Volume 8 September 15, 2021 Issue 3
Cover art: Exchange 1900–2021
Digital Landscape from Photos (Winona, MN, USA, and Jerusalem, Israel)
©2021 Michael Dickel
Volume 8 September 15, 2021 Issue 3
Cover art: Exchange 1900–2021
Digital Landscape from Photos (Winona, MN, USA, and Jerusalem, Israel)
©2021 Michael Dickel
Volume 8 June 15, 2021 Issue 2
Cover art: Still Life with Goldfish and Lotus
In Hebrew, the same word is used for song and poem. This song is a poem, or this poem is a song, in any language. Manouk, a student of mine at David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem, shared this with me. As we continue poetry month(s) into May, we at The BeZine want to share its message with you, our readers.
This past week has been one of loss and sorrow here in Israel, with the death of 45 people in a crushing crowd during a religious celebration last Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning. Lag B’Omer, the holiday, celebrates freedom and resistance to tyranny. The religious aspects go deeper, with Mystical Connections to an ancient rabbi believed to have handed down the Zohar, a principle text of Kabbalah.
This song is dedicated by its writer to Yonatan Zaken, who died too young. The BeZine dedicates it also to the 45 young and old Israelis who died last week, and to those we know and love we have lost in this past year.
—Michael Dickel, editor
There is a place Called heaven Where loved ones go And never come back, Where time is not counted. Magical rides And violins Play in the dust of clouds. And i am here empty handed… It's been a long time now, I've seen the contours Of your face. You have been brave. They say you're better off now… I look up high. You promised me You would be the brightest of all. I know you will always be Dancing in a field Of memories so free. No, I won't forget, You remain a part of me.
יש מקום הנקרא גן עדן שלשם האהובים שלנו הולכים ולעולם לא חוזרים מקום בו הזמן לא נספר נסיעות קסומות וכינורות מתנגנים בעננים של אבק ואני כאן בידיים ריקות עבר המון זמן ראיתי את צורת פניך היית אמיץ והם אמרו שיותר טוב לך עכשיו אני מסתכלת למעלה גבוה הבטחת לי שתהיה הכוכב המואר ביותר אני יודעת שתמיד תהיה לרקוד בשדה של זכרונות חופשיים לא, אני לא אשכח אתה חלק ממני
©2021 Manouk Rachelle Rosenfeld
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What do you feel when a rock of ages tumbles into the the sea when something you relied on sat upon, learned from and leaned on for good counsel that you needed to be reassured and feel secured and rooted in your trials, to be there regardless, even if you were somewhere else entirely ... or not a rock that’s been there for always this life just entered the realms of leavened legend and lore knocking at the gates of Neverland. What can you say when someone asks you “how do you feel?” about such a controversial, yet conversational challenging, yet charming pragmatic, yet princely daring and duke-it-out yet dutiful and dashing outspoken, yet outgoing much loved, yet likeable rogue. Why didn’t you expect it? Why did it suddenly become the least wanted wish after all this time, taken for granted, yet forgotten in the background, yet difficult to ignore. What else would we impossibly say ... or want? What do you do when time freezes into glacial slo-mo a clip from an epic film a moment when child-like uncomprehending self-preserving denial an innocent hope of one more time, again please, please, please let’s go to sea once more reflect, respect, deflect the imperative to understand the inevitable change What did we learn in the aftermath, if you spent an incalculable time, not wasted in the shadows, but replete with so much energy, so much given simply feted pre-modern man as modern as tomorrow as modest as any soul, with a zest for knowledge, that when least expected, rocked the best brains, with a power to convene the greatest minds of Gods and Engineers, who would change the World, where it mattered not who you are, as much as what truly interests and moves you to take what privilege you have and use it to serve, continually to learn so much, care so much about advancing the causes conserving of species of ... even one less seemingly insignificant precious life on Earth.
Written in the immediate aftermath of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, Consort of Queen Elizabeth II.
