Posted in General Interest

Moshe’s House in Space, flash fiction and photography by Michael Dickel, artwork by Moshe Dickel

Author’s note: Sometimes, our children tell us things that they see or know, and we don’t have faith in our children’s senses. This is speculative fiction about climate change that suggests the children might yet show us a way, even if it is too late for us. This flash fiction appeared in The BeZine July 15, 2016. A somewhat different version of it originally appeared on Fragments of Michael Dickel (now called Meta/ Phor(e) /Play).
Ark-2 Digital Art from photos and sidewalk chalk Ark-2
Digital Art from photos and sidewalk chalk (photographed)
©2014 Michael Dickel

Moshe’s House in Space

Before, no sand swept through, no water splashed—a beach at driving distance, yes, but a long, long walk away. Before the three-year old’s stories, which I only half listened to: he was born in clouds before dinosaurs were alive; he died; “But now,” he said, “I’m becoming alive again.”

I thought a story he told me one morning came from his dreams.

He knew a dinosaur, he told me, with bright blue feathers in the day. At night it turned wooly and gray, to keep warm. The dinosaur had a name, Pollaydowen.

I thought, what an amazing imagination my three-year old son has, what colorful dreams.

He had other stories, about his house in space and all of the animals that lived there with him, a farm he had at this house. He went on and on with details—listing every animal we saw at the zoo, on farm visits, in books, on videos, on the internet; listing all of the plants and flowers he had heard of; listing creatures great and small in his lakes and seas.

How did he know all of them?

He insisted we should visit his house in space.

Then changes came suddenly, not slowly, as even the most pessimistic predictions had held. One day, news report said the sea covered beaches even at the lowest tides. The next week, waves washed across roads. Houses washed away. Whole neighborhoods of people could barely evacuate before the surf swallowed the land and their belongings.

The water washed sand over everything. The ozone layer shredded. Paint bubbled and peeled on cars, houses, government buildings. Everything and everyone aged.

Soon, sand dunes blew across the road in front of our house. The house looked like fifty years of neglect had settled in on it over the past few weeks.

That last day, my wife and I heard my son speaking in his room. And we heard another voice.

We went in. A bright blue flash turned toward us.

“We have to go,” my three-year old calmly explained, “now.”

“These sands end time here, the last to flow through the hour-glass,” the blue lizard-creature, Pollaydowen, added.

As we left the house, we trekked through hills of sand.

We returned once, to see what had happened.

I left this note for you who might find it, scratched in the walls, just in case anyone remains. We have an ark.

Photo ©2014 Michael Dickel
Photo ©2014 Michael Dickel

 

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest

The Honeymoon’s Over, a poem by John Anstie

Spring’s promise of high summer
has passed, the lush greens gone,
and now less vibrant. Parched.
Stale somehow. Disappointing.

The promise so much sweeter
than reality; the heady warmth;
sun filled days and mirage haze
the balmy heat, hot naked nights.

We should enjoy this time, by rights
but if it brings us closer to the fall;
the Autumn of our life, if that is all
then can we not enjoy the cooling

promised winter chill, another world,
its yielding to the blacks and whites
mysterious greys, the icy haze,
the freezing hibernation, preserving.

But no. An earlier Spring, that comes
too soon, and sooner still the melting
Arctic ice. One day, there’ll be no more
dreaming of a summer honeymoon.

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, Artists and Activists for Change, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Nature, poetry, trees, Writing

It’s Not Too Late, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft

This quarter’s BeZine, we are joining with 100TPC (100 Thousand Poets (and others) For Change. We’re celebrating in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, the amazing 16-year old climate change activist traveling by ship to attend two important global events: The Climate Action Summit in New York on September 21-23 and the UN Climate Conference in Santiago in December of 2019. Please read the September issue and enjoy the creations of artists, poets, musicians, writers and all manner of creative activists as we speak up for the planet! 🙂 Please join with us on the 28th for our Virtual 100TPC.

