John Anstie is the lead for the next issue of The BeZine, which is open for submission to its December issue through November 15. The theme is “Life of the Spirit.” Submission to firstname.lastname@example.org Please read our submission guidelines. Meanwhile, I invite you visit John’s site and get to know this fine musician, poet, grandfather, trainer of dogs for the blind, and so much more. In short, a renaissance man.
Dear Earth, you are a sacred aqueous Isle
in a dark and endless sea of universe.
You may never reveal your strategy.
We may be bound by genetic code
to the presupposing chemical destiny
of one great astrophysical master plan
for all living things. We, who represent
your malaise, your chronic infestation;
we, like a fleeting itch in your long life,
will never comprehend it. But, in truth
you know too well that we can never
understand more than one percent
of all there is to know. You contain
the knowledge that is beyond us.
We are but a rash on your skin.
One day, we know you will
raze all of our delusions,
prepare us for the day
when a blinding light
will inoculate you
and inform us of
a moment when
will, at last be
the l i e s
f r o m
a r e
m e r e
a t o m i c
p a r t i c l e s
inside a temporal chalice
“Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.” His broken shapes and no words for them. It got all still as our train stopped. I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.” Linda Chown
The Big Burn-Out
In Deusto those burnt out train husks
ETA exploded black in a rage for justice
haunt the tracks like unheard whispers
hollowed out like old love gone offstage
There was an awe in my looking
almost a respect as I was
remembering the political anger
in which I was basted all my little life.
It was a mirror of those police,
big faceless men holding their lines.
This is no self pity but a gripping knowing
how big life living is. How solemn and fervent our times.
Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s
World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.”
His broken shapes and no words for them.
It got all still as our train stopped.
I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.
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.
With this post we close our month-long Climate Action blog-series presented in solidarity with the world’s youth and with the many organizations that held events this past month. Our gratitude to and appreciation for the contributors to this series and our readers and followers. Together we rise in support of our beautiful blue-green Earth and our ability to survive and thrive here.
In the spirit of love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines, Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor
James Gustave (Gus) Speth (born March 4, 1942 in Orangeburg, South Carolina) is an American environmental lawyer and advocate. Speth has been a leader or participant in many task forces and committees aimed at combating environmental degradation, including the President’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment. Among the many acknowledgements for his work are the National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, a 1997 Special Recognition Award from the Society for International Development, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Environmental Law Institute, and the Blue Planet Prize.
Dear Earth, you are a sacred aqueous Isle in a dark and endless sea of universe. You may never reveal your strategy. We may be bound by genetic code to the presupposing chemical destiny of one great astrophysical master plan for all living things. We, who represent your malaise, your chronic infestation; we, like a fleeting itch in your long life, will never comprehend it. But, in truth you know too well that we can never understand more than one percent of all there is to know. You contain the knowledge that is beyond us. We are but a rash on your skin.
One day, we know you will raze all of our delusions, prepare us for the day when a blinding light will inoculate you and inform us of a moment when extant humans will, at last be prepared to distinguish the l i e s f r o m truth and
so we a r e m e r e a t o m i c p a r t i c l e s inside a temporal chalice
Poetry, Music, Art
Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice
Poetry. It’s better than war! —Michael Rothenberg, co-founder of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change
It is time once again for The BeZine live 100TPC event, this year at the end of a week when over 7 million people around the world participated in various climate crisis strikes to demand action now, according to 350.org.
Today, under the banner of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change (100TPC), for the 9th year, people the world over are gathered to stand up and stand together for PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE. There are over 700 100TPC events worldwide scheduled for 28 September 2019, and many others throughout the year. This year, a large number of these events focus on the climate crisis, the urgency of which has been well expressed by Greta Thunberg:
When our house is burning we cannot just leave it to the children to pour water on the flames – we need the grownups to take responsibility for sparking the blaze in the first place. So for once, we’re asking grownups to follow our lead: we can’t wait any longer. —Greta Thunberg, 15 March 2019 (age 16, Swedish)
Our themes for your contributions, as every year, are Peace, Social Justice, and Sustainability. As I wrote in the introduction to the September 2019 issue of The BeZine, these three issues intertwine with each other. With a month of climate actions, this week just past of focused action through 350.org, and Greta Thunberg’s #ClimateStrike, #FridaysForFuture, and #schoolstrike4climate efforts, the climate crisis has been a central focus of many this month. The BeZine blog has been running daily posts related to the climate crisis throughout September.
