I self.migrate here, from there
I drive unfettered multiple times to multiple states to multiple addresses
I cross unchecked boundaries, through invisible state lines, past fenced farms and gated communities
I am free so I self.relocate here, since I am free to relocate anywhere in America
I bring boxes filled with memories, with enough to rent a storage unit
I arrive unscathed, unhurt, but not exactly state-approved
Does Massachusetts care that I am here?
I self.migrate with papers, with proof, without arrest
I raid my fiancé’s space, his territory, his living room
I marry him, and I marry his identity and my identity and take his name
I register my car, get my driver’s license, and register to vote
Would this happen if I was from Iran, Nigeria or Guatemala and not from Wisconsin?
Does Massachusetts care that I am here?
Does it matter that I am a Connecticut-transplant, a journalist, formerly employed by a tribe?
Cameras pointed at cars would be able to find me eventually
How long will it take for me to become a local? How long?
How many years?
Does Massachusetts care that I am here?
I find descendants here of many generations, of bloodlines not my own
How long before I am questioned?
Growing up, I was taught that healers must be engaged in the lives of the people. I often think of my beloved teacher, Ipu, who repeatedly risked his life to aid his people in the Amazon. He was a gentle, loving man, with a fierce commitment to social justice, and an acute understanding that social issues lie at the heart of much suffering. When I am asked why I devote so much of my blog to social change, I find myself feeling bewildered; after all, the fates of the Earth, individuals, and whole peoples, are tightly interwoven. There cannot be true healing without justice.
A focus of many Indigenous people these days is the history of the residential schools which were common in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, during the last century. These were institutions designed to “save the person by removing the Indian”. Untold thousands of children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in residential schools, often many hundreds of miles distant. Once there, the children were subject to harsh treatment, horrific abuse, and, much too often, death.
Here, in Vermont, many children found themselves in St. Josephs Orphanage, in Burlington. Many of the practices documented for residential schools were utilized at the orphanage, with horrific long-term effects. I have heard scores of stories from close to a hundred survivors, narratives so painful I would have nightmares for weeks following our meetings. Now the city appears to be actively seeking to erase and forget this dishonorable chapter of local history.
In recent years both Canada and Australia created commissions to look into the histories and practices of these institutions. The ensuing reports make mind-numbing reading, yet they also open the door for healing. Still, neither government has followed through on the recommendations of their commissions, and many Indigenous people in those countries consider the results of the commission process to be profoundly flawed, if not disingenuous.
Hakea wrote the following note to me when we were discussing the situation in Australia: ” I do not want anyone thinking that Australia is a shining example in Aboriginal matters. Cultural and racial genocide is occurring right now, it’s just got a different terminology attached to it – ‘lifestyle choices’ and ‘economic growth’. All of the commissions and enquiries and apologies were for nought. Injustices are still being wrought upon our Aboriginal people. Institutionalisation is rife. Young Aboriginal people consider that going to gaol is a rite of passage. Australia cannot be held in high regard on Aboriginal matters. So much shame. (See the Documentary – Our Generation (2010)).”
In the U.S., Federal and State governments have refused to address these histories and the lingering suffering they created. It is difficult to imagine the multigenerational trauma will be addressed until governments and religious organizations take full responsibility for their actions. Laura Trace Hentz has been following the commission responsible for investigating residential schools in Canada. Below is her latest dispatch. I hope you will share Lara’s article with others.
I do not know if readers of this blog have followed what is happening in Canada and their years-long investigation called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In 2014 I heard Justice Murray Sinclair speak about TRC at Yale. READ HERE. He spoke about their findings and what the Canadian government promised to rectify the abuses in the residential boarding schools. Many churches and provinces were mandated and forced to release their records to the commission.
The definitions of genocide fit the TRC findings. They call it cultural genocide. Children lost their family. Some children lost their lives. Children. This happened to children.
What happened in Canada also happened here in the US. We don’t have an investigation by our government. WHY? I don’t know and I don’t know if it will ever happen.
After the residential schools in Canada, the 60s Scoop took even more children and placed them with non-Indian parents. And it’s not over. It’s ongoing there and here.
Almost without sound you round the corner and then there
I turn like the gears of a clock, compelled beyond
Again, I am confronted with a circumstance that
defies reason: you
Smile and roll your eyes as I try and fail
To show you the course of heartblood in me
As it traces past my loins, toward my feet and then out,
Tributary to the wide and swift current, a glacier poured,
Almost silent, irresistible, sliding to the sea.
Mere belonging, my belonging is mere.
I was, become, and am, a smear
On a canvas; round strokes rich with indigo thick
Thin yolk yellow squeaks hold court with angry mud and
Rusty blood blameworthy waters hopeful green, but
The Painter cannot be found.
The painter is found
In silence. There is no painter, no paint.
But there is color and sorrow.
And hope. There is hope.
Hope and sorrow are lovers, one inside the other,
So entangled they are, hope and sorrow, that only one
Can be seen at a time.
Bodies mangled by choices, smashed by meaning,
And move, not knowing
They’re already rotting.