Natural Splendor
All photos in this image are mine except the smoky mountains at dawn, which is “Silhouette Of Mountains During Dawn” by cmonphotography from the free to use site Pexels.com. Link to photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-mountains-during-dawn-1809644/

I have been awestruck into silence beneath towering, emerald

Tree cathedrals. In shallow, turquoise, warm waters I’ve dived,

Swimming in shocked delight with giant, graceful, green turtles.

Navigating a steep cliff face with a foot-thick ship’s rope, I’ve

Observed the surf-pounded stones and sea lion caves below.

Thundering waterfalls have temporarily deafened me, as they

Transformed to swollen streams with cold, clear, melted snow.

Oh, fresh breaths of clean, mountain top air, taken away,

Overlooking panoramic views of violet and blue-fogged hills.

Listening to late evening concertos of crickets and frogs,

Awakens gratitude for Nature’s dynamic set of skills.

Tell all that Earth’s destroyers must now be Her demagogues!

Engage with more than platitudes and lukewarm dialogues.

~ © C.L.R. 2019

 

Posted in General Interest

Eco-Tourism and Jungle Law

We were grateful for bug screens on our trip to the Amazon, but the natural world often defies human-made barriers.

For instance, we shared The Hammock Room at the Research Center with a tarantula. He wasn’t as interested in us as we were in him.

It was a reminder to shake out our shoes each morning before getting dressed. Insects and critters found their way into our little sanctuary, but it was the ones I couldn’t see that bugged me.

We ventured into the jungle with Orlando, our guide. In spite of the heat and 90+ percent humidity, we covered as much skin as possible with clothing, and sprayed the rest with repellant. Nighttime mosquitoes carry malaria, daytime ones dengue fever, and I forget which ones carry yellow fever, but I didn’t want to be breakfast for anybody.

Below are a few of my own unofficial rules of the jungle for the timid traveler.

Rule of the Jungle #1– bring mosquito repellent!

Fallen trees and leaves, mud, and overnight storms in the tropical rainforest made hiking challenging.

We wore rubber boots to keep our feet dry.  Bea stepped in a puddle deeper than anticipated, and water poured into her boot.

Rule of the Jungle # 2–Watch your step!

Orlando uprooted several small trees, and cut the trunks off with his machete to make tea from the bark to relieve his mother’s arthritis.  He replanted the roots in the fertile soil, so the tree would survive.  Maybe the tea really was for his mom, but it was a tactful way of providing us with walking sticks to help balance on slippery walkways.

Rule of the Jungle #3–Take the hand extended to you, and be grateful for kindness in any form or guise.

So many trees and leaves were poisonous, covered with harmful insects or razor-sharp edges.  Another guest at the Research Center slipped and braced herself on a porcupine tree.  It left dozens of venomous barbs in in her hand, which swelled up painfully.  The nearest doctor was hours away, so her guide cut the barbs out with pins and a knife, and gave her anti-biotics.

Rule of the Jungle #4–Don’t touch ANYTHING!

Rule of the Jungle # 5–There are exceptions to any rule.

Orlando caught Olive Whip Snake with his bare hands.

He showed us how to handle a snake without getting bitten…

Orlando’s grandfather was a shaman. “My grandfather said if you can get a snake to wrap around you, it will become gentle and give you its energy.”  As soon as it wrapped around him, the snake grew calm, and then Orlando released it into a tree.

Rule of the Jungle #6–Be as open to new experiences as you can without endangering yourself or others.

Rule of the Jungle #7–Bring your camera!!

We caught many tantalizing glimpses of wildlife, but they were often quicker than I was when it came to focusing the camera.

However, some critters obligingly held still for me.

Occasionally I would be rewarded with a shot like this.

Or this….

Or this…

 

Or this…

 Or this…

Rule of the Jungle #8–Only you can know what it requires for you to glean the most meaning and satisfaction out of your jungle experience or your life.  Do no harm, be respectful, but make up your own rules, and break them whenever necessary.