Even so, we welcome your work on any of the three themes. We need action and change in all of these areas, we need it now, and we need to keep calling for action and deep, cultural change, every day.
Right now, the youth are urgently calling on adults and governments to act, and especially on issues of sustainability. Thunberg boldly told the gathered world leaders at the UN:
People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! —Great Thunberg, 23 September 2019
While Thunberg may be the most well-known youth on the issue of the climate crisis, other youth have worked on related issues, especially clean water. Clean water should be a human right—it is an issue of social justice, wars are fought over water, and sustainable practices are needed to clean our waters and keep them clean.
Autumn Peltier (age 14), an Anishinaabe living in Canada, is one of those other youth, who, as did her aunt before her, lives her life as a water protector:
No one should have to worry if the water is clean or if they will run out of water. No child should grow up not knowing what clean water is, or never know what running water is. —Autumn Peltier, 22 March 2018 (age 13 at the time, Canadian Anishinaabe)
Seventeen year-old Xiye Bastida, a Mexican American living in New York, speaks to the need for deep-rooted change:
We need to change our culture and change our narrative. For too long, the narrative has been that this is some big distant thing that will happen in the year 2100. But pollution is here. Heatwaves are here. Wildfires are here. Melting ice caps are here. Floods are here. Category 5 hurricanes are here. It’s here already. —Xiye Bastida, 19 September 2019 (age 17, Mexican-American from New York City)
Mari Copeny, a 12 y.o. African American also known as “Little Miss Flint,” at the age of 8 brought attention to (and grant money for) the water crisis in Flint, MI, by writing to then President Barack Obama. Now aged 12, she calls on us to not just act today, nor this week, nor this month:
No, our fight to save the planet didn’t start today with the #ClimateStrike and it doesn’t end today either. Many of us have been putting in the work for years to save our planet. Don’t just amplify our voices today, but every day and support our solutions to save us. —Mari Copeny on Twitter, 20 September 2019 (age 12, African-American from Flint, MI, also known as “Little Miss Flint”)
I return to Thunberg, who proclaims “change is coming”:
You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not. —Greta Thunberg, 23 September 2019
Last year on our 2018 Live 100TPC page, Jamie Dedes, our managing editor, wrote about 100TPC:
Think on this when you are tempted to lose all hope for our species. Remember that—not just today, but everyday—there are ripples and waves and tsunamis of faith and courage crossing borders in the form of poetry, stories, art, music, friendships and other acts of heroism. Hang tough. And do join with us—The Bardo Group Beguines—todayto share your own creative work and to enjoy the work of others. All are welcome no matter where in the world you live.
I say, think of these youth, their messages, and their leadership—”ripples and waves and tsunamis of faith and courage.” Think of these precious, perceptive youth—
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor
these precious perceptive youth, a poem
“Providing food, shelter, clothing and education is not enough any more, because all of this would have no meaning in the end, if your children do not have a planet to live on with health and prosperity.” —Abhijit Naskar, The Constitution of The United Peoples of Earth
this perfect blue-green planet, her youth
dream among the strains of their hope,
dream of us like our sun and moon,
coordinating … if only we would,
sowing the rich soil with right-action,
cultivating a greening of our compassion,
acting on a commonsense vision
the fruits of our being-ness plant their
ideals, shared values, a call for accountability,
for a re-visioning unencumbered by insanity,
rich fields to harvest, color, sound, textures,
rough and smooth, the deep rootedness of
their stand and stand for, their wise demands
casting a spell that we might see with one eye,
splendor hidden behind our irresponsibility,
their effervescent call, blossoming unity, vision –
bright spinning planet gently graced with these
wildflowers, these precious perceptive youth.
Dedicated to the young people of the world who teach us many lessons as they reach across borders in their stand for climate action.
TO SHARE YOUR POEMS, ART, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MUSIC VIDEOS FOR OUR “LIVE” VIRTUAL 100TPC TODAY, PLEASE USE MISTERLINKY FOR URL LINKS. JUST CLICK ON THE ICON BELOW. YOU CAN ALSO SIMPLY PASTE YOUR COMPLETE WORK OR THE URL TO IT INTO THE COMMENTS SECTION.