Fear and Reason throw gasoline and acid at the bodies
Never seeing the children they doom to suttee for it.
Fear and Reason, turns out, can’t see children.
I can, because of you, and because of you I do my best
To dry their eyes and hold them, shivered, sobbing.
Fear and Reason throw gasoline and acid into a mirror.
Because of you, tomorrow I will hold them, too.
…is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State University. Michael’s scholarly focus is love and justice. His works include A Different Justice: Love and the future of criminal justice practice in America(2015),A Unified Theory of Justice and Crime: Justice that love gives(2018), and Personal Ethics and Ordinary Heroes:The social context of morality(2021),and articles in Contemporary Justice Review, Critical Criminology,Police Quarterly, and the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology.
The low growl of an engine followed by the slam of a truck door: these are the first sounds that herald my impending death. They are sounds I’ve heard nearly every day of my life, though the years have altered them slightly, making engines quieter, truck doors more of a solid clunk rather than the rattle of metal on metal. They’ve always been little more than white noise, of no consequence to me. Until today, that is. But I’m too distracted by the joyful chorus of late spring to notice. The cheerful chirrups of chickadees, the faint hum of tractors turning the soil in faraway fields, the tinkling of wind chimes on the breeze, the skitter of squirrels as they chase one another through the dry leaves at my feet: this is the music I wait for all year. The promise of its return gives me the strength to endure the monotonous days of winter, with their feeble sunlight and bitter gusts of wind and unrelenting coats of thick ice.
On days like today, I’m always transported back to my youth. Back to Millie, my first friend. My only real friend. The feeling of the sun’s golden rays beating down on me always brings me back to the June days when Millie would steal away with a glass of lemonade and a tattered leather-bound journal, how she’d lie beside me in the shade spilling her secrets until her mother would call out that it was time to milk the cows or feed the chickens or whatever other chore needed doing. She’d always look back at me with longing and regret, as if there was nothing in the world she’d rather be doing than spending time with me. There were so many of us back then, but I know I was her favorite. I was much smaller than I am now, willowy and vulnerable, and I like to think that she chose me because she saw in me the same things she saw in herself.
It’s Millie I’m thinking about when the truck pulls up, the engine and the door slam sounding far too innocuous to be anything sinister. I watch a man get out of the truck and cross the lawn to the front steps, where he shakes the hand of the man from the house— the new house, massive, with its stone face and solar-paneled roof, standing so tall and so solid it’s like the little old farmhouse with its yellowed clapboard siding and tired front porch never existed. To them, it hasn’t, I suppose. The only place it exists now is in my memory.
I watch the man from the truck and the man from the house disappear into the backyard and drift back to memories of Millie. Now, she’s older, taller, and so am I. It’s late, almost midnight, the nearly full moon drenching the thick carpet of summer grass in pale blue light, the bellow of frogs and clicking of insects and occasional hoot of an owl saturating the night air with life. Millie is sitting beside me, her breathing shallow, her body unnaturally still, waiting. She occasionally stands, paces back and forth along the cattle fence, then returns to sit by my side. Finally, she sees him. Samuel. He’s walking down the dusty lane, the tiny flickering flame of his lantern casting golden light on his face, which breaks into an unbridled grin when he catches sight of her. She stands to greet him, kisses him, grabs him by the hand and pulls him toward me. They lie in the grass by my feet, whispering, giggling, tumbling, murmuring, sighing. Revisiting this memory always brings me so much joy. Millie’s happiness is my happiness.
From there, other memories tumble like a handful of snapshots swept up in a breeze. Samuel, broad shouldered and square jawed in his moss-colored uniform, holding Millie in a tearful embrace, whispered promises of waiting and of returning. Millie skipping to the mailbox in a gingham dress and bare feet, or walking in wellies and a rain slicker, or trudging in a heavy coat and snow boots, how I’d hold my breath until she released hers each time she slipped her finger beneath the seal of the envelope. The days on end when she’d leave the mailbox empty-handed, how she’d pause beside me until the tears passed. Millie in a gown of ivory lace holding a bouquet of larkspur and daisies, or in a housedress singing lullabies to a cooing infant in a pram, or in a wool sweater reading from a worn copy of Alice in Wonderland while her children sat cross-legged around her, or in dungarees pulling up soil-crusted carrots and beets from the sun warmed garden.
The kaleidoscope of memory is interrupted by the two men, who are heading toward the front yard, closer to me, the tenor of their voices stiff and businesslike but the words too far away to make out. The man from the house scans the yard, his eyes passing over me without actually seeing me, just as they did the day he first came here, back when the ground was still marked by the deep grooves of excavator tires hastily covered with grass seed, the smells of sawdust and polyurethane still hanging in the air. The lawn was always filled with people in those days—real estate agents with shiny cars talking to fathers in pressed khaki pants and weary mothers sorting through brochures while their children roamed the yard, hanging from my limbs or smacking me with sticks to pass the time. The disinterest with which the man from the house regards me reminds me of another man, in another time, and that brings my thoughts back to Millie.