All images and words copyright 2013 NaomiBaltuck

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, James R Cowles

Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

There’s certainly a warning here by our esteemed colleague, Jamies R. Cowles. It was originally published on our sister site, Beguin Again. / Jamie Dedes



The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie  – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now:  earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now comprise a bubble 200-plus light-years in diameter.)  We do not know, says Prof. Hawking, what sharks may inhabit the interstellar waters. (My analogy, not his.) So far, we have been safe. Except for the never-reproduced “Wow Signal”, for which a serious possible explanation has now been proposed, SETI researchers have so far not found any intelligent signal, using any kind electromagnetic energy, that so much as hints at an intelligent origin. The following is pure speculation on my part, albeit – so I would argue – intelligent and informed speculation, as to this eerie silence. Anyway, I submit the following for your consideration …

“Wow!” Signal

The evolution of an intelligent species – actually, any species – usually takes multiple millions, even billions, of years. I say “often” and not “always” because the speed with which a species evolves can be measured in days, perhaps even hours, if the evolving organism is simple enough.  Consider a flu virus comprising only several dozen base pairs. Add the adjective “intelligent” to the noun “species” and then we really are talking hundreds of millions, most likely billions, of years. It took about 4 billion years for the intelligent species homo sapiens sapiens to make an appearance on Planet Earth.

However … in terms of “boots on the ground” real time, evolution proceeds by fractions of a millimeter, temporally speaking.  The proto-hominid is concerned with finding enough wood to keep her / his family warm tonight, and perhaps for a couple nights in the future. S/He is likewise concerned with finding an area with abundant resources for hunting and gathering for perhaps a week or so in the future. Even when settled agricultural communities evolved, the primary emphasis was on this year’s harvest, and perhaps … maybe … next year’s. What is the point of all this? Only that the fraction-of-a-millimeter-at-a-time nature of evolution militates against anything that could reasonably be considered long-term planning. From the standpoint of survival and the propagation of one’s genes into the future, this is a good thing. A hunter-gatherer of, say, 100,000 years ago who paused to consider the long-term ecological effects of rampant deforestation, the poisoning of the atmosphere by wood smoke, the depletion of the oceans, etc., would probably be devoured by animals – or other hunter-gatherers – before s/he had a chance to reproduce, in which case I would not be around to write this “Skeptic’s” column and you would not be around to read it. At least in terms of earth-like intelligent life, it would appear that individual human beings, and human communities, are not “hard-wired” to reflexively consider The Big Picture. From a “boots on the ground” perspective, evolution has simply not equipped us to think in those terms. We can certainly learn to do so. But it does not come naturally. It is like learning to use your left hand if you are right-handed. Furthermore, this difficulty is reflected in our political institutions and our educational systems. Ditto economics. It is no accident that late capitalism does not encourage long-term planning – defined as time-frames measured in generations at least or centuries. As for millennia, i.e., the time-scale when climate change becomes glaringly, life-and-death critical … well … fugg-id-aboud-it!

Granted, I am referring now to terrestrial life, and to cognates thereof, i.e., to life that evolved on temperate, water-abundant earth-like planets, perhaps on a “super-earth”, orbiting a stable, main-sequence sun-like yellow-dwarf or red-dwarf star like our sun within that sun’s habitable zone. If the evolution of intelligent life on such earth-cognates was anything like the evolution of intelligent life on earth, then the environmental challenges we face on earth today would – so I would speculate – have their equivalents on those extraterrestrial worlds. So, from the standpoint of SETI, there is good news, but there also may be – remember, I am speculating here – bad news. The good news is that it is reasonable to conclude that, in the Milky Way Galaxy, there are around 2 billion earth-like planets (“earth cognates” in my terminology), but perhaps as many as 17 billion or even 100 billion. The bad news is that, for the reasons I have outlined above, the challenges posed for the evolution of intelligent life may be as difficult for beings inhabiting those planets as they are for us. (And remember: this is assuming the existence of intelligent life to begin with, i.e., discounting the “rare-earth hypothesis”, which is by no means a crackpot opinion.) Assuming that the laws of chemistry, physics, and celestial mechanics are the same everywhere, it is reasonable to conclude that our own environmental challenges on earth would have their equivalents on those alien worlds. So the key question in assessing the likelihood of the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in our Galaxy is:  are there evolutionary regimes that result in brains whose “hard-wiring” is more congenial to long-term – as defined above – planning? I mean planning in time-frames commensurate with large-scale changes in the home planet’s environment.