REMEMBER THE THEMES ARE PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.
as of OCTOBER 2, 2019, this event is closed for sharing
YOU CAN STILL READ
thank you everyone who participated
we’ll open an all-new virtual event next year, Sept. 28, 2010
“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship
Tomorrow is our day to hear songs, read good poems, see satisfying videos, share art, and be moved to celebrate together and to foster peace, sustainability and social justice:
“One thing I learned from organizing 100 Thousand Poets for Change [100tpc] this year is that change will certainly come. It just might come at the very last minute. Wow! People all around the world are signing up right now, like crazy! We have 700 actions so far! Keep it coming!” Michael Rothenberg, Cofounder of 100,000 Poets for Change on September 21, 2019.
To find an event near you go to 100tpc.org.
And . . .
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BeZINE 100TPC VIRTUAL EVENT
Don’t forget to share your work tomorrow at The BeZine virtual 100TPC. A post will go up on The BeZine blog with complete and easy directions for participation. Michael Dickel and I will keep the event going for 24 hours at least. All you need is access to a computer. You don’t have to go anywhere to share, to read, and to be inspired.
Once in a while you exceed yourself. Are you blue, because we thought no more of you as the driving force for life on Earth or potency behind the waves of bitches and whelps giving us thrilling moments or contemplative of a thriving, muddy, salty, riverine universe of life waiting for you to draw the tidal covers repeatedly over the fruits of our sustenance.
A force of nature, fully formed yet so much smaller than the mother of your birth, you hold sway, in countless ways you touch our lives and drive us through our days. Humble, unassuming, even unnoticed by those who hurtle, mindlessly, and make no time for the wisdom of our insignificance or feel the difference between our age and yours.
As necessity tramples over truth most days, we hide in fear of the darkening, of the madness that ensues. Does not the hunter choose your waning dark to spike the nervous memory, remind us of the feral wolf pack? We may not ever tame you, but your mother is dying a slow and painful death.
Oh super blood blue moon, does not your God and our God sing the same tune?
Before, no sand swept through, no water splashed—a beach at driving distance, yes, but a long, long walk away. Before the three-year old’s stories, which I only half listened to: he was born in clouds before dinosaurs were alive; he died; “But now,” he said, “I’m becoming alive again.”
I thought a story he told me one morning came from his dreams.
He knew a dinosaur, he told me, with bright blue feathers in the day. At night it turned wooly and gray, to keep warm. The dinosaur had a name, Pollaydowen.
I thought, what an amazing imagination my three-year old son has, what colorful dreams.
He had other stories, about his house in space and all of the animals that lived there with him, a farm he had at this house. He went on and on with details—listing every animal we saw at the zoo, on farm visits, in books, on videos, on the internet; listing all of the plants and flowers he had heard of; listing creatures great and small in his lakes and seas.
How did he know all of them?
He insisted we should visit his house in space.
Then changes came suddenly, not slowly, as even the most pessimistic predictions had held. One day, news report said the sea covered beaches even at the lowest tides. The next week, waves washed across roads. Houses washed away. Whole neighborhoods of people could barely evacuate before the surf swallowed the land and their belongings.
The water washed sand over everything. The ozone layer shredded. Paint bubbled and peeled on cars, houses, government buildings. Everything and everyone aged.
Soon, sand dunes blew across the road in front of our house. The house looked like fifty years of neglect had settled in on it over the past few weeks.
That last day, my wife and I heard my son speaking in his room. And we heard another voice.
We went in. A bright blue flash turned toward us.
“We have to go,” my three-year old calmly explained, “now.”
“These sands end time here, the last to flow through the hour-glass,” the blue lizard-creature, Pollaydowen, added.
As we left the house, we trekked through hills of sand.
We returned once, to see what had happened.
I left this note for you who might find it, scratched in the walls, just in case anyone remains. We have an ark.
the Amazon burns! No one
quells the fires
air; knowledge is lost in the fire.
Waters run polluted! No one
seeks to free fish
or children drinking poison.
Air spins in cyclones
destroying all under its twisting cloud
flooding the earth.
Metal is used to make war
are called predators by those who’ve only known comfort.
