March 2017, Vol.3, Issue 6, Science in Culture, Politics and Religion

March 15, 2017

The title of David Cooper’s book on Kabbalah invites us to re-think the Creator as Creating: God is a Verb. While I don’t want to equate science to God in a religious sense, I want to borrow this re-conception. Science is creative, creating, if you will, knowledge of the world. Science is a verb.

Too often we get tied down to a concept of science as about facts. However, as Thomas Kuhn describes it in The Structures of Scientific Revolutions, science is a process (hence, verb). The process involves a method (the scientific method), observation, repeated results, and, if repeated results are consistent, an assertion that a hypothesis is likely to be true. However, Kuhn explains that it is also a sociological process where the method and affirmed hypotheses lead to paradigmatic beliefs—models that predict reasonably well future observations.

The paradigms are not easily changed—the paradigm of Newtonian Mechanics, which work very well in most real-world situations, did not easily yield to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics even as Newtonian physics accumulated observations it couldn’t explain while quantum physics explained more and more. As a model for most human activities on Earth, though, Newton’s model still works. It’s when boring down to atomic particles or moving out into massive astronomical systems, or specific cases like black holes and light itself, that we need Quantum Mechanics.

The different (and often competing) models—also known as theories—are products of science, the verb. The scientific process refines, overturns, explores new models. Science, at its best, produces closer and closer approximations of the actual universe it models. This is different from a belief in an unwavering truth or an ideology—in part, because it relies on observation and corrections if observations do not show what the model predicts. And second, because science does not make truth statements but, rather, probability statements. Sometimes, the probability approaches 100%, sometimes only 95%.

The flexibility that comes from self-correction unfortunately also provides ammunition for “science deniers,” such as those who deny climate change. As science is a process and models do change, as models are based on predictive ability and that ability is not 100% even in the best cases, those whose ideology or greed get in the way of accepting the predictions (even the very strongly likely ones) often claim the whole model is “unreliable,” or point to earlier results that required corrections to the model in order to discredit the whole theory. Yet, those who object do not offer an alternative model that does stand up to the process of scrutiny, repeated results, and reliable prediction of future events. They often offer no alternative at all.

At its outer theoretical spheres, the science verb sometimes takes us to conversations that sound like mysticism—as do some of aspects of that mysterious energy, light. Humans have a long cultural (and religious) history with light. Arthur Zajonc’s book Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind provides a wide ranging cultural and inter-cultural exploration of human understanding of light through history. In the end, Zajonc re-connects current quantum physics concepts with those from ancient myths as accurate metaphors (or analogies). Zajonc, a professor of physics at Amherst (now retired), has studied culture, mind and spirit in relation to physics from his perspective as a physic working in quantum optics (for example: The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama, one of his better known books).

In a very real sense, the verb science interacts with arts and culture. It is an active process of human society, a developed methodology for producing close observations and repeatable results to help us build models that predict future results under different conditions. It is not a series of facts, but rather a system of understanding and predicting creation. In this way, it actively creates the world, literally as we know it. And it has influence culture. Certain newly (re)discovered understandings from mathematics helped European artists develop perspective in painting. A recent example, Chaos Theory, with its fractals and butterfly effect, has influenced art, music, and literature, and not just with science fiction movies.

In this issue, we celebrate, explore, and raise questions involving science, culture, politics, and religion. John Anstie and I both contribute poems that have sub-atomic particles at their centers, but are not (only or even mostly) about them. Naomi Baltuck explores Galileo through the Musee Galileo, in another one of her marvelous photo-essays. An sampling of snippets from science take us through Science in culture, politics and religion”  in Corina Ravenscraft’s exploration of connections. In “A Life,” Michael Watson gives a highly personal account of his own encounters and loves with different ways of understanding — or knowing — embodied in the theme’s elements of science, culture, religion, and politics. Current politics seem to attack the different approaches each has to offer. Phillip T. Stevens begins with Chaos Theory and moves into myths, the myths of myths, as it happens. Hearts, Minds, and Souls, by John Anstie, considers the theme from a socio-political framework, considering societies need to control as one of many elements in shaping science, culture, and religion through politics.

The issue has much more to offer— fiction by Joseph Hesch and lots of poetry by Jamie Dedes, Renée Espiru, Priscilla Galasso, Terri Muuss, and Phillip T. Stevens. The more light section has three more poems that are not directly related to this month’s theme, but we wanted to share with our readers at this time.

Michael Dickel
Associate Editor


“It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.” Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977), American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer

This issue of The BeZine is dedicated to scientists the world over, especially those who are conscientiously fighting to preserve this earth, its people, and scientific integrity. Throughout history scientists have met with the same skepticism they face in some quarters today. They were sometimes misunderstood and crudely punished. Alan Turing comes to mind first, cruelly treated after being of enormous service to his country.

I think of  Rhazes (865-925), a forward-looking medical scientist who wrote a compendium of all that was known about medicine in his time.  He was beaten over the head with his book, went blind and was unable to continue his work. Galileo’s (1564-1642) insight and honesty was labeled heresy. Albert Einstein’s (1879-1955) books were burned. Henry Oldenburg (1619-1677) was suspected of spying when he sought to acquire and publish worthy works by people outside his own country.