©2021 John Anstie
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of your life after the fact as all stories are we find those thoughts enjambed racing toward intolerance pages unnumbered mixing tea bags in hot water the repeated inaccurate refrain they find a small hope suddenly crystalizing on artificial sweetener with snow forecast in inches over night our muscles begin to atrophy a kind act among hundreds of other assortments never worry about prepositions repeating even when swallowing hard a day dream awakens unexpected hunger you feel the press of their attraction weighing down opportunity events from a past muddle through too many filters until only pure illusion gathers among the quiet introverted the collection resonates internally with few avenues of escape
upon those acceptable which means leaving more than half alive out our denial and refusal the medicinal median you gave in four days ago and more than hearts break little fuss to make out of no longer having to wait for this event while others play overhead on imaginary tight ropes to choke the life out pretending choice personal so block out the porous windows brick closed the two doors escape prevented no longer an advocate for certainty even when in its midst blankets quartered around the filleted body last night a repetitious dream just before waking a circle of colors blended gray you will be missed had already been solvent for years
so many alone in beds meant for brief visits we want to scream but instead live in our head accede to the believed in and deeply held reality not as imagined or experienced but folded under our skirts and dresses those boots yet to be waterproofed wet hands glove covered in snow you welcome the new adventure never subverted by their kind eyes and character flaws in another score two sing out of key join in uncomfortable liaisons bodies lined weight less prayerful savants gleaning unnatural release belief held only in what they are told without question to read
so you licked tentative the day turning into evening amid the constant choking we carefully build out of their words to fortify the fear embraced in isolation refuse to answer phone voice mail or text block all numbers free ourself from pretense of common clear pathway your heart skips beat back aches the body always up to this moment our family knew nothing of our propensity for dresses and tubular vegetables pliable though functional made up swirls in their empty imagination the silence is never deafening rather an uproar of places things and voices their volume once again pliable the days resort shuffle into new brackets of darkness and light savings
nights their twenty four hour lip service wind awakens the solitary walkers who shrug off the litany of complaints sounds used to hear ourself at what expense those others whose practice learned doing the same while sources evade detection cheat in the rubble that remains of an earlier rousing party of some kind and the nonexistent masks clog the plumbing around town make for bad air quality sneezes feel good even when aimed at inside elbow at least for another few nights pretend you haven't lost us altogether make this look more like what it pretends to be wash hands again repeat a pleasure of those who have the time and where with all
the streets trees flutter their communal dance of sharing you enter into their enclosed safety open windows through out the apartment time how long it takes for frost to form on various edges those things once so valuable now aflame in frigid light we go in and out without effort keep forestalling reflection through computer screen name begin to vanish flies unseasonable dying on horizontal flat lines little reason left for italic moments of capitals your state of mind ground down only to worthless replace the c with an x to disappear into what can never be easily followed
hour ahead gray birds in the starkly black black and white domain of conjoined conflict lies building upon lies push you back to bed and the wail of those usual broken love songs while lyrically diverse the message the same their bodies magical hidden as we will be by mirrored glass judged inappropriate you have never been prescient but understand the absence hours compel out of any context save wonder rereading those memories to ensure erasure the failure when using language with a known assumed listener reader in mind scrambles forms of alliterative translation forms of abstinence don't worry the operation went smoothly although what's missing remains tactile faulty
company the days languish late autumn grayness around the base of the two new trees leaves burrow for warmth a smell of bread toasting a time ago shots of brandy and laughter talking power outages and strange surroundings when young you kept hidden beneath surfaces a sense of safety which was all along absent gathering groups of memorized thoughtless inarticulate truths leaving out a consonant or vowel feels as if we've pulled away from each other unnoticed by anyone builds to a crescendo where opposites join force restive in ourself never a melodic introverted caffeine synthesized dusk lock the off switch
©2021 gary lundy
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Particularly speaking to this “Covid moment,” Eicha (איכה) comprises 5 videopoems which takes as its jumping off point, the Biblical Eicha, The Book of Lamentations, which laments the destruction of Jerusalem and through reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language, homophonically re-situates the original text to the horrors and hope of the present moment. Tracking through “the city” as a desolate weeping widow overcome with misery, and moving through desolation, ruin, prayer, and recovery, it explores ways that in rupture, there is rapture.
