Twenty–Twenty and Beyond—A Year of Loss | John Anstie

The end of last year, 2020, amongst so many momentous events of the last decade, in my little part of the world, marked the tenth anniversary of the start of my blogging experience along with some serious social media activity! That’s a long time in some lives, but it seems like a very short time for me. It has nonetheless been a huge journey, not only on a creative level, but also in terms of our history. Much writing, editing, the production of a poetry anthology, becoming a core member of a quarterly blog, singing with a new, but small chamber choir and an invitation to join one of the UK’s top barbershop choruses, with whom I won a gold medal in 2019. Much change politically, socially and economically.

In this same decade, seven precious new lives were added to my family, one of whom was tragically lost. In the past year or so, we have lost some good friends to a serious virus.

The events of the past year and a half – not forgetting one or two other (some would argue astonishing) historical political changes in the decade – would have sounded like a science-fiction future; perhaps even armageddon. Our non-fiction past tells us that, over the most recent century or two, only during armed conflicts have we witnessed heavier losses in such a short time all over the World. But something marks out this period as different. In some ways it has many parallels in history, but in others, it does not. Yes, there have been plagues before, but not the level of advances in medical science that have never been more evident than now. Throughout the administration and management of the pandemic, somehow, perhaps a little unexpectedly, it also seems to have had the effect of widening inequity between the ’haves’ and the ’have nots’. For most of the latter it has been traumatic; for a some of the former, they seem to have thrived during a period of social stress. Rather like in times of war, there are always those who do more than contribute, they profit handsomely from it.

We have better medical science, better communication and thereby a greater ability to cooperate and collaborate to solve the challenges we face. But then, what marks out this year as different. It is the politics of division, and jumped up political parties headed by egocentric soldiers of fortune, whose sole purpose seems to have been to stir trouble, divide and conquer. On top of this, economic policies and our obsession with consumption, growth and of servicing debt has had a massive toll on our security. This starts with personal debt that enabled us to spend, spend, spend until some of us have accrued more debt than we can sustain and have become controlled by those whose money we borrow, and who thereby become the richer for it. So now we know why we have been encouraged to consume; lured into incessant materialism. The major banks have benefitted massively throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by the process of large companies having to shore up their balance sheets. In turn, the national debt of the country has burgeoned and will eventually be shouldered, as ever, by the ‘little people’, that is us the individuals, who cannot avoid paying their taxes. It will take many years to bring this debt, which was already burgeoning prior to the lockdown, back to a manageable level. In the mean time during which millions have suffered privation, a few enterprising, greedy, exploitative, gold digging (circle those that apply in your own world) trans-national companies and a few well placed individuals have become significantly better off, it could be argued by a process of morally ‘unjust enrichment’.

Our health service, the treasured NHS – the UK’s largest remaining, but decreasingly publicly owned service, highly valued by us, the people, but, worryingly, also highly valued by the aforesaid international corporate community, particularly those healthcare companies and corporations, who have been lusting over getting their hands on its assets for decades – has been and, as I write, still is being overwhelmed by the demands of the number of cases of Covid-19 on top of all the usual seasonal afflictions that need to be treated in hospitals.

I have it first hand from a friend, a consultant in respiratory medicine, who has been at the front line of the fight against Covid-19 since it started, and who found herself becoming a counselling shoulder for junior doctors and colleagues from other disciplines, who themselves were traumatised by the unfolding crisis. She is now faced with the moral, ethical and psychologically challenging task of treating patients suffering from the serious effects of Covid-19, a majority of whom are self declared ’anti-vaxers’. I wonder if they realise how lucky they are and much they owe to these remarkable, caring professionals.

In the past year, we have witnessed significant loss of life, of living and livelihood, of community, togetherness and society. Furlough and business support packages have been kind to some but not to others. Added to all this, divisive politics has had a toxic effect on our sense of common purpose and our faith in the systems of governance and democracy itself. It could be argued that this has been engineered and sponsored by those, who fear a loss of control, a loss of income on many different levels, but there are those currently in power, who have begun to demonstrate not only a greater degree of blatant corruption, but that they can get away with it. Our economy, our mental and physical health, our morale have been beggared, not only by natural forces, but also, under the smokescreen of viral pandemic, by mismanagement and by opportunist manipulation of circumstances to the benefit of the few and at the cost of the many. Can this, can it ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be called fair? Could it be called social justice? Speaking at least for myself, I feel an insatiable, deep hunger for some humanity, some corrective social justice.

We should nonetheless afford some concession and equity to the ‘haves’ as well as the ‘have nots’. There are those of us ‘little people’, who have undeniably benefitted from this ‘age of plenty’ and virtually uninterrupted economic growth over the past several decades, probably since World War Two. However, had we collectively foreseen the effect that our hunger for material things, admittedly driven by our gullibility for the ubiquitous marketing and advertising slogans that have etched their deceptions into our consciousness, then we might have avoided this parlous political and economic situation, if not a pandemic … but then that would be the subject of another essay.

But most of us mere mortals didn’t foresee this coming. We enjoyed it whilst we had it and now we are in danger of losing it, but for one thing.

We do seem to have lost so much in the past decade, but the spirit of Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice still persists amongst a precious few in the world. It remains as our guiding light at The BeZine and, let’s hope, with many of those who regularly read these pages. We soldier on. We still retain hope that common sense, a common purpose, the common conscience will prevail and the life and spirit of Jamie Dedes lives on. 


©2021 John Ansties
All rights reserved

Holding Onto My Last Breath — Joseph Hesch



I’m told there will come a time
when all will be revealed,
that moment just before you leave
where the Universe gives it up
to your virgin consciousness
and you go, ahhhhh….
And as great as that sounds,
you’ll note that your expression
of finally acquiring that enlightenment
comes in an exhalation,
more than likely your last.
I know that doesn’t sound fair,
but once you discover what
all this back-breaking, toil
and trouble life was for,
let alone about, what else is there
but to sound a short A?
Unless it’s a long ohhhhhh.
I suppose that’s why I intend
to hold my breath like a five-year-old
who won’t eat his Brussels sprouts
on that day when the Universe
comes a’knocking with my serving
of The Way, as the Buddhists might
intone. They call it nirvāṇa,
which is Sanskrit for “blowing out.”
That’s kind of what I’ve been saying,
only with an ahhhhh rather than an ohmmm.
Another translation is “liberation,”
which sounds so much better, because
I’d rather be freed from this
troubled coil, than blown out again
like a rotten basketball team,
or permanently, like a candle.
Ohm, shanti, shanti, shanti, y’all.
(Just in case.)