She’s older now—much older—as am I. Only I’ve continued to grow taller and stronger, while she’s begun to wither like a flower at the end of its season. Her back is hunched, her voice a bit warbly as she sings “Amazing Grace” while her leathery hands toil in the garden, pulling the weeds that have sprouted among the tomato and cucumber vines. A man pulls up in a sleek black car, strolls over to her with an air of authority. “Grandmother,” I hear him say, his voice cold like the traveling salesmen I’ve seen visit over the years rather than warm like family. “We’ve found the most wonderful retirement home for you. You’re going to love it. There’s even a bus that will take you to the farmer’s market. You’ll never have to work in the garden again.” It’s not until he gets back into his expensive car that she leans against me and the tears fall, her frail frame supported by my sturdy one. She runs her hand over me as she has so many times, the tears falling harder as her fingers trace the grooves where M + S is carved, surrounded by a heart, just over my heart. Her sobs continue to echo in my ears for the months that follow, until they’re drowned out by the mechanical whine of excavators and the constant thuds of wood and concrete and plaster landing in the dumpster.
Now, the two men are getting closer, the man from the truck jotting notes on a pad of paper, the man from the house occasionally looking down at his phone. The man from the house looks up at me, finally seeing me, and gestures in my direction. “What are your thoughts about this one?”
The man from the truck looks me up and down, appraising me. “She’s very healthy,” he replies, and I feel myself stand a bit prouder as I always do when I receive a compliment, though it seems to happen less often now despite the fact that I’ve only grown more magnificent with age.
“A little too close to the house, though, don’t you think?” He strokes his clean-shaven chin, looking from me to the house and back again. “I’d hate to see the damage it could do in a storm. It could take out my whole master suite.”
The man from the truck shrugs. “It’s your call,” he says. “She’s a beauty, though. Has to be at least a hundred years old. A rare thing these days, especially in this neighborhood.”
The man from the house shrugs, unimpressed. “Tag this one, too.”
The man from the truck hesitates for just a moment, his eyes traveling up my full height again and back down, a glimmer of reverence and admiration in his eyes that reminds me of the way Millie used to look at me. “If you say so,” he says. He removes an aerosol can from his belt and holds it to my heart, two swipes of his wrist marking an X in fluorescent pink.
I have withstood a great deal over the years. I’ve been chilled to the bone by bleak, sunless winters that felt like they’d never end. Droughts have left me parched, beseeching the sky to provide. Nor’easters have brought violent winds that have divorced me from some of my appendages. I’ve watched my brothers and sisters and cousins ravaged and disfigured by disease, fallen by lightning strikes, devoured alive by a scourge of caterpillars. My flesh has been bored into by woodpeckers and beetles, my extremities weighed down by heavy snows and hawks nests and the occasional barn cat.
Not to mention the things that have been done to me by people. The times I’ve been grazed with pellets by neighborhood kids with BB guns, covered in toilet paper by mischievous teens on moonless October nights. The times my chest has been pierced by nails, made to hold signs about yard sales and lost dogs and advertisements for landscaping companies. The late winter days when a metal tap has been driven into my spine, left for weeks to drain my life-blood drop by drop.
If I could survive all that—thrive, even, in the face of such adversity—then surely it meant I’d live forever.
Once, back in the days of real estate agents and fathers in khaki pants and mothers with brochures, a woman in a black blazer and high-heeled pumps gestured to the new house and said, “This one is called The Maple. It is our largest model at almost 4,000 square feet. Great layout for entertaining.”
“The Maple?” a man had chortled. He was wearing jeans, not khaki pants. “The Oak, The Spruce, The Birch, The Magnolia. That’s the American way, isn’t it? Cutting down trees and naming McMansions after them.”
I hadn’t truly understood then. Just like I hadn’t truly understood Millie’s tears the day her grandson came, though I thought I had. After all, her happiness was my happiness. And her sadness was mine as well.
It isn’t until this moment, the day-glow pink paint drying on my chest, its noxious fumes diffusing with each passing breeze, that I know what it means to be deemed obsolete.
…studied English and education at Quinnipiac University and the University of Connecticut. She worked as an English teacher and reading interventionist before shifting her focus to writing. A lifelong New Englander, she currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children, where she is working on her first novel and serving on the board of her local library.
Who cleaned The Capitol of the mess the mob left behind:
bagged spent spray cans and empty water bottles, body
armor and cigarette butts, hauled them to the dumpsters?
Who swept the littered floors of the Rotunda and Statuary,
Crypt and Speaker’s Office, collected into dustpans the
splinters of broken benches, shards of smashed windows?
Who scrubbed down the marble surfaces, wiped the scuff
marks of shoes from the patterned tile floors, removed
the smears of blood and feces from the sandstone walls?
Who draped plastic film over Madison and Adams, traces
of chemicals present on their portraits, a bust of Zachary
Taylor, too, his nose and lips still streaked with blood?
Who rechecked the chambers and offices, locked up, then
cleared out for the night, the secular sanctuary back safe
in their care, yet indelibly stained by a disorderly horde?