As transpoesis it acts not only (in General Semanticist terms) as a “time binder” but through a luminous, voluminous threading of light, it highlights how darkness is a form of light, how text itself is, in essence, black light on white light, and thus opens up new ways of seeing and the cyclic nature of meaning and being.
Text written and performed by Karasick and comprises the first section of her forthcoming book, Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations. The music is composed and performed by world renowned Grammy Award winning composer, trumpet player and Klezmer giant, Frank London. Eicha I includes Vispo by Jim Andrews and Daniel f. Bradley with Titles by Italian filmmaker Igor Imhoff. Eicha II and III, music by Frank London and video by Igor Imhoff. Eicha IV and V are still under construction and will be launched for Tisha B’Av.
Michael Dickel: Your theoretical frame for this work takes us from The Book of Lamentations to General Semantics developed in the 20th C. to the present moment of pandemic. What intrigues me about this is something I have thought about for some time. Before I heard of Alfred Korzybski, I had begun to think that cultural products—specifically but not only visual arts, music / dance, and writing—formed a sort of socio-cultural DNA. The “stories” or “meanings” they convey shape socio-cultural formations much as DNA shapes life forms, but outside of the body of course. And as such, they are apparently uniquely human. This is how I understand Korzybski’s “time-binding.”
In this framework-metaphor-analogy, would you agree that “reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language” could resemble RNA / DNA dividing and recombining? Perhaps I’m asking if your work introduces and “recombines” the DNA of light (luminosity, lumen) into the sorrow of loss and darkness (lamentation)? Or is the case completely different?
Adeena Karasick: So many interesting questions, Michael. First, if we think about “time binding as a kind of recognizing of pattern recognition—how cycles emerge in conjunction with the zeitgeist, aesthetic and political and social orders of the day and bound by semantic environments and spacetime contingencies to a past which is ever re-articulated in an ever contemporaneous present; as Korzybski might say, by abstracting nutrients, growing subsystems, which over time re-orient the narrative, language, “meaning” — in this way it is in a sense a recombination (or in Abulafian terms, a permutation and recombination), restaged into something new.
So, yes between the layering, the looming of the lament and the lumen i’m interested in illuminating the way the present re-presented through an ever-shifting past pinned to a future that is ever-fracturing; how darkness and light are always already embedded in one another – and we see this through our very rituals. For example, on Tish B’Av, when we read the Book of Lamentations which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s followed by the kinnot, the liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the 1st Temple, the 2nd Temple, reminded of all the other major calamities, the murder of the Ten Martyrs, medieval massacres, the Holocaust. Everything gets bound in these cycles of language of time of repetition and reproduction a simulacric spiraling that bleeds into the prescience of this very moment. A moment that itself (due in part to the weight of cultural memory) fractured and re-reflected, deflected, where limerence lamentation and lumenation emanate: When life gives you laments make limnade ; )
MD: A liminal moment. Your discussion of darkness being a form of light, or the light in the dark, reminds me of Carl Jüng and also of Robert Bly’s A Little Book of the Human Shadow. Both of course metaphorically could be seen as responses to the concept of yetzer hara (יצר הרע). However, the quantum optician Arthur Zajonc perhaps more literally addresses this light in the dark idea in his book, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind.
Zajonc points out that the night on Earth is not an absence of light. The sun’s light is still in the sky, as can be seen by its reflection from the moon. He describes a demonstration he uses to show this of a box that has a vacuum inside—no dust, nothing. The inside is all painted flat black that is totally non-reflecting. There is an eyehole on one side to look into. There is also a light that shines from a side 90-degrees to that. And a mirror or flat object inside that is black on the back but can be rotated. The box looks “dark,” that is pitch-black, until the object is revolved and reflects the light. Then it is clear there was light in the box all along.
It seems that what you are doing is showing us that the dark / night / shadow always contains light. That darkness or shadow provide the contrast and form to reflected light. And that the light we see, as Zajonc points out, is only the reflected light. Even the sky reflects dust to become blue.
With this other, different framework-metaphor-analogy, does this seem a reasonable way to understand your hybrid title, “Lumenations”, which of course plays homophonically with illuminations…?