For those of us who don’t know Sanskrit, and I only know enough to get through a beginner’s yoga practice video, “Shanti” means “Peace.” So, I bid you all peace because we sure as hell need it. And so do I. So do I.


©2021 Joseph Hesch
All rights reserved


Return to ToC

Posted in disability/illness

At Last: U.S. Social Security Administration “Modernizes” Its Disability Rule for Non-English Speaking Workers

Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul announced a new final rule today, modernizing an agency disability rule that was introduced in 1978 and has remained unchanged. The new regulation, “Removing the Inability to Communicate in English as an Education Category,” updates a disability rule that was more than forty years old and did not reflect work in the modern economy. This final rule has been in the works for a number of years and updates an antiquated policy that makes the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits.

“It is important that we have an up-to-date disability program,” Commissioner Saul said. “The workforce and work opportunities have changed and outdated regulations need to be revised to reflect today’s world.”

A successful disability system must evolve and support the right decision as early in the process as possible. Social Security’s disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and the evolution of work.

Social Security is required to consider education to determine if someone’s medical condition prevents work, but research shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of educational attainment or the ability to engage in work. This rule is another important step in the agency’s efforts to modernize its disability programs.

In 2015, Social Security’s Inspector General recommended that the agency evaluate the appropriateness of this policy. Social Security owes it to the American public to ensure that its disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace. This rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

The rule will be effective on April 27, 2020.

Posted in John Anstie, Poems/Poetry

New Year

Same Rivers, New Waters …

Last year passed the golden glove
You know, the one with a fist of iron.
She wanted no more of it. Nor I.
Those glossy, glittering, glistening,
shining products of a golden age
had lost their sheen and the age of
growth and worshipping at the alter of
God. Demands. Profit. … is so last year.

Meanwhile, in the town, at Star Books,
reading over our tax-free coffee,
batting ideas on who could pay the bill
and how you make your money work,
if only we had some …

Consumption was her daily bread
and the disease that strangled
generations, who died of terminal debt.

The improper death of innocents,
but where is their misplaced virtue.
Are they free of blame … still free?
May be no more, and yet we must
pay due heed to plant the seed of hope.
To fight for nourishment forgone.
It might have been the will of the people,
but, for folk who step into the same rivers,

ever newer waters flow …

© 2019 John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described, at various times as a ” Husband, Family man, Grandfather, Father, Son, Brother, sort of Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, AppleMac user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has (variously) participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and as a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011.

Recent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, The B Zine

Call to register and prepare for 100TPC global event & Last call for submissions to the June issue of “The BeZine”



Notice from founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carion ~

Dear Friends of 100 Thousand Poets for Change,

It is that time of year again when we begin to sign up organizers and events for the next Global 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day–September 30, 2017. Please let me know if you will be organizing in your town.

Also, as you know, 100 Thousand Poets for Change is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 and we need your donations to keep this movement going strong.

We would be grateful if you would take a moment to make a donation through Paypal at 100 Thousand Poets for Change Donation Link at http://100tpc.org/?page_id=14104 or send a check donation to 100 TPC, Box 2724, Tallahassee, FL 32304, USA.

We need your support so that we can continue to provide a global platform for poets and artists to speak about peace, justice, sustainability, and community.

Now more than ever! Show your support!

Sincerely,

Michael and Terri

100 Thousand Poets for Change

100TPC.org

The BeZine will host a 100,000 Poets for Change virtual event. Poets are welcome to contribute from anywhere in the world and we encourage disabled poets to participate, especially those who are homebound.  Michael Dickel (Meta / Phor(e) / Play) takes the lead.



Deadline for the June issue is tomorrow (June 10th) at midnight PST.

THE BeZINE submissions for the June 2017 issues (theme: Environmental Justice/Climate Change: Farming and Access to Water) should be in by June 10th latest.  Publication date is June 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration. Please check out a few issues first and the Intro./Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. No demographic restrictions.

The theme for the July issue is Prison Culture, Restorative Justice. The deadline is July 10th at midnight PST. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) takes the lead.

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

1967 (17 years old) , My First Published Poem “Make of Me a Tree”

Dan and I as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I. He stands 6'5' and I stand 5'2
My cousin Dan and me as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I am. He stands 6’5′ and I stand around 5’2″ – give or take a bit depending on my shoes.

I was definitely the product you’d expect from the odd and awkward situation in which I grew up and surely I showed little talent, no free thinking and no genius or particular promise. The poem is not good – some youth write profoundly beautiful and wise poetry and young people today are far more savvy than I ever was  –  but it does illustrate that after fifty years or so writing will improve. We writers often have our doubts, but we are an unrelenting bunch. We write, write, write. We enrich, reform and reframe as if every word of ours will spark more Light in the collective unconscious, which I rather think they do.

Make of Me a Tree

I am young, Lord,
but my heart is true,
Make of me a tree

Make me strong and supple
That when tempests blow,
I shall stand unyielding.

Let me be humble in the
Praise of Your Majesty
And testify to Your greatness.

When rains besiege
Let me be shelter
To those who have not found Your Son,

For

Yes! I am young
but my heart is true:
Make of me a tree.

Amen.

– Jamie Dedes

That’s my cousin Dan in the photograph, six years younger than me, so about 8 in this photo to my 13,. Dan was inspired by the poem to paint a lovely “portrait” of a tree. These days it’s Father Dan – Rev. Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp. – a theologian and professor at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dan always showed real promise. Like my son, Richard, and Dan’s brother, Christopher, even as a toddler he was smart and funny.  So many of you appreciated Dan’s piece What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?  Come March, Dan will be back in the United States. We will get to visit for the first time in forty years.

And, yes! I did want to become a nun. I was told there would be family background checks and I feared rightly that there were things in my parent’s history that would embarrass my mom. I became a now-and-again wife, a mother, a writer, a poet. No regrets. The life mission is essentially the same though the vehicle of service differs and the actions are grounded in ethics not creed, which is not to imply that the two are necessarily exclusive.

RELATED:

DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.
DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.