Are we but people
whatever language colour, creed
we came from one source?
But will expire
in our own detritus
unless we care for our planet
which will spin
into the void of extinction
unless we care for it and others.
“Because, underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.” Naomi Klein (b. 1970) is a Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of capitalism. On a three-year appointment from September 2018, she is the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University.
the ghosts of our parents search vainly for wildflowers near the beach at Big Sur
they were deaf to the threat in thunder,
but we were struck by lightning,
heaved in the rain and waves and
the overflow from the melting ice
the computers went down
their screens black as the wicked water,
in whirling chaos they morphed into drums
every fetus turned in the womb,
the men went to the mountain tops
and the women sheltered in caves
the souls of saints and sinners
were run through a cosmic wash cycle
after the spin dry, a new wisdom
but the shades of our parents remain,
they’re waiting for us at Big Sur,
waiting by the Santa Lucia Mountains
“What use will money and wealth be to those who possess them when the rivers and land are poisoned, the seas devoid of life and the air polluted beyond tolerance?” Luke Eastwood, The Journey: Exploring the Spiritual Truth at the Heart of the World’s Religions
Autumn falls on lids
of summer as brown kohl;
dust sticks to formica – dim
laminates – dreary clouds
not heavy enough to pour,
sun sleeps without sheets,
stars bulge like heat-wombs
ready to expel – air bites
like bugs-scratched land;
necks of trees on blade of axe,
green silky bands of crowns
shorn – barks planked, piled
with their withered parts; dry
weeds irrigate soil’s uterus,
roots stoned like cracked clay;
dusk smudges like mascara-
tears, rooms bleak from
smog – homes invaded by
carbon – moon drowns in
a sea of smouldering char.
“This is a global event. Events scheduled for the “Read A Poem To A Child” initiative will take place from September 23th – 28th and will include readings in bookstores, schoolrooms, community centers, public parks and at private homes.
“It is our intent to introduce children to the beauty and joy of poetry, and facilitate a transaction between reader and listener that will not only improve literacy, but offer new and magical ways to speak and learn, and navigate the complexities of life.
“Co-founder Terri Carrion explains that, “All you have to do is read a poem to a child in any setting that is convenient, and you can sign up … HERE.”
“One thing I learned from organizing 100 Thousand Poets for Change this year is that change will certainly come. It just might come at the very last minute. Wow! People all around the world are signing up right now, like crazy! We have 700 actions so far! Keep it coming!
“Hey Everybody, If you will read a poem to a child in solidarity with the global Read A Poem To A Child initiative, September 23-28, please let me know HERE.”
Michael Rothenberg, Cofounder of 100,000 Poets for Change and Read A Poem To A Child Week
U.N. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 2019 theme, “CLIMATE ACTION FOR PEACE”. Let us find ways and means to avert the likely threats to International Peace and Security by projecting the Universal Cause for combating climate change that in turn protects and promotes U.Ns CONCEPT OF ‘UNIVERSAL PEACE.
“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.” Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
This quarter’s BeZine, we are joining with 100TPC (100 Thousand Poets (and others) For Change. We’re celebrating in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, the amazing 16-year old climate change activist traveling by ship to attend two important global events: The Climate Action Summit in New York on September 21-23 and the UN Climate Conference in Santiago in December of 2019. Please read the September issue and enjoy the creations of artists, poets, musicians, writers and all manner of creative activists as we speak up for the planet! 🙂 Please join with us on the 28th for our Virtual 100TPC.
I have been awestruck into silence beneath towering, emerald
Tree cathedrals. In shallow, turquoise, warm waters I’ve dived,
Swimming in shocked delight with giant, graceful, green turtles.
Navigating a steep cliff face with a foot-thick ship’s rope, I’ve
Observed the surf-pounded stones and sea lion caves below.
Thundering waterfalls have temporarily deafened me, as they
Transformed to swollen streams with cold, clear, melted snow.
Oh, fresh breaths of clean, mountain top air, taken away,
Overlooking panoramic views of violet and blue-fogged hills.
Listening to late evening concertos of crickets and frogs,
Awakens gratitude for Nature’s dynamic set of skills.
Tell all that Earth’s destroyers must now be Her demagogues!
Engage with more than platitudes and lukewarm dialogues.