AK: So important particularly in these troubled times to shift the perspective, change the channel, shift the diorama, “peepholes, eyestreams” and recognize the light in the darkness; to revel in the white space, between the letters, the long silences, the emptiness, the shudders / shutters, suspensions and remember that as in the Zohar, the darkness contains the light. Or the absence contains the presence – thinking about maybe Heidegger’s translation of Heraclitus preserved by Hippolytus (which i quote in another section of The Book of Lumenations), that even in the presencing of all things present, itself remains concealed from being present, “not as presence presently absent or an absence absently present but as the absent present that continually withdraws in the spectacle of its present absence”[i] Acknowledging how it’s so important to complicate these dichotomies, uncover its fabrication, and analyze the violence this initiates and sustains.
And like the flash of primordial letters clothed in the nothingness of being enshrouded in the disquiet of dissembling – letters, like desire itself, embodies all that is to come; comes and keeps coming in an ever-arriving future. So yes, it’s both a reflection defection, deflection, confection ; ) playing with ways all is simulacric and thereby produces a kind of co-sanguinity mirroring how like in the 2nd C. Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), primordial creation is ever re-created through the articulation of each letter – which contains all the future within it[ii]
MD: Now, how does all of this fit in your thinking with the Time of Coronavirus / “Covid moment” we find ourselves living in?
AK: Well, we’re living in dark times. And in many ways like the word COVID itself which homophonically can be transliterated in Hebrew as Kavod כבוד, which (as you know), means glory, honor and respect; ie when we congratulate someone we say Kol HaKavod, ‘all the honour’ (Good job!), or close a letter with the word V’Kavod (‘with respect’) Yet — ironically, COVID kaved is also “heavy. And throughout Exodus, the presence of God in the tabernacle is symbolised by the word ‘Kavod’ ((which is also represented by a cloud!)) So, like The Book of Lamentations itself which is mired in darkness, heaviness and cloudiness – a masking of the light, like you mentioned earlier, with reference to Zajonc, it’s so important especially now to recalibrate how we see, what we see; displace our usual systems of spectrality. Through this homophonic translation, this transpoeisis, it displaces a sense of language belonging to a particular moment but marked by chasms, folds, paradoxes, turbulence and desire, highlights the Other in language, coveting and foregrounding its caveats.
[i]. Elliot R. Wolfson, Heidegger and Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis, Indiana University Press, 2019, p.5.
[ii]. See Sefer Yetzirah, 2:2. Wesier Edition, Trans. Aryeh Kaplan, San Francisco, 1997.
©2021 Adeena Karasick and The BeZine
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(( wrote this after an extended blog conversation with another talented poet friend of mine about the limits of the written word and language. As good/succinct/clear as a writer strives to be, there always exists the possibility of misunderstanding, and that can be very frustrating! She inspired it (Thanks again, E!), and rather than use an image for this one, I think it's more appropriate to let the words do the talking this time...)
Thick as the speed of clotted thoughts, This language suffices; A cumbersome tool. Experience sought (and bought) The sacrifices That made wiser men From ignorant fools. Words escape. You. Me. They cannot be caught, Yet aren’t quite free, For every one comes attached to a thought, And for every action, It was birthed in naught but Electrical energy -- Brain waves of….what? Symbols understood, with meaning, But none can accurately catch the dreaming, Teeming shores of what it means to live. Sensation lingers in the mind’s mouth, Tasting phrases. Sifting variations of description, Through this medium’s sieve. It still lacks The richness of the moment’s impact. In fact, It’s amazing communication takes place. Limited as we are, By our lack Of (understanding) The rigidity of moving back And forth, Through Time and Space. Seeking to capture a feeling, A sight, To explain human nature -- Thus, stealing it, right? We take from experience, And categorize. We label our labors, And ceaselessly prize the “Hows“, And “Whys”, But Language, The bridge of the written word… *sighs* Though inadequate, Sometimes succeeds, And we’re “heard”.
