Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

The Road to Zvegona, a poem by Poet-in-Exhile Mbizo Chirasha; Update on Mbizo’s situation

See a procession of young mothers chattering their way
From water fountains in grenade torn sandals
And blood laced bras
Decade of Bullets, Mbizo Chirasha



Is fading the memory of its son,
Who for words must ride the night
Fleeing ears that hear thunder on a babies purity guggle,
Zvegona, my homestead,
Ancestors are watching
Elders on a scheming mission
Trading lies with more lies
The road to Zvegona
Your Sideroads sigh
Your song is silent
Only hiccups of mothers greet the sun
Yearning for the return of the bearded child
Who lives on the strings of truth
Truth refused a seat at the council of baboons on the lagoons
Goons settling scores on the assumptions that a boy has a price,
Well, the boy true has a price
But not one you can pay with looted coins
The boy has shaved his hair not his brains
The boy has slipped his boots on and truth has raised its flag
And the spirits of truth sing his Achilles heels on,
So Zvegona, the village of the lucky poet,
Grow thistles and thorns
Feed cattle and goats
The boy has shaved his beard
Ready for a walk back, to shave the land of all pretentious shenanigans
Uprooting the weeds and weevils
Repair the kraal too,
Where roosters shall announce light unto the land,
Currently bent double under the gargantuan weight of lying tongues.
Zvegona, you are my yesterday
Zvegona, you are my tomorrow in whatever form, shape or …….

© 2019, Mbizo Chirasha

UPDATE ON MBIZO

Mbizo is still in hiding with irregular access to water, food, computer and Wifi. Nonetheless, he continues working at his mission including  NOTICE FREEDOM VOICES PRIZE  and BRAVE VOICES POETRY JOURNAL and Womawords Literary Press.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The first New Look Brave Voices Poetry Journal will be out by the 15th of December 2019. It is a Christmas gift. Our deadline for articles [and poetry] is the 10th of December 2019. We look  forward to contributions and features with a length of 1500 words. You can send these in the body of mail with photos as attachments. Please include your publishable photos and a fifteen line bio to bravevoicespoetry@gmail.com

Yours creatively ,
Mbizo Chirasha- Brave Voices Poetry Journal Curator

We’ve received letters of support to go in Mbizo’s applications for grants and safe harbor, but the Go-Fund-Me effort is still not to goal, which would provide for the immediate need for pantry staples, computer, and so forth. Without predictable computer access, Mbizo has not yet been able to do his interview with the Canadian radio show, though the offer still stands.

International Human Rights Festival, the entity that sponsored Mbizo’s Go-Fund-Me, has attracted $480 and raised the goal to $750.  They have cut him some partial funding for now.  Meanwhile, folks, I suggest that if enough of us donated the price of one morning latte, we’d make the goal.  What do you say? A whole bunch of tidbits would combine for a whole lot of success. You can make your donation anonymously HERE.

If you are able and interested in helping in any way, you can contact Mbizo directly at: girlchildcreativity@gmail.com

– Jamie Dedes

“We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA.” Mbizo Chirasha

RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), 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 poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

Of ReGimes, ReRuns, and My Birth, Poems by Mbizo Chirasha

A demonstration in London against Robert Mugabe. Protests are discouraged by Zimbabwean police in Zimbabwe. / Photo courtesy of woWings under  CC BY-SA 2.5  license.


– Mbizo Chirasha

I was born in this month – the month of bitterness, violence and numbness. In this month the Soweto died in a reckless killing by the apartheid regime. What a fuss , horrible. Yes we live to forgive – with memories haunting peasant iron-hoe skulls. We celebrate the DAY OF AFRICAN CHILD.

In the year of the blood ballot, in my country, a country once the honey hive and the breadbasket of the African continent, blood flooded villages, death rained our valleys, tears dripped the aged and wrinkled of the war tired poor patriots – CODE named the Re-RUN- JUNE 27 2008. Those who were perceived as reckless voters had their not-voting-good hands chopped off. Grief engulfed the land whose belly is pregnant with uranium, gold, diamond, emerald, and copper. The masses are hungry, tired of abuse and corruption. Tired of the MADNESS!