Desert Drought Dry Elephant Global Warming

Forms of socio-political organization also enter the mix. Serious question:  to what extent, if any, is an emphasis on individuality, individual rights, individual liberty – basically, the presuppositions of an “Enlightenment-centric” socio-political culture – compatible with long-term planning for the survival of the species when challenged by incipient catastrophies like climate change? Maybe dealing with these challenges requires that intelligent species develop, if they have not done so earlier, forms of social organization similar to, e.g., the “formics” in the Ender’s Game / Speaker for the Dead cycle of novels, or the Borg Collective of Star Trek, or the Caretakers who used – but did not build – the wormhole subway in Carl Sagan’s incomparable science-fiction novel Contact. Or, less benevolently, the Dark Ones of Babylon 5 or the malignant alien collective that launched the planet-devouring self-replicating Von Neumann machines in Greg Bear’s The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars. Without in any way advocating for such a collectivist polity, a lucidly honest historical assessment would certainly indicate that trying to induce human beings to unite for collective action to confront a common danger is pretty much like herding cats … and feral cats, at that … unless the end-in-view is the apocalyptic and uncompromising destruction of some human enemy. Think “Manhattan Project.” That kind of cooperation we are damned good at! Climate change / global warming? Well … maybe not so much.

Back in the ’60s, the astronomer Frank Drake formulated the by-now-classical Drake equation, which attempts to quantify the number of intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy by factoring in quantitative estimates of the various coefficients that combine to produce intelligence in various planets’ species. I like to think of the Drake equation as analogous to the design of a digital circuit, with various “gates” — AND gates, OR gates, NAND gates, XOR gates, etc., etc., — that determine whether a given species achieves intelligence and a technological civilization capable of communicating with other intelligent species inhabiting planets and evolving their own civilizations. Many of the factors in the classical Drake equation are obvious, e.g., the rate of planet formation in a star’s habitable zone (however one might define that), the fraction of planets that actually evolve life, the fraction that evolve intelligent life, etc., etc. The historical trend strongly suggests that we have greatly underestimated the number and type of relevant coefficients in the Drake equation. For example, I would suggest that one such overlooked coefficient — one that I have never seen acknowledged in the literature — is the fraction of planets whose axis of rotation is stabilized by the presence of a large moon and the influence of other, probably gas-giant, planets in the same star-system. (An example of where the absence of these factors is critical is Mars. Mars only has two little pebbles for moons, Deimos and Phobos, and so Mars’ axis of rotation has, over the millennia, precessed perhaps 90 degrees, and the climatic variations would virtually preclude the evolution of intelligent life. By contrast, earth has a very large moon and is farther away from Jupiter, with the result that earth’s axis of rotation is stable enough to ensure a stable climate congenial to the evolution of intelligence.) Bottom line:  it is reasonable to conclude that the proportion of intelligent species capable of taking the long view, of planning for the future in terms, not of years or even of generations, but at least of centuries would have a critical bearing on whether a given “candidate” species achieved intelligence and survived long enough to develop space travel and a sophisticated communication technology. This is perhaps one missing coefficient in the classical Drake equation:  the percentage of species that have evolved intelligence sufficient to engage in long-range planning.

Radio Telescope Antennas Bure Peak

But our response — or lack thereof — to climate change strongly suggests that we may in perhaps a century, maybe less, encounter a break point where our endemic inability to take future centuries, even future millennia, into proper account may render us a footnote in some hypothetical Sagan-esque Galactic survey. We have to overcome the short-sightedness selected into us by the imperatives of evolution. So far, there have been five mass extinction events in earth’s history. We may well be in the middle of the sixth. Granted, some of these were unavoidable, e.g., the end-Permian catastrophe 250 million years ago. Others, if they occurred today, might be preventable, given long-term planning, e.g., the Chicxulub event 65 million years ago. But all would require a capacity for long-range planning for which we humans have thus far shown little aptitude or inclination.