The Blessed Mother: She reminds me of who I am and who I should be, Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp., The BeZine, July 2016

Note: The photograph of the two of us together was taken at a fundraiser our mothers were helping with for the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. This remains a worthy effort and worth your time if you happen to live in that area and are looking for a place at which to volunteer or are in a position to make a donation.

©  photographs (Daniel Sormani Family Album) and text and poem (Gigi “Jamie” Dedes), All rights reserved

Posted in General Interest, religious practice, Spiritual Practice

Happy New Year 2016, Part III – Gratitudes not Resolutions

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee forever.
— Psalm 30:12b

card-with-new-year

It used to be that every year I would make out a list of New Year’s resolutions just like everyone else. The reality of those resolutions was I put the list in safe place and promptly forgot all about them, just like everyone else I know. A couple of years back I changed practice for New Year’s, instead of resolutions I started listing what I was grateful for from the Old Year.

I no longer feel guilty about not keeping promises to myself and speaking gratitude helps me to see the past year in a positive perspective. So here are my top 10 gratitude’s for New Years day 2016:

First of all I am grateful for John my beloved husband, best friend, and all around good company.

I am grateful for the presence of my furry and feathered friends. They have helped me to laugh when I least wanted to and they are a calming presence each day of the year.

I am grateful for my family; John’s 3 sons; our beautiful grandchildren Shannon and Amelia, Alex and Liam; my cousins who have made me laugh and so grateful that we have reconnected. Each and every one of you has brought joy into my life in so many ways.

I am also grateful for the Skype calls from Mark, Laura, Liam, and Amelia, who live in Boston. Amelia and Liam I love all of your antics and learning what you are up as you are growing up. Liam practice hard on those drums so that when we come the next time you can show us your progress. Amelia send me some of your dress designs, I would love to see what you are thinking of. Each of you are talented and amazing.

I am especially grateful for the Laura’s presence in my life. You my dear daughter-in-law are a treasure.

I am grateful for the kindness of strangers from all over the world. Their help when I needed it on our South Pacific adventure last year made the trip just that much more enjoyable.

I am grateful for caring and skillful medical professionals: Dr. Alberts who operated on my back, the Nursing staff at Stevens Hospital who made a difficult time easier, Physical therapists who encouraged me to work harder so that I would successfully recover from surgery.

I am grateful for the Faith community at Queen Anne Christian Church who have show me and John so much love and friendship.

I am grateful for my In-Care-Committee who encouraged me to search deep within myself and who helped me to see myself as I am instead of how everyone see me.

I am grateful for the friendship of so many people that if I were to name them I would certainly forget someone, so from the bottom of my heart I love you all.

So those are my top 10 gratitude, of course I have many more. The listing of them will take all day on New Year’s Day but these are the most important ones. If you were to list your gratitude’s for 2015 what would they be? How would remembering them change your how you view the past year and how you anticipate the next?

My prayer for each of you is a year full of grace so that next New Year’s day it takes you 2 days to recite them. Have a Happy, Grace Filled New Year!

© 2015, words, Ruth Jewel, All rights reserved; illustration courtesy of Larisa Koshkina, Public Domain Pictures.net

Editor’s note: Ruth is a member of The Bardo Group Beguines core team.  Her personal blog is A Quiet Walk.  She also posts once a week on spiritual practice at our sister site, Beguine Again.

Last Cast of the Day

I wonder what would happen if we just
ran into one another someday.
It’s not going to happen, but what if?
Would your chest jump a little,
gassed on adrenalin or maybe bile?
Would you get all prickly around
your ears and face as blood
pushed all the elevator buttons?

Would you turn and cross the street,
like you meant to do that all along,
never looking at me, rather than
present your face to mine in a guarded
“Hi, old friend” moment?
Would we even recognize one another,
after age and life and lies have made like
locusts or glaciers on our my faces?

Would you be okay with an every-five-years
reunion of our class of two? I’d be the one
with the sticker on my chest that said
“Hi, my name is …” since I seldom know
who I am anymore other than old.
I don’t know why I wonder these things
from time to time. Maybe it’s the hopeful,
unworthy masochist in me.

You know, the one who each day
casts lines of memory and imagination
into the dark ocean of time,
never knowing what I’ll haul in.
Today it’s been muddy, writhing
questions and wonders. That’s how it goes
when you fish for words and hope.
There’s always another chance tomorrow.

– Joseph Hesch

© 2015, poem, Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved

The Year Turns

p1060964

Ice-Storm The year has turned. This evening, weather permitting, we will gather with others to celebrate the changing seasons and honor Grandfather Fire without whom we could not live. We will mark the Sun’s return, remembering the change of seasons is also within us. Here in the Northern Hemisphere the days will now lengthen as the sun begins His slow drift northward. That is the future; this morning the dark lingers. Jennie has moved through the house; lit candles mark her passage.

After a night of sleet, we have freezing rain. The snow plow just came through, potentially a mixed blessing as the coating of sleet protected the road’s surface from icing. A neighbor, out early, calls over through the darkness to ask whether she might bring us anything from the grocery.

Yesterday we braved the storm and the crowds and went shopping. One of our purchases was a second bird feeder. We have squirrels and have wagged a long competition with them regarding the feeders. This time of year flocks of birds come to our back yard feeding station a couple of times a day. Often they also find their way to our front porch where they watch our comings and goings at close range, often greeting us. Perhaps we will place one of the feeders near there.

As Saint Francis knew, the animals and birds are within us. This is ancient knowledge that awakens and reawakens in persons and cultures across the generations. We know their longings and hungers intimately.

Last night as the sleet and freezing rain fell I drummed and journeyed. I wanted to meet the storm directly, to feel the push and pull of warmth and cold and the tricky point of balance between them. As I journeyed I felt the deep antipathy we humans know in relationship to harsh cold and deep darkness. I wondered whether our failure to address climate change reflects that ageless fear of winter.

We warm bloodeds seem drawn to the South and to Grandfather Fire. Father Sun burns brightly within our mitochondria. There is a mysterious power attached to the hearth; there we meet Grandfather, hopefully safely contained. We press in, close to the radiating heart of the flames. Once upon a time we cooked our meals there, witnessing the wondrous transformation of raw into cooked. Grandfather brought us the gift of readily absorbed nutrients and energy, setting us free to explore the world. Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, and Grandfather Fire also live within us, creating the seasons of the soul and body. Grandmother water shapes our very being.