I was born in a sweet – bitter month – June. My mother remembers that the night of my coming to this earth. It was raining. It was after a brutal pungwe, after vanamukoma varova vatengesi namatanda, vanamukoma vamboimba. After a dinner of village goat meat, lashes and songs. What a PARADOX!. Bullets shelled that night resonating with claps of thunder. As war rained, winter rained rained. A Life was born – a booming voice, charcoal black veil, a tight fist clutching talents, hopes, dreams, words. WORDS!

I feel to recollect some of the poems i shared some years ago.



POEMS

DEAR COMMISSAR.

Dear commissar
my poetry is
political baboons puffing wind of vendetta
splashes of sweet flowing buttock valleys of pay less city labourers
rough crackling red clay of sanctions smashing poverty corrupted face of my village
presidential t shirt tearing across bellies of street hustlers
mute bitter laughter of political forests after the falling of political lemon trees

Dear commissar
my poetry is
foot signatures of struggle mothers and green horns
bewitched by one party state cocaine
new slogan hustlers boozing promises after herbal tea of change rhetoric
street nostrils dripping stink and garbage
tears chiseling rocky breasts of mothers who lost wombs
in the charcoal of recount

Dear commissar
my poetry is
rhythm of peasant drums dancing the new gimmick
unknowingly
political jugglers eating voter drumsticks after another ballot loot.

ZIMBABWE
harare tonight you sleep a full sleep, may be
after a sunset of a nationalist and democrat table talk
cactus and roses blooming together
your sunshine eaten by rough talk and hate verbs
pavements designed by banana peels and potholes extended from
robot less highways
that beggar still linger around the freedom corner/julius nyerere avenue
the blind woman grioting around liberation street/herbert chitepo

Bulawayo your sacredness is bound
by bones of mzilikhazi and breath of lobengula
place of killing , dissidents and innocents
died when bullet wind swept your nights
tell me how many times you coughed blood
a place of kings , Ntabazinduna

Kwekwe
your intestines pregnant with gold ,copper , iron and more
heart of the nation
where soils heave with wealth
crocodiles depleted your dignity
leopards stole the color of your rhythm
flex your muscles and claim your heartbeat

Masvingo Ezimbabwe
great zimbabwe,pride robbed
changamire and mutapa turning their in magic stones
inflation eroded your pride
corruption rode your back
blood corroded your dignity
cry for a ceremonial cleansing
land of sacred , land of rituals
land of silence

Mutare
mist of inyanga sneeze glee and laughter in your back
while chimani mani cough out threats and thoughts
lungs of marange choking with diamonds
corrupted fields
defamed wealth
here in the land of the east , i see
the scarred face of the sun
chopped breasts of the moon
villagers tired of toyi toyi
patriots damned by hunger
peasants freezing in propaganda
revolutions eating kindergartens
butcheries of human flesh
winter elections erected poverty.

Gweru
i see uniform less children trudging through
winter corridors, barefooted
you are colder than joburg,though emotions
boiled during elections
cockroaches breeding other cockroaches in
once midlands hotel
emptiness , hunger ,cold and thoughts
city of progress , rewrite your progress

Rushinga
death threatened even the dead and their shadows
when struggle returned back to war
on the road again fighting enemies of the state their sons
perfume of human flesh roasting in charcoal of violence
March was cruel than april
this season was a parody of nazi hitler

Kariba
i like how zambezi vomit fish
crocodiles eating rot and sun
hippos dancing the moonshine
zambia whispering copper in your ears
you are regaining your light.
zimbabwe
let fabrics of madness bleach in acid of reason.

FREEDOM DISCORD

children will not go down with the sinking sun
sacrificed on altars of ambition
crucified buy forces of expediency
tear graffiti scrawling
on debris of their slums of poverty and hovels of crime
we are children born out of the hot sun of Sahara and burning sands of Kalahari

we belong to the semen and condom drunk streets of home
womb of our past explode with souls of martyrs and bones of freedomites choked by ropes of stigmatization
we are morphine -fuelled and marijuana
doped youngsters whose praise
and freedom is robbed by slogan fraudsters

we are dogs breakfasting
from cucumbers and feasting condoms for supper
children of pandemic genocided villages
slaves of sugar and blood
never fondled the breasts of freedom
licked the tears of our mothers
have no dignity to celebrate
we are souls blighted in sufferings
bring us nanobitas of democracy
not shigellas of autocracy.

