Posted in disability/illness

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

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

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 “The workforce and work opportunities have changed and outdated regulations need to be revised to reflect today’s world.”

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

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

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

The rule will be effective on April 27, 2020.

Posted in disability/illness

Three Poems by Assamese Poet Guna Moran, Translation Courtesy of Bibekananda Choudhury

Courtesy of Jan Kopřiva, Unsplash

SNAKE

I frisson on seeing a snake

As if the long venomous tongue jutting out
Would bite me lethally
Instantly on seeing

But the number of death
Bitten by long pointed tongues
As thousand time less
Than the number killed by
Blunt tongues

Failure far exceeds the achievements
The fear of losing in achievement
is not there in failure

As the fact
How heartbreaking s the sorrow
Of losing after having
Compared to
Not having at all
Is vivid in memory of the snake
It juts out its long forked tongue
So that none can settle at a desolate corner of its heart

The tongue is the impenetrable sentinel
Of the inner world of the snake
Visitor takes to its heels
On seeing the guard
But snake do not chase to bite anyone

Actually
All the snakes are innocent
We are indeed
Panicky

SLEEP

Sleep is bliss
Death is bliss too

The first one is not permanent like the second
But the transitory is favoured to the permanent

Fatigue after gratification
Sleep after fatigue
Gratification possible following sleep
Gratification impossible after death
That is the reason
The second one is everyone’s favourite

We are basically punters
Punters need more sleep

ILLNESS

Now

She cooks meals
I devour

She washes the clothes
I put on

She is responsible for
Fetching the children
To and fro from school

She is responsible for
Receiving guests and relatives

Marriage and functions
Meetings and discussions
Are her responsibility

She is like a bobbin
Since waking up
Till retiring to bed at night

I just give a call at time
She appears in a whiff

That I fell in love one day
I forget altogether

© 2020, Guna Moran; Translation Bibekananda Choudhury

GUNA MORAN is an Assamese poet and critic. His poems and literary pieces are published in national and international magazines, journals, webzines, newspapers and anthologies such as –
(i) Tuck magazine (ii) Merak (iii) Spillword (iv) Setu (v)Story Mirror (vi) Glomag (vii) Poem Hunter
(viii) The Sentinel (ix) The Hills Times (x) Litinfinte (xi) Best Poetry (xii)Academy of the Heart and Mind (xiii) The Creation times (xiv)Infinite sky (xv) International Anthology of Poems on Autism (xvi) International Anthology on Water (Waco Fest Anthology 2019) (xvii) International anthology on TIME (xviii) THE VASE : 12th Guntur International Poetry Fest Anthology 2019. (xix) POETICA : The Inner Circle Writer’s Group Poetry Anthology 2019 (xx) Nocturne (poetry of the Night, An Anthology). (xxi) Phantasmagoria Magazine.Apart from this, his poems have been translated into Italian and French, Bangla language also.

BIBEKANANDA CHOUDHURY, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothillsof Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Posted in Illness/life-threatening illness, Poems/Poetry

Cancerland

Out with the old, in with the new could

apply if refers to surgery to remove

urinary bladders all studded with tumors

that don’t respond to chemotherapy

administered intravesically through thick

catheters oy ugh inserted in penises.

 

With this dim prospect of employing such

a big procedure which’d fashion

a bit of large colon into a fresh sterile sac,

one realizes how much we have

now bonded with previously unnoticed

unloved taken-for-granted organs.

 

Well-wishers offer hope old receptacles

and us, after many happy years

together, reconcile relations, start to work

out existing problems — or if not

in cards dealt, resolve to divorce benignly

before move on to new partners.

© 2020,

GERARD SARNAT is a poet, physician, executive, academic and social activist. Gerry is an MD who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently Gerry is devoting energy/ resources to work with internationally known and recognized leaders addressing global warming.

Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize and was nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including University of Chicago, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Arkansas, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Slippery Rock, Appalachian State, Grinnell, American Jewish University, Sichuan University, University of Edinburgh and University of Canberra. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such U.S. outlets as GargoyleMain Street Rag, New Delta ReviewMiPOesias, poetica, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Circle, Every Day Poems, Clementine, Tiferet, Foliate Oak, Failed Haiku, New Verse News, Blue Mountain ReviewDanse Macabre, Canary EcoFiction Southeast, Military Experience and the Arts, Poets And War, Cliterature,  Qommunicate, Texas Review, Brooklyn ReviewSan Francisco MagazineThe Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. Pieces have also been accepted by Chinese, Bangladeshi, Hong Kongese, Singaporian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scotch, Australian, New Zealander, Australasian Writers Association, Zimbabwean, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Romanian, Swedish, Moscovian and Fijian among other international publications. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2017. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons with a sixth on the way and looking forward to future granddaughters.