In a few days those of us who celebrate Christmas will leave cookies and milk, or something stronger, by the warm hearth, gifts of memory and affection for the spirits and the Ancestors, the Ancient Ones. They live with and within us, and willingly or not, we follow the trajectory of their desires and needs. Even from the spirit realms they follow our lives. Some seek the high emotion of drama and suffering, others wish us well, hoping we can find our way to joy, happiness, and connection with one another, all creation, and the Creator.

Yet, Christmas is in the future. Tonight we will remember and express gratitude to the host of beings with whom we share our lives, and to the Creator who gives us awareness and the immeasurable gift of Life. As the year turns, we will remember that we are also changing, that each life holds many lives, and that we are continually reborn. We are the great turning that is the year.

– Michael Watson, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC

© 2014, essay and photograph Michael Watson, All rights reserved

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Argentine poet Juan Gelman, Creative Collectives, Year-End Report, Terri Stewart’s work on behalf of homeless and youth

Juan Gelman (1930-2014) Argentine poet, jounalist and activist
Juan Gelman (1930-2014) Argentine poet, journalist and activist

WE SALUTE THE ARGENTINE POET and SOCIAL ACTIVIST, JUAN GELMAN, who died on the 14th in Mexico City where he moved after his exile and lived for the last twenty years.

A bird lived in me.
A flower traveled in my blood.
My heart was a violin.

Gelman was revered in Latin America and in Spain for his work against the junta of Argentina, his subject matter largely addressing injustice and oppression, but he was renowned the world over for his excellence and his ethic. He became a symbol of the “disappeared,” when he began a search for his granddaughter after his son and daughter-in-law were disappeared and killed. If you don’t know his story, you can read it HERE.

Shelley wrote that poets are the protectors of moral and civil laws, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Gelman certainly wrote in just such a spirit.

Professor Ilan Stavens (Amherst College) reads Juan Gelman’s poem End.

 

Photo credit ~ Presidencia de la Nación Argentina under CC A 2.0 Generic license.

800px-Rafael_-_El_Parnaso_(Estancia_del_Sello,_Roma,_1511)

OUR YEAR-END REPORT FROM WORDPRESS: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed over 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. In 2013 there were 354 new posts. There were 412 pictures uploaded, which is about a picture per day. The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 524 views. [LAUNCH AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa – unfortunately the two videos that were included in that post are no longer available for review.]

MORE ON CREATIVE COLLECTIVES: In another Bardo News post we wrote:

We are nurturing a growth that goes beyond the simple idea of “connectivity” to a more productive virtual “proximity” … think in terms of artistic gatherings  – not always formally organized – that you’ve read about and perhaps loved –  Bloomsbury in England or the cafe gatherings of the so-called Lost Generation in Paris of the 1920s or even the Algonquin Round Table in New York, also the 1920s, though we will forego the pranks and practical jokes of the latter.

We received a response to that from a Bardo friend who wishes to remain anonymous: “I had developed some additional thoughts or elaborations I’m passing on to you.

“Prior creative and intellectual movements benefited greatly from geographic proximity. It wasn’t enough to be part of community, but that the community shared and debated some essential values and were in constant contact. The idea is that fervency, serendipity and discovery arise out of actual physical proximity.

“This is why artists still flock to cities. Despite the Internet, we still go to Mecca.

“Connecting technologies have always strengthened the bonds between people with like-minded interests (letter-writing, magazine letter columns, BBS, chatrooms, message boards, social networking, etc), fostering community. But, in the last 40 years, I haven’t seen technology yet truly replicate the creative synergy that occurs with physical proximity.

“Which led to my conclusion: any creative person who is working via connected technologies (Internet, etc), needs to focus on how they can go beyond mere community and replicate the qualities caused by physical, geographical proximity.

“I think those qualities, include:

1. regularly scheduled contact
2. opportunities for random contact
3. an agreement on the values under discussion (not necessarily in agreement on the rightness or wrongness of the values themselves).
4. diversity of interest and perspective on those values.

“Several recent groups are decent examples (these are not necessarily endorsements), including:

• The Beats (rather amorphous really, but SF, NY, and Tangiers at various times)
• The Objectivists (in NY, prior to the broader expansion)
• Maybe, the “Fog City Mavericks” in film; Lucas, Spielberg, Eastwood, Coppola, Kaufman, Zaentz.
• The Inklings
• The Futurians

“Of course, as I read this, I also recognize that the ultimate failure of these groups and collectives was often caused by a descent into orthodoxy that stifled creativity and diversity.”

Hesch ProfileINTRODUCING JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words): Joe joined us as a member of the core team late last year. He is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. Many of his poems and stories are inspired by his almost 400-year-old hometown, but most spring from his many travels between his right ear and his left ear. A former journalist, he’s written for a living more than thirty years, but only recently convinced himself to rediscover the writer he once thought he was. Five years ago, he began to write short fiction. Two years later, in a serendipitous response to a blinding case of writer’s block, he wrote his first poem…ever. He hasn’t looked back.  

Since then his work has been published in journals and anthologies coast to coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words (http://athingforwordsjahesch.wordpress.com/).  An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, he was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”

Gather AB -1INTRODUCING LIZ RICE-SOSONE a.k.a. RAVEN SPIRIT (Noh Where): Liz is probably the most long-standing friend of Bardo. She guested here on several occasions and late last year joined us as a core team member and as the point person for our Voices of Peace Project. Liz began writing when older and housebound due to illness. HIV/AIDS work was the most rewarding work of her lifetime.  Her animals are the loves of her life.  Her husband is her best friend and also the love of her life.  She received a master’s degree in 2008 in gerontology and creative writing at the age of 62.  She started her second blog Noh Where in 2012.  She has a deep connection to all things Corvid.

