Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three Poems on the Pandemic by Faruk Buzhala

The following poems are in Albanian. Each is followed by an English translation.



JETA

Trazimet shpirtërore më rrahin
siç rrahin valët brigjet
siç rrahin erërat detin e trazuar.

Nuk e kuptoj
porsi foshnja shikon botën rreth tij
plot dritë ngjyra e nuanca.

Ashtu siç lëvizin hijet
në dritën e qiririt
mendimet më luhaten.

Fëmija në djep përkundet
duke ushtruar balancimin
që i duhet më pastaj në jetë.

Rrugën e kam të trasuar
me shenjat udhërrëfyese
të vendosura anëve nga babai im.

Ç’më duhet më shumë të di
janë gjymtyrët e trupit tim
ku shenjat e fatit tim lexohen.

LIFE

The spiritual torment beats me
as waves beat the shores
as winds beat the troubled sea.

I don’t understand, confused
as an infant looking at the world around
full of light, colors, and hues.

Like shadows
of a flickering candle,
my thoughts sway.

As a mother rocks a baby
in the cradle, to rehearse balance
needed later in life.

The road is clear
with signs placed along the side
by my father.

What I need to know more,
other than my body limbs,
where are signs of my fate deciphered?



Pika dhe kuptimi i saj

Mision i njeriut në këtë jetë është të gjejë lumturinë e tij
Që i jep kuptim përpjekjeve dhe sakrificave për të njohur
Kuptimin e kuptimit thelbësor të asaj
që në mendje është mister, i bartur ndër breza!

Vallë e kuptove o njeri
Se ç’deshi të t’thotë urtaku
Që jetën e çoi si eremit
I tretur në shkretëtirën e zemrës së tij.

Breza e breza kalojnë
Dhe treten në pluhurin e kohës
E ti o njeri
Do mbetesh gjithmonë
Një pikë e pikësuar nga tjetri!

The dot and its meaning

The mission humans in this life is to find happiness
that gives meaning to struggless and sacrifice,
to know the essential conception ,
the mystery of the mind, passed down through the generations!

Have you understood, o humanity?
What the wise one wants to say?
The one who, like a hermit, spent his life
Wasting in the desert of his heart?

Generations and generations pass
And dissolve in the dust of time
And you, o humanity,
You will always remain,
One dot punctuated by the other!



Laj duart!

Kur mendon se ke gënjyer
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke shpifur
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke intriguar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke mashtruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke abuzuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqinterpretuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqpërdoruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke tradhëtuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke lënduar
Laj duart!
P.S.
Edhe Ponc Pilati pati larë duart duke thënë:
Ishalla s’më bjen Korona Virusi!

Wash your hands!

When you think you’ve lied
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve slandered
Wash your hands
When you think you’re intrigued
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve cheated
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve abused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misinterpreted
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve betrayed
Wash your hands
When you think you hurt
Wash your hands!

P.S.
Even Pontius Pilate washed his hands saying:
“Hopefully the coronavirus doesn’t bug me!”


All poems and translations © 2020, Faruk Buzhala



FARUK BUZHALA is a well-known poet from Ferizaj, Kosovo . He was born in 9 March 1968 in Pristina. He is the former manager and leader of “De Rada,” a literary association, from 2012 until 2018, and also the representative of Kosovo to the 100 TPC organization. In addition to poems, he also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, traveltales, etc. Faruk Buzhala is an organizer and manager of many events in Ferizaj. His poems have been translated to English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Chinese, and are published in anthologies in the USA, Italy, Mexico, Albania, China, etc.

He has published five books : “Qeshje Jokeriane” (Jokerian Smile) 1998 , “Shtëpia pa rrugë” (House without road) 2009 , “Njeriu me katër hije” (Man with four shadows) 2012, “Shkëlqim verbërues” (Blinding brilliance) 2015, and “Një gur mangut” (A stone less) 2018.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Seeking Greener Pastures in Symptoms That Fever Me by Nnadi Samuel

in my dark moments, i am a wild night eating a blind bat whose belly button is untidy.
my silence a broken hourglass, i plot every breath & mouth into it—to create plastic suspense,
to know how echoes die in an empty room crammed with silence.

i sneeze my childhood into rubber toys,
a girl’s anime, broken arms, a detached thigh.
i make to assemble them,
but it humpty-dumpties into a fresh past.

i carry my absence like the sky’s white stretch marks,
& the moon holds my resemblance in the dark.
the clouds here do not stay woke if it’s not an indian boy dying,
this is where i alarm myself in red.

nature files my fingernails into an arc where a whitlow quarantines me,
looking for the symptoms that fever me.
the fingers are the most populated things our body ever nurtured so much,
that we sometimes forget to observe it census.

fate delays my visa in a world seeking greener pastures too.
life reshuffles my luggage,
& a century prays me into a quick recovery.