Posted in news/events

Adults Unintentionally Make It Easy for Young Children to Eat Dangerous Pills

Courtesy of Haley Lawrence, Unsplash

Each year there are about 400,000 poison center calls and 50,000 ER visits as a result of young children ingesting medications when adults weren’t paying attention. A new study finds that more than half of the time when children get into prescription pills, the medication had already been removed from the child-resistant container by an adult.

The findings come from a study of calls to five U.S. poison control centers by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University School of Medicine, and the Georgia Poison Center. The study appears this week in The Journal of Pediatricsexternal icon.

“These data suggest it may be time to place greater emphasis on encouraging adults to keep medicines in containers with child-resistant features,” says the study’s senior author, Daniel Budnitz, M.D., MPH, of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “There is an opportunity here for innovative medication container options that promote adult adherence and provide portability and convenience, while maintaining child safety.”

Child-resistant packaging keeps kids safe – but only when pills are inside

The current study found four common scenarios in which young children get into prescription pills after the pills are out of their original containers:

  1. Removed to remember to take as prescribed: Adults put pills into pill organizers that are not child-resistant.
  2. Removed for ease of travel or transport: Adults put pills into baggies or other small containers that are not child-resistant to carry with them.
  3. Removed for convenience: Adults leave pills out on countertops or on a bedside table for someone to take later.
  4. Removed unintentionally: Adults sometimes spill or drop pills and may miss some when picking them up.

The most common scenarios varied by type of medication. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications (49%) and opioids (43%) were more often not in any container when found by young children. Diabetes drugs (34%) and cardiac medications (31%) were more often transferred to alternate containers such as pill organizers or baggies. Nonprescription medications were most often accessed from the original containers, but for many of these medications, child-resistant packaging is not required because of low potential for toxicity.

Grandparents’ pill organizers often involved

Investigators also asked whose pills the children were getting into. Most of the time, the children got into their parents’ pills. However, for some prescription medications that can be very harmful to young children in small amounts (e.g., diabetes or cardiac medications), over half belonged to grandparents. Therefore, it will be important to remind grandparents, as well as parents, about the importance of keeping medications up and away and out of the reach and sight of children.

CDC recommends keeping medications in the original child-resistant packaging. If one must remove pills from their original containers, a few precautions can help keep children safe:

  • Use a container that is child resistant.
  • Securely re-close the container after every use.
  • Put the container up and away and out of a child’s reach and sight immediately after every use.
  • Keep purses, other bags, or pockets with medicines in them up and away from young children.
  • If pills are spilled when taking or transferring medications, double-check to make sure that all pills are picked up.
  • Save the Poison Help number in your phone – (800) 222-1222 – and call right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine or a vitamin, even if you are not sure.

For more information on what parents and grandparents can do to safely store their medications, visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/features/medicationstorage/index.html and UpandAway.orgexternal icon.

Posted in Illness/life-threatening illness, Poems/Poetry

Antibiotic Blues

Courtesy of Anton Darius, Unsplash

I’m bulbling, bumbling like a dumb blond(e) from the Golden Age of Hollywood
without the figure
or the yellow locks,
a himbo who isn’t very beau.
How can a petite podwery, poerdy, poderwy-
POWDERY damn it
wite, white pill-or is it the pinkish-bluish capsule with the cryptic digits-
besiege a brain and morph it
into mash, or is it mush, to match
the collywobbles in the gut during
eight days of frustrating pharma fog thicker
than a full-frat, full-fat Frappuccino?
Science squashes my IQ as I misplace my cell phone, followed by the TV remote, keys and
bank card and my, um…I forget.
As if hijacked by the shakiness of a heat haze, I stumble to the ice machine but
come back with nothing.
Dates and deadlines become meaningingless in a malfunctioning memory bank, and
I fix and refix phrases like “extra much” that sounded Shakespearean when I typed them.
Mercurial emotions mock me like the menacing Space Invaders of my childhood as
innocuously constructive criticism rips up any remnants of calm.
Someone’s profiting from my prescriptions while I’m vantiqued, vanquished by the salvos of adverse effects.

© 2020, Adrian Stonaker

Originally publish in U-Rights Magazine, December 2019.

Crisscrossing North America as a language professional, Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee Adrian Slonaker is fond of opals, owls and fire noodles. Adrian’s work has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ariel Chart, The Pangolin Review and others.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Alana Saltz

Field Trip

For you, Ms. Frizzle, I would fold
my fingers around the curves of my stomach, dig
my nails into the flesh, rip
it open so you can go right in.

Take your big-eyed bus full of curious children
and explore my mysterious body.

Watch organs lighting up a little too bright.
Red blood cells drifting lonely
like they’ve lost their best friends.
Scattered inflammations and infections hiding
in muscle and tissue.

Explain to the children that these are things
that make me hurt
but not enough for anyone to see.

And when people don’t see something,
they don’t do anything.

Teach them that lesson.
It will always apply.