terriIF YOU ARE IN THE SEATTLE AREA, TERRI STEWART (Begin Again) is co-hosting “Exploring Spiritual Identity with heART.” It is a mandala exercise facilitated with Julia Weaver at mandalaweaver.com. You can find more about the event athttp://beguineagain.com/events/ .
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Additionally, let’s celebrate with Terri as she was invited to provide testimony at her state legislature on January 29th. She will provide witness regarding the effect of having confidential juvenile records. Her state does not consider juvenile records confidential and any court proceedings are subject to the open records act. Additionally, the state she lives in sells juvenile records before the youth is even an adult and able to follow the steps to sealing their record. Making the records confidential is a huge step forward in providing peace and justice in the youth’s lives.
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CHARLIE MARTIN’S BOOK: Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is now available through Lulu and Amazon. We all love Aunt Bea and this is a long-awaited volume. Charlie (Read Between the Minds) says:
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product_thumbnail-4.phpBea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”
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FEBRUARY BLOG EVENTS: Please join us on February 14 for Bloggers in Planet Love. Mr. Linky will be open for 72 hours begining on the 14th. We hope you’ll share your post on nature, environment and environmental protection, food and farming, climate change and any other earthy subject. We welcome all forms of artistic expression: poems and photography, visual and video art, music, fiction, creative nonfiction and essay. We hope that you will also visit the other participants so that we can support one another while we all encourage appreciation and care of this beautiful planet of ours. The next Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt with Victoria Slotto (Victoria C. Slotto, Author/Fictionn, Poetry and Writing Prompts) is on February 26th. Thanks to those who joined with us last week. We look forward to seeing your participation again.
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JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day) posted three short stories as Pages on her blog:
  1. The City of Ultimate Bliss, one girl’s faith in the magic of her city to bring her a singular precious bliss.
  2. The Time of Orphaning, “It’s tough when your’e orphaned at seventy,” says the narrator.
  3. Señora Ortega’s Frijoles, a woman shares the dichos (sayings) of her foremothers with her daughter.
JOHN NOONEY’S (Johnbalaya) post, Some Thoughts on Adoption, drew considerable – if quiet -traffic and garnered fifty Facebook “Likes.” We’re thinking maybe there’s potential for a book in the expanded version of the story, John. Just sayiing!
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GOT NEWS? Please feel free to leave any news you may have in the comments section today. The next Bardo News is scheduled for Sunday, February 23 at 7 p.m. and the deadline for submitting your news is Friday, February 21. If you have news you’d like shared in that post, please leave a message in the comments section of any post between now and then and someone will get back to you. Thank you!
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Thank you for your readings, writings, sharing, “Likes,” and comments. All valued, as are you.
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With loving kindness,
– The Bardo Group
Posted in Nelson Mandela, Video

celebrating the intention of Nelson Mandela as a new year’s resolution

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Last year saw the loss of a great man and a widening of the world-wide gap between the few haves and the many have-nots, an injustice and a certain recipe for unrest. As we celebrate the birth of a fresh new year today, we also celebrate the man, Nelson Mandela, and his ideas. Poverty creates its own apartheid.

Over the course of the few next days, The Bardo Group will deliver posts that honor the man and second his ideals as a reminder of the need to be resolute, to continue Nelson Mandela’s fight for balance, justice and equality of opportunity.

Nelson Mandela’s Speech on Poverty (2005) 9 min.

May all mothers and their children have
 food, housing, healthcare, education, freedom of spiritual practice, peace and safety.

May open hands and open hearts reign. 

MAY GREATNESS BLOSSOM IN 2014

The Bardo Group Core Team

John Anstie

Naomi Baltuck

Terri Stewart

Corina Ravenscraft

Jamie Dedes

Josepth Hesch

Karen Fayeth

Victoria C. Slotto

Liz Rice-Sosne

Michael Watson

Niamh Clune

Priscilla Galasso

Lily Negoi

Charlie Martin

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer

LAUNCHED AT LAST! … Rhineo & Juliet, Love & Tragedy in Africa

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LAUNCHED AT LAST!

by

Naomi Estment (Naomi’s Notes)

It’s been a wild and woolly year, since my husband, Dave, and I embarked on an unforgettable journey in the creation of two short rhino films and an accompanying photographic book. They have been launched at last by Africa Cries. This Mauritian-based film production company was founded by Roland Vincent, whose vision inspired this phenomenal project.

Shot in South Africa and created in response to the escalating threat of extinction facing Earth’s remaining rhinos, the first film, Rhineo & Juliet – Love and Tragedy in Africa, addresses this crisis, while the second, The Ark – Rhino Survival Sanctuary, shares a far-reaching, sustainable solution, integral to saving this irreplaceable member of Africa’s Big Five.

Our heart-felt thanks goes out to all the amazing people who have given generously of their time, energy and expertise in contributing to the making of the films, as listed in the credits, as well as to the translation of both scripts into multiple languages. Special mention also to Wayne Nicholson and his team for their valued contribution and for sharing this in his post,Love & Tragedy in Africa.

Here are the films, with a word of warning to sensitive viewers: the first one contains a few brief but extremely hard-hitting scenes, which we have been repeatedly advised are critical to convey the extent of the rhino poaching horror. These were contributed by witnesses, who care deeply about the importance and urgency of the message. While the first is a sweeping story that tugs at the heart by humanizing rhino, the second film is documentary in nature, sharing a beautiful, tranquil overview of a solution.

Rhineo & Juliet – Love and Tragedy in Africa

The Ark – Rhino Survival Sanctuary

PLEASE VISIT THE AFRICA CRIES WEBSITE IF YOU’RE MOVED TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION. WE WOULD ALSO REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR SHARING THESE VIDEOS FOR THE SAKE OF THE RHINO. SINCERE THANKS FROM US ALL!

I leave you with the words of Tony Frost, CEO of Sirocco Strategy Management, former CEO of WWF and board member of the South African National Biodiversity Institute: “I must say you are embarking on a terrifically exciting journey.  . . . the rhino is a massive and incredibly important symbol of a much bigger malaise attacking this planet and therefore it is a magnificent opportunity to do something much bigger than only saving the rhino. You have the vehicle, we have to help you to drive it hard!”

© 2013, essay and photographs, Naomi Estment, All rights reserved
This feature is presented here with the permission of the author
The videos were uploaded to YouTube by AfricaCries

537866_2655020590484_1671114272_aNAOMI ESTMONT is a South African writer, photographer, blogger (Naomi’s Notes), and contributing writer to Into the Bardo. She reports, “Dave and I have been extremely dedicated to conservation this past year, including creating these and other videos, establishing the Wild Imaging Trust and launching an epic project called Rock ‘n Ride 4 Rhino, which entails a five-month motorcycle tour of Southern Africa next year, in partnership with Jason Hartman (2009 SA Idol and passionate conservationist) and Damien Mander (founding director of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation).”