An American Tradition
On July 9th, 1776, upon hearing The Declaration of Independence read
aloud for the first time, General Washington and his troops charged
the Bowling Green. Those patriots, moved by Jefferson’s
words to remove every gilded symbol of their oppression,
hoisted ropes around the 4,0000-pound effigy of George III,
mounted on horseback, robed like the Romans, as they chanted:
Tear him down! Tear him down!
They then tore from its base that garish likeness of lead which had long
stood above them, smashed that cruel Crown to pieces, and, in
a most fitting reuse of that malleable material into matériel,
melted His Majesty into 42,088 musket balls. Then,
through volleys of musket fire, they returned the lead
from that loathed likeness and won their independence.
Kentucky as Usual
At the Derby, the thoroughbreds,
chestnut and palomino, brown
and gray, roan and black, each
bridled in bit and headstall, take
off at the shot of a starter pistol in
a race that lasts around 2 minutes.
Authentic gets off to a slow start, yet
in the stretch catches up with Tiz
the Law, goes head-to-head with
the bay stallion, yet overtakes
him in the end, wins by a length
and a quarter, with a time of 2:00.61
The first-place racehorse pays out to
his bettors: 1.8 million in all, and
though he’s awarded none of the
purse, all of which totals 3 million,
the public will remember his name,
more so than the owner’s or jockey’s.
On the hallway floor, Breonna Taylor lives well past 2 minutes, possibly 5 or 6,
coughs as she struggles to breathe,
after 7 officers draw their pistols,
then fire into her apartment, 32
times in all, trample down the front door.
For more than 20 minutes, in a pool of blood on the hallway floor, Breonna lies unresponsive, and with no medical attention, the emergency room technician dies at the age of 26, the time of death approximate,
listed on the certificate: 12:48 am.
To Breonna’s family, Louisville awards 12 million, none of which will bring her back, but like the bay colt who won the Derby, mostly unknown until Kentucky, she, too, leaves a legacy, rightfully remembered and honored, more than the winner of any race.
…,originally from San Antonio, Texas, currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He has been published in Arts Alive San Antonio, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, FlowerSong Press, Lone Stars, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, Synkroniciti, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Voices de la Luna, Waco WordFest. His work has also been featured at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
If you contribute to a private pension or investments, make sure your money is not being invested in firearms companies (whether American or importing to the US). The largest brands are:
Smith & Wesson/American Outdoor Brands (trading as SWBI/AOBC)
Savage Arms/Vista Outdoor (VSTO
SIG Sauer (L&O Holdings)
Sturm Ruger & Co (RGR)
Freedom Group (Remington Outdoor)
0.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc
WM C Anderson Inc
Henry RAC Holding Corp
JIE Capital Holdings/Enterprises
FNS (FN Herstal)
Heckler and Koch
Asset managers and mutual funds sometimes enable customers to screen for stocks they do not wish to invest in. If they do not comply with your wishes, move your investments elsewhere.
Sign petitions, vote, write to your members of Congress and your Senators about gun industry practices, and specifically asking for the following:
Repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
Reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), a Supreme Court decision allowing campaign financing that had previously been banned for over a hundred years. The case has hugely negative implications for democratic processes of free and fair elections
New legislation requiring gun manufacturers to meet high security standards:
to create networks of dealerships that meet high standards of security, record keeping and cooperation with law enforcement to monitor sales and dealers for risk patterns such as close-in-time repeat sales to the same buyer or sales of multiple guns to one buyerto institute a variety of other gun safety technologies (see ‘smart gun’ technologyto refuse to do business with retailers that frequently sell firearms traced from crimes, require retailersto only be allowed to bring child-proof, theft-proof guns to market andto conduct training aimed at preventing diversion into the illegal market and maintain inventories of firearms and ammunition
Regulatory oversight so that gun companies are subject to the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission’s jurisdiction
Get full funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and fill its position of Director
Credit card companies must be required to use specialized merchant number codes to track suspicious sales of firearms
An assault weapons ban
Full coordination between federal, state and local agencies in enforcing existing gun laws
Stock trade reporting requirements for Supreme Court justices and federal judges and for stricter conflict of interest rules
New legislation regulating the marketing of firearms:
limiting advertising, promotion or sponsorship – as comprehensive as possiblepreventing the specific marketing of firearms to certain demographics (young, at-risk males)
Government must produce extensive public warning ‘advertisements’ across all media and packaging warning of gun-related dangers
Get CDC research funding
Prevent State pension funds from investing in gun and ammunition manufacturers (as has happened with pension funds of public school teachers in certain States)
Further legislation dealing with ‘ghost guns’ (kits to build guns at home that have no serial number and are untraceable) under the Gun Control Act
Increase taxes on firearms companies
It is not up to you to finish the task, but neither are you free to avoid it.