© 2020, Nnadi Samuel

NNADI SAMUEL is a twenty-year-old graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Artifact, Inverse Journal, Awakening Review, The Collidescope, Jams & Sand and other online and digital journals. He was shortlisted in the annual Poet’s Choice writing and was the second prize winner of the EOPP 2019 contest. If he is not writing, you find him burning meals in search of his muse.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

S/Heroes, a poem by Nancy Ndeke

Like swat teams, they sleep on the ready,
Never asking why or how,
Hearts worn on the giving hands,
The most unlikely of places you find them giving ,
The most precarious of spaces you find their hands extended,
Working beyond the call of duty and convenience,
Putting one tired foot ahead of another spasming in numbness,
Men and women life has got dependent on,
Even as few among us ‘ only look to the self,’
Time of the double digit year that rose with a cold and runs with the heat,
Unsung saints have crashed from the weight of humanity’s needs,
Undocumented stretches of giving and then some more,
Going the extra mile on fumes and the indomitable spirit of humanity,
Men and women beyond professional duties riding the waves of disastrous contacts to save a life,
Human angels filling the emptiness of commercial shelves with basics upon a cold night,
Medics walking on slippery quarrantine quarters to offer hope to a lone sufferer,
What of that ambulance man who last slept last week?
And the nurse whoses duty goes beyond administration of bandages into listening and a reassuring voice?
What of the old man who goes shopping on your behalf because you can’t?
The bedridden mum of three calling to cheer you up as your nose runs red,
What of that ‘highway man’ without a home and now down with flu,
His best shot would have been a blue look but for that lady berieved recently,
Times and seasons have a rhythm and a tune all it’s it’s own,
For the hurricane of worry that COVID 19 has thrust amidst humanity,
One thing has come up for sure,
Man is capable of being a human being for sure,
Discarding old habits and biases to stand and be counted,
To help within means and beyond those most in need,
And as the world sighs deeply with the burden of sick and dying,
Heros rise every day to perform tasks that make all proud,
It’s to such deeds and acts of kindly giving,
That tells earth is habitat of man,
A hard-work of a loving deity,
Once lost but now found,
At a time when such heroism is indeed needed.
Names may be forgotten but not the acts,
Time will pass and this monster conquered,
But let the lessons forever stay,
That with love, nothing is too hard to gain,
And that we are strongest,
When we are a brother’s keeper.
S/HEROS everywhere,
May you never lack a supporting hand while you live.
Yours, too, shall be tended by the seeds you tend today.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

This was originally published on The Poet by Day in response to a Wednesday Writing Prompt

NANCY NDEKE is the Associate Editor of Liberated Voices,  a Poet of international acclaim, and a reputable literary arts consultant. Her writings and her poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology. World Federation of Poets in Mexico. Ndeke is a Resident Contributor of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal since mid-2018. African Contributor to the DIFFERENT TRUTHS, a publication that sensitizes the world on the plight of Autism edited by Aridham Roy. SAVE AFRCA ANTHOLOGY, edited by Prof. Dave Gretch of Canada and reviewed by Joseph Spence Jr., has featured her poetry and a paper on issues afflicting Africa and Africans. Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

In Which I Fear the Coronavirus Is All My Fault by Barbara UngAr

I started out gently enough, with a Green reader,
but it was out of date. The Norton Anthology
of Nature Writing didn’t suit. I tried Half-Earth,
then The Sixth Extinction, mentioning that semester
The Uninhabitable Earth was way too scary—
so of course they wanted to read that. We began,

It is worse, much worse than you think,

and were only a few weeks in, up to the chapters
in “Elements of Chaos” called “Plagues
of Warming” and “Economic Collapse”
when the stock market crashed and pandemic
shut down our school, sent them packing
and all of us panicking online, where I posted,

How often does your course work get this real?

Suddenly, I was afraid, like when I had to quit
teaching Satan in Literature because weird shit
began to happen, like when Marlowe’s Doctor
Faustus was first performed, and the audience saw
an extra person onstage and, fearing the words
spoken by the actor playing Faust had conjured

Lucifer himself, the theatre emptied in terror.