Posted in Fiction

ONE LAST CHRISTMAS POST, lest we forget the lessons of 1914

I’m preparing to get ready today for business as usual and there’s lots to share from Ann and Rob and other contributors. I decided to visit some blogs first. One of our contributors, Gayle Walters (Bodhirose’s Blog) had posted this historical fiction on her blog. It’s by children’s author, Aaron Shepard, and he allows it to be reblogged. It’s a short story based on the true events of the famous Christmas Eve truce of 1914 that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote of as “one human episode amid all the atrocities.” We do have moments of truce in our personal, spiritual, and political lives. If we could only make such moments a regular thing, our preferred m.o., if you will … Jamie Dedes

Parents and educators will find good stories and scripts for children’s plays at Mr. Shepard’s website HERE.

Copyright © 2001, 2003 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose.

The story is formated as a letter ….

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE
by
Aaron Shepard
Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister Janet,

It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!

As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed in our trenches and waited.

But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench, killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.

And the rain—it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans. And with the rain has come mud—a good foot or more deep. It splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he tried to get out—just like in that American story of the tar baby!

Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land, bordered on both sides by barbed wire—yet they were close enough we sometimes heard their voices.

Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common. And now it seems they felt the same.

Just yesterday morning—Christmas Eve Day—we had our first good freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.

During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.

I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.

I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.

“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”

And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.

And then we heard their voices raised in song.

Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .

This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started singing, and we all joined in.

The first Nowell, the angel did say . . . .

In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .

Then we replied.

O come all ye faithful . . . .

But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.

Adeste fideles . . . .

British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.

“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”

There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”

To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”

I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!

“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”

Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!

Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled—British khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.

Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.

“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”

“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.

He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”

He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give me later, and I promised I would.

Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely, I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would like that very much and gave me his family’s address.

Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.

Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”

Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?

As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then all joined in for—I am not lying to you—“Auld Lang Syne.” Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.

I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”

I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”

He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”

And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?

For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.

Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?

All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother,
Tom
The photograph (via Wikipedia) is in the public domain: A cross, left near Ypres in Belgium in 1999, to commemorate the site of the Christmas Truce in 1914. The text reads:
1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget.


Posted in Film/Documentaries/Reviews, Guest Writer

THE LAST PASSENGER PIGEON

“This is a fundraising promo video for The Last Passenger PigeonSpecies Extinction and Survival in the 21st Century. This documentary will recount the total destruction by humans of the most abundant bird species in North America, and possibly the world.

2014 will mark the centennial of the birds’ extinction. The film will explore how this event occurred and put it in context of today’s conservation challenges and accelerated species extinctions. We are planning a multi-media event: a television documentary broadcast, the publishing of a book, River of Shadows: The Life and Times of the Passenger Pigeon, by Joel Greenberg, and a national educational outreach campaign known as Project Passenger Pigeon. The outreach component is led by Greenberg and David Blockstein, Senior Scientist at the National Council for Science and the Environment, and a diverse consortium of over 20 American and Canadian institutions, scientists, scholars and authors, with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum/Chicago Academy of Sciences as the lead sponsoring institution.

The promo includes roughed out scenes such as a storyboard for a live action and computer animation depiction of the pigeons as experienced by John Audubon, preliminary interviews and scenes that begin to tell the story of the pigeon.

For more information contact: dmrazek@sbcglobal.net”  video and narrative courtesy of David Mrazek 

MARTHA

The Last Passenger Pigeon

“In 1857, a bill was brought forth to the Ohio State Legislature seeking protection for the Passenger Pigeon. A Select Committee of the Senate filed a report stating “The passenger pigeon needs no protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced.”[28]

Fifty-seven years later, on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo,Cincinnati, Ohio. Her body was frozen into a block of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was skinned and mounted. Currently, Martha (named after Martha Washington) is in the museum’s archived collection, and not on display.A memorial statue of Martha stands on the grounds of the Cincinnati Zoo.” Wikipedia

Photo credit ~ Public domain photograph (1914)  via Wikipedia

We Will Always Need A Bridge …

Since this iconic song was written and introduced to the world by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel on their album of the same name, which received the award of Album of the Year in 1971, I cannot think of any point during the fifty years that followed, when it wasn’t making an important contribution to our feelings of wellbeing and solace. Goodness me, what a life this song has had and what service it has done!

My own chorus, the Sheffield based Hallmark of Harmony have, like many musical ensembles, endured this last year of lockdown doing ‘virtual’ rehearsals and occasional recorded performances. Last month, as if tentatively to begin celebrating the gradual lifting of our confinement, we produced our fourth on line project and there was no other song we could choose to represent what we all need in these times than this one. Something that we all need sometimes to get us across troubled waters. We first performed this song nearly three years ago at our 40th anniversary concert at the Sheffield Octagon Theatre with guest quartet, international champions, Instant Classic, who flew across the Atlantic for the weekend of the show to perform it with us. They generously reprised their part for this our, hopefully final virtual offering to the World and of course our very own Tim Briggs consummately provides the solo …

For the sake of humanity, may there always be a bridge for us to cross over and, for goodness sake, let there be peace in this troubled world of ours.


Text ©2021 John Anstie
Performance ©2021 Hallmark of Harmony
All rights reserved


Return to ToC

John Anstie
June 2021

More Tributes for Jamie… — John Anstie

In this edition of the BeZine we have once again dedicated a section to tributes, elegies, eulogies and poems for Jamie Dedes, because the period between her passing in November and the publication of the December issue, was so short that we barely had a chance to breathe, take it all in and capture all the contributions from her many friends and fans.

One very notable friend and, it needs to be elaborated, a very important collaborator in the early days of Jamie’s mission, giving no uncertain weight to the establishment of ‘Into the Bardo’ and eventually the ‘BeZine’ was someone, who was otherwise know as the ‘CloakedMonk’. This is the Rev. Terri Jane Stewart. 

After the December edition the BeZine went to press, I caught up with Terri, who was in shock at the news of Jamie’s passing and feeling unable to offer anything except the following, very honest and heartfelt, response.  At this point it is worthy of mention that Terri’s daily work involves administering to the needs of people in the community, many of whom are already very challenged by life, but which last year will also have involved dealing with the tragic effects of the pandemic.  To end the year with the loss of a close personal friend will have been as much as any human being would ever hope to cope with.