This poem first appeared in Philosophical Idiot and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

Halt

I’m enthralled as I watch an actor scribble symptoms
in notebooks and cry when the pain is too strong
and see doctors who seem to know a little too much
about what’s happening, but it’s okay.

I’ll keep watching.
I can’t be that picky.

I ignore all the cues that this will end
the same way as all the other TV
reflections of me, the fun house mirrors
that only show sickness as a distorted, shortened
one-way road.

There was no other ending.
He’s only got one place to go.

His actor family
weeps over his departure
at just the right time
in the series.

His death is art.
My life goes unseen.

This poem first appeared in AlienPub and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

ALANA SALTZ (alanasaltz.com) is the editor-in-chief of Blanket Sea, an arts and literary magazine showcasing work by chronically ill, mentally ill, and disabled creators. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Five:2:One, YesPoetry, Moonchild Magazine, LadyLibertyLit, and more. She’s the author of the poetry chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light. You can visit her website at alanasaltz.com and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @alanasaltz.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Four poems by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Song of the Mad

It wouldn’t be so bad
if I lost it in one place
at least I’d know where to find it!
But Noooo…
I have to lose it here!
I have to lose it there!
And just when I find it there
I‘ve lost it again here!!

People wonder why
I never answer my own door
I wonder if they can hear me
breathing from under my covers?

Sometimes I hear myself
calling from another room
Or it could be that other guy
who blames everything on me
Of course it’s never his fault
Nothing ever is!

You see
Nothing is enough for him!
First he impersonates me and steals my best lines
Now he covers his ears with mine
and complains that I don’t sing
with the right inflection!!

As if
he’s the only one
who has to listen to me at night !

Song of the Deaf

What can I say
that you haven’t already heard
before me?
I feel left out

Everyone else has two sides
but when I turn around to face the other way
I still point in the same direction!
Sometimes people talk behind my back
right in front of me!

Of course I must expect that
I try to anticipate everything
otherwise I fall behind
and I have nothing to fall back on!
That is why
my world is suspended in animation–
I use my hands to balance silence
the way stars hold up the sky

A cloud can fall back on the sky
but I must climb deeper
into God’s Ear!
Only…where does the sky begin?
I’d give anything you know
just to hear the color blue

Song of the Blind

It bothers me that my eyes are broken
and God will not fix them

Each morning I watch and listen for Him
and wonder through which doorway of my senses
He will choose to enter next

Each day He and I together
make and remake the bed–
make and remake the world

Mostly it is the same
And that is both my comfort and my fear

I have heard that once someone is truly loved
she is never the same
You cannot imagine how I long for change!
You cannot imagine how I long for certainty!
I can only imagine

I never quite know which
I will stumble into next:
Death that l o n g night
or
Life that l o n g day!

Dear Lord
I am without sight
I am not without vision
Please find me

Song of the Homeless

How long must I go on
pushing my life before me?
My feet are bare and swollen—
they do not know me anymore
And I haven’t yet enough hands
to keep me warm
nor make a pillow for my head

Maybe I’ll grow new fingers tomorrow
so they too can stick out
like a sore thumb

I suppose you think
I can find a better place to hide
than in the poverty of my skin

Do you think I like
carrying my heart around with me
in a basket?

You do not care
that I have forgotten the words
to the songs I am singing
And I am running out of songs

How could you know first-hand
that it is not my death I fear…
only that I should learn of it
second-hand

© 2020, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko 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

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry, poetry

So You Want to Know What Autism Is Like

Autism* is standing still while
Everyone runs for the cliff edge
And you want to know why
Before joining them
But the surge pushes you down
And they thunder across your back
And you’re bloody but not broken
Because the rage keeps you sane
 
Autism is always being chosen
To be
The Cheese
In Farmer in the Dell
The Cheese stands alone
In the middle of the circle
As baby classmates point and sing
And you cry
But the next year you don’t cry
You will never let them break you
At least they won’t know
You care
 
Autism is getting it wrong when a boy flirts
Confusion from what he means
Interpreted by his ego
Thinking you’re indifferent
To his oh-so-obvious charms
And he hates you
 
Autism is being nice to a boy
Who seems like a friend
But not realizing
His ego cannot allow someone like you
To be kind
To flirt (must be, he reasons)
And he hates you
For showing interest in his
Oh-so-obvious charms
 
Yet autism is like everyone else
Loving friends and movies
Books and games
Dreaming of being asked
To the prom
And buying a dress
To transform the lightning and thunder
Into rainbows of love, peace and happiness
 
Autism is loving sex and drugs and rock and roll
But luckily learning that drugs can take you
Where you don’t want to go
Because you can’t come back
But some nights you think
Maybe that’s not bad
What’s to come back to?
Only thunder and lightning and rain
 
Autism is when married
Choosing a dysfunctional 
Who becomes an adversary
Family and friends roll their eyes
And laugh when he reveals your secrets
Meant only for him
It’s not like you’re barking like a dog
Or flapping your hands
Everything looks “normal”
But there must be some type of invisible mark
That all can see
Except me
 
What did they see?
What did I do?
What did I say?
 
