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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, International Poetry Month April 2020, Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

Latter-Day Heroes by Jamie Dedes

standard intensive care unit (ICU) within a hospital courtesy of Norbert Kaiser under CC BY-SA 2.5 license

“The coronavirus pandemic is a world-changing event, like 9/11. There was a world before Covid-19. And there will be a world after Covid-19. But it won’t be the same.” Oliver Markus Malloy, What Fox News Doesn’t Want You To Know



They’re heroes, you know, real heroes
Not the ones in capes and caps, No!
The ones in scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, exhausted
As fate would have it, often succumbing
And when not, still the concerns for
Possible transmission to family, to friends
To strangers along their commute, and
“I worry for my parents,” says one
On his steadfast mission, another
Fears for her unborn child, six months
pregnant, with rounded tummy she works
For her patients, for colleagues, for the
Greater good, while a president sets
A precedent for lies, misinformation,
Stupidity, cruelty, self-absorption in the
Face of a nation in need of solidarity,
A peoples at risk, a worldwide community
In want of coordination and collaboration
They put him to shame, the heroes of
The pandemic, honoring their trust,
Donning their scrubs, masks, nursing clogs
Daily on extended shifts, committed
Compassionate, self-sacrificing, latter-day
Heroes of the human condition, heroes of
A world that will never be the same

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Dedicated to all medical workers but especially to my own critical care and palliative care teams. 

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 Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, environmental injustice, General Interest

Climate Affairs ~ Cloud’s Care and Concern

Courtesy of Juan Alcantara, Unsplash

Clouds gather in the sky
some are dark some light up high
here they come rumbling
wonder why they are grumbling?
raising a storm, hue and cry!

                                                    Clouds gather in the sky;

are they showing us a fire?
frowning on a sinful desire?
warning of The Heaven’s Ire?
or to cool the bonfire?
Clouds gather in the sky

I wonder if their thunder
is a song of  celestial choir?
praising Divine Moist Sapphire,
Dust we see and dust we are
yet the particles conspire
Clouds gather in the sky

to relieve us from our misery
cooling comfort we do require,
I know they come to admire
and blessing us , will soon retire
away to their ocean home entire,

                                                            Clouds gather in the sky!

they leave a message , a purifier!
be at peace and mercy
be not a crier or a liar
be like us without any fuss
a bold graceful high flyer-
Clouds gather in the sky!

in rain we sing ‘n’ shout ‘n’ play
but break the law, then face the bolt.
If stormy weather be  Gods’ Wrath?
Stormy weather was foretold—then
pray for mercy, and a cleansing bath

                                                     OH Clouds Gather in the sky!
And I don’t wonder why…

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
 .
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
.
Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
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

Posted in history, John Anstie, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Lost Gardeners

Northern Summerhouse garden at the Lost Gardens of Heligan courtesy of Heinz-Dirk Luckhardt CC BY-SA 3.0

There was such colour and bustle
where now reflective calm.

In the thunderbox room
nearby the melon yard
haunting echoes of silent voices

once green fingers that pressed
a trigger for King and country
gently call from an early grave,
who once scattered humus here.

They shed tears for weeds
that stained the fresh leaves
of Spring, unfolding, unseen

cold frames of mouth-blown glass,
warmed the summer fare
that meant so much to those
who dug one last trench

so many lost at such a cost
shovelling cold organic mud
to sow the seeds of future green
in very unmilitary drills

and who would say what
could have been had peace
been thoughtfully nurtured
like the fruits of this place.

Inundated by nature’s mission
their names forever bleeding
from these crumbling walls

so few in the flesh of then
left much in the earth of now.

© 2019 John Anstie

[A visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, revealed to me a very poignant story of its gardeners, 16 out of 22 of whom lost their lives in the First World War; of the gardens, which subsequently fell into ruin until the 1990’s when a descendant of the original owners set about restoring them to become one of the UK’s most popular botanical gardens. The scene is set around the ‘thunderbox’ room where they would carve the names in the walls as they sat and the very peaceful garden adjacent to it, where you can feel the history of this particular part of the gardens, which had almost completely succumbed to nature’s will. This intoxicating mixture history and place was powerful enough to compel me to write this in their memory].