Here is what Terri had to say to me in December… 

This year has been full of tremendous sorrow. I have been unable or unwilling, perhaps, truly to process what the loss of Jamie means to me personally. I have a special gift for ducking and weaving away from uncomfortable feelings until such a time as they smack me in the face. I think we all do that sometimes. 

Jamie and I met so many years ago as two kindred spirits in the internet space, trying to create more justice, more peace, more kindness and more understanding. I am proud of the legacy that Jamie built and that we were privileged enough to journey with her on this mission. I am sure that her spirit is with us in every movement towards justice and inclusion. I miss her greatly, even while knowing that she is still with us.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer a few small reflections.” 

Since these words just before Christmas, Terri has been kind enough to send me a much fuller account, which provides more history, insight and colour to her friendship and collaboration with Jamie and, as will be revealed, that Terri clearly played a major part in the eventual establishment of what we have come to know and love as ‘The BeZine’.

I would like to offer our thanks to Terri for taking the time to write for us. I have found it very helpful to read, in just the same way as attending Jamie’s memorial service before Christmas, organised for us by her son, Richard, his wife, Karen Fayeth and Jamie’s cousin and lifelong friend, Daniel Sormani, who cast much more light on Jamie’s life going way back to the start of her life’s journey in New York. 

Terri’s response in many ways provides an introduction to how it all began, but there are several more personal contributions to the many memories of Jamie Dedes, from those who did not get a chance to submit to the December issue or for those who have more that they would like to say about that personality, with whom we shared so much and to whom we owe so much …
here’s to G Jamie Dedes.

John Anstie
March 2021


©2021 John Anstie
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change

The BeZine’s Virtual 2020 100TPC Event—Poetry, Music, Art for Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The BeZine’s Live 100TPC Event
(Asynchronous)

Poetry, Music, Art
for
Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Poetry. It’s better than war!

—Michael Rothenberg
Co-founder of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change

Welcome to the 2020 Virtual (Aschronous) Live Event


Dedicated to Jamie Dedes
Editor Emerita

It is time once again for The BeZine live 100TPC event, this year in the midst of a global pandemic, racial tensions worldwide but particularly focused around the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, and raging wildfires related to Climate Change. Wars continue, as they always seem to do.

Our focus here is on positive change in the areas of Peace, Environmental and Economic Sustainability, and Social Justice. The BeZine approaches these issues in the context of spiritual practice and through the arts and humanities.

Today, under the banner of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change (100TPC), on the 10th Anniversary of 100TPC, people the world over are gathering online to stand up and stand together for PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE. There are over 800 100TPC mostly online events worldwide scheduled for 26 September 2020, and many others throughout the year.


This year will have a few differences, here at our Virtual 100TPC event. The largest change that we in the core team of writers and editors feel is that Jamie Dedes, our Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief emerita, has stepped down (read more here, Jamie in her own words). Jamie modestly called herself the Managing Editor, then eventually added Founding. She did more than “manage” us (like herding cats, trust me), she lead, inspired, supported, counseled, and loved us. And we love her back.

Jamie, I assume that you are reading this. We miss you. And we dedicate this 100TPC live event, and every issue and blog post, to you. We hope that you live and rest comfortably in the remainder of your time here surrounded by love and spiritual light.


When we started online, we were the only online event. Now, in the Time of Coronavirus, we are one of many. The others are streaming live, something we never did before. We have more of an asynchronous approach—writers, artists, musicians drop by the page and post something throughout the day. Others come, view, respond, perhaps add their own work.

In addition to our asynchronous / live virtual event on this page, The BeZine this year co-sponsors with Miombo Publishing-African Griots the live All Africa Poetry Symposium in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change 10-Year Anniversary, on Zoom and streaming on Facebook (see details below).

—Michael Dickel, Managing Editor

Instructions for sharing your work.


It’s twelve years since I started using poetry for activism, involving myself first with Sam Hamell‘s Poets Against the War. Almost ten years have passed since poet, publisher, musician and artist, Michael Rothenberg, and editor, artist, graphic designer, and translator Terri Carrion, co-founded 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) to which I am seriously devoted.

Through the decade our 100TPC poet-activist numbers have grown. We’ve expanded to include allies. These creatives from around the world share the values of peace, sustainability, and social justice. They speak out against corruption, cruelty, tyranny, and suppression through poetry, story, music, mime, art and photography, sometimes at personal risk.

—Jamie Dedes, Editor Emerita, 04 June 2020
The Poet by Day


From last year, we again celebrate youth activists—our future:

these precious perceptive youth

“Providing food, shelter, clothing and education is not enough any more, because all of this would have no meaning in the end, if your children do not have a planet to live on with health and prosperity.” —Abhijit Naskar, The Constitution of The United Peoples of Earth

this perfect blue-green planet, her youth
dream among the strains of their hope,
dream of us like our sun and moon,
coordinating  … if only we would,
sowing the rich soil with right-action,
cultivating a greening of our compassion,
acting on a commonsense vision

the fruits of our being-ness plant their
ideals, shared values, a call for accountability,
for a re-visioning unencumbered by insanity,
rich fields to harvest, color, sound, textures,
rough and smooth, the deep rootedness of
their stand and stand for, their wise demands
casting a spell that we might see with one eye,
splendor hidden behind our irresponsibility,
their effervescent call, blossoming unity, vision –
bright spinning planet gently graced with these
wildflowers, these precious perceptive youth.

Dedicated to the young people of the world who teach us many lessons as they reach across borders in their stand for climate action. 

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

Jamie Dedes’ poem originally appeared on her blog, The Poet by Day.
Read more about Autumn Peltier, Mari Copeny, and Xiye Bastida, young people changing the world, here.


Instructions for sharing your work.


All Africa Poetry Symposium
in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change
10th Anniversary

Saturday, 26 September 2020 at:

  • 3 PM (Jerusalem, Kenya
  • 2 PM (Botswana, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
  • 1 PM (Nigeria)
  • 12 Noon (Sierra Leone)
  • 8 AM (US-East Coast)

You are welcome to attend and we look forward to presenting an exciting, dynamic and vibrant Poetry Symposium, where Africa speaks of itself through poetry.