Answers? No, so
Although I’ve never been a head banger
I want to badly butt
My head against theirs
Make them see
I’m like them
I am!
But I don’t know what to say
My tongue gets in the way
 
Children come
One is finally labeled
“Somewhat autistic”
What does that mean?
No information pre-internet
Never heard the word before
No idea I am
We’re all so different
But raise my children 
In the offbeat way
AKA, autistic
And their lives
Get drenched in different shades of rain
Thunder, lightning
Mudslides
 
What is Autism?
 
Autism is traffic jams
Oncoming headlights in
A foggy, dark night
Thunder drowning out your heartbeat
Automobile stereo’s base line ripping through your brain
 
Autism is thunder in your soul
As rain pours from your eyes
And lightning jerks your strings
 
Autism is knowing you are safest locked alone
In your room
Where no one can hurt you
But the curse is
Like everyone else
You crave society…
.
Poet’s note: Not all people on the spectrum are the same. I speak only about my life.
.
© 2020, Clarissa Simmens
.

CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja) is an independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Favorite music genres include Classic Rock, Folk, Romani (Gypsy), and Cajun with an emphasis on guitar and violin music mainly in a Minor key. Find her onAmazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE.

Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Feeling Good Was Good Enough For Me

When being sick was all you knew
Sweet Jesus, the doc last week asked
“When was the last time you felt good,”
Me and Bobby McGee and I saw black
Roses. Could not thread my way to good.
Life a Harlem-globetrotter procession of sham
Dunks and wheezes. Born RH negative all my
Blood exchanged. Lord have mercy then
Coughing times in bed over and over again.
I hadda find good feeling cuz i was an other early
Outcast over and over. Put the music on
And I would play the piano
Rocking to peace my outcast soul.

Sickness made me hold on to my
Strange and play it on an Aeolian harp
To woo the good places and make me me.
Thank you Kris Kristofferson,
Good enough for a life to live,
To share with you the secrets
Of my soul on the edges
Of strong all along. Be a pearl
On my own making the
Good happen. Jiving Janis.
Feeling good was good enough for me.

© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in disability/illness

China Detains Coronavirus Reporter

2019-nCoV-CDC-23312 without background / Public Domain


(New York, NY) – Chinese authorities have reportedly detained and quarantined citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, who has been reporting on the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. PEN America today said holding Chen incommunicado suggests he may have been targeted for his reporting, and that such actions jeopardize not just his rights but the rights of all Chinese citizens to access information about the epidemic.

“Given China’s widespread censorship of stories about the coronavirus, PEN America is gravely concerned over the possibility that Chen has been arbitrarily detained and that authorities are using ‘quarantine’ as a pretext to justify their actions,” said James Tager, deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy at PEN America, “Even if Chen is ill, there seems to be no discernable reason why he can’t use a phone or a computer, and yet his friends and family say they’ve heard nothing from him. The Chinese government must be transparent about why Chen has been detained, and if there is no compelling medical reason, they should release him immediately.”

On January 24, Chen–a lawyer, activist, and citizen journalist–traveled to Wuhan to report on the coronavirus outbreak. As part of his coverage, Chen posted a series of videos shot in Wuhan’s hospitals and streets, as well as interviews with coronavirus patients and doctors. On February 6, Chen’s mother posted a video saying that friends and family had not heard from Chen and asking for help locating him. Later that day, a friend of Chen’s posted a video saying authorities had told Chen’s friends and family that he had been forcibly quarantined, although officials apparently have not shared when or where this happened.

Chen began acting as a citizen journalist in 2019, reporting on a flooding disaster in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province. In the summer of 2019, Chen went to Hong Kong to report on the ongoing protests there. Upon his return, authorities reportedly repeatedly questioned him and deleted all his domestic social media accounts. In December of last year, Chen shared on his Twitter, he attempted to travel to Japan but was informed by government officials that he was not allowed to leave the country.

“Chen has been targeted for his work as a citizen journalist before, and we fear that the exact same thing may have happened here,” said PEN America’s Tager. “If  he has been detained for his work, this would represent not only an obvious assault on Chen’s freedom of expression but also on the right of all Chinese people to have access to information about serious health threats. It already seems clear that the government’s attempt to censor information about the coronavirus has potentially worsened the public health situation. We urge China’s leaders to take a more transparent approach, and to refrain from targeting those who are speaking up about the coronavirus and the government’s response.”

The outbreak of the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. A group of several doctors who first went public with information about the virus were reprimanded by police. Among the whistleblower doctors was 34-year-old opthamologist Li Wenliang, whose subsequent death from the coronavirus has resulted in online outrage and calls for freedom of speech. The government is still reportedly engaging in widespread censorship of coronavirus-related stories and news.