© 2020, Barbara UngAr

Barbara UngAr’s (barbaraungar.net) fifth book, Save Our Ship, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019; it is currently a finalist for the IBPA’s Ben Franklin award.  A limited-edition chapbook, EDGE (named for the EDGE list of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species), is forthcoming in April 2020 from Ethel Press. Her prior books include Immortal Medusa, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015; Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize and a silver Independent Publishers award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she lives in Saratoga Springs

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

A Doctor Watching Sunset with His Patient in Wuhan—Wang Ping

©2020 Wang Ping

PING WANG published 12 books of poetry, prose, and translation had many multi-media solo exhibits. She’s recipient of NEA, Bush, Lannan and McKnight Fellowships. She’s the founder/director of the Kinship of Rivers project. She teaches Creative Writing as a Professor of English, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three poems for the Time of Corona by Mike Stone

Walking Daisy in the Time of Corona

I don my surgical mask and plastic gloves,
Snap Daisy’s halter and leash together,
And we walk bravely outside
To take care of Daisy’s needs.
Outside felt like the times the missiles rained down on us
But there are no sirens for incoming viruses.
In the streets some people wore masks, too,
Others didn’t, but no one stared at me.
I meditate on Daisy, while walking her
I’m also walking her cancer cells.
They’ve spread throughout her body
So that my love can’t tell the difference
Between her living cells and the dying ones.
Yesterday I read about a dog with Corona that died.
Daisy’d have a lot to worry about if she were human
But she just sniffs the flowers
Like this is the only moment in the whole universe
And she’s immortal for all of it,
And I think to myself
Who’s the wise one?


Love in the Time of Corona

Yea, though I sit in the shadow of Corona
Watching the talking heads spew new rules
From a flickering screen two meters away
Thou shalt not congregate in groups more than ten
And thou shalt not hug or kiss anybody else.
Then I got to thinking about the people
I’ve hugged and kissed over the years
And thought I’d better make a list before I forgot
But then I thought of you, all of a sudden,
The thrill of you that rippled through my body
The shiver of warmth and coolness,
The seconds that spilled through my fingers
Though I tried to save them from oblivion,
How they rolled away like balls of mercury
Disappearing between the floorboards of a dark room.
I put the list down, still blank, on the desk,
And the darkness reached into the room
Through the window, replacing the afternoon light.


A Heavy Fog Descended

In a country that I shall not name
A heavy fog descended everywhere,
From the sandy shores of the wide sea
To the meandering river,
From the mountains to the deserts,
The fog smothered everything
With a damp white blindness,
The tall buildings of the cities
And the low houses and fields nearby,
The tall trees and fallen logs of the forests,
The beasts and the people,
Young and old, powerful and weak,
Rich and poor, and the strange and familiar,
The fog covered one and all
So that they couldn’t see each other
And could barely see their hands reaching out
Or their feet where they walked.
People bumped into each other.
Some said excuse me while
Others became angry and cursed,
Some tripped over logs or walked off cliffs.
There were leaders who told the people
They would be ok if they just followed their voices
But the leaders led their people around in circles
And lost many of them to the logs or the cliffs.
There was one leader, however, who understood
That all people were needed to save all people
And he explained this to everyone he met.
Each person who understood tied himself to the others
So that if one person fell, he’d be stood up by the rest
Until he could walk beside the others
And nobody fell off a cliff.
They still walked around in circles
But at least they were safe.
Besides, even our world circles our star
And our star circles our galaxy.
After a while, the heavy fog lifted
And moved out to sea
Evaporating into the feathery clouds.
The people untied their ropes
But continued to stay together
Because that was what people were for.

© 2020, MIke Stone

MIKE STONE (Uncollected Works) was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. He lived in San Diego and Chicago. Mike played clarinet and saxophone in his high school marching band, dance band, and concert band. He also composed music. He started out with a Fine Arts major but then graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army (stationed in Germany) and the Israeli Defense Forces. Mike has traveled throughout Europe and to several Arab countries. Mike has been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU. He has published four books of poetry (The Uncollected Works, Yet another Book of Poetry, Bemused, and Call of the Whippoorwill), a book of essays, and four science fiction novels (The Tin Man, The Rats and the Saps, Whirlpool, and Out of Time). Mike is currently working on his fifth book of poetry (The Hoopoe’s Call) and a fifth science fiction novel (H4N5-2080). He supported his writing habit by working as a computer programmer, specializing in information security. Mike speaks English and Hebrew, as well as a smattering of Spanish, German, Russian, and a bit of Arabic. He also speaks several computer languages fluently. Now he is retired. Mike moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and seven precious grandchildren.