So perhaps now we have the answer to Dr. Fermi’s question of “Where is everyone?”. Perhaps the eerie silence we detect with our radio telescopes is mute testimony to the scarcity of intelligent species that evolved an intelligence, and the accompanying social and political organizations, sufficient to deal with multiple-millennia-long threats to those species’ existence. Maybe the Universe is silent because, thanks to the in-built limitations inherent in evolution, intelligent species’ own short-sightedness caught up with them.

© 2019, James R. Cowles

Image credits

“Wow” signal … North American Astrophysical Observatory … Public domain
SETI logo … SETI Institute … Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Radio telescopes … Bure Peak Observatory … Public domain
Drake equation … Mohammad Alrohmany … Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Human evolution … Wellcome Images … Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Global warming map … Environmemtal Protection Agency … Public domain
Desert and tree … Max Pixel … Public domain
Two planets … Pixabay … Public domain

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Event/s, General Interest

U.N. CLIMATE SUMMIT 2019, “A Race We Can Win”

Flag of the United Nations / public domain

The United Nations has opened additional places for civil society groups to participate in the 2019 Climate Action Summit, in recognition of the crucial role of civil society in driving forward urgent climate action.

Successful applicants will join global leaders in the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on September 23, as well as working meetings across the Summit’s key action areas, to be held on September 21 and 22.

These places are in addition to more than 200 invitations that are already being issued to civil society representatives, including over 100 youth representatives. More than 600 young people will also participate in the Secretary-General’s Youth Climate Summit at UN Headquarters on 21 September.

The announcement is being made in conjunction with the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference, which was held in Salt Lake City from 26 to 28 August, convened by the UN’s Department of Global Communications.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba said the UN was responding to the overwhelming demand for increased participation from civil society.

“With carbon pollution increasing and the global thermometer rising, we are seeing the impacts of climate change getting worse every day, causing huge damage to people, communities, and ecosystems everywhere. But the movement to tackle climate change is gaining momentum, as people and organizations everywhere are demanding action. The Climate Action Summit will be a moment for civil society to join with leaders from across government and politics to push climate action into a higher gear.  The voices, solutions, and engagement of civil society are more vital than ever.”

HEADS-UP: SEPTEMBER 5 DEADLINE

Civil society groups – in all countries and across all fields – who are working to drive forward positive climate actions and solutions are encouraged to apply for the additional positions by submitting a short written submission by September 5 at https://reg.unog.ch/event/31641/.
Applications will be assessed by a panel consisting of UN representatives leading broader engagement with civil society and experts on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The application review process will take into account gender and regional balance when assessing candidates. Reviewers will also recognize the resilience and leadership of individuals from marginalized and vulnerable communities, including but not limited to indigenous and tribal communities, people living with disabilities, refugees, LGBTQ and otherwise. Candidates must also clearly demonstrate a commitment to addressing the climate crisis and advancing solutions, including through leadership positions, partnerships with other stakeholders, and evidence of impact.

Successful applicants will be notified by September 9.

For media inquiries and interview requests on this announcement, please contact:

Dan Shepard, UN Department of Global Communications: shepard@un.org
Esra Sergi, UN Department of Global Communications: sergie@un.org
For media inquiries on the United Nations Civil Society conference, please contact:

Felipe Quipo, UN Department of Global Communications: queipo@un.org

Follow @ladealba on Twitter for the latest news on the Climate Action Summit.

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, General Interest

100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Compilation & Curriculum

September 23rd – September 28th 2019

The compilation and curriculum are the result of a collaboration among 100,000 Poets for Change, Florida State University, and Reading Is Fundamental with selections from The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection of Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Download the Poetry Compilation for Readers.pdf

Download the curriculum Simple ways to make poetry engaging 2.0  and the poetry workbook.