The tensions between ignorance and cognoscence continue today. So much so that in my country scientists are planning an Earth Day march on Washington to protest the current regime’s dismantling of climate protections. Members of many scientific and research groups are scrambling to archive government data they believe could be in jeopardy under this new regime.

Many thanks this month to Michael Dickel for having my back on this issue and for his distinguished contributions. Thanks also to all our supporters – especially Terri Stewart, Charlie Martin, Chrysty Darby Hendrick, Ruth Jewel, Lana Phillips, Sharon Frye, Silva Merjanian, M. Zane McCllelan and Inger Morgan and to this month’s contributors (not in any particular order) Priscilla Galasso, Corina Ravenscraft, Joe Hesch, Michael Watson, Naomi Baltuck,  John Anstie, James R. Cowles, Terri Muuss and Pat Leighton. All are valued as we pursue this small effort in the name of peace and understanding.

New to our pages this month is Phillip T. Stevens. Phillip tells me he spent most of the eighties and nineties as a community and arts activist. To pay his bills he taught writing and visual design to community college students and at-risk youth for the Texas Youth Commission. He published four novels, two volumes of poetry and academic papers (including a series of articles on the role of metaphoric thinking in the development of scientific theory and religious belief for the International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society). Phillip lives with his wife Carol in Oak Hill, Texas, where they rescue abandoned cats for Austin Siamese Rescue.

And here we are. Thanks to the efforts of many, we leave the March issue in your hands. Enjoy and …

Be inspired. Be creative. Be peace. Be …

On behalf of the Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of love and community,
Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Science in Culture, Politics and Religion

To Read this issue of The BeZine

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling. (I place it in  backwards though, so you’ll be starting at the end and moving forward.  Sorry about that.  Just getting this down. J.D.), or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links the below.

BeAttitudes

The Speed of Light Poem, Michael Dickel

Unreality, John Anstie

Lead Features

That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck
Some Scientific Snippets, Corina Ravenscraft
A Life, Michael Watson
Still Phoning ET, James R. Cowles
Myths of Eden and Science, Phillip T. Stevens

Hearts, Minds and Souls, John Anstie

Fiction

Shills Like White Elephants,  Joseph Hesch

Poetry

The Return of Primordial Night, Jamie Dedes
Butterfly Effect, Michael Dickel
The Road Leads Away and Back, Renee Espiru
Brain Tools, Priscilla Galasso
Landscape with rice, Patricia Leighton
and the word was, Terri Muuss
Two Excerpts from “Poems, Parables and Prayers”, Phillip T. Stevens

More Light

Once Upon a Sea Green Day, Jamie Dedes
Purim Fibonacci, Michael Dickel
How Can It Be, Ann Emerson
What I Can Say, Terri Muss
Spread of Fear, Carolyn O’Connell


CONNECT WITH US

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

shiriki

Shiriki is stunning and the quote Gretchen Del Rio included with this painting is perfect for these days when the evironment is increasingly inhosptitable to the humans who are causing her damage and those who deny she’s being abused. Enjoy! ... and thank you to Gretchen for her willingness to share her gifts with us. xo

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 2/2017 watercolor 2/2017

‘Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.’ 

…………..Thich Nhat Hanh

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Celebrating Sixty-seven Years on the Razor’s Edge

Om or Aum the mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, which symbolizes the all-encompassing basic substance: God, Allah, Being, Source, Light, whatever is your preferred pointer.
The Hindu Om or Aum symbolizes the all-encompassing basic substance: God, Allah, Being, Source, Light, whatever is your preferred pointer.

“Rise, awaken, seek the wise and realize. The path is difficult to cross like the sharpened edge of the razor, so say the wise.” Katha Upanishads, verse 1.3.14

SURPRISED TO HAVE MADE IT TO SIXTY-SEVEN

photo-on-2014-03-31-at-17-08In gratitude today, I celebrate sixty-seven years of life, forty-seven years with my world-class son, and sixteen years of survival beyond my medically predicted expiration date.

About a week or two after the CitySon Philosopher was born.
About a week or two after the CitySon Philosopher was born, Gravesend, Brooklyn, N.Y.

In 1999, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and given two years to live. (No, I have never smoked in my life.) Thanks to the boundless patience and kindness of my son and the compassion and good offices of an extraordinary medical team, I’m still here, sometimes home-bound and always bound to toting an oxygen tank. These complications don’t keep me from enjoying the CitySon Philosopher, my beautiful, smart, fab and funny daughter-in-law, and the friendship of many including my friends from our Group for people with life-threatening illnesses, my neighbors, the members of our spiritual congregation/social justice network and my arts community of poets, writers, artists, musicians and bloggers.

With cousins Dan and Chris, like brothers to me.
With my cousins Dan and Chris, like brothers to me, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York

Regarding the latter, I hold Jingle Yanqui (no longer online) most especially in heart. Her vision for forming a cohesive and supportive online poetry community has facilitated a network of poets I could not have hoped to manage on my own. It makes up for being unable to take part in off-line poetry readings and groups.