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I utter in clandestine code Nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee siam Paratha, mee pok, char kway teow, Biryani, nasi padang, rojak, char siew pao, Roti john, mee soto, popiah, putu piring Embedded in my genetic soul Ravenous for the familiarity of a satiating sustenance a childhood defined a hungry rebellion usurped a displaced gluttonous immigrant lost in a gumbo of new worlds a legacy of bewilderment longingly relishing fuel that coursed through my veins I prattle my mindless mantra Durian, satay, ice kacang, kaya, teh tarik Ketupat, laksa, lontong, dosai, agar agar Putu piring, wonton mee, chili crab Bak kut teh, chendol, gado gado A foreigner Forever famished
sometimes it's arduous being colorful in this white world sometimes I stand out in the forest of humanity sometimes I fade in the landscape of dirt and mud sometimes I become invisible in the shroud of possibilities sometimes I crave to be a shade of nothing sometimes I yearn to be simply monochromatic Then you see me For who I am In that blind understanding phenomenal love makes intricate connections our disparities fervently celebrated by our equal residency on this universal concourse of life and we all simply exist
©2021 Kelly Kaur
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You create images with words you’ve carefully chosen & modeled into verse But in your droning monotone they fall lifeless before my ears my mind Breathe the fire you felt when you wrote that poem Let the words escape from your mouth the way they escaped from your imagination Let me hear the laughter the groans the serenity the anger Your words sputter out in a constant stream to stop dead before reaching my Spirit
The idea …. Take the poetry out of the coffeehouses & classrooms Take the voice to the streets Small groups 3 or 4 voices united Guerrilla strikes poetry readings Hit with the power of poems & disappear, then into the mundane life laundromats speaker’s circle shopping malls convenience stores police station waiting rooms wherever people are sludging through the mud of rutted life Strike with the word Then vanish DO IT!
On a ball court in Barrio Edén we set chairs around the stage-buffet we are laying creating a different space from the bar on the corner blaring tropical rhythms, from the traffic going some place some place else this Saturday night Families & neighbors take a seat, their hungering souls, hungering minds feasting on the songs & stories, poetry & mime—the visions we serve at this Cultural Banquet, a now & then breeze softly wiping away our sweat, softly swaying palms to our rhythms in this different space
©2021 Lorraine Caputo
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Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 14 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She travels through Latin America with her faithful companion Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.
“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, forget—window, curtains, 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.
Somewhere a Whirring Fan is from Michael Dickel’s collection, Nothing Remembers.
©2019 Michael Dickel
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Volume 8 March 15, 2021 Issue 1
Cover art: Sadness of Water
Colored Pencil, 11″ X 14″
The resistance poet in Poetry Chef Michael Dickel wields his frying spoon with that amazing verve of a militant word-master and that astounding zeal of a chronicler cum griot cum protest poet. He fries and roasts the 6th January American political gaffe into a beautiful poetry gourmet ( fusion of visual arts , graphics and poetry) as perpetuated by the tyrant and autocratic regime of Donald Trump at Capitol Hill . Archaisms and political corruption that has since plunged the once all powerful America into the status of a Banana Republichovel , a war mongering nation and a military state on record as lecturing several countries across the globe on ethos of non-violent elections, freedom of expressions , human rights and democracy . Dr.Dickel uses powerful grim visual imagery , sorry historical allusions exposing the stark nudity of a system that have thrived on punishing other nations through perpetuation…
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What a year 2020 has been: global pandemic, international instabilities, U.S. election turmoil. So much. We here at The BeZine have suffered a personal loss, as well, with the passing of G Jamie Dedes, our Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief emerita. Jamie led us with light, gentleness, and love.
Jamie may be gone, but her light shines on in her influence and inspiration, which we at The BeZine honor and mark. John Anstie, one of our core team of contributors, has curated a collection of tributes, eulogies, and elegies for this issue, in a section “for Jamie…”, where writers and artists from all over the world have joined us in remembering Jamie. This section also includes some of her writing and artwork.
Some of her photographs are also sprinkled throughout the rest of the issue, as well, as we continue the project that is The BeZine in Jamie’s name and spirit. The theme for this month, Life of the Spirit, chosen for this issue by her over a year ago, was especially close to her heart. She wanted to be sure that each year The BeZine would focus on this important aspect of our lives, activism, and work. Spirituality is the linchpin that holds together the other three themes of the year: Peace, Sustainability, and Social Justice.
So, read about and be inspired by Jamie and by Life of the Spirit as interpreted by artists and writers around the world.
An Appreciation of G Jamie Dedes — John Anstie
Unforgettable — Corina Ravenscraft
victory is mine by Jamie Dedes — Jamie Dedes
Her Light Continues — Corina Ravenscraft
Wanderer — Jamie Dedes
The View from My Place by Jamie Dedes — John Anstie
My Favorite Poem by Dear G Jamie Dedes — Anjum Wasim Dar
Finding G Jamie Dedes — Anjum Wasim Dar
Unforgettable, Gifted, G Jamie Dedes ~ Yes, In Heaven — Anjum Wasim Dar
Grace — Brian Shirra
Mentor Never Met — Chrysty Hendrick
So What Do You Do? — Dewitt Clinton
Goodbye Jamie Dedes — Isadora delaVega
I Am Not Here — Jane Spokenword
Anti-Dystopoem — John Anstie
Eulogy for A Beautiful Soul — Mbizo Chirasha
For Jamie—a poem — Michael Dickel
Jamie by Mike Stone — Mike Stone
A Bulgarian Dedication to G Jamie Dedes — Miroslava Panayotova
A Eulogy and a Song — John Anstie
The End of the World — Naomi Baltuck
A Natural Continuum — Antoni Ooto
The Secret of Life — John Anstie
Dawn after Pandemic—4 poems — Obinna Chilekezi
After Toto—3 poems — Judy Decroce
Breathing — Michael Dickel
Wrestling the Guru of Divine Energy—3 poems — Milton P. Ehrlich
Among the angels—3 poems — Pat Leighton
Saturday Paper Pietà—3 poems — Kate Maxwell
Two Poems from TD Nelson — TD Nelson
Give Us New Hope—5 poems — Robert Priest
Gulls in an Hour Glass — Kathryn Sadakierski
The Truth Is and 4 Other Poems — Mike Stone
Do You Regret or Rejoice — Corina Ravenscraft
Arts, Activism, and Spirituality Inspirations Online — Bardo Group / Beguine Again
The Evanescent and Two Other Poem-Psalms — P. C. Moorehead
We received this note November 8, 2020. We lost our beloved founding editor and editor-in-chief emerita on 06 November of this year. We all will miss her. She was a loving, caring, and creative person who gave everything to her art, to others, and to the causes of peace, social justice, and sustainability. Most of all, she loved her family and they loved her, caring for her gently to the very end.
— Michael Dickel, editor
Hello, everybody. I’m Richard, Jamie’s son. As you may know, Jamie entered hospice care on July 7. She wanted to be home for her remaining days. I honored this request and stayed with her and cared for her during this time. Though end of life is painful, she went through this period with characteristic resilience, thoughtfulness, and generosity. My being able to stay with her was just the latest gift in a lifetime of gifts she gave me. She passed at 10:00 PM Pacific last night (11/6). By grace, my wife Karen and I were at her side, holding her hands as she passed. Be comforted that it was an easy passing. I am only just starting to monitor her Facebook and email. Please be patient as I work through things. You will be hearing from me. Meanwhile, thank you again. She loved the Zine and the team. I have heard many great stories about you all and read many of your works. I like forward to connecting more soon. With love and gratitude to you all, Richard.