###

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Posted in General Interest

Neurological

You’ve Become Neurological

What a fetish we have
for being in balance, for
homeostasis in a golden mean, drone balancing the books of life.
Scales, balance, dead weights.
This dubious insistence upon equalities kicks out the untoward: albinos frozen in their pale,
stammerers and limpers struggling with impatient eyes looking on.
Like they’ve crossed over the line “for whites only.” And certainly you neurological ones should stay in place, out of sight, too.

If your proprioception snaps, too,
it’s the granddaddy of the bombing out of you as you know you to be.
This is the medical tyranny of the majority as de Tocqueville cautioned about democracy.
Now what you touch is somewhere, but just not here,
It’s always a reaching.
Your fingers lost your nose to feel find. Feel find has gone.
Like your whole being’s gone dyslexic: you neurological zoo.
No more you for you.
There is anger, too, when people don’t get that it’s out of your hands.
Slithering along between neurons,
that there’s nothing to do
when your nerves fail you.
This new kind of notness,
this neural obliteration
where you can perhaps start reconnecting you.

© 2020, Linda Chown

Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.

Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in disability/illness, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Two Poems by Antoni Ooto

Housebound

everything was so honest once
but more disappears

games in vacant lots
old haunts
all those loves

days tick down
the mirror considers what’s left

“I sit talking to myself
losing time.”

“I’m at the end of everything
barely existing.”

and my resolve?
that’s already hardening.

Minimal

How small can a life get?

Once with the strength of a Morgan
everything pulled uphill…
now, over time, resigns to cleverness of necessity.

Graceless age clutches my shirttail
dragging me everywhere.

I remember tricking my way.

In a book I read,
a bite of land was given toward the end
something—manageable to lose…

© 2020, Antoni Ooto

ANTONI OOTO has and still looks for answers which he shares at times with poetry. He finds pleasure in reading the works of many poets such as WS Merwin, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Elizabeth Bishop, Margret Atwood, and the humor of James Tate.

“I read various poet’s first thing in the morning aloud.

My wife and I discuss the structure, rhythm and beauty of the lines.”

Reading poetry aloud (he feels) allows the voice to find a cadence that the reader might miss when seeing the words on a page.

Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer.  He came to writing late after many years as an abstract expressionist artist. He eventually found his voice in poetry.

His works appear in Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, The Ginger Collect, Soft Cartel, Eldritch Lake, Pilcrow & Dagger, Young Ravens Literary Review, and many others.

Antoni works in upstate New York with his wife poet, storyteller Judy DeCroce.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Three poems by Judy DeCroce

Senseless Hope

she worries about losing

but not yet, not now

 

senseless hope can’t be found

 

it is definite…

she will always be ill

a beginning that will now 

be forever

 

I see it, when she does not

sometimes friends replace mirrors

 

but she is still herself in these moments 

with sense of humor fading 

 

details…

less, too much…

all shocking but eminent

 

diagnosis, pills, doctors watching,

talking, watching

talk

 

Still Trying

 

“We are losing altitude all the time” 

—Josephine Miles

Gravity and time must be the story,

strength…the music causing this smile.

 

Stepping to a mirror,

baring all you’ve become…

 

already, some is gone in the falling,

yet most remains. 

 

Anyway…that’s what we do.

late, early

 

Obstacles, challenges,

stepped over as they rise.

 

That horizon is a goal not always ahead.

It slips the lead, follows, or moves beside.

 

Today, yesterday, tomorrow,

that’s what we do…trying the best we can.

 

A Measure of Certainty

memories once carried off 

even with all my hurry

 

were certainly too late

no longer lasting 

 

sometimes a lost memory is the future

forever an empty field

 

I feel guilty 

the whole time.

© 2020, Judy DeCroce

Judy DeCroce, a former educator, is a poet/flash fiction writer and avid reader. Her works have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, Tigershark Publishing, and Pilcorw & Dagger.
 
She began writing flash fiction and poetry in 2006 from which many have been published in US, UK, and India. Judy is also a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre for over 35 years, and has worked with students as young as kindergarten as well as adults.
She uses “first person” storytelling to entertain and has been invited to perform in many settings.
 
A requested instructor in Writers and Books summer program Summerwrite, and, ADEPT: An enrichment program through BOCES 2 in Rochester, New York, Judy continues to teach Flash Fiction and Storytelling.
Her impetus for writing was borne out a childhood tragedy where she was bedridden for 5 years with a then unidentified illness. Because of this, she found it easy to use her imagination to build stories of what could be. 
She was lucky to have a favorite aunt who would tell her stories before she went to sleep. This, was her most important connection to becoming the storyteller she is today.
Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband, poet/artist, Antoni Ooto.
Posted in General Interest

Three Poems by Barbara A. Meier

The Rattlesnake and the Hen

There is a garden ring of stumps
guarded by Sugar pine and Douglas fir,
majestic in the shedding of needles,
forming a carpet of spongy pine duff.
The scent of rich decay coalesces with the perfume
of pine bark baked in sun at 5000 feet.