Freely accessible Sound Cloud playlist of 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Initiative

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Freely Accessible Sound-Cloud Playlist for 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Week Initiative, courtesy Michael Dickel and Randy Thomas

READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

Sep 23 at 12 PM – Sep 28 at 11 PM EDT

August 26, 2019: THANKS to Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) for putting together this post for us on behalf of The BeZine  and for his interview of Randy Thomas. This post was originally done for last year’s event, but the SoundCloud playlist is still up and has grown a bit. I’m posting it today to remind you of this charming resource. / Jamie Dedes



A SoundCloud playlist!

August 2018: Thanks to 100 Thousand Poets for Change co-founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, and especially to our 100TPC friend, Voice-Over legend Randy Thomas, we have the honor of presenting a compilation of children’s poems read by master Voice Artists and created for the 100TPC community in support of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Read A Poem To A Child initiative. / Michael Dickel


Randy Thomas and the other voice actors / voice over artists in the playlist (further down) volunteered their talent and time to Read a Poem to a Child!

Thomas started her career as a radio personality and DJ in New York, LA, Detroit, and Miami. She’s announced for the Oscars, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Entertainment Tonight, The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, The Kennedy Center Honors, and much more. You likely have heard her announce:

“You’re watching Entertainment Tonight!”

or

“Live from Hollywood, it’s the Academy Awards!”

Voice Announcer Randy Thomas
Source


The BeZine asked Randy Thomas a couple of questions about how this came to be:

The BeZineWhat inspired you to organize these wonderful readings by VO artists for Read a Poem for a Child?

Randy ThomasI am always intrigued when invited to use my voice in a positive way that gives back to the community. My dear friend Michael Rothenberg, a world-renown poet told me about his effort to share a poem with a child during one specific week. He found interest from all over the world. It’s wonderful.

The BeZine: You have inspired a number of voice artists to contribute their voices—how did that happen?

Randy ThomasThe Facebook community of voice actors and friends that I have seemed to rally behind this idea. We all have our own audio booths to record quality audio in, and they are all being so generous with their time and Voice sharing these poems. I am proud to have played a small part in this beautiful effort.

You can hear the amazing results below, in the embedded SoundCloud playlist.


Please feel free to play these recordings
for children around the world!

These may be played right here from this post or go HERE.



Thank you Randy Thomas
and brilliant VO artists
for sharing your talent for the children!



All audio ©2018 by the individual Voice Artists.
Poetry copyright belongs to the poet
or other current copyright holder.

Post text ©2018 TheBeZine.com and 100TPC.org
Link-sharing of the SoundCloud playlist is allowed.
Link-sharing or credited re-blogging of this post is allowed.
Readings in the playlist are provided for free personal use,
not for commercial purposes or paid events.
The audio may not be recorded or redistributed in any form
other than a link to SoundCloud without permission of the voice artist(s).

Posted in General Interest

dreamcatcher

Another lovely from Zine friend, Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 2018

The shape of the dreamcatcher is a circle because it represents the circle of life and how forces like the sun and moon travel each day and night across the sky. The dreamcatcher web catches the bad dreams during the night.

The night air is filled with good and bad dreams. The legend of the dreamcatcher is that it captures the bad spirits and filters them in so protecting us from evil and letting through only the good dreams.   It is believed that each carefully woven web will catch bad spirit dreams in the web and disappear by perishing with the first light of the morning sun.

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Posted in General Interest

desert walker

Gretchen del Rio’s art and Rumi’s words. What can get better than that?

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 7/2019

‘Wash yourself of yourself

A white flower grows in the stillness’

    …….rumi

purchase this painting

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Posted in General Interest

spirit of the snowy owl

More peace and inspiration from Southern California Artist, Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 7/2014 watercolor aceo 7/2014

Owl is feminine, moon, magic, prophecy, wisdom. She carries a message.
There is a river of birds in migration…..
A nation of women with wings’
 
    Libana, A Circle is Cast

purchase this painting

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Posted in General Interest

CELEBRATING MOTHERS EVERYWHERE: A Special Mini Edition of The BeZine

“My mother: She is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” Judi Picoult


Dedicated  to moms everywhere and in every time

I live in the United States where we traditionally celebrate Mothers’ Day in May, but the acknowledgment of mothers, mothering, and maternal bonds is not unique to this time and place. Simply put, Mothers’ Day in the U.S. reminds me to do something special and always this recognition includes all those fathers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, older siblings and family friends … sometimes even teachers or neighbors … who fulfill the role of mother for those children who have lost theirs.