© 2019, poems and photos, Mbizo Chirasha
““““““
RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), 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 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 John Anstie, Poems/Poetry

New Year

Same Rivers, New Waters …

Last year passed the golden glove
You know, the one with a fist of iron.
She wanted no more of it. Nor I.
Those glossy, glittering, glistening,
shining products of a golden age
had lost their sheen and the age of
growth and worshipping at the alter of
God. Demands. Profit. … is so last year.

Meanwhile, in the town, at Star Books,
reading over our tax-free coffee,
batting ideas on who could pay the bill
and how you make your money work,
if only we had some …

Consumption was her daily bread
and the disease that strangled
generations, who died of terminal debt.

The improper death of innocents,
but where is their misplaced virtue.
Are they free of blame … still free?
May be no more, and yet we must
pay due heed to plant the seed of hope.
To fight for nourishment forgone.
It might have been the will of the people,
but, for folk who step into the same rivers,

ever newer waters flow …

© 2019 John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer, poet and musician –  a multi-talented gentleman self-described, at various times as a ” Husband, Family man, Grandfather, Father, Son, Brother, sort of Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, AppleMac user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has (variously) participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and as a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011.

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

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

The Protagonist

I am a beacon of hope,
on a wet and rainy day.
While forming a shelter
from heaven’s tears
and clouds subject to decay.

I am always on hand,
where ever droplets can be found,
so take me for granted
because I’ll always be around.

excerpt from sunburst published by xlibris

© 2005, Laura Minning

LAURA MINNING (BRC Art & Poetry) began writing creatively at the age of nine. She’s become an award-winning published poet and author since that time. All in all, she’s had one-hundred and nine individual poems, six articles, four books, three short plays and one piece of prose published both in hard copy and on-line. Her work has been featured in publications like “Literature Today”, “Amulet” and “Slate and Style”.

Laura received her first Editor’s Choice Award in 1993 for “bronx zoo” and her first International Merritt of Poetry Award in 1995 for “introspection” by the National Library of Poetry. Poetry.com recognized her work a decade later by granting her the title of International Poet of the Year.

Laura’s artistic accomplishments have been equally impressive. She’s had one-hundred and three original pieces exhibited and fifty-six images published. Her work has been displayed at venues like the VMFA Studio School, Trenton Free Public Library and Barcode.

The Barcode exhibit featured thirty-six pieces of Laura’s artwork during the month of February in 2016. Four pieces were sold over the course of opening weekend, and the exhibition was sponsored by Bacardi.

As a person with low vision and blindness, Laura hopes to inspire other creative people to never allow anything to hinder them from reaching for the stars and accomplishing their dreams If you were to ask her about her creative successes, she would tell you that the difficult is but the work of the moment, and the impossible takes a little longer.

 

 

 

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry

O Jerusalem

I run from your city streets
where the Laws are too bright and hot,
the Shadows too hard, sure, possessed.
I run into the cool shade of your forest,
taking refuge like the birds.
(There are no knives in the forest.
Blood is shed here only as it must be shed.)
Not for bathing, drinking, celebrating.
The boundaries of wooded shade are deeply threatened,
Jerusalem,
as blood replaces even the rain,
as Laws turn into blood.

Originally published in the Journal of Jungian Scholarly Studies, 2017, Vol.12, Theme: Earth/Psyche  (The poem refers to the genuine threat of losing a forest in Jerusalem city proper)

© 2019, Judy Capurso

JUDITH CAPURSO  writes and works in the Catskill Mountains.
In and out through waitress, musician, wife, parent, librarian, poetry teacher, caregiver, script reader, archivist, she continues to “stumble along between the immensities”.
Posted in Poems/Poetry

..the burning… a poem by Sonja Benskin Mesher

My apologies to Sonja and to readers. This poem was scheduled to appear in the March 2019 issue of the Zine, themed Waging Peace. Somehow it dropped out of the line-up. It’s an excellent poem and I know you’ll find yourself touched. / J.D.



he said the flames

came over the trees.

behind the buildings.