With Mom circa 1980, San Francisco
With Mom circa 1980, Park Merced in San Francisco

Without a doubt, I cherish the friendships and shared values among The BeZine core team members and guest contributors. They rock … and they’re helping to rock the world into peace.

Senior year of High School
At my Aunt Yvonne’s: junior year of high school when being a writer and poet was just a dream, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York
This is perfect. Unable to find out who created it. If it's yours, please let me know and I will credit or take it down as you like.
This is perfect. This is exactly what it feels like to have the writer’s eye and ear. Different perspective. I love this illustration. Unable to find out who created it. If it’s yours, please let me know and I will credit or take it down as you like.

Celebrating poetry, prose, music and art with you through your books and blogs numbers among my most treasured gifts. Thank you for your honesty, for sharing your wisdom, your joys and sorrows, your laughter and pain and very human folly, your faith and despair, the rough knobby wool of the human condition. As my workload and commitments have expanded over the years and my disease progresses, I don’t get to visit as often as I like … but I do peek in on you and you continue to endear yourselves to me.

LESSONS FROM THE SHARPENED EDGE OF THE RAZOR

Over the past few days, I have been thinking about life lessons learned from years of living – as you do too – on the razor’s edge:

  • We are not meant to compare ourselves with others. Our beauty is absolute, not relative.
  • Freedom is a state of mind. It requires a recognition of  Madison Avenue values and programming and a disconnect from them and from any other received values that are not consistent with our own inner truth.
  • Committing art is spiritual practice.
  • We are meant to immerse ourselves in beauty: family, friends, flowers, music, poetry …
  • As long as we live on this earth, we have to make a living, but we were not meant to be wage-slaves. Find the balance between making a living with making a life.
  • Health is a relative thing: We will always be more-or-less healthy. We may have to modify our activities because of health challenges and/or aging, but as long as we’re alive, there’s no reason not to stay engaged.
  • When we receive a terminal diagnosis, it takes time to process and to deal with the shock. Eventually we find our way to peace and continue our lives, albeit within the limits of disability. The terminus – as you can see from my experience – may be a long way off.
  • The only difference between people who are living with a terminal diagnosis and those who are not is that the former are no longer in denial.
  • Don’t turn good time into bad by worrying about what is an inevitable part of life. There comes a point when we accept that things are just the way they should be even though we don’t understand the whys and hows.
  • As long as we insist on identifying with the painful experiences of our lives, with the insults received at the hands of others, we feel desolate and somehow less.  The order of the day is reframe and reinvent. The need is to rewrite our stories.
  • People who are at peace with themselves are never cruel. If someone hurts or has hurt us, it’s because of their own pain.
  • Best policy: let go, trust yourself and get on with life.
  • Consciousness is not the mind attached to the brain. It is a Light independent of the physical. We may not always have form or human personality but we have always been and we always will be. The challenge is to be a worthy spark of Being.
  • Love – true love – is not romantic love. Love is found by seeing the reflection of Being in ourselves and all life. It is the ability to recognize the sacred everywhere and in everyone, even in our frail and fallible selves, in the most unfortunate conditions and the most unfortunate people.

May every day be a rebirth for you in the light of Love.

In metta,

Jamie Dedes

Metta – the Buddhist practice of holding self and others in loving kindness, a value shared by the world’s religions.

A sweet kind photo-grid made for me today by my cousin Dan. Meaningful, memorable photos all.
A sweet kind photo-grid made for me today by my cousin Dan. Meaningful, memorable photos all.

Family photographs are under copyright.  Please be respectful. The Om illustration is in the public domain.

Making Space for Conversation

dsc03772

From Contributing Editor, Michael Watson

A lovely late winter morning, the light clear and vibrant on the snow and trees. The day is warm for late February; this entire week will likely be far above normal in temperature, a condition that increasingly seems normative in itself.

Early Saturday morning a crew arrived to install solar panels on our roof. In spite of our best efforts our steep driveway was dangerously icy which resulted in a confab as to whether the work could proceed. Fortunately, the temperature was rapidly rising and the application of more ice-melt soon remedied the situation. Sometime in the next few days the panels will be connected to the grid and our home will begin to generate relatively clean electricity.

Over the weekend my Facebook feed was filled with the idea of resistance. After a month of resistance I’ve decided that even more important than resistance, which remains crucial, is vision. We’ve had many years of resistance by one party or the other here in the US, resistance that has only managed to create ever more division and the very real possibility of massive physical violence. (I imagine people on all sides might agree they have experienced a prolonged period of emotional and spiritual violence.)

Also on the weekend, I got around to reading about a new project from Howlround and SpiderWebShow. Howlround wrote:

Across the much-discussed border, we are exchanging letters; Letters from Canadians and letters from Americans. CdnTimes will publish letters from Americans to hear what it’s like on the ground, now, for theatre artists working in the United States. Meanwhile, HowlRound will be publishing letters from Canadians about what’s affecting our work now. Artists from both countries share warnings, worries, strategies of resistance, generosity, and advocacy—messages of solidarity. What can we learn from each other? —Adrienne Wong and Laurel Green, co-editors at SpiderWebShow’s CdnTimes.