Check out his blog. You can read his latest poetry, short stories, and essays, while they are works in progress. Mike also has an Amazon author’s page HERE.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

in this time of community isolation by gary lundy

at least school shootings have been halted. we worry as everyone seems to. that close relationships have ended. but at least the climate grows slowly back to an earlier normal. were it not for commercial greed. and the ignorant denials banking in their bunkers of wealth. we might pull through. little hope of that happening though. to hold a young child in such light rather than comforts aggravates those consigned to terror. in such solitude language takes a back seat. even thoughts become glued onto the surfaces creating compound fractures. whether or not cleaning occurs or continues. tones familiar and left slightly ajar. at least here the water still runs. even if poorly. open the blinds and enjoy the indifferent sunlight. it’s a good thing you stocked up on brown napkins. this nearly first day of spring. one problem has to do with rereading an event until it turns rigid and fixed. they find some kind of security in lobbing accusations toward any other group. which lies outside their chosen domain. homemade soup and brief even though distant visit. keep up with the dishes. keep washing hands. maybe get around to vacuuming. anything more than an afternoon nap a change in venue. i suppose we all must act as if forever was a positive outcome.

© 2020, gary lundy

gary lundy is the author of five chapbooks, including: when voice detach themselves (is a rose press, 2013), and at | with (Locofo Chaps, 2017); and two full-length collections: heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving (is a rose press, 2016), and each room echoes absence (FootHills Publishing, 2018). His poems have appeared most recently in Ethel, The Collidescope, The McKinley Review, Filling Station, Shark Reef, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fence. gary is a retired English professor and queer living in Missoula, Montana.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

Looking Glass by Clarissa Simmens

BEFORE

Morning mirror ritual
Stumbling toward the glass
Tumbling down like drowning
But seems there is no change
Rubbed my head
Not a bit dead
Just confused
Everything the same
But not
Text appeared
Pandemic declared
And the cosmos of my old age
Shifted while I slid
Into a new world
Of fear and suspicion
And the madness set in
As one rarely leaving the safety
Of my backyard
Me, maniac
Lunatic looking
For precious paper products
Now both a hunter and gatherer
Worthy of time immemorial’s
Gender-biased survival tasks
As I stride through empty aisles
In dawn’s early stores
Each worker I ask
Where is this?
Do you have that?
Moving back
As they politely invade my space
Trying not to glance
At my black winter gloves
And peace scarf doubling
As a germ-prevention mask
And I ask
Where is the toilet paper?
Where are the eggs?
My shopping cart emptier
Than when I first entered the store
But I so need more
More
More
Not at this store
Or the next one
All empty of what I need
Of my new-found greed
I want…

DURING

All amassing is useless
Allopathic piles of pain relief
Cough meds
Stomachers
Homeopathic heaps of flu banishers
And herbs from East and West
Simpling
Rainforest
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Asian Indian Ayurvedia
Native American lore
Drabarni Gypsy first aid kit
Useless in this Parallel World
Nothing is the same…

STRUGGLING

And the heat and the heat
Burning like a tight winding sheet
Only the swamp can cool it down
But through drought the water drowned

And the heat from the fire
Wrapped round me like strings from a lyre
Can my magical swamp unlock the jail
Of the strangling boa’s tail…

AFTER

And I flail and I burn and call out to sweet water
But it’s not there
And I stumble then tumble
Back through the looking glass
Out of the morass
And my color is better
I swallow and gulp water
From newly fallen rain
Away from the nightmare
But the greed took seed
Not only with me
But pandemically
And suddenly aware
That nothing will ever be the same
Again…

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja)is an Independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Her poetry and songs echo guitar, ukulele and violin music mainly in a Minor key. Clarissa’s Amazon Page is HERE. Her Romani Gypsy Books are HERE.
 