Truth to tell, this is an accidental edition of The BeZine, totally spontaneous. I asked our core team if anyone had mom material at the ready. I was thinking in terms of one or two blog posts. Some did and, as though my mind was read, a couple of writers coincidentally contacted me asking if I would publish a poem they’d written for their mother or for Mothers’ Day.  Why not? I put out a call to a few other gracious people and voilà! … an unexpected delight.

These are largely poems of love and gratitude (grab a hankie) including a sweet and well-written poem from Kennedy Stewart, our youngest contributor yet. Please enjoy this charming and thoughtful compilation and forgive me for making a quick and casual job of it.

Thanks to all our devoted, generous, and prescient contributors.

Illustration courtesy of Mohamed Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan, Public Domain Pictures.net

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
and in the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents or you can click HERE and scroll through the entire zine.

The Ballad of Stabat Mater, John Anstie

His Mother Bellows, Paul Brookes

Magnum Opus, Naomi Baltuck

Disjunction (in English and Albanian), Frank Buzhala

Your Magic, Loving, Linda Chown

Out of the Womb of Time, Jamie Dedes

A Separate Peace, Jamie Dedes

Your Mother Is Always with You, Isadora de la Vega

Tribute, Sharon Frye

Those Before Me, Sharon Frye

Letter to My Mother: The Only Inhabitant of Heaven, Iulia Gherghei

Conflict, Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

“Broken Homes” … Single Moms, Remarkable Son, Gil Scott-Heron

My Mother’s, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov)

The Apple and the Tree, Kennedy Stewart

Mothers’ Day, Different Thoughts, Anjum Wasim Dar


The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be (the subscription feature is below and to your left.)

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

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.

Posted in General Interest

Resistance is NOT Futile

Writing Between the Lines

All the stars and planets were aligned…Just after the election I had a birthday, which I share with my binary brother, Lewis.  In sixty years, we’ve never spent a birthday apart.  Like so many of us, he was shocked, saddened, crushed by the election results.  There was only one thing to do.  We played space age hooky, beamed him out of the office and transported ourselves to the Seattle Center.

Specifically, to the EMP, which is celebrating 50 years of Star Trek.

I hardly remember life before Star Trek. And talk about The Next Generation! My children absorbed Star Trek by osmosis in utero. As I ascended the stairs to the EMP tribute, the Star Trek theme song elicited a visceral response that only gets stronger as I get older.  I’ve lived long enough now to see many of these stories played out on my planet in real time.


The Star Trek universe was built…

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Posted in General Interest

follow the turquoise sun

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 5/2018

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As you walk upon the sacred earth, treat each step as a prayer.

…….Black Elk

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Posted in General Interest

Please Support 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change

Let’s make sure we can keep on keeping on …

Cofounder Michael Rothenberg, is celebrating his birthday by asking for donations to 100 Thousand Poets for Change. He’s chosen this nonprofitContinue Reading

$58 raised of $500 at the time of this posting.

100 Thousand Poets for Change
US 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization
Posted in General Interest

ghost of the woods

Another beauty from Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 1/2019

These big cats are called Puma, Cougar or Mountain Lion. They are solitary animals.  Her power comes as she moves through the world unseen, taking only what she needs, and silently marking territory so conflicts won’t be necessary. She is a ghost of the woods just like your soul is.

 When I lived in the mountains she had her den across the road and down hill a bit. Despite being practically on my doorstep I never, ever saw her. Just paw prints. I use ‘she’ because female seems appropriate.

And…yes….they are facing extinction.

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Posted in General Interest

This is not a poem by Anthony Anaxagorou

Worth your time. Thanks to Anthony Anazogrou for the writing and Reuben Woolly for the publication.

