every person. These powers hold that the body is good, very very good! This connects very nicely to the Chakras as described in so many ways and visualized to the right.

But through it all, from the beginning to now, the body, mind, and spirit has been connected to our bodies. Pelagius knew that and we can see it. And our creative, generative bodies can also experience being liberated through the concept of liberating our own bodies to give and receive love. We are created, we create. That is the Divine circle of our eros bodies.

One way to experience a liberated body grounded in eros-creativity is through music and movement. I encourage you to listen to the below, simple music and to move your body however you will–without shame or reservation. Reach an arm to the sky! Roll your head from side-to-side! Sway! Thou shalt do what thou shalt do! And this is the end of part 1, laying the groundwork for a Liberation of the Body and using cultural items to show that we are already liberated! Let’s claim our sexual, eros selves as liberated beings.

How would you write your eros liberation?

Pour Yourself In Me ~Rickie Byers Beckwith

A Unity Church Artist

Shalom and Amen!

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