I’ve been wondering how I might bring diverse voices together in this difficult time, and as I read the first letters I became increasingly excited, wondering how the inspiration inherent in that project might be joined with and amplified. I’m still curious. What might those of us who are working for a more equitable, caring, responsive world share with one another that would be useful and mutually supportive? How might I provide an accessible forum for the thoughts and concerns of a diverse group of fellow travelers? What might happen were the conversation to be global!

I envision a gathering of folks in the arts, from around the world, where a conversation might be had about making art in this vexing time. I like the idea of letters as the are usually written, yet may contain photos and artwork. Letters can be thoughtful, personal, and engaging; they are by nature more than sound bites and talking points. Letters might also be created using video and integrating images, words, and sound. Hopefully the conversation would be inclusive, and those in education, the healing arts, and many other vocations would participate. If there is enough interest, I’ll put up a separate website to carry the conversation.

I invite you to share your preferred vision for the your life and the world, and how your work feeds that vision. You may leave your response here at The BeZine (I’ll read them) or on my site. My expectation is that write-ups here today would be thoughtful, personal, focused on your work, respectful of a wide range of views, and honoring the possibility of reconciliation and mutual care, far beyond North America. Please do let me know what you think of this idea, and whether you might be interested in participating in such a project. My hope is that should I go ahead with the project there would be letters from artists, and others, working in a wide range of disciplines and in many lands, and that conversations and collaborations might arise from the sharing.

© Michael Watson

Michael Watson
Michael Watson

MICHAEL WATSON, LCMHC (Dreaming the World) is a storyteller, artist, educator, Narrative therapist, polio survivor, Native/European, Ph.D., living in many worlds.

blackfoot

Gretchen Del Rio’s latest painting and a reminder to be mindful. As always her work is a grace to heal our hearts and spirits, something we need more than ever given the time. Thank you, Gretchen.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 2/2017 watercolor aceo 2/2017

‘When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love’.

………..Thich Nhat Hanh

purchase this painting

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The BeZine, Vol. 3, Issue 5, February 2017, Overcoming Hate

think how wonderful when all the registries are
…..thrown out with the trash
so that the children of the poor come out ahead
some half-pint future president
on the street the man who stopped you with his
…..pockets inside out
is loading you with fruits & sweets is kissing you
a hero who can send a message into every little head
…..the thought of some enchanted evening
the reciprocal tyranny of fathers & of sons is over
& the need or love grows always stronger makes the
…..master builder stretch the promenades into the
…..farthest outskirts
which is freedom yes & which is love

excerpt from Tyranny or Love by Vítêzlav Nezval in Atilyrik & Other Poems

Love can be a kind of tyranny but hate tyrannizes the hated and the hateful and everyone around them. My godmother used to say that it is harder to hold onto hate than to let go in love.  How do we overcome the hate in ourselves?

Michael Dickel comes to the subject by exploring the biblical story of Yaakov (Jacob) wrestling with himself and God.

“To overcome hate, we must wrestle with our own soul (tendencies toward harsh judgments, anger, hate—that is, wrestle with our own fears and demons) and with God …” Michael Dickel

Naomi explores all the “H” words, some positive and some not so much, including hate and arriving at like-Hearted. She gives us balance. Corina Ravenscraft explores how hate manifests and Priscilla Galasso comes to it from the position of personal growth. She says:

“The more I work with my own feelings and come to understand myself, the more I can begin to understand others. When I see someone who is angry and hateful, I understand that he is suffering.”

The times are challenging us to explore our emotions and how we react to the encroachment by some elements into the domain of compassion, freedom and justice. We see this expressed in Mark Heathcote’s poem, which reminds us that strong emotion needs fuel, and in Michael Dickel’s Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love and my own Time for the Temple Whores To Sleep With Insanity.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”  Elie Wiesel

The core issues it turns out are indifference and fear. George Orwell reminds us of what we have to fear if we are not vigilant and proactive. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out fear: only love can do that.”  Love is freedom, the absence of tyranny, and the more we love, the more we are able to love.

In the spirit of Peace, Love and Community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor


To read this issue of TheBeZine

  • Click HERE to scroll through and read the entire magazine.
  • Or, you can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents below.  Enjoy!

Table of Contents

BeAttitude

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell, 1984

The Animals Are Running the Farm, Jamie Dedes

Overcoming Hate

Lead Features

Your Attention, Please, Corina Ravenscraft
The “H” Word, Naomi Baltuck
Transcending Anger, Power and Fear, Priscilla Galasso
Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love, Michael Dickel

Poetry

Silencing the Lambs, John Anstie
Time for the Temple Whores to Sleep with Insanity, Jamie Dedes
Wrestling with God, two poems, Michael Dickel
Five Glosses from Imaginary Exegesis, Michael Dickel
Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
Flying without dice, Michael Dickel
I remember dreaming, Michael Dickel
Hate, it is a termite mound, Mark Heathcote

– End – 

CONNECT WITH US
Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SILENCING OF THE LAMBS, a poem by British poet and Renaissance man, John Anstie

 

img_2357

Silencing The Lambs

Lo a thin veneer
divides the good from the bad
you know what you are

ruling precedent
with blind consensus will yield
a dumbing of the sheep

and who was it said
only the meek inherit
this is not the time

this is not the time
for humility and lambs
must stand up and grow

maybe there was life
once upon a distant time
when we were wise

when we were wise
before the window led to
pleonexia

yield to avarice
and the common cause ends in
weakened hearts and souls

weakened hearts and souls
lost in things and will be found
only as we die

only as we die
can we find truth and renew
a desire for life

a desire for life
but not material things
will need great courage

we’ll need great courage
whilst tyranny is seeking
obedient lambs

by silencing the lambs
sociopathy will win
and life will perish

… but will life perish?
Maybe, maybe not. Dare we
sit and wait and see?

– John Anstie

© 2017, poem and portrait, John Anstie, All rights reserved

John Anstie
John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British singer, musician, poet and contributing writer to The BeZine. John self-describes as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”.

John has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway’ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

product_thumbnail-3-phpRecent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor Rising*). The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears in The d’Verse Anthology:Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

*The proceeds from Petrichor Rising go to UNICEF. The back story on this book and its poets is featured in Pretricor Rising and how the Twitterverse Birthed friendships that in Turn Birthed a Poetry Collection.

wind walker

Here is another delightful sample of Gretchen Del Rio’s work. The Cherokee prayer she shares is certainly one for our times. Thank you, Gretchen!

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 2/2016 watercolor aceo 2/2016

”Oh Great Spirit who made all races. Look kindly upon the whole human family and take away the arrogance and hatred which separates us from our brothers.”……cherokee prayer

purchase this painting

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BREAKING NEWS ON THE JUSTICE FRONT: Fellow Americans, please join this national phone call today with Rev. Barber to address recent executive actions

800px-william_barber_at_moral_mondays_rallyJOIN REV. WILLIAM BARBER TODAY at 4 p.m. Eastern Time for immediate response to address the Executive Orders this week that threaten immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, along with new efforts to undermine voting rights and punish sanctuary cities must be met with a powerful and rapid response. TODAY, please join Rev. William Barber and Catherine Orsborn, and other faith leaders at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT for a national call on what we can all do to resist and move forward.

51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_Call in to (319) 527-2731 Access Code: 150728. We also ask that you register here so that we can send you follow-up alerts, information, and toolkits.
In the meantime, we put together this Rapid Response Guide for People of Faith & Moral Conscience with resources from partners on how to prepare for moral resistance, call your representatives, post on social media, and more. Share it. We will continue to update this guide as events unfold.
In #MoralResistance and #RevolutionaryLove. (Go to those links on Facebook. They’re public so you don’t need to be on Facebook to see them.)

Photo of Rev. Barber leading a Moral Monday gather courtesy of twbuckner under CC BY SA 2.0 License

Some Kind of Hell to Pay

Breadline
Breadline

the unconscionable dance in the canyons of power,
lined with megalithic buildings, the edifice complex
of the spin-meister’s lie, that the demigods can do
anything – anything – walking this asphalt valley

a parade, flailing lemmings trussed and trusting their
die-cut dreams to the pitiless whim of the military/
industrial/medical alliance, whose war-cries are of
greed and arrogance, believing they’ll live forever,
today’s sovereignty, tomorrow’s guarantee. But it’s

all delusion – cultures die and the hope-crushing
architects of cuts and austerity measures are like
the rich man in the Lazarus story, there’ll be
some kind of backlash, some kind of hell to pay …

© Jamie Dedes

“Rich Lazarus! richer in those gems, thy tears,
Than Dives in the robes he wears:
He scorns them now, but oh they’ll suit full well
With the purple he must wear in hell”
Richard Crenshaw (c.1613-1649), English cleric, teacher, metaphysical poet, Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, Delights of the Muses (1646)

© photo credit,1930 breadine sculpture at the FDR memorial courtesy of Peter Griffin, Public Domain Pictures.net

THE BeZINE, Jan. 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 4 – Resist

“When injustice becomes law, nonviolent resistance becomes duty.” Petra Kelly (1947-1992), co-founder of the German Green Party (1979) at a rally in Nuremberg (1983).

15253540_10153871288971612_1728300874287005039_nOur theme this month is Resist! We chose it to coincide with a protest today that was initiated by poets Alan Kaufman and Michael Rothenberg. Thanks to Alan and Michael, poets across the United States will gather on the steps of their local city halls and take their stand against the backward values that the U.S. President Elect represents. PEN America also sponsored an event today at the New York City Public Library and thanks to them protests are happening today in ninety U.S. cities and some cities outside the States.

As is our tradition at The BeZine, voices in protest are not limited to the U.S.

What are we trying to accomplish by protesting? “Dump Trump” is a rallying cry for some but it’s unlikely to happen, at least in the short-term.

We think what makes sense and what people want to focus on is creating awareness and building bridges, not walls. We want to stand in solidarity against scapegoating and the sort of rhetoric that fuels misunderstanding, hate and violence. We stand in support of the rule of law, civil rights and human rights. We want to keep the feet of the power elites to the fire and demand accountability.

Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have written that with “the Fourth Estate under siege it is now up to writers, poets, artists and musicians to join in and put our shoulders to the wheel.…There is no Post-Truth Era for the world of [the arts].” And here we are …

It takes courage to speak out, but speak out we must and today we bring you a collection that we hope will hearten you, if only by virtue of seeing just how many people share your values. There is hope in that.

It begins, with one brave enough to appear.
One idea, one voice in an asphalt void.
Oligarchs try to crush all dissension with fear.
Undaunted, the idea will not be destroyed,
Shares roots with others; reassures, “I’m still here.”  —Corina Ravenscraft

In this issue, Michael Watson, Priscilla Galasso, and Naomi Baltuck gift us with BeAttitudes that are measured, gain their wisdom from history and the arts, and speak to the long-term and to the preservation of democratic values.

“There’s a striking parallel between our current social order and that of the Middle Ages, in which the wealthy ruling class acted and peasants endured.”  — warns Naomi Baltuck in Boots on the Ground

Thanks to Michael Dickel we offer a fine collection of protest music and an apologia for activist poetry.  Zena Hagerty of HamiltonSeen brings us the life of Joe Hill, labor activist and song writer.  In The Push, from Zena and her business partner, Cody Lanktree, we learn how Hamilton—the fourth largest city in Canada—courageously pushed back against abuses and lack of transparency in their city government.  We have a flash fiction piece from poet and writer, Joe Hesch.

This month’s poetry collection is a rather extraordinary gift from poets who are well-established. They are published here alongside emerging poets we want to support and encourage. Together the poems serve to frame the current challenges we face in our world.

New to our pages this month (presented in no special order) are Greg Ruud, Russ Green, Joy Harjo, Alan Kaufman and our featured poet, Reuben Woolley. We are delighted to welcome Dianne Turner back.

Enjoy the Zine and do Resist! This is the moment.
—Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

My first contact with The BeZine came when Managing Editor Jamie Dedes wanted to review my book of poems, War Surrounds Us, and to interview me. Somehow, from there I became one of the many “core” writers who contribute to The BeZine community—and, because I am involved with 100-Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), I ended up taking some responsibility for our annual live 100TPC online event. Now I have a nice title, Contributing Editor. As one of the core writers, and a contributing editor, I suggested the theme Resist! for this issue to coincide with the protest readings my friends Michael Rothenberg and Alan Kaufman have instigated.

I have been active in peace and anti-racism movements for years. I recall when I first heard about the Women’s Movement, as a high school student planning a student protest against the Viet Nam War. My academic work relates to violence and masculinity (see my essay, The Warm Blanket of Silence, in this issue).

However, this autumn marks, for me, one of the darkest periods in my memory. The rising influence of white supremacy (sic) movements, blatant misogyny, unapologetic homophobia, open anti-Semitism (from the right and the left), and sword-rattling (fake?) machismo in this last U.S. election—manifested openly and through “dog-whistles” by the President Elect, his supporters, and his advisors—recall the period before WWII. And not just in 1930s Germany—fascism was popular in the U.S. and much of Europe before the war, including a notorious “Fascist Plot,” also called “The White House Coup,” in 1933. Now the industrialists will have The White House—they don’t need a coup. The probable influence of Russia on our elections (not to mention the FBI) comes straight from 1950s nightmares. These dark shadows oppress my mood and sap my energy.

The only solution I know is to Resist! To stand with others and to say, loudly, “No!

Jamie has expressed the idea of resistance positively above. And I agree with her. Resistance must be positive, but also strong. It should be non-violent (until violence becomes a necessary and last-resort defense). And it must be embedded in all that we do. My own poetry, art, music, teaching, and life should help awaken, empower, and facilitate resistance to the hate, indifference, and greed that permeate our political culture (a lofty goal I expect I will fail in, even as I attempt to achieve it). I hope to do so in ways that welcome dialogue and allow for diverse responses and approaches across a wide range of contexts. However, I will not “give him a chance” to promulgate hate, strip the environment, legislate for racism or hate, or further oppress those under the heal of the capitalist boot. I resist.

I resist the numbness.

I find energy in resistance.

I resist!
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor

Link HERE

to scroll through the entire zine
If you read something you’d like to share, just click on its title in the header to get the URL for a specific piece.

IN A NUTSHELL

Let Us, a poem by Alan Kaufman
letting my freak flag fly, a poem by Charles W. Martin
Scraggly Dandelion in a Concrete Crack, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft

BeATTITUDES

The Act of “Survivance”, Michael Watson
Practising Freedom of Choice, Priscilla Galasso
Boots on the Ground, Naomi Baltuck
Werewolves—the Hounds of Hate, Michael Dickel

MUSIC

I ain’t no millionaire’s son, Michael Dickel
Democracy is Coming to the U.S.A., Michael Dickel

DOCUMENTARY FILM

One Wobblie’s Life: Joe Hill, Labor Activist and Songwriter, Zena Hagerty with Jamie Dedes
“The Push” or how the eleventh largest city in Canada is pushing back, Zena Hagerty and Cody Lanktree

FEATURE ARTICLES

In Defense of Activist Poetry, Michael Dickel
Silence i—Warm Blanket in Silence, Michael Dickel
Silence ii—Sound of Silence, Michael Dickel