I am not a silent poet

This is not a poem
and I am not a poet
 ……
when I’m unable to find a better way of saying that in 2012
48 people in Great Britain were killed by guns
and 120 women killed by the hands of their beloved partners.
 ……
I am not a poet
 ……
when I can’t find a more beautiful way to say
that no nation in the world imprisons as many members of its population
as America does
 ……
that more Black men in the U.S are incarcerated today
than what they were during the peak of South Africa’s apartheid
no
 ……
I am not a poet
……..
when I can’t find clever words to illustrate the fact
that before 2008 Nelson Mandela had been on America’s list
of most dangerous terrorists for over 60 years
…….
that Cameron is a liar, that Cameron was a key member
of the…

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Posted in General Interest, Spiritual, Spiritual Practice

Implicit Bias in Sacred Stories

From my daily practice today, I encountered implicit bias. Implicit bias is: “The attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.  Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.  Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.

The dude in today’s story needs the reiteration of another dude to understand and hear the woman. There you have it.

A Few Key Characteristics of Implicit Biases from the Kirwan Institute:

  • Implicit biases are pervasive.  Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
  • Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs.  They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
  • The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
  • We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
  • Implicit biases are malleable.  Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.

Given the events of last week in which implicit bias is seen all over the news (we have seen the news of the 11 Jews gunned down in Pittsburgh and held vigils, but have we seen the news of the 2 black folks gunned down in Kentucky by a white nationalist? And the reticence to label it as a hate crime, although the police are now investigating it as such-after public pressure.  And the dude had tried to enter a traditional black church to gun down folks before he settled on the grocery store.

And implicit bias affects how these killers were taken in. They are both alive and untouched. And yet we hear the call all the time with regard to people of color who are shot and killed–we must keep the community safe–we had no choice but to kill this man in his own backyard (Stephan Clark) or we had no choice but to kill this cooperating man in his own car (Philando Castile). Surely, if they couldn’t be “taken alive,” then two mass murders … well, you know. They were white. Implicit bias affects how we treat and approach folks. If there is bias in favor of whiteness, they there is a chance of having a kinder, gentler approach taken that allows life to continue on. Anyway, my rant of the day.

Onward to my daily practice that instigated it all!

Altar’s smoke rises
Blurring earth and the cosmos
Connecting us all

[end]

Judges 13
This is the beginning of the story of Sampson of the tale of the super strong guy who lost his strength when his wife cut all his hair off.

I was so excited by his birth story that I didn’t read through to the entire allegory. Because, #biblegeek. Come on!

Anyway, I forgot the bit about his parents not having children and that they entertained a stranger who told them they would have a child anyway. Hmm…who does this sound like? Sarah and Abraham? And later, Elizabeth and Zechariah? Miraculous birth stories abound!

What I had remembered was that Sampson was pledged to be a Nazarite from birth. In Numbers 6, the rules for being a Nazarite for “men and women” is revealed. I even looked in the KJV version…the inclusion of women was not a modern-day inclusion. It was there from the beginning. The basic rules for Nazarites was no cutting of hair, no drinking of alcoholic beverages, no going near dead people, dedicated to God.

What I liked most about this story was the birth story and the messenger of God that came to Manoah and his wife (another unnamed woman in the Bible). The messenger goes to Mrs. Manoah first. Then manoah who doesn’t get it and needs clarification and asks for the messenger to come talk to him directly.

Manoah asks the “messenger” to stay so they can have a goat together and the “messenger” says, “No, make a burnt offering to the LORD.” So they do that and when the flames and smoke rises, the “messenger” rises up into the heavens along with the smoke (hence today’s drawing).

Then Manoah declares, “We’ve seen God.” The messenger wasn’t a messenger, it was God.

The leadership challenge may be one of implicit bias. Do we let implicit bias drive our “double checking” of voices (like Mrs. Manoah’s voice) or do we believe them?

Peace,

Rev. Terri Stewart

Note: Terri (a.k.a. Clocked Monk) is a pastor in the United Methodist Church at the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s Youth Chaplaincy Coalition. She is the founder of Beguine Again, focusing on spritual practice and ideals. Terri is a member of the Zine’s core team. Beguine Again is the sister site to The BeZine. ./ Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

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