The cluck and cackle of one Gallus Gallus Domesticus
punctuates the susurrus of the creek pooling around rocks.
She grubs for earthworms and crickets, under the duff mounds
and rotting stumps, unaware of the shaft of sunlight
through the feathery branches illuminating the coil
of the Crotalus Oregonas. His brownish blotches melding green,

rattling the needles with his castanets, startling the hen
to hysterical squawks and shrieking cackles.
Her Salvation comes in a shovel
held like a fiery sword in the hand
of Archangel Michael, thrusting down,
severing the head from a gyrating body in space.

In the silence of the hen, the gasp of the wind
high in the trees, comes the thud of dirt clods
hitting metal, the fall of the head into the hole, buried.
The body hung to dry on the cabin side.
and pine needles raked to cover the blood.
By the creek, the Gallus Gallus Domesticus,

scratches the dirt, wallowing a hollow,
tossing dust on her feathers bathing her body in dirt,
chuckling with happy noises, standing, shaking,
and flinging the earth, from her feathers, cleansed of parasites,
in the garden of stumps, surrounded by pine,
with the murmur of creek and heat of the sun.

Idols (Isaiah 46)

Depression is the idol in my mind:
a bird of prey, perched on my tablets
of destiny, tearing the cuneiform symbols
off the damp clay. The idols are asses
loaded with gypsum bas-reliefs
depicting every dragon memory
in the event panels of my life.

I am that beast of burden, an onager
laboring westward, bearing the gold
and silver of shame, anxiety, and bitterness
to a new land where I have been summoned.
Your words shatter my stories and melt my fears.

They comfort me when I don’t understand
your purpose and what is to come.
The former things of ancient times
are recorded in my DNA because
You are my God and there is no other.

Bahia del Espiritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit)
dedicated to the LWML

Ascribe to the Bay
the Brown Pelican, the Watchman
on the piling, the prophet, gate-
keeping the muddy waters of Mobile Bay.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Laughing Gull, Black-headed, smirking
like the laugh of Sara behind
orange lifeboats strung along the Fantasy.

Ascribe to the Bay
bullrushes, shaggy carpet, shielding
Moses, the bass and the blue hyacinth
in the lush estuary of the Tensaw Delta.

Ascribe to the Bay
the osprey, the fishing-hawk, sheltering
in its nest in the crucified tangle
of cables of an abandoned crane.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Jubilee, the swarm of crabs, shrimp, and eels,
shimmy up the shore, filling washtubs
with God’s Firstfruits.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Resurrection Fern, dead-looking,
supported by the Live Oak branch,
waiting for the baptismal grace of water.

Ascribe to the Bay
the women who came, dressed
in purple, carrying banners in praise
to the Lord, missionaries with small boxes.

Ascribe to God
the glory of His creation and His plans for our mites
and our availability. We are the rivers flowing, flushing
the Bay on the third day to be reborn again.

© 2010, Barbara A. Meier

BARBARA A. MEIER has spent the last four years living on the Southern Oregon Coast.  She retired from teaching this summer and hopes to find time to travel and write. Her first Micro Chapbook, “Wildfire LAL 6” came out this summer from Ghost City Press. She has been published in The Poeming Pigeon, TD; LR Catching Fire Anthology and The Fourth River.  https://basicallybarbmeier.wordpress.com/
Posted in Poems/Poetry

Four Poems by Juliette Lee

be sure to double check layout

Dhamma                                                                                                       

 

Ten determined days lend

wind to wings of spring,
hastening a warming.

 

Each silent breath bleeds
through bone until
crowned in caul, I slip

from sanctified grip, heed
the ancient howl of home,

discover heaven in my feet.

Dhamma – natural law of liberation

 

 

 

Hound Point

 

 

Paused. Ate wild blackberries.

Inhaled musk of leaves drooping with morning,
flattened rowan berries into soggy soil.

 

Arrived at the cliff top, fortified.

Faced growling swell and frothing waves

bursting onto the shore.

 

Poised, my body caught the current of the fight,

bristled then beamed. A lighthouse

in my own storm.

 

 

 

Gerbera Daisy

 

The gerbera’s dark eye

stares into my soul,

 

questions the distractions

pulling me off balance.

 

Black pinheads

cluster in the centre

 

girdled by an iris

of inner petals.

A serrated disc of orange

suspended,

 

like a spinning plate

that one day decided to stop.

 

A single stem of happiness.

I am enough.

 

 

Uncle Seamus

 

Uncle Seamus wore three-piece suits, kept a litre of vodka by his bed,

watched Death Wish on repeat and lived on the twenty-third floor
in the Gorbals.

 

He was a plasterer and most nights got plastered himself.