Writer’s Block: Doubt, Fear and Heartbreak, Jamie Dedes

FICTION

The Nature of the Beast, Joseph Hesch

FEATURED POET: Ruben Woolley

Congratulations to UK poet Reuben Woolley for the distinction of an invitation to The Fourth International Festival of Poetry in Marrakesh. All expenses are paid for by the festival organizers but the airfair. Just like the rest of us who earn our bread with poetry, Reuben’s purse is a bit light. Reuben has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise the money for airfare HERE.

natural killers, Reuben Woolley
the uncertainty of bright maps, Reuben Woolley
shade talking, Reuben Woolley
venus of coventry, Reuben Woolley
barely anywhere in time, Reuben Woolley
darker application, Reuben Woolley

POETRY

Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
So Thirsty, Michael Dickel
Circulating Language Manfesto, Michael Dickel

Dovetailed, Renee Espiru

Fire Song, Russ Green

Fear Poem, Joy Harjo

The Taste of Cyanide, Mark Heathcote

The Oak, the Man and the Mighty Weed, Joseph Hesch

Into the Unknown Flee, M. Zane McCllelan
War Lore, M. Zane McCllelan
This Is Not a Lullaby, M. Zane McCllelan

Of Seas, Bicycles and Whiskey, Liliana Negoi
no rain, Liliana Negoi
congregrating war, Liliana Negoi
faulty darwinism, Liliana Negoi

Noblesse Oblige, Carolyn O’Connell

Now That Anything Can Happen, Greg Ruud
Righteous Anger, Greg Ruud

Goat Herders, Dianne Turner

Waiting, Lynn White
Separate Development, Lynn White

Leaving Aleppo, Peter Wilkin

In close:

Here and Hereafter, Jamie Dedes

CONNECT WITH US
Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SEATTLE-AREA Faith communities come together in support of restorative justice

16002861_1430086170356868_1174300382638625405_nFaith Communities for Peace: A gathering of churches interested in supporting restorative justice Peacemaking Circles for juvenile court cases in King County

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
6:30 PM
Ebenezer AME Zion Church: 1716 23rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

988562_10203219539324344_759173015253613179_n“Did you know that King County Juvenile Court is piloting Peacemaking Circles as an alternative and community-based way to resolve some of its juvenile felony cases? This reduces incarceration, fosters healing for both victims and offenders, and affords a profound opportunity for transformation. This is the Gospel in action and it’s unfolding right here in our own backyard. Church communities are needed to help expand our network of circle providers. Would your faith community like to be involved? Please join us to learn more.” Rev. Terri Stewart, Founder and Director of Youth Chaplaincy Coalition

Questions?
Contact for Protestant and Interfaith Communities: Rev. Terri Stewart (425) 531-1756 or YCC-Chaplain@thechurchcouncil.org

Contact for Catholic Communities: Joe Cotton (206) 382-4847 or joe.cotton@seattlearch.org

© Photos, Terri Stewart

PEN CENTER USA ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE WRITERS RESIST CAMPAIGN

Join the Nationwide Campaign
Writers Resist

PEN Center USA’s mission of defending freedom of expression is more important than ever. We want you to join us as we are shifting our Freedom to Write campaigns to sharply focus on domestic issues. We are excited to co-sponsor the LA event for Writers Resist with Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center. If you cannot attend the event we have listed other ways you can take action below.

Writers Resist is a national event on January 15, 2017, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when writers around the world will come together for a “re- inauguration” of our shared commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy.

Events are planned in NYC, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Seattle, Spokane, Los Angeles, London, Zurich, Boston, Omaha, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Madison, Milwaukee, Bloomington, Baltimore, Oakland, Tallahassee, Newport, Santa Fe, Salt Lake, and Portland (Oregon AND Maine) and many other cities. More info HERE.  There are seventy-five cities in all so far.

↓ TAKE ACTION ↓

ATTEND THE EVENT
January 15, 2017
Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, California
1pm – 4pm (with an intermission)
Free and open to all
R.S.V.P. on Facebook

READERS: William Archila, Ishmael Beah, Aimee Bender, Ron Carlson, Victoria Chang, Geoff Dyer, Blas Falconer, Amy Gerstler, Dana Goodyear, Naomi Hirahara, Doug Kearney, Meme Kelly, Vandana Khanna, Michele Latiolais, Douglas Manuel, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Alicia Partnoy, Mona Simpson, Christine Schutt, Safiya Sinclair, Lynne Thompson, David Ulin, Vanessa Villarreal, and Amy Wilentz.