bombed the buildings.

so do not wonder why

i don’t play soldiers,

lay them down to die.

he says that i will not battle,

i am no good at it.

too peaceful. i can play

hospitals.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA UA
Sonja Benskin Mesher‘s (sonja-benskin-mesher.net) is a woman of many talents including Asemic Writing. You’ll find samples of her Asemic Writing by rummaging around HERE. Sonja’s bio is HERE.
Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

revisioning, a poem

“Every day brings a choice, to practice stress or to practice peace.” Joan Borysenko, the author of A Woman’s Book of Life 



a shadow walking
in the quake of my steps
a tattered pad and pen,
old hands taking notes,
random thoughts and
oddly paced prayers,
misspelling the past,
scribbling the future in
lines dim, ungrammatical,
lacking any cadence

in a waking moment,
i amend the notes, seize
the present, edit history,
writing complete sentences,
grammatically precise,
organically composed,
a latter-day revisioning

© 2018, Jamie Dedes


LAST CALL

For those who weren’t able to share their work in honor of 100,000 Poets and Others For Change – or even fave pieces on theme (Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice) by other authors – YOU still have time to do so but toMORROW is the last day. Instructions in the post explain how to share your poems or other art … check it out

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Metaphysical Matters

The door resembled a strawberry,
a scraped bloody red nontheatrical access.
We paused, checked for cameras
recordings or real dogs barking nothing new.
My wife is a nurse and burdened,
determined to help if such a thing is classifiable.
Her client, Rosa, was happy to see us.
She smelled of lavender,
an air freshener stuck to her bathrobe.
My wife checked Rosa’s blood pressure.
Medications taken daily and duly checked off.
Rosa interpretatively made us a cup of tea,
half dancing her way to the kitchenette.
Her son would occasionally visit
to look in and sleep on the couch.
He wasn’t well himself and couldn’t help.
We ran a bath and Rosa was soon cleaner by a week.
Rosa didn’t know the day or the date,
but she could pronounce Ricardo Montalban
then enthusiastically rise to her feet.

© 2018, Colin James

COLIN JAMES has a book of poems, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives in Massachusetts………..direct link to SMP titles
Posted in General Interest, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Sustainability

Autumn milkweed

When I die, bury my body
amid a pile of leaves,
then go home.
Plant clematis vines along fences,
fill the rest of your yard
with only native flowers
that will desire compost—
tend them lovingly,
as though you had cared for me.

—Michael Dickel
©2007


This poem is in the forthcoming collection of Michael Dickel’s poetry, Nothing Remembers.

Originally published online in: Abramelin: the Journal of Poetry and Magick. E.V. 2(1) Winter (2007).

Thanks to Tereza Joy Kramer for helpful comments and edits.

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Raised Hands

Over oceans of ideas, cultures, countries
raised hands rise to support, supplant
the rulers whether democrats, dictators
oligarchs they face each other for a time
then time rolls on fading them into
sepia images rattling history.

They leave a thread of wounds and horror
littering the globe with tears, mourning hands
uplifted, pleading for justice, return of lands
even from long forgotten graves they rise:

but the hands unnoticed rise to comfort
from hearts torn in silent breasts
calling in deeds of kindness to the outcast
defying the power of the tyrant unopposed.

© 2018, Carolyn O’Connell

CAROLYN O’CONNELL lives in Ham, Richmond, Surrey in South London and started to write poetry after working in the Civil Service and the RNIB. She is a member of the Ormond Poetry Group and also a member of her local W.I. She works with Richmond Libraries to promote poetry and has lead workshops, hosted at The Tea Box in Richmond and been a Guest Read at Rhythm & Muse. Having worked on the poetry pRO project her poems have been translated into Romanian and broadcast on Romania radio via the Translation Café of the University of Bucharest.Her work has been published in America. Publications: Envoi, Interpreter’s House. Poetry Space, Snare’s Nest, I am Not a Silent Poet. Her collection “Timelines,” is published by Indigo Dreams (2014, ISBN 978-1-9093575-3-2) Carolyn lives in Richmond, Surrey, on the outskirts of London. Collection Timelines was published by Indigo Dreams www.indigodreams/co.UK/bookshop in 2014. ISBN 978-1-9093575-3-2)   She works with local groups and libraries. Further information and website http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/carolynoconnellpage.shtml

Posted in Poems/Poetry

The Sun-god at Mount Horeb

Sun-god
sitting still on Mount Horeb
amidst the stark clouds,
sweeping towards the swept
open space between trees
and pawing at white and dark fleshy flesh.