Pirkei Avot 2:16
Community workshops and events hearing the tragic stories of gun victims’ families
Increase awareness of the systems of large index funds (such as BlackRock and Vanguard) and mutual funds (such as Fidelity and Capital Group) regarding their investments in gun manufacturing companies
Educate about civic responsibility and democratic processes in our schools and communities and press for changes to curriculum in the public school system on these topics
Social-emotional discussions in our schools and communities on constructions and understandings of ‘strength’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘male identity’/‘masculinity’
Change our discourse to link anti-gun violence campaigning with rights based language (take it away from the pro-gun lobby)
Legal advocacy, research & campaigning
Explore more avenues of legal challenges to the gun industry via public nuisance provisions under which dangers to human life or detriments to health are unlawful
Examine corporate manslaughter provisions in other countries – could criminal penalties be applied to corporations that indirectly cause mass harm?
Examine Australia’s firearms amnesty which allowed the anonymous surrender of illegal or unregistered firearms without fear of prosecution or fines. Could something like this be replicated in the US?
Raging at an uncommon pace
eons accelerating through the stars
little bright spot in the immensity traces
the sign of what it may become
a line disappearing in a soft vibration.
Fleeing to escape modern history
it may never be seen but as a memory
shiny speckle into the depth of an abyss
made of eternity and absent souls.
The poet squints to fix the moment
and imagine the words it may have spoken
echoing for all to hear the dying symphony.
Perhaps it will return with the new dawn
looking for a mate to grow in harmony.
For yet it seeks a rebirth in a hostile sphere.
In the Soul
Some join in the deep of secret hours
behind curtains thick with lies
truth does not know the way in
when they share ultimate fancies.
When dawn comes they will part ways
rushing onto a path into other tragedies
after a night to decades of illusions
they pretended to believe in eternity.
Shells will survive into their world
upon streets of stench and dark asphalt
where they will smile again with faith
that no one will scent their death.
Strange liquid like putrescent molasses
ooze from those living corpses
enveloped by a cloud of love
as they like to make it known on the rooftops.
I would rather walk by her side
Safe, surrounded by her aura
with a touch of her soul upon my breath
inhaling her being through every pore.
Rolls Royce and Little Yachts
Dressed in a bright gown
feet in golden stilettos
she stirs the Lamborghini to a halt
near the Cartier store where she will splurge.
Not far behind her the smoke of a city
fallen to the greed of the would-be gods
a low cloud hovers thick as muck
heavy with the weight of infinite miseries
The tuxedo waiting for her, too dreams
of helicopters and private jets
lounging on the acres of his vast greens
one step closer to vast fortunes.
Descendant of royalty long forgotten
little, wrinkled by endless suns
alone in the dingy room she cleans
mansions and castles large as her city.
In thousand-dollar Hawaiian suits
others bask on the beach of their own islands
fake hair and skin made of silicon they also go
to the tomb… in million dollar outfits.
…is the advisor for The Chimes, the Shorter University award winning poetry and arts publication. His writing and photography have been published in print, including Kestrel, Symposium, La Pensee Universelle, Paris, and other art and literature magazines in the United States and abroad. Most recently, his collection In Absentia, was published in August 2021 with Silver Bow Publishing.
I buy sunflowers today
canary yellow petals
stand them one by one
in an azure vase
7000 miles away tanks
roll across Ukrainian borders
trying to wipe them off the map
throw their bodies against bully armor
hearts forged in resistance
“When the Russians come for us, they will see our faces, not our backs.” —Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy takes off his suit and puts on battle fatigues,
stands in the streets, talks with his troops.
And when his fellow patriots can’t see him, literally,
he makes videos—calls to soldiers from every
continent to join freedom’s fight. “We are
all here, protecting our independence, our country,
the free world. This night will be difficult, but dawn
will come.” And it arrives, morning after morning,
despite tracers slicing the pitch black, despite
gutting of homes, hospitals, schools, & markets, despite
bombarding of Kherson, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol, &
Melitopol, despite screams & slaughter of civilians.
Then Russia turns its fire on Zaporizhzhia—home to
Europe’s largest nuclear plant, six reactors. Flaming
shells like falling stars cut into darkness. A huge orange
globe lights up the sky, exploding beside a car park.
Smoke billows. Radiation knows no borders. “We will not
lay down our weapons. Our weapons are our truth.”
…(she/her) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including DMQ Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She was raised in the Appalachian south and now lives in California. Her recent microchaps of poetry are Good Trouble, Origami Poems Project, and Hell Hath, Maverick Duck Press.
…is a well-known poet from Ferizaj, Kosovo writing in his mother-tongue, Albanian. He was born in 9 March 1968 in Pristina. He is the former manager and leader of “De Rada,” a literary association, from 2012 until 2018, and also the representative of Kosovo to the 100 TPC organization. In addition to poems, he also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, traveltales, etc. Faruk Buzhala is an organizer and manager of many events in Ferizaj. His poems have been translated to English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Chinese, and are published in anthologies in the USA, Italy, Mexico, Albania, China, etc.
Memories flee of those grand’ ole days
when upon a war’s end they embraced
strangers strolling on a frozen avenue
littered with joy and relief for the uniforms.
Riots overtook the tree lined grassy knolls
where eternal learners cried for a renewal
to only fall in tiny pools of crimson rivers
dreams shattered for another generation.
Animals hungry for a senseless fight gather
their teeth and claws drooling with pasty slime
leaving trails of a hateful contagion behind
a poison few can avoid in darkest times.
No one sits on porches any longer
most stay glued to strange images of dissent
while balustrades rot in perpetual abandon
where have all the hearts gone, she asked.
Alone as if trapped between infinite scrapers
she seeks traces of joyful moments sadly lost
in times of such terminal turmoil
those absent seek only reason to breed death of the gentle.
“With this beginning, the unknown concealed one created
the palace. This palace is called אלוהים (Elohim), God.
The secret is: בראשית ברא אלוהים (Bereshit bara Elohim),
With beginning, _______created God (Genesis 1:1).”
— Zohar (I:15a)
“…She knows that her beloved is searching for her;
so what does she do? She opens the portal to her
hidden room [in the palace] slightly and reveals
her face for a moment, and then hides it again.”
— Zohar (II.99a)
Somewhere, a whirring fan
in an open window spins
possibilities into threads.
I heard a rumor that the
Oleander flowers shed
their pink and white grace
for poisonous reason.
A car slinks down traces
of a melted tar road.
You like to stand by the window,
and want him to see you there,
behind a curtain. He doesn’t
know you or you him. He walks
the span of street, infrequently
catching a glimpse of blue
eyes, a reflection in cracks
of the cotton-hued skies.
The crow calls from a tree.
Another day, green parrots
screech louder than the
traffic flees. The heat lays
like a corpse upon our city.
Bougainvillea bracts spot
gardens with false hope,
colorful arrays of forgotten
pain turned to sweet honey.
He forgets you, though you
never meet. And you, also,
the desire for a stranger's
glad glance. Someone wants
this to be autobiography, a
short recollection of moments
actually lived. That person never
dreamed, does not exist anymore.
And I never existed because I
don’t stop dreaming. Poetry, like
a god, provides code for an image,
keying it to suggest a revelation-lode
from your past. You want it to be
my past. Parrots screech.
A crow calls. A beautiful Other
by the window waits. This all
happens to you while I write
these scenes tangled in dreams,
whirring fans—the poem unable
to light any form, your reading,
this page; unable to discover more
than bare wisps of meaning in the
vibrations of words—your song longing
for someone in the infinite void. Wanting
a mortal to read you into this, to see you
alive, you seek a new beginning—genesis.
Note: Zohar refers to The Book of Splendor, one of the main texts of Kabbalah. Translations are from Daniel Matt’s work.
Thunder, wind and rain last night scattered leaves
and small branches along the roads, covering cars
with a blanket of fallen lives. Water that washed
over the four quarters of Jerusalem—down the faces
of The Western Wall, Al Aqsa Mosque, The Church
of the Holy Sepulchre, and into the karst holding these
buildings—today ropes into rivers threading to The Salt Sea.
The currents bubble up in sweet springs along the way.
En Gedi has quenched thirst for thousands of years,
watered dates and olives amid weathered stone.
The sweet water also slips further along,
ending up riding on top of the mineral-laden
Yam HaMelech, springing up again fresh
pure-spirited, greening desert shores.
You taught us that a life, too, could trace
such a path across belief and suffering, sink
into rock-roots, form braids with others, and
emerge as life-giving water in a parched world.
The Western Wall — the exposed section of wall that enclosed The Temple Mount, Jerusalem
Al Aqsa Mosque — one of the holiest Islamic sites, on top of The Temple Mount
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a sprawling complex of a cathedral that encompasses sites associated with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; the management / administration of the complex is divided between several different Christian denominations, the main ones (according to Wikipedia): Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox
The Salt Sea — a literal translation of ים המלח (Yam HaMelech), the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see Yam HaMelech)
En Gedi — the name of an oasis area (now a kibbutz and national park) in the cliffs above The Salt Sea, which has supported human habitation for thousands of years and been a stop-over for travelers for longer. Four springs provide water: En Gedi, En David, En Shulamit, and En Arugot
Yam HaMelech — the transliteration of the Hebrew ים המלח, literally, The Salt Sea, the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea); though springing from unrelated roots, the Hebrew מלח (melech — salt) and מלך (melach—king / ruler) sound similar; the word מַלְאָך (melakh, meaning messenger and translated as angel in Biblical texts), also sounds similar to מלח (melech — salt), but shares the root of מלך (melach—king / ruler); Yam HaMelech is associated with the land of Sodom, and there is a salt formation called “Lot’s Wife” in the region
I retract all requests: no need
to breathe it into my ear: look in your red coat pocket, checkthe car cup-holder. If I think of you
embodied (obviously you are not), your
beneficent murmur embraces so much world, your
godly gesture wide and full of comfort, your
outstretched hand wise and warm across
forest, desert, veld; Oh
God, my busy fingers are nimble enough
to search through pockets, parking slips and Costco bills, while
refugee children, at the Syrian border kick
a shabby ball, their fingers too blue for the handling
of it, some already traced with misery and huddled on cold
ground beneath the hapless arms of women there.
From habit, I may
thank you anyway, God, but don’t
on my account send
forth your spirit to the bodies of a team of mine while
somewhere north of Iroquois Falls, a recluse starves and
dies, shrouded in threadbare shawls, her woodpile gone, her cabin colder
than outdoors, her nearest neighbour ignorant of her name. No, they can
win it for themselves — that goes for every team, ignore
those other fans, will you, and look instead
where girls and women slip so easily away, craving
an embrace to hold them fast and safe
in villages which are their homes,
set there in blood-grudge long ago and yanked,
from time to time, away, to punish them
for not being just like us. Since we don’t
seem able, suppose you look their way.
Suppose you take a godly peek at children, OMG,
made soldiers, killers, families ripped away, humanity
macheted from their souls.
Forget the lottery tickets, the interview, the tournament, God.
I’ll find my own keys. Are you
listening? Thank you. Please.
Callista Markotich has had a lifelong career in Education as Teacher, Principal and Superintendent of Education. She lives and writes in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her recent poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly,Riddlefence, The Nashwaak Review, SaddlebagDispatches and Room, where it has received a 2019 poetry award.
Puzzles of fire solved by the ashes
while water wonders- how a piece of glass smashes
the rock beneath the starfishes: embraced
Upon the reddened shore lost-footsteps traced
Our memories do we need to remember,
if from the heart all ache we dismember?
“Before Hail Melts Away”
We need to use the rain water before hail melts away
Hours we have to count before the end of the day
But how can we save the light after the dark
When flickers of flame fade in a moment’s spark?
MUNIA KHAN was born on a spring night of 15th March in the year 1981. She enjoys her journey to the literary world. Most of her works are poems of different genres, short stories and articles. She is the author of four poetry collections and one non-fiction inspirational book : ‘Beyond The Vernal Mind’ (Published from USA, 2012), ‘To Evince The Blue’ (Published from USA, 2014), ‘Versified’ (Published from Tel Aviv, Israel, 2016) and ‘Fireclay’ ( Published from USA, 2020) and ‘Attainable’ ( USA, 2 June, 2020) Her poetry is the reflection of her own life experience. Her works have been translated into various languages: Japanese, Romanian, Urdu,Italian, Dutch, Croatian, Spanish, Portuguese,Russian, Albanian, Finnish, Greek, Indonesian, Hindi, Turkish, Arabic, Bengali and in Irish language. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, literary journals, magazines and in newspapers.
“When did the left foot stop walking with the right? —Fu Schroeder Green Gulf Ranch, California
Head swollen, eyes still blackened and green
from injuries sustained in a skirmish
I turn to meditation
My body this old dog
finds a spot to rest—
it is my mind that rattles
like a snake in a bamboo tube
Is it not the same with war and peace?
my country your country
I’m right you’re wrong
Many go to war two by two—
left foot right foot
left foot right foot
forgetting they are One.
may cross the entire universe
without ever having left
I put one breath after the other
just as Someone Else
puts the other breath before.
Breathing out breathing in–
the world becomes larger
the world becomes smaller–
On stage online on website blogs:
message in a bottle—
see me hear me feel me touch me
screams a disappearing world in high definition
while I in my easy chair feed these pages
with bite-size impressions
3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
in protest of their government
3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
with Jesus in the desert
with Buddha in the forest
with Moses on the mountain
The earth is moving (New stanza)
and still I sit
The mountains are moving-
they are running beside the rivers
But I do not budge–
I hear but I do not listen
I am liquid says the snake your river flows within
I am skin says the snake you can peel me like a glove
I am mindful says the snake
you must change to BE changed.
When did the left foot stop walking with the right?
When did you stop becoming me?
There are many languages
but there is only one tongue
When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
I could feel the dry explosion in the squeeze of my throat.
I could taste its bitter root on the tip of my tongue
When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
a thousand consonants like stars flew in different directions
Consonants gagged on spittle and yesterday’s dust
consonants gagged on consonants
and in no particular order
When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
I knew then that they would want to blindfold this poem
and question it until it cracked!
Soon they are sticking bamboo shoots
under the nails of every sentence to extract their full meaning.
But I do not budge
I won’t give up the vowels
I WON”T GIVE UP THE VOWELS!!!
I a large toad growing larger on my cushion
transforming in mid-air… nightmare into dream
Eyes that stutter with all the old stories–
the history of my life
written across my bruised body in Braille
Where is Kindness?
with her thousand fingertips
to trace the shadow of our suffering
and soothe its man?
What have they done with Quon Yin?
with her thousand arms and cameras flashing–
eyes rolling in the palms of her Hand
eyes to record and to remember. ..
what we leave out!
3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
in protest of their government
while I a large toad a leap of faith
go hopping on one foot across the Universe
across the only One path I know—
the path of empathy
My mother (breathing out, breathing in)
rolled bandages in basements
with women who wore numbers on their arms.