 
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Mbizo Chirasha, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

Iron Wind by Mbizo Chirasha

Medico Della Peste – “plague doctor’s” mask – Beak doctor mask; Traditional Venetian Carnavale masks, including the “plague doctor’s” mask, in the window of the Ca’ del Sol mask shop in the Sestiere di Castello. Courtesy of Tracy under CC BY 2.0

“If we survive, we may have to analyze our engagement with dark matters
that
 put life at risk. If we don’t, we are to blame for our end.
For now, let’s keep hygienic, keep to ourselves, bury our Dead, care for the
dying and think of how we have arrived at where we are.” Mbizo Chirasha



The world has known divisions for as long as history can remember. From
strength that overrides others to the weakness that attracts marauding gangs
of men of ambition and cunning. Adventure has led some into what they
termed “discoveries” of Rivers and their sources, of Mountains high and
majestic, and a people so different in their cultural environments, that to
the eye of a visitor, they appeared other-worldly.

The world has never run short of divisive tools and terms to keep one for
each. From the irony of heights and weights, to the delight’s and
indecency of dark humor based on foods and drinks and a people’s culture.
GOD and gods have their roles and stamps on a people’s interpretations,
raging from waging wars to convert and dominate, to whole sale massacres
because others beliefs were less acceptable to a deity followed by a
muscular power. In the name of many known Faiths, humankind has suffered
immensely and continues to suffer even under the full glare of a world that
is so connected, that nothing escapes the owl eyed social Media/internet
never sleeping eyes.

————

If it’s not belief it’s something else that pits one man to another. Color
has played the worst card in segregation of humanity. Regimes are known to
have come up with a cultic panacea of annihilating all who were less than
their proscribed hue, height, and eye color in a so-called super race.

Commerce has not particularly done well to hide it’s dismal take on the
lesser-endowed in terms of what the world considers GDP….Countries are
graded into first-, second-, and third- worlds. Countries comprise individual
human beings. Once categorized in numerical terms, they cease to have a
human quality and adopt a statistical stature.

Dehumanizing poverty by demonizing it and those suffering
the “pauper malady”. Terms like ”those who survive under
a dollar a day”. A people labelled by lack. Another labelled by luck.

————

Divisions.

Then came weaponry and sophistication. Guns and canned Carnage. Bombs
as heroism spoke to the Sky over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. More divisions
follow. Giants with cold threats lying under silos of frozen homes awaiting
disagreements. What a time of it the world had! But like all eras, this too
came to an end with trumpets of fragmentation scattering the deadly
embers of stored caches of annihilation finding its ways into eager
markets of rogue juvenile quarters ready to tussle for positions of
“global respect” through “fire power”.

Ideology made no sense. Religion was cowed. No one was immune to the future
that loomed on the human collective heads as each goon state thumped it’s
nukes chest.

————

How times change!

A new baby was born in the East. A baby with an attitude like a thief.
Escaping its parents unloving gloved hands, it flew first into the
neighborhood, dropping its ghastly feces on the heads of its makers’ kin.
Death. Sinister death. The wind took the birdling over the border, across
the oceans on the comforts of cruise ships. And luxury living became a
nightmare. Right now, quarantine is not for rabid dogs or lepers in their
colonies.

It’s what no longer divides that divides us. What irony! We are faced by an
enemy of our own intellect taken over concious. Our own intelligence
exceeding common sense. Our own genius gone insane.
In it all, regardless of mitigation measures, one thing speaks a human
language. It’s no longer about class, color or creed. it’s not even about
ideology or theology. It’s about being careful to survive the monster we
have made. And the world suddenly speaks “humanese”.

How I wish we didn’t have to face such an ugly and tragic catastrophe to
bring us to the realization of the folly of excessive greed in pursuit of
glory and power over others.

————

If we survive, we may have to analyze our engagement with dark matters
that put life at risk. If we don’t, we are to blame for our end.
For now, let’s keep hygienic, keep to ourselves, bury our Dead, care for the
dying, and think of how we have arrived at where we are.

While at it, let’s pray. For regardless of our form of worship, days of
worship, mode of worship. and the dress code in worship, we all pray to a
Higher Power. That Power may yet hear our prayers and lend a hand.

YOU SEE, praying is personal and communal, if you will. Worship places are
closing fast, if not faster than bars and delis. Offices are closing fast,
if not faster than schools.

Only true saints are at work. Those medics and their assistants and the
guys who must fill the supermarket shelves with your basics.
If you ask me, the very deity we seek in those buildings, is inside us and
those selfless humans who take chances with their lives to take charge of
ours. They are the ones melting down the iron wind of a viral onslaught
on humanity right now.

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Originally published in Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine  in response to Michael Dickel’s Wednesday Writing Prompt

Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of the Zine team and  a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017). He is a 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 Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

Before/After by Shelby Wilson

Is this a before/after moment?
Do we stand astride the chasm in history’s annals?