I shouldn't be saying this but — Typically the majority stand for it but — They assumed we'd go on being quiet but — They said that moral courage was at a minimum but — They thought we'd go on stunned in the grey TV glow but — They thought we were flies on the screen forever but — Even we believed we had no wings, no grandeur but — They thought our outrage was dead but — There’s supposed to be limits on how long you can push it push it push it but but but — We thought we'd lost each other but — They believed that silence was assent forever but — It looked like it was going to be World War III but — They said that faith was not a well, not a flow, not a channel but — I was telling everybody don't count on me I can't be relied upon but — They're going to tell us we're not brave but — They’re going to push the negative but — They said there was no buttress but — No resistance but — No insistence but — No victory but —
Give us a floor we can drag a chair over And leave a mark A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like A floor you can jump on Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour And no one cares We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps Fifty stomping bikers on choppers And still be fine for yoga in the morning It is important to have a floor you can fall on A floor good for trying risky positions Tipsy calisthenics Maybe one day we’ll want to invite Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying A floor equipped to bear them all And still take a child’s lightest footfall With never the creak of any small floor complaint A floor to hold up the elephants And hippopotami A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts Held in thrall by mere matter By love by stampede We want a floor to bear seven generations Each unfolded out of the other All at once in a great hootenanny and holler A floor to bear the greatest table ever made For a feast where no one’s missing We don’t want some poor flat excuse We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry And ready to fall It’s time we had the floor Give us the floor
poem from Previously Feared Darkness
Spread the word outward From the centre To the edges Spread the word like the word Was your wings And you could fly Spread the word Like wind in all directions Let the word be spread Like a lover's legs Like petals strewn upon a bed Like the breath of life On the land of the dead Spread the word Let nothing go unsaid That must be said Spread the word like breath To the drowning Like food to the unfed Spread the word like medicine To a child on a deathbed Spread it like a wild fire Of thought in some genius head Spread the word to all and one Alike Refusing it to none Like wealth like water Like thirst All over the earth Let it never go unheard Spread the word
There is a lot of Islam In everything Those who surrender to Jesus Are Islamic - 'Islam' means surrender If you yearn to give up your essence Into nirvana - isn't that a huge surrender? Islam! And Jews who seek to do the will of God They surrender themselves to the teachings of the Torah Very Islamic Even lovers who bow to one another's pure forms Or those who give in the needs of the moment — surrender Islam Is beautiful
A literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist, Robert Priest is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.
Robert Priest is the author of fourteen books of poetry. His book, Reading the Bible Backwards, rose to number two on the Toronto Globe and Mail’s poetry charts. He is a previous winner of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry award. He co-wrote the hit, Song Instead of a Kiss, for Alannah Myles, which is still played all around the world and went to number one for two weeks in Canada and six weeks in Québec. His aphorisms show up frequently in Colombo’s Canadian Quotations and The Farmer’s Almanac.
His latest book of poetry for children, The Wolf is Back received a Gold Moonbeam award in the US and his previous volume for children, Rosa Rose, was a book of honour in the Lion and the Unicorn award for poetry in the North American category at John Hopkins University. His fantasy series, Spell Crossed, was described by Open Book as a ‘Modern Classic’. He is also a singer-songwriter and children’s singer-songwriter of note with songs on Sesame Street. For two years he was the resident topical songwriter on the CBC radio program Is Anybody Home and has contributed topical songs to CBC’s Sunday Night News.
Selection of poems for reading
Robert Priest, Hand Poems
Robert Priest Retrospective in Big Bridge
Robert Priest’s Children’s Site
All Contents ©2020 Robert Priest,
except where otherwise noted for recordings on YouTube.
All rights reserved
Aware that M.S. Evans paints and draws, as well as writing poetry, The BeZine invited her to submit artwork to accompany these poems when we accepted this blog post. We asked M.S. Evans for artwork to accompany and complement the words on the screen (we used to say “on the page”), not to “illustrate| the poems. The result is this blog post, which The BeZine presents here as separate yet interconnected works of art by M.S. Evans.
—Michael Dickel, Editor
Spare Change Sidewalk, slouched. My eyes circle the rim of a crumpled paper cup. Puddles cooly stare up; too sure of an answer. Strangers offer me naked cigarettes; slim-boned solidarity. My softness wrapped in copper wire, I learned to smoke.
The weight of boxes ease; released, forgotten, re-homed. A guardian of keepsakes, I carry the irreplaceable, sentimental. Not naive enough to trust my home will last this time.
They gave my room away when I became pregnant You’re welcome to pay for the basement; uneven floodplain. First trimester: missed period, tender, insulted.
—Poetry and Art by M.S. Evans
“Floating Away” is an oil pastel piece I did in the early 2000s, when my housing was very unstable. There is a lot of yearning in this piece: for stability, but generally for a future.
“Bronx Botanical Garden” is a watercolor and ink piece from my time in NY, in the late ’90s. At that time I was doing a work-exchange for a room in the house of an elderly Yiddish poet and artist.