My father (left foot right foot)
could never step into anyone else’s shoes
When he died…they had to cut off both his feet
When did the left foot stop walking with the right.
When did I stop…becoming you?
ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KLIMENKO was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London. A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion,she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.
Some thoughts from the lighter side of life, from my world of pencils.
Have you ever thought … No, you must have: “That how valuable pencils are?” The pencil point these days has become a flat surfaced button. Well for me the long slim sleek colorful object is a golden piece of eight, a priceless possession.
Ever since awareness of being alive touched my mind soul and spirit I found out that my closest friends and companions were materials for writing, coloring and drawing. Pencils of all kinds, not often new, but reduced in size, chewed a bit at the end. They would be small color pencils mostly because the larger ones were expensive. Another awareness!! Pencils made in USA which somehow always reflected yellow color and had a deep red eraser at the other end. Faber Castell HB 2 Drawing pencil … and then came Deer….Oh Dear , Oh Dear, Korean multi-colored, transparent! AH! What a thrill to see the lead inside. What is it that writes? What is it that creates those lovely patterns? What is it that traces the mystic mazes on the empty spaces?
Pencils in front of me
Pencils beside me
Pencils to the left of me
Pencils to the right of me
A pencil in my hand, all the time a diary within reach
I think I dream I talk I speak I write and I love to Teach;
Once illness made me still, I could not move my body I was so weak, but I could hold a pencil, and I had strength enough to slide it across the page while I was glued to the bed. I found out that a pencil would take less energy to write and what was written could be changed.
When there was no one near me, there was my pencil. It gave me security. It gave me courage. It kept my mind alive. I thought with it. I spoke to it and it spoke to me. It gave me ideas. It made me move on in time. As the days passed, my illness slowly faded away. The pencil under my pillow said, “I will be well,” and see now how I am? A little bit is used at a time and then refreshed, turned, twisted, forced and sharpened and shaped, ready to begin work again.
Slowly I play my part and fade away. As I grow little I am then put away in a box I am now small and thin. I look around and I see at least four pencil containers. They are two each on my two writing tables. Yes! Two! The third table is for the computer. They all housing my pencils, which are braving the world with me.
So keep . . .
more than one pencil container … preferably mugs since they look nice and have attractive pictures designs and quotes on them;
your pencils sharpened as a ready pencil saves time and ideas;
mixed color pencils in one container for inspiration and encourage;
pencils with erasers to help you focus your mind: and
light and dark pencils to give variety of style and development of variegated thoughts.
My stories are many, as many as my pencils, I have a Teacher pencil and a Dreamworks LLC Aardman pencil. Have you ever heard of that one?
I am well now and have begun my travels from the USA to UK. That reminds me of the precious pencil from the UK, from the land of Robin Hood of Nottingham. I can see the green cap with the feather on it. Lovely! The other from England is shaped like a STOP sign at the end and is red and white in color, a reminder of Conservative Traditions, Rules and Regulations. It is a good sign. It keeps us disciplined.
So the journey continues, and I sing as I write, ‘My heart will go on, My pencil will go on…….on … more on pencils and pens to come.’
ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to her professional qualifications.
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
Memoir writing is her favorite form of creative expression.
Find me, hope said
where headwaters unfurl
and roll across eons of rocks
polished by the playful tumble
of a rumbling stream. I stir belief
in the faintest trace I leave
under layers of a forest bed
the faint murmur of a mountain spring
where the ascent of a desert trail
is more than water
and the curl of a wool blanket
around the thumb of a sleeping child
is more than warmth.
where daydreams break
and flood the order of days
bridged by that narrow crossing
between duty and yearning. I destroy walls
from the rigid constructs I emerge
from labyrinths of complex reasons
the unwanted changes and the changing wants
where the hunger on the abundant earth
is a promise made
and the bend of the searching sun
under the months of winter snow
is a promise kept.
where smoke rises
and lifts the ghosts of mourning
entrapped by a constant churn
of candle stubs. I unite breath
under melting symbols I bow
to the church of the desperate fate
the humble faith in the big mistake
where a vow of strange forgiveness
is more than peace
and the prayer for a shamash flame
or the chant to an endless knot
is more than peace.
OZ FORESTOR is a former journalist. He began writing short fiction, poetry, and essays when he realized the topics that don’t make news are more interesting than news: class struggle, un-planet Pluto, geriatric romance, power psychology, migratory birds, Nazi-era art suppression, trees. Forestor’s nature-themed poetry chapbook sold out–all three copies- when he was nine. He enjoys hiking, travel, is prone to getting lost, and does not believe in GPS technology.
PAWEŁMARKIEWICZ was born in 1983 in Poland (Siemiatycze). He has has English haikus as well as short poems published in the good literary magazines, including Ginyu (Tokyo), Atlas Poetica (U.S.), and The Cherita (U.K.). He has published some poems in Taj Mahal Review (India) and Better Than Starbucks (U.S.). He has also published poems at Blog Nostics as well as a short prose piece entitled “The Druid.” Paweł has published more than fifty German-language poems in Germany and Austria and three Polish-language chapbooks in Poland.