Renowned halls of learning echo,
fork-tongued ghost voices fill the pupil-less void.

Eyes search the ether for
the knowledge they can grasp, in absentia.

Minds are bookmarked in the gutter.

The faces that once faced others
are sterilized by the LEDs of screens.

Chemical antiseptic perfume wafts
on the winds of forsaken corridors.

Has life gone verso/recto?
Does past/future bifurcate here?

© 2020, Shelby Wilson

SHELBY WILSON is a high school AP English teacher from Amarillo, Texas. He holds a B.A. in English from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in English from West Texas A&M University.  His work has appeared in Ink & Nebula, Sparks of Calliope, Celestal Review, and Madness Muse Press.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

evidently our hearts have to break every day by gary lundy

no going back. and going forward feels a wasted effort. loss with little to gain. signatures retiring mid sentence. you long for laughter yet find only decimated forests. and ground water. this day when not even private jets are safe. when the only hope is for those with power pushing limits colliding against the recently constructed wall. casualties in the tens of thousands. they refuse to count being more taken in by the direction the wind may take. it being a short runway and take off tricky. fully clothed and faces masked a dance commences outrageous. you don’t want to forget. but must to elongate the shadow of daylight. and there i go drawing unexamined conclusions. then acting upon them. naturally they carry little weight. even for us. formulaic redundancy. their course prepared. play ball. sit in the sun for a little while. an all too brief respite. and their mother dies unexpectedly overnight. younger by two decades than you. photographs of flat landscapes capture the ungoverned absence of our imagination. mistake multiplication for subtraction. escape the improbable through denial. missing the page numbers twice in recounting. is there an absence gathered in those sites of silence. or more realistically reasonable doubt and blindness.

© 2020, gary lundy

gary lundy is the author of five chapbooks, including: when voice detach themselves (is a rose press, 2013), and at | with (Locofo Chaps, 2017); and two full-length collections: heartbreak elopes into a kind of forgiving (is a rose press, 2016), and each room echoes absence (FootHills Publishing, 2018). His poems have appeared most recently in Ethel, The Collidescope, The McKinley Review, Filling Station, Shark Reef, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fence. gary is a retired English professor and queer living in Missoula, Montana.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic

World As Battlefield

There is good and evil
Traps and cunning
Relationships of love
And of hate, filtered
By many changing marbles…
Culture, class, the times
Healthy identity and patrimony
Of being and becoming.

© 2020, Ann Privateer

ANN PRIVATEER is a poet, artist, and photographer. Some of her work has appeared in Third Wednesday, Manzanita, and Entering to name a few.

Posted in Calls for submissions, news/events, The BeZine

Call for Submissions, “The BeZine” – June 2020, Themed sustainAbility

THE BeZINE MISSION STATEMENT

Our goal is to foster proximity and understanding through a shared love of the arts and humanities and all things spirited and to make – however modest –  a contribution toward personal healing and deference for the diverse ways people try to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which illness, violence, despair, loneliness and death are as prevalent as hope, friendship, reason and birth.

Our focus is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film . . . We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.”

Please read our complete Mission Statement HERE.



 THE BeZINE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

SustainABILITY

Call for submissions of feature articles, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art and photography, music videos, and documentary videos on diverse environmental topics including but not limited to: degradation, protection, greenhouse gasses, weather/climate change, justice, and agriculture, famine and hunger. This call is open from April 1 through May 15. 

While The BeZine does not pay for content, neither do we charge submission or subscription fees.

Work that is not properly submitted will not be considered.

  • Prose, poetry, and links to videos: submit in the body of the email
  • Please: no odd, unusual, eccentric layouts
  • Photographs or artwork: submit as an attachment
  • DO NOT send PDFs or a document with both narrative and illustrations combined.
  • By submitting work to thezinesubmissions@gmail.com, you are confirming that you own and hold the rights to the work and that you grant us the right to publish on the blog or in the Zine if your submission is accepted. Submissions via Facebook or other social networking or in the comments section, will not be reviewed or accepted.
  • Please include a brief bio in the email. No photographs.

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY: We are looking for something special to be the header for The Table of Contents Page.

SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS are okay but please let us know immediately if availability changes.

Among the guidelines: our core team, our guest contributors, and our readership are international and diverse. No works that advocate hate or violence, promote misunderstanding, or that demean others are acceptable. Please read our Complete Submission Guidelines.

The BeZine is featured by
pf poetry
Second Light Live newsletters, website, and magazine
Duotrope®

Jamie Dedes
Founding and Co-managing Editor

Michael Dickel
Co-managing Editor

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic

Last Phase by Josh Medsker

The dark waters bring me
so close to shore.

I am now irreparably compromised
and must die here.

La pattuglia stalk the avenue
(almost curfew)

Sara
and the girls cannot come
Now. Not tonight, anyway.

I harbor no anger,
for my doctor
makes an impossible choice.

I am beyond money.
I am sinking

into seconds of happiness,
breathing in
that terrible oxygen,

waiting for a merciful
catcher to throw me back.

Breath heavy, crushing, filling
slowly

Outside, coffins
reverently stacked
in the hospital parking lot.

In a mystery, I see
dolphins and swans in the canal

And waters
I can’t see yet, but
I’m told they are clear

bottomless, and forever.

© 2020, Josh Medsker

JOSH MEDSKER (joshmedsker.com) is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska. His debut poetry collection, Cacophony, was published in 2019 by Alien Buddha Press. His work has appeared in The BeZine and other publications.

Ed. Note—We all wish for a better world and for something better to unfold from the tragedy of this pandemic. We take the next-to-last two stanzas of this poem as poetic license in the human pursuit of hope. We do understand and wish to share with you that the reported swan, dolphin (porpoise), and clearer water pics on social media are not what they seem. See this from Snopes.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, justice, Mbizo Chirasha, TheBeZine

Womawords Literary Press Cohosts “The BeZine” International Poetry Month, which begins tomorrow


Courtesy of Dayne Topkin, Unsplash

Womawords Literary Press, the heart-child of Mbizo Chirasha, is cohost of The BeZine‘s 2020 International Poetry Month celebration, a daily series of poems that begins here on the Zine blog tomorrow.

Womawords is a complex of efforts initiated by Zimbabwean poet activist in exile, Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet).  I was curious—and thought others might be as well—about the inspiration for this ambitious and worthy effort that is devoted to giving women and girls a platform in which to speak out about their concerns and experiences and to share their wisdom.

The Womawords Project comprises: Womawords Literary Press, Liberating Voices Journal, the Girl Child Creativity Project (now evolved into Womawords), and Daughters of the Earth Project International Contest (not for poetry only).

—Jamie Dedes, Founding and Co-Manging Editor
The BeZine

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: Why and when did you start Womawords?

MBIZO: The heart of a women is like an  ocean, thus she must be proffered a free platform to express concerns, to speak rights, to voice against wrongs, to sing experiences and more. The world-over we are blessed with an influx of women and the girl-child gifted not only physical stature but mental beauty, endowed with wisdom to sub create and shape humanity. Womawords was birthed in April 2019 as a complimentary initiative during my eye-opening and life-changing tenure with the International Human Rights Art Festival.

JAMIE: Please tell us about the origin of the name.

MBIZO: The name pays tribute to the power and influence literary arts culture, words and poetry. The Womawords Project is a positive transformation from my initial project, Girl Child Creativity Project, which was Zimbabwean based, and transitioned it into an international literary-arts culture digital space exhibiting women’s voices and literature. Women are powerful trench soldiers; they experience a bundle of traumas from child birthing, rape, menstrual health issues, domestic violence, stigma, and discrimination. A whole lot of hardships, but also women are molders of humanity. I have always known of mother-tongue not father-tongue, hence Womawordsa metaphor that gives women from around the globe a space to express themselves through poetry, resistance literature, and resilience  arts.

JAMIE: What are the current activities Womawords is sponsoring?

MBIZO: The 2020 main project is the Daughters of the Earth Project, an international writer’s contest. The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women to raise their voice, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction, and essays. And there are a myriad of issues, unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced by women globally. WOMEN must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions and to tell their experiences through this Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project. For more details follow on the submissions portal on Womawords.

Other projects include:

  • Women of Residence Profile Features: The Press is anchored by FEATURES of Prolific Poets, Writers, Socialites, and Artistic Luminaries.
  • Liberating Voices: This is a quarterly collection of voices and is guided by a specific theme for every publication.

JAMIE: What are the long-term goals?

MBIZO: Womawords Literary Press is a formula of positive change and transformation in the area of exhibiting women’s artistic voices and resistance literature by the girl child.  In the next five years we are growing into a reputable book and literary arts publishing republic.