“Backdoor” is a watercolor and ink piece from my current living situation in Butte, Montana. There are signs of decay, but also of continuity and intent.
Poetry and Artwork ©2020 M.S. Evans
All rights reserved
It is an undeniable fact now: They have arisen from the bare ground Like the phoenix flapping its wings out of its Legendary ashes, where are they going? Nowhere but high up into a virtual space, a world That, like history book, is full of black headlines Big names, & bold details. All transmitted Into digital forms. Even the most unidentifiable Has become a star above its dark caws. Each Taken for an angel winged with the rainbows Of tomorrow, while all cranes and swans are lost In their dances to the tune of death
More advanced in evolution than their human masters are chickens as they outnumber the stars in the whole universe, and occupy every corner of the entire planet, but as in-dividuals, no chicken can fly higher than a low fence, make love within its confinement or live together with its children. The only thing they do besides laying eggs and growing meat is standing there, day and night, as if meditating about the meaning of evolution:
It took hundreds…of thousands…of years for…homo erectus to evolve…into sapiens and longer…for chimpanzees to…erectus, but…engineering ourselves…by way of biochemistry…cyborg and…AI, we are upgrading…ourselves into…godlings—all it takes…will be just half a century…where science beats gods…and devils, saints and ghosts alike…at only…a fraction of second, when a whim…pops up for a human…to go back…to a wild animal, again…
Now given each organism as a biochemical algorithm, your life is a programmed process proving your consciousness is actually far less valuable than a fucking Frankenstein’s AI
As giant ants march ahead in nightly arrays Demonstrating against the ruling humans Along the main street of every major city Hordes of hordes of vampires flood in, screaming Aloud, riding on hyenas and Octopuses, waving skeletons In their hairy hands, whipping at old werewolves Or all-eyed aliens standing by With their blood-dripping tails Gathering behind the masses are ghosts and spirits Of all the dead, victims of fatal diseases Murders, rapes, tortures, wars, starvation, plagues Led by deformed devils and demons As if in an uprising, to seek revenge On every living victor in the human shape Some smashing walls and fences, others Barbecuing human hearts like inflated frogs Still others biting at each other’s soul around black fires All in a universal storm of ashes and blood Up above in the sky is a red dragon flying by With a heart infected by the human virus
Going, going away in an ever retreating bay The ebb starts below a quickened sun setting People swarm here, watching, picking, fighting Over the fishes, shrimps, crabs, shells, weeds All left stranded, struggling for waters on the beach They do not care if darkness stalks right behind Their shadows, rolling like a tide upon their souls They care only about the benefits they can gather The sea produce they can trade with one another Surely some ignorance is still in proper place Surely the second departing is taking place The Second Departing! The very idea stirs in the minds A huge flock of crows beating their darkening wings Flapping into the narrow sky of the prolonged history It’s these crows, these very unidentifiable black birds That are driving the light beyond the horizon, inner or outer (Where they have found God as a redundant re-creation Where they believe they are the right gods for themselves)
Just as both God and Devil are man’s incarnation,
so are Heaven and Hell both man’s construction.
I From the front yard of a melodious morning From the busy road of a sweet Saturday From the moist corner of a heavy march From the back lane of pale winter We have come, here and now, all gathering In big crowds gathering in big crowds Gathering in ever-bigger crowds gathering For the boat to cross the wide wild waters Before the fairy ferry is fated to fall Under our feet too heavy with earthy mud II You may well hate Charon But you cannot help feeling envious: That business of carrying the diseased Across the River Styx is ever so prosperous The only monopoly in the entire universe That has a market share Larger than the market itself Daydreaming, on this side Of the river, how you might wish To be an entrepreneur like him A success American dreamer III Flying between sea and sky Between day and night Amid heavenly or oceanic blue I lost all my references To any timed space Or a localized time Except the non-stop snorting Of a stranger neighbor Then, beyond the snorts rising here And more looming there I see tigers, lions, leopards And other kinds of hunger-throated predators Darting out of every passenger’s heart Running amuck around us As if released from a huge cage As if in a dreamland
©2020 Changming Yuan
All rights reserved
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.
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).
The Poet by Day
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.
Saturday, 26 September 2020 at:
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.
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:
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.
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