Posted in poetry

Four Poems by Diana Raab

Elegant Air

I inhale breaths and ethers
………..    offered by this place,
 ……yet wonder where in this universe
………………………………..lies the rest of my needed oxygen.
…………………………………………I cannot help but wonder as I
………………………………………………….separate myself from its beauty.

You Remember

You remember my voice
even though I have

long ago peeled myself
from you, your shoulder,

on that crisp autumn day
while the pungent smell

of burning leaves
fell from our sky.

Your voice still resonates
even though

I am in that other world
because this one

have transitioned
no longer serves

nor wants to witness us—
a love that’s so deep.

Will you accompany me
to this final refuge?

Renewal Welcomed

I want to be saved from disease,
natural disasters and psychic pain
or whatever might slip
a frown upon my face
or on the face of my beloveds.

Save me from fires and mudslides
which only yesterday
ripped through our neighborhood,
and cancers which swim in my genetic pools,

or massive shooters
who want to end it all
and coyotes
who want to snatch our dogs away.

There are so many ways
to be saved and renewed,
so go ahead write a book about me,
and share secrets of your own renewal

in a sanctuary to call yours,
as I sulk in my darkness.

Buddha Skin

People whisper in my ears
to remind me of my Buddha skin—

enlightened wisdom to share
with friends and strangers,

through green eye glances
or words strung across blank pages,

but somehow I remain unable
to tap into the distance which separates you and me.

Are you able touch the chaotic chasm
which divides us from melted fusions

of different color skins or anything
which might possibly bring us together

in what many might call
the most mysterious of unions?

© 2020, Diana Rabb

DIANA RAAB, MFA, PhD (dianaraab.com), is a poet, memoirist, and blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of nine books. Her work has been published and anthologized in over 1000 publications. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, and Wisdom Daily and is a guest blogger for many others. She has four poetry collections, including Lust. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Book.

Posted in General Interest

‘hamsa’

What could be more lovely? A little something this evening from Zine team friend, Gretchen Del Rio. Enjoy …

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 3/2020

The swan known as Hamsa in Hindu mythology is said to be the vehicle of the goddess Saraswati…..patroness of wisdom, learning music and the arts. Or they may be one and the same. That would make Hamsa the divine swan-maiden.

purchase this painting

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Posted in Poems/Poetry

Three poems by Kirsty A. Niven

Luna

When lilac clouds conquer the sky,
it’s easy to forget she exists.
The moon lurks behind its thick veil,
a lunar laugh rising in her throat.
Flanked by the flashes of constellations,
she has nothing to fear.

I can still feel her watchful eyes
critiquing every word, every movement.
Our content orbit an object of fascination,
a concept she cannot understand.
Her glow extinguished, albeit temporarily,
a simple streetlight can have its spotlight.

She can only look on in wonder.
The days of bullets and blitzkriegs
when we cross paths are over.
The starry battlefield, silent and empty.
And no one else remembers,
except the moon and I.

One Night

In the still of the night the moment pauses.
Heartbeats hushed. Voices lost to lust.
This dead end dark could make me anyone.
I’m sure that’s the only reason you’re here.
Lips continue on regardless, not caring anymore;
happy to be broken, just to feel something.

Light interrupts. Lust flees. Life rushes on.
I can never be the girl that you want.
Fluorescence ravages that illusion instantly.
No parts of our bodies are touching anymore
and the familiar numbness settles in again.
Your voice ends it with words I forget.

Bird On The Wire

My twig feet dither on this tight rope,
desperate to wobble away to freedom.
Talons cling and my drunken heart sings,
taking my life into my feathered fingers.

It is so far down to fall with fractured wings
and I’ve hurt so many just to get here.
Apologies tweet from my open beak,
I am just trying in my way to be free.

© 2020, Kirsty A. Niven

KIRSTY A. NIVEN lives in Dundee, Scotland. Her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Strength, The Alien Buddha’s Feminist Agenda and Landfall. She has also featured in several journals and magazines, including The Poet’s Republic, Cicada Magazine, Monstrous Regiment and Silk + Smoke. Kirsty’s work can also be found online on sites such as La Scrittrice, Anti-Heroin Chic and Poetry Breakfast.”

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Four Poems by Joan McNerney

Amazing How
Only last Thursday
after another morning
of clichés
as freezing winds pushed
us along grey avenues
you shouted my name
in the middle of 34th Street
calling me poet
and instantly mountains
of mediocrity were melted
by your smile.

.

A glimpse of spring

shy blue morning

black trees etch sky

children skipping

over puddles

bramble on snow

soft birdsong

listening to water

race downstream

winds gently kiss

my forehead

grass shoots push

through first thaw

.

Trees of Heaven

Those are tough trees

growing in slums.

With no need of rich soil

or pruning, they rise

in abandoned lots.

These are trees that

survive rubbish, rodents

noxious chemicals.

Not easily cut down,

they stand against

gaunt tenements.

Climbing skyward,

delicate palm leaves

flourish flowering pods.

Trees of Heaven give

children glimpses of bright

emerald each morning.

Stars play peek-a-boo

between their branches

through long nights.

Who has said a taste of

paradise is only for the rich?

.

Imagine

Imagine to be a bird

slicing air with wings.

Up up over that horizon

soaring through clouds

away from solemn earth.

Shining, shimmering

far above this sphere

into clear blue light.

Cutting through sky

gliding over oceans

eyes open all seeing.

Awake all day all night

brushing rushing

against the four winds.

Imagine to be a bird.

© 2020, Joan McNerney

JOAN McNERNEY’s poetry has been included in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Spectrum Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title, The Muse In Miniature, is available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net. She has four Best of the Net nominations.

Posted in General Interest

Nightlight

I wake up drenched. Hair matted to my forehead with damp, cheek sticking to the pillow. I’ve known cold sweats before – I’ve been waking up with them my whole adult life – but this is one of the worst.
And I can understand why. Because, unlike some that fade away within seconds, this dream, those images, those noises, are all still flashing and sounding in front of me like a Halloween display. Horror come vividly to life, lingering as though I were still there watching and listening to it happen. I gasp in air, briefly frightened by the wall of darkness surrounding me. Just for an instant, that old fear, that dread that’s clung to me since childhood, rises up to break over me like a wave. Every part of me bracing for it. Tears already pooling in my eyes as I wait for the crash.

.
And then the light blinks on. Behind my shoulder, immediately casting its pale blue glow onto the bedroom wall. Illuminating the shadow of my head, complete with messy, sodden hair, even as I turn a fraction in the direction of the beam.

.
‘Shit,’ he mutters, strengthening the brightness of the phone as I turn round further, and see the screen lighting up his face as he finally swipes the bar across to full power. And instead of the terror I was preparing for only a moment ago, a wave of soaring relief crashes over me instead, as he shifts his eyes towards me and arches an eyebrow apologetically. ‘Forgot I’d dimmed down earlier. Took a moment to figure out why I could barely see anything.’

.
I almost let out a sob at the selflessness behind the words. No suggestion that he might actually have been asleep, that he might not have heard the scream that tore from my throat as I came out of the dream, that he might have been resting more deeply tonight. He’s never once not stirred at exactly the same moment I have, his body ever on alert for any hint of my distress, even in the middle of the night. He frowns slightly as he notices my eyes watering, before reaching out a finger to brush away the one escaping tear. Brushing away the images of those homophobic bastards kicking him half to death and forcing me to watch it with one simple touch. Like the breaking of a dark spell. Bringing me back to him, and only him.

.
‘Got you pretty bad tonight, huh?’ he asks, smiling sadly. ‘It’s okay.’

..
‘I know,’ I whisper. I always know. I always feel okay as soon as I see him again. Alive. Well. In my bed. Staring at me like I’m the most precious thing in the world.

.
‘What about his one?’ he asks, showing me the screen. I glance at it, and nod. A think of something starting with… game. ‘Looks interesting.’

.
‘Okay,’ he says. ‘Think of something starting with I.’

.
I love you.

.
More and more every night.

© 2020, Christopher Moore

CHRISTOPHER MOORE is a Northern Irish writer and a graduate of English from Queen’s University Belfast. He was also graduated with an MA in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.  Alongside a number of playwriting achievements, including being longlisted for the 2019 Bruntwood Prize, he’s had a number of pieces of short fiction read, performed and published around the UK, Ireland and US over the last few years.