Going forward within 2020 we continue to restructure by placing and appointing representatives in more than twenty countries around the globe. These are women—writers, poets, activist, and artists—using their words to bring forth transformative change, using their poetry to expose societal tumors, wielding their artistic weapons to slash perpetrators of barbarism, using their resistance literatures to shine a light on the madness.

In March  2021, we are hosting a Womawords International Symposium with editorial associates, contributing writers, women artists, and women arts cultural activists who will convene to  share and exchange experiences through symposium presentations, poetry performances, and story readings .

ALUTA CONTINUA!!!*

*Editor’s Note: “The struggle continues.” It’s a rallying cry for freedom.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor.

In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too. Open to suggestion. Connect with me (jamiededes@gmail.com) if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

April Seventh

I hadn’t gazed at you
since we giggled through that
game of Trivial Pursuit
on the sofa of the café that
doubled as a discotheque
when you answered that
the Australian soprano who
inspired a peach dessert was called
“Cobbler.”
In two decades
you’d gained gold stars for
sustained spousehood and
dadhood while I’d
wed and de-wed
without spawning.
I’d traded cigarettes for
White Poppies for Peace,
and you’d forayed into
law enforcement
once the brainwave of becoming a nurse had
subsided like a 24-hour bug.
After an iced coffee and a talk
about cursing and fear,
you let me hug you, your solidness
clamped against my chest as my
ears harbored your husky-voiced
vulnerabilities, and
since that April seventh
four years ago,
I can claim that
this pacifist
protected a cop.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

ADRIAN SLONAKER: 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 Pandemic/ COVID-19

Quarantine Questions courtesy of The Contemplative Monk

The Contemplative Monk on Facebook HERE for comfort and inspiration.Recommended.

Posted in Calls for submissions, Event/s, The BeZine

“The BeZine” Call for Submissions, International Poetry Month

To mark International Poetry Month April 2020, we at The BeZine blog invite submissions of poems on the current pandemic. To paraphrase R. Buckminster, think globally but write locally. Write from your context about your experience during this Time of Coronavirus, but at the same time, reflecting to larger global contexts. Write about glimmers from within the crisis that illuminate ourselves, our world, and the world(s) possibly coming to us afterwards. This event is co-hosted by Womawords Literary Press.

We especially look for poetry that projects changes (positive or negative) that may evolve from this crisis:

• worldwide coordination/collaboration
• resources of one sort or another—old, new, emerging; shared or fought-over
• the impact the pandemic might have on:
° women and the role they play in assuring good health and hygiene
° the poor and low-wage or middle class workers
° water and the environment
° war and conflict, and
° addressing the climate issues that contribute significantly to this and looming pandemics.

What about the communities—perhaps yours—that have no running water and are also therefor ravaged by typhoid, cholera, and dysentry?

Guidelines HERE.

Email Word files to  thezinesubmissions@gmail.com (Please not this is our new email address)

Womawords Literary Press HERE.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Michael Dickel, Co-Manging Editor, The BeZine
Mbizo Chirasha, Curator of Womawords Literary Press, Co-Host of The BeZine International Poetry Month
Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and Co-Mnaging Editor, The BeZine

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Alphabet of Love

Living this life again
as though I were six sick
again and grasping about in silence.
I will learn to breathe again,
how to go beyond it
So that I can dance and fly
to those zones of magic.
Stones and burning light
and the kind of openness
you can never plan.
Tones of people touching.
The taste of food licked and loved.
As HD says, “I must read some hours every day, it is food.”
Now, I must write some hours every day.
It is my alphabet of love.

© 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.

Posted in General Interest

empathy

California Artist Gretchen Del Rio shares advice from her son who is on the front lines battling COVID-19 in MA. There are some tips here I haven’t seen elsewhere and they make sense to me. Check it out …

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor

I just received the following information from my son Ben who is working on the front lines in a Massachusetts ER. It contains guidelines to stay uninfected by the virus and it goes way beyond anything I have heard or read. Feel free to forward to friends and family. peace, love and light gretchen

Hi

I was meaning to send this out to you all sooner, but I have been busy lately.  I wanted to offer my help and advice if desired for info about the pandemic.  Unfortunately, this is real and is likely to be a problem everywhere in the US.  Hopefully, the curve will flatten with people self isolating and we can delay how many people get this right in the beginning which will allow the medical community more time to prepare for this and also for the cases to be spread out more over time.

A…

View original post 867 more words