By fifty, he needed more than a cast to hold his broken body

after a lifetime of benders.

 

At my wedding reception, he leant in close and I watched

as his cigar burnt a hole in my veil.

‘Ah Julie hen, I can gie up the fags but no the drink.’

 

Christmas, I went to his grave with my dad.
‘I’ll no be joining you yet Seamus.’

I held him as he wept.

 

Seven months later, Uncle Seamus came to me in a dream:
suit trousers, blue striped shirt, no waistcoat, no jacket.

He was standing a short distance away, my dad beside him.

 

Uncle Seamus turned, asked if I understood.

I nodded,

buried my dad six weeks later.

© 2020, Juliette Lee

JULIETTE LEE is a former chemical engineer with a decade of experience at senior management level with chemicals giant ICI. Her international career spanned process design, production management, sales and marketing, corporate communications and business management. It was worlds away from her working-class background in the council tenements of Glasgow. And, however successful her life looked from the outside, everything was about to change. On 20th February 1999, she experienced a profound awakening. This paradigm shift in consciousness gave her new eyes to see where she no longer belonged and the courage to surrender to the long and difficult path of personal transformation and re-orientation of her life. Juliette moved into the world of coaching in 2002, trained with The Coaches Institute, and became an NLP, MBTI® and energy practitioner as well as an award-winning speaker for the leading chief executive organisation, Vistage. Ironically, her former training in applied physics has proved invaluable in the field of personal alchemy. Dedicated to her own development, Juliette regularly uses dreams, creative writing, meditation, shamanic practices and yoga as tools for personal transformation. She has written a daily journal for almost twenty years and has been a practitioner of vipassana meditation since 2012, attending a 10-day silent retreat each year. Having based most of her professional life in the industrial north of England, Juliette returned to her native Scotland in 2013 and now lives by the sea near Edinburgh, where she writes and rides horses whenever she can.

 

Posted in Poems/Poetry

cord in d# minor

three days of rain
of pain and painted flesh
the moan of empty rooms
and what is left
but the sheeted furniture
the whistle and shuffle of bones
a broken telephone my own footsteps

how quickly they appear and disappear
those passing tones these luminous encounters
the changing unseen floating dreams
neither living or dead but waking

distant strains of miles and coltrane
the reflection of the moon on passing trains
inarticulate fingers suspended over keys
the creaking eaves that echo all is gone
what’s left of me? i’m going home

i drift from myself to major and minor
the percussion of the brushing of leaves
a wind in transition a slur of expression
i am divine imperfection
the rapture of autumn the sorrow of fall
i lie in my shadow not me at all

but the one who lives outside myself
who finishes what i’ve left undone
who sings for you and eats thin air
who reaches for nothing and finds nothing there

© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO  is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and 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.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Three poems by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

The Visitation

Tall kissed-out pale fronds of potted ferns
Adorn the entry, their cool shadows dim
Switching the parlor — — death’s last living room — —
Where time hesitates and dark furnishings
Project inarguable dignity.

Bookended by brass casket handles, lids
Too heavy to be raised again must sense
My presence, those defiant eyes I closed,
Who parsed my childish alibis, whose last
Wink nicked the priest, who forced death to hold still
Till her eyes sent light leaping into mine.

Embodiment

My sister lives forever in six drawers
Where Mom maintains her clothing, worn, outgrown.

Preserved in cameras, she’s chambered,
Sealed shut like darkroom prints, unmoving face
Still undeveloped as her unspent youth.

Moored on his island of bad memories,
Her boyfriend, claiming self-defense, wears stripes.

Nighttime she’s back, soft stabled in seizures
Of stars or hovering in ghost orb’s mist.

A pinch of lonely air lifts blankets, hugs
Half of my bedding.  No heat radiates.

The younger person I still am inside
Peers out.  Instead of ghost dents on the sheets,
I see her shuffling the deck, smell smoke
From phantom joints, red lipsticked, decayed dreams
Beyond my line of sight, time’s taut trapeze.

I yearn to grab her wrist, yank heart and soul
From cold oblivion, yell, “Breathe again!”

Hope hops on life support, prepared to drag
Her from the brink and storm the underworld.

Geometry’s shades fade — — by dawn’s dispersed.

The Uninvited Guest

With measured strokes, I brushed defiant hair,
Cascading waves that cancer left untouched.
You’d had enough of hospitals, that lack
Of privacy, imagining your home
Serene, secure, free from intrusive pests.

It would shock you to learn we’re not alone.

At dawn, the presence by the sills crispens,
Emerges as the drapes inhale into
A phantom shape.  Infernal company,
Omniscient brakeman, timer in cold hands,
Poised, waiting, exhalations nearly through.

Lost in the territory of morphine,
Deciding to eject your breathing tubes,
You tossed away the life-saving device.

Asleep, I’m unaware — — till ghost commands
Arouse me full awake.  There’s no choice but
To go rescue you, reconnect the air.