Announcement courtesy of PEN CENTER USA

earthsinger

This month’s offering from Gretchen Del Rio along with encouragement to slow down.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor original 1/2017 watercolor original 1/2017

‘Just slow down. Slow down your speech. Slow down your breathing. Slow down your walking Slow down your eating. And let this slower, steadier pace perfume your mind. Just slow down….’ dojo

This quote is so true for all of us. When you do slow down you see just how frantic most of our lives have become. When I lived at 5000′ in the San Bernardino Mountains I made infrequent trips off the mountain.  On the return trips back up the mountain from the flats of San Bernardino I experienced that the energy changed at about 3000′. It was palpable….the lack of busy mind and an overwhelming sense of well being…… and it was something almost tangible. The mountain held solitude and quiet in reverence. Not so the business of the population of the lower altitudes. I couldn’t say just what this was all about. I have been given a few…

View original post 163 more words

GLOBAL ACTION CALENDAR

Detail from Peace and Prosperity (1896), Elihu Vedder, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Detail from Peace and Prosperity (1896), Elihu Vedder, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

Since 2011, 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) has worked with poets, writers, artists, musicians and other creatives to help organize events around the world for peace, justice and sustainability.

Now, more than ever mobilization is crucial. Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, cofounders of 100TPC, have created a GLOBAL ACTION CALENDAR open to EVERYONE to post Creative Actions around the world. Michael and Terri continue to emphasize the need for INCLUSIVITY and true DIVERSITY in our global network.

They hope this calendar will help people connect and give access to those who are often marginalized in our creative communities.

So many of you are doing so much. Thank you! and thanks to Michael and Terri.

Link HERE to post your event.

The photograph is in the public domain.

1967 (17 years old) , My First Published Poem “Make of Me a Tree”

Dan and I as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I. He stands 6'5' and I stand 5'2
My cousin Dan and me as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I am. He stands 6’5′ and I stand around 5’2″ – give or take a bit depending on my shoes.

I was definitely the product you’d expect from the odd and awkward situation in which I grew up and surely I showed little talent, no free thinking and no genius or particular promise. The poem is not good – some youth write profoundly beautiful and wise poetry and young people today are far more savvy than I ever was  –  but it does illustrate that after fifty years or so writing will improve. We writers often have our doubts, but we are an unrelenting bunch. We write, write, write. We enrich, reform and reframe as if every word of ours will spark more Light in the collective unconscious, which I rather think they do.

Make of Me a Tree

I am young, Lord,
but my heart is true,
Make of me a tree

Make me strong and supple
That when tempests blow,
I shall stand unyielding.

Let me be humble in the
Praise of Your Majesty
And testify to Your greatness.

When rains besiege
Let me be shelter
To those who have not found Your Son,

For

Yes! I am young
but my heart is true:
Make of me a tree.

Amen.

– Jamie Dedes

That’s my cousin Dan in the photograph, six years younger than me, so about 8 in this photo to my 13,. Dan was inspired by the poem to paint a lovely “portrait” of a tree. These days it’s Father Dan – Rev. Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp. – a theologian and professor at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dan always showed real promise. Like my son, Richard, and Dan’s brother, Christopher, even as a toddler he was smart and funny.  So many of you appreciated Dan’s piece What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?  Come March, Dan will be back in the United States. We will get to visit for the first time in forty years.

And, yes! I did want to become a nun. I was told there would be family background checks and I feared rightly that there were things in my parent’s history that would embarrass my mom. I became a now-and-again wife, a mother, a writer, a poet. No regrets. The life mission is essentially the same though the vehicle of service differs and the actions are grounded in ethics not creed, which is not to imply that the two are necessarily exclusive.

RELATED:

DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.
DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.

The Blessed Mother: She reminds me of who I am and who I should be, Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp., The BeZine, July 2016

Note: The photograph of the two of us together was taken at a fundraiser our mothers were helping with for the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. This remains a worthy effort and worth your time if you happen to live in that area and are looking for a place at which to volunteer or are in a position to make a donation.

©  photographs (Daniel Sormani Family Album) and text and poem (Gigi “Jamie” Dedes), All rights reserved

Tattered Trees

​Black limbs with outstretched sleeves
full of holes and bloodstained leaves,
soughing from groves of tattered trees,
blowing mournfully in a lead-filled breeze.

Thorns stem from grafted roots
poisonous runners sprout sickly shoots
tendrils smoking, choking, twenty-one gun salute.
Eyewitness videos can’t refute.

As soaking in a withering rain
the rotten gardeners remain
now all around us bears the stain,
deaf to the haunting refrain.

M. Zane McClellan
~
Copyright © 2016
All rights reserved

By the Authority Vested 

Who grants
authority
Vested in thee?
Taking
what cannot be
given back,
if mistakenly,
found
standing on
tremorous
moral ground,
unarmed, dead bodies
strewn around.
Granted power,
the right.
Constitutional,
Legal,
protection
from public
oversight.
We become
desensitized
society, inured is
traumatized
by so much violence,
it’s hard to
keep facts straight.
Another one?
Botched executions
by the state.
International conflicts
conflate.
Genocide
at alarming rate.
Global expansion
allowing for
export
of our
chief
cash
crop.

M. Zane McClellan

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved

Editorial Note: Today we introduce a new member of our core team, M. Zane McClellan. He grew up in New York where he attended Adelphi University and was the first African-American to play lacrosse and serve as the Freshman Class President. He studied Psychology before joining the Marine Corps. McClellan recently initiated an international collaborative poem called, Poets for Peace, and is working on his debut novel, a fantasy. To read more of M. Zane McClellan’s poetry, please see, The Poetry Channel. J.D.