Sun-god
your pale, smirky lemon face
like the grapefruit in Ago-Iwoye Market
scribbles dirt patches on my face
and made my throat to swill water
enough to fill up a tank-container.

Oh sun-god!
I plead,
do not douse us all
from this buzzy day
only ‘dap’ softly softly
into the balmy, cosy night.

© 2018, Martins Tomisin, All rights reserved

Note: Martins is one of several young writers featured in the next issue of The BeZine to be published on March 15th.

My name is Martins Tomisin Olusola. I’m currently studying at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State where I have earned awards and recognition. Some of my poems have been published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. I love painting colourful rainbows-of-thoughts on paper. I vehemently believe that, “life without poetry is like a soup without condiments; without it, life will be flavourless, distasteful and unrhythmic.”

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Margarita Serafimova, Six Poems

On the crest of your voice,
the great hawk hovers for twelve seconds,
and enters the next world.


My mortality this morning was a white dove on my shoulder,
singing to the colour of the waves, singing, singing, its eyes turquoise.
Fleeting life, smooth filigree waves.


When I understood that I had a deathless soul,
and that it did not need me to keep on,
your voice was cresting, cresting, never breaking.


Singing are the jackals.
The other side is here.


The rocks, the ship ropes and the anchors
have found each other, and have become sirens,
and are singing a song about departure in arrival.


Morning
at the water fountain,
how the birds are singing!


MARGARITA SERAFIMOVA (Facebook Page) was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: Animals and Other Gods (2016) and Demons and World (2017). Her work is forthcoming in Agenda, Trafika Europe, Waxwing, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetic Diversity, TAYO, Transnational, Pocket Change, SurVision, Poetry Super Highway, and appears in London Grip New Poetry, The Journal, A-Minor, Minor Literatures, Noble/ Gas, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Obra/ Artifact, Writing Disorder, The Punch Magazine, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Window Quarterly/ Patient Sounds, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word, Plum Tree Tavern, Oddball Magazine, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Sea Foam Mag, Aaduna, MOON, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart Review, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain Review, The Voices Project, Cent, Heavy Athletics, Outsider Poetry, Outlaw Poetry.

Posted in Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry

The Work of Christmas

Rev. Terri Stewart shares a post-Christmas poem.

The Work of Christmas

by Howard Thurman (1899-1981), African-American poet, theologian, and civil rights leader 

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Posted in Poems/Poetry

FAT NEVERLAND by Luke Prater … and a call for help

LUKE PRATER‘s poetry is ever fascinating to me. He will tackle – as he has here – the same subject in more than one poetic form. Dedication, keen intellect and a singular irreverance are the hallmarks of this thirty-five year old English poet who took a degree in English lit with creative writing and performance and subsequently went to SOAS, London to study ethnomusicology at the master’s level. At twenty-seven he took up poetry, which he says saved his life – a thing it has done for many of us. More recently Luke added “iPhoneography” to his formidable list of accomplishments, shooting pictures and “editing the hell out of them.” Jamie Dedes

“They say a picture paints a thousand words; I’d argue the opposite.” Luke Prater

 

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – villanelle

Factory-farm ‘em on rainforest land,
jab ‘em with jittery antibiotics, in
serving a hoodwinked world’s worst burger-stand.

Nutrient nadir damn should have you banned,
even when just drunken teens in your night-kitchen
sucking down scared meat from rainforest land.

Wretched obese bloat and roll at your hand;
farmers on statutory antidepressants been
plying, supplying world’s worst burger-stand.

Consciences slip through ringed fingers like sand.
Wallets are plump; I’m still wondering why? (you grin)
greenlighting greenfelling greenforest land.

Golden the arches, but ain’t worth a grand;
Ronald’s grave future sees past catching up with him –
homeless – McCuster’s last fastburger-stand.

Clown let the kids party Fