The BeZine Blog

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

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

©2020 Wang Ping

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

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

Three poems for the Time of Corona by Mike Stone

Walking Daisy in the Time of Corona

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


Love in the Time of Corona

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


A Heavy Fog Descended

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

© 2020, MIke Stone

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

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

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

in this time of community isolation by gary lundy

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

© 2020, gary lundy

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

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Michael Dickel, Photograph, poem, poetry

Almond blossoms in the Time of Coronavirus—Jerusalem, 2020

Next to rusted bars
white blossoms promise
painting time will come.

©2020 Michael Dickel

Photograph of almond flowering through rusted fence.
Almond blossoms in Time of Coronavirus
Jerusalem, 2020
iPhone photograph ©2020 Michael Dickel
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, General Interest, John Anstie

Waiting for God, Oh Happy Days

How long is it since I set out on a quest, my
life’s mission, it seems like an age since I
realised my first ambition to own a car, to
drink a pint, legally, but not at the same time,
obviously! Each step was like—I imagine—
a fix of drugs, the only thing that I ever wanted,
that brings the ultimate pleasure that cannot
possibly be surpassed by anything but another
fix of something newer, stronger, more in
keeping with my current mores, my present,
my expectation, my self-image when was it
that I was introduced to Status, that fickle friend,
who always taunts me, the little demon, who
also seems to be up to their neck in sand and
knows so much about me, too much, and
strangely seems to have acquired me, as a
chattel without so much as ‘by your leave’, but
Ego and I are old friends, even though I didn’t
know, it turns out he’s also known my new
friend, Status, for longer than I, partners in crime
it seems, strange how small and large the World
is and that feeling I’m not in control, but damn!
who had the audacity to tell me I’m not in control,
of course I am fully in control of my thoughts and
actions are completely my own invention, all my
own, I know who I am, what I want, where I’m
going so don’t tell me I’m not in control, my
friends all like me, for who I am, or are they
really a reflection of my own missions, ambitions
and do I support them against their enemies, who
they perceive, think, guess, assume I am against
… before another me arrived stage left, with
thoughts that are different from anything I had ever
espoused, before this moment all I ever wanted
was the next portion of life served up at a price.

Now, whilst ego may still be important, the only
status we need is to be alive, to live, all else is
immaterial. So, where is God? Where is salvation
for these sorry souls, faced with their mortality?
Then there was Samuel, who wrote of him, or
someone, who sounds like him, about people,
who wait forever, for a pot of gold, for a favour,
apparently owed, for an expectation assumed,
an entitlement thought to be a right, to enable a
mission, want, desire, dream, right of passage,
an explanation of it all … then I realised I didn’t
have a clue … what we were waiting for.

Now … this

© 2020, John Anstie

 

[Author’s note: We should never wait. We should absolutely not wait. Life is not going to be served up on a plate for us. I now know I’ve spent far too much of my life waiting for something that I was lead to expect would happen, something that would change my life for the better, that would magically transform me into the person I longed to be, or thought I longed to be, thought that I should be, according to the expectations I had grown up to believe I should have for myself, or that someone else had for me, that was apparently the key to success and happiness. And so it seemed to be … until, that is, I began to realise that I am, like every being, a unique organic entity, with a unique set of abilities and aptitudes. Then I started to believe I could make things happen for myself and stopped allowing myself to be influenced by the expectations of others, especially the (soon to be considered pariahs of modern materialistic society!) the marketing and advertising people, who want to make us believe in the idealised person we think we’d like to be, so as to persuade us to buy that nectar of the Gods, that machine that will revolutionise our life, that technology that will give us ultimate power of knowledge, those things that will make us the more attractive, that will pave the way to financial success, wealth, power and influence, simply by buying into their purveyance. How frail is the ego. How flawed is our search for status. How fragile is life and how much of a leveller is the Corona virus that will not select its victims according to status, but according the fact we are all organic beings. We are all humans, in need of purpose, compassion and love.]

Two plays by Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot” and “Happy Days,” are the original influence for this text.

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

Looking Glass by Clarissa Simmens

BEFORE

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

DURING

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

STRUGGLING

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

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

AFTER

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

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

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

First Shock – While I Wait for Time To Be by Anjum Wasim Dar

While I wait for time to be
the sun is high in the sky
heating every nook and sea
patience, patience is the key,

for I am fasting. A promise to
Thee, Master of the Day of Decree
when all of a sudden I see the news—
now its Italy…Oh Master, Mercy!

World under attack, not only one country!
Pandemic East to West, unseen virus—so many,
sincerity of peace, but what went wrong
on this side of the Earth—why did hatred increase?

This side was more free and wide and green,
a land of freedom, equality, and opportunity?
So much killing is insane, what will all that blood
gain, for whom the bell tolls now, again?

Why one dying is saved, and doctors applauded
ebola, dengue, acid victims, disabled, amputated…?
These are the same as war soldiers, injured,
no land is gained, no territory conquered.

Why then is humanity fearfully infected?
Life and Death is for the Master to set.
He is Most Gracious Merciful and Kind.
Then we, the humans have wandered blind—

from the straight path and the natural way,
a sign of end time when man with man will lay
and woman with woman will be one to stay—
while I wait for the sun to go down and rest—

disturbed, perturbed, painful. and hurt I am.
Weapons were not found on this planet but
berries, food, water. Fruit and peace was best.
Let us throw all weapons aside and rest,

abide by law, and meet as a world community
all together. Coming—a Holy Month of Peace Master
declared—not one but four when no killing be dared.
We ourselves are to blame for all this shame—

we are wrong—we need to sit, be humble, and think—
not stand or be proud and count the armored tanks.
Hurry People! Sit down, kneel, pray, forgive—we all are
dangerously at the end, at the edge, at the brink…

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

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
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  • 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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.