The 100 Thousand Poets for Change Movement was founded 10 years ago by Editors, Poets, and internationally acclaimed Artists Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion —in order to speak change, to speak truth—against racial injustice, wars, poverty, corruption, the demise of human rights and smothering of human freedoms. The movements speaks through literary arts activism and social change-activism arts.

The Poetry Fête is co-hosted by African Griots and The BeZine in coordination with 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Poets in this All Africa Poetry Celebration are from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. Co-host and Emcee, Mbizo Chirasha, has worked tirelessly with 100 Thousand Poets for Change since its inception a decade ago, through literary arts projects GirlChildCreativity Project and the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Internationally renowned Jerusalem-based poet and The BeZine editor Michael Dickel will co-host the streaming events and attempt to wrangle the technology. This mega event will be streamed lived on several digital platforms.

The event will Live Stream in The BeZine 100TPC, 2020 Facebook group page.

ALUTA CONTINUA

Mbizo CHIRASHA
Co-Host and Coorinator for All Africa Poets


The All Africa Poetry Symposium was a great success earlier today! We had poets and registered audience from these countries:

  • Botswana
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Machakos
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

The Zoom events was recorded, and will be made available online after processing and editing, date to be determined. Meanwhile, most of the event live-streamed and is available still on Facebook here.


We are trying something new this year!

To view the virtual, asynchronous poems, art, photography and music videos, scroll down to the comments (scroll down the page to see comments).

To share your poems, art, photography and music videos for our “live” virtual 100tpc today, please add your work or link to it in the comments section below (scroll to the bottom of the page to add to comments).

Remember the Themes
Peace, Sustainability, and Social Justice


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World’s End or World Without End

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
It’s the end of the world as we know it,
and I feel fine (time I had some time alone)”

~ It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, by R.E.M.

It sure has felt that way for the last few months, hasn’t it? We’ve had plenty of time to “have some time alone” and our routines have been turned upside down, though if I hear the phrase “New Normal” one more time, I think I might scream.

It’s been bad here in the U.S.A., but can you imagine how much worse it has been in so many of the other places on the planet? Can you empathize with those people who are already living day-to-day trying to scrape up enough food or water to survive and then to have to deal with this pandemic on TOP of that?

Image credit – credit Anumeha Yadav, Al Jazeera

In many ways, it seems that COVID-19 has been like a giant RESET button by Mother Nature. The real question is: can we, as humans, learn any lessons about how to treat the planet better because of it? Perhaps, more importantly, WILL we take this golden opportunity to at least and at last become more sustainable?

Merriam-Webster defines “Sustainable” as:
1 : capable of being sustained
2
a
: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. See sustainable techniques, sustainable agriculture
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods, sustainable society

Did you know that there are three “pillars” of Sustainability? They are:

  • Environmental (Planet) ——————–\
  • Economic (Profit) —————————- SUSTAINABILITY
  • Social (People) ——————————–/

Figure 1.1. Interplay of the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainable development.
Credit: Mark Fedkin. Adopted from the University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment [Rodriguez et al., 2002]
In trying to develop goals towards true sustainability, all three of these pillars must be considered and brought together. Here’s a good video that describes how these definitions fit and work together to create a sustainable future.

In 2015, a group of 193 countries at The United Nations came up with 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). These “17 Goals to Transform Our World” were first implemented in 2016, with the hopes of meeting all or most of these aims by the year 2030. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State and other top leaders at a summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” he added of the 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.”

UN SDGs from 2015
Image credit: https://www.un-page.org/files/public/

So, we’re 4 years into the initiative. How are we doing? Overall, not that great, but where there is room for improvement, there is also the hope and willpower to make it happen. Some countries are making better efforts than others, and some are actually on track to meet their nation’s goals even before 2030. If you want to see the good, the bad and the ugly about how well (or not) we’re doing, this Ted Talk from last year shows specific numbers.

We’re a good species when it comes to adapting, but there are some things we won’t be able to adapt to quickly enough, like rising global temperatures (on land and in the oceans) caused by climate change.

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) recently published an article that suggests “…depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.”

By 2070, they predict that (bolding mine) “…in the absence of migration, one third of the global population is projected to experience a MAT (Mean Annual Temperature) >29 °C currently found in only 0.8% of the Earth’s land surface, mostly concentrated in the Sahara. As the potentially most affected regions are among the poorest in the world, where adaptive capacity is low, enhancing human development in those areas should be a priority alongside climate mitigation.”
~ Source

Rolling Stone did a wonderful article about the coming heat waves due to climate change, asking the important question, Can We Survive Extreme Heat?. “As temperatures soar in the coming years, the real question is not whether super-heated cities are sustainable. With enough money and engineering skill, you can sustain life on Mars. The issue is, sustainable for whom?”

Image borrowed from https://live.staticflickr.com

Humans still aren’t trying hard enough to live sustainably. According to Overshootday.org, we currently consume global resources at a rate where (bolding mine) “…we’d need 1.75 planets to support our demand on Earth’s ecosystem. The calculations include resources such as the amount of water, land, fish and forests we use as well as how much CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere – basically a measure of our ecological footprint. Our carbon footprint specifically is now 60 percent of our total global ecological footprint – with a massive 33 days of our budget overshoot used up due to CO2 emissions alone.” You can learn more about that and see some interesting graphs and pictures about that here.

For us here in America, the COVID pandemic has meant temporary shortages on things like toilet paper (Here’s a fun history of how we came to have this “necessity”), which requires millions of felled trees per year to create. We’ve also witnessed a break down in the supply chain for foods like dairy, vegetables, and meats. Why? Because we’re not farming sustainably and rely heavily on large, corporate farming aggregates (whose number one concern is not feeding the world, or even the USA, but making as much profit as they possibly can – using the Economic ‘pillar’ to excess and at the expense of the other two pillars) and partly because we are a country who not only resists giving up eating meat, but who leads the world in meat consumption. ~ Source

Despite everything I’ve posted here, it’s not ALL Gloom and Doom. As societies become more conscious and responsible about their own roles in sustainability, and consumers demand that companies and corporations become sustainable, there is hope that we can still come out the other side of this with a “win” for the Earth and its inhabitants. At the very least, maybe now you’re seriously thinking about what you can do as an individual to help save us all, now and in the future.

IF it helps us make meaningful, lasting change, then maybe…the end of the world “as we know it” can turn out to be a good thing, after all.

Image credit – Screenshot/Twitter/Greenpeace India