Long shadows darken the stairs, that peek-a-boo
Behind the hooded cloak.  I startle you,
Attaching oxygen’s feed properly,
Removing you tonight from danger’s ledge.

A grimace rises from the bedding’s edge

© 2019, LindaAnn LoSchiavo

LindaAnn LoSchiavo, a Native New Yorker, is a dramatist, writer, and a poet who writes formal verse.
Her poetry chapbooks Conflicted Excitement (Red Wolf Editions, 2018) and Concupiscent Consumption (Red Ferret Press, 2020) along with her collaborative book on prejudice (Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy) are her latest titles.

Posted in 100TPC, Bardo News, Calls for submissions, Event/s, Facebook Discussion Page, General Interest, news/events, Poets/Writers, The Bardo Group Beguines, The BeZine

Announcing our three new Zine team members and other news …

The Bardo Group Beguines, publisher of The BeZine, is pleased to welcome Mbizo Chirasha, Anjum Wasim Dar, and Kella Hanna-Wayne to our team.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.



ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) 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.



KELLA HANNA-WAYNE (Yopp) is a disabled, chronically/mentally ill freelance writer who is the editor, publisher, and main writer for Yopp, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights education, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression; and for GlutenFreeNom.Com, a resource for learning the basics of gluten-free cooking and baking. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, Multiamory, Architrave Press and is forthcoming in a chapter of the book Twice Exceptional (2e) Beyond Learning Disabilities: Gifted Persons with Physical Disabilities. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s an argentine tango dancing event, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Medium, and Instagram.


The BeZine thebezine.com
bardogroup@gmail.com
This is a digital publication founded by The Bardo Group Beguines, a virtual arts collective.

The Zine is published regularly each quarter and each Zine is themed:

March – Waging Peace;
June -Environmental Sustainability/Environmental Justice;
September – Social Justice; and
December – Life of the Spirit.
The BeZine communications and submissions go to bardogroup@gmail.com

The call for Zine submissions generally opens for 4-to-6 weeks before publication and closes on the 10th of the month in which the Zine is to be published. The Call for Submissions to the March 15 issue – themed Waging Peace – is currently open and will close on March 10. Submissions for the Zine blog may be sent at any time.

Our 2020 100TPC logo designed by team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

.
In September we also do 100,000 Poets (and others ) for Change. This is a global event (see 100TPC.org) and at The BeZine we do a virtual event in which everyone may participate from anywhere in the world. A virtual event also facilitates and encourages participation by the homebound. Contributing Editor, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play – Words, Images, & More) hosts. 100TPC is held on the fourth Saturday in September.  We hold the event open for 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Occasionally, we have a theme for the month on the Zine blog. February 2020 is illness and disability. This may include mental illness. This event is co-hosted by YOPP!, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights eduction, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression, which was founded and is managed by Kella Hanna-Wayne, one of our new Zine team members.

We are not yet firm on doing April as poetry month but that will probably happen. It is likely that in August 2020 – like August 2019 – the blog will focus on Climate Action.

The Bezine also offers two Facebook Discussion Groups:

The BeZine 100TPC IS NOT a place to share poetry or announce publication. Through this group we’re especially interested in filling an information gap by collecting links to pieces on practical initiatives – ideas for taking action – from anywhere in the world, “best practices” so to speak that foster peace, sustainability and social justice, especially those that might be easily picked up and implemented elsewhere. This has been an uphill battle but the dream that people will regularly start using it for that thrives.

.
The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page (not just for poetry) is a place to share all your arts activities and accomplishments, not just poetry, in the hope of inspiring one another and encouraging collaborations among the arts and within our community. Through this group you are invited to announce publications, showings, events et al. You are encouraged to share your videos: music, poetry readings, photography, art, film and so forth.

.
The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort and we are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge submission or subscription fees.

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and
In the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Two poems by Mary Bone

Spirit of Life

The spirit moves us with creativity,
Inspiration and peace.
Our art is a gift
We give others.
Our songs can echo through
The canyons of time.
Life leads us in many directions.
Peace and love sustains our hearts
With a calmness
As we share with others
On our journey.

Hearts Pour Out Blessings

The wind moves through trees
Blowing off leaves in many directions.
Dead leaves can form into mulch
For gardens and other plants that are growing,
To help us thrive.
The Holy Spirit guides us with a bright light
Through dark tunnels and turbulent times.
Our hearts are caring vessels.
We pour out our blessings to others,
As we continue on in life.

© 2020, Mary Bone

MARY BONE’s poetry has been published at The BeZine, Best Poetry Website, The Literary Librarian, Vita Brevis Literature, The Oklahoma Today Magazine, Ink Pantry, Minute Magazine, Spillwords, Literary Yard, River Poets Journal, Duane’s Poetree Blogspot, Poetry Pacific, The Homestead Review, and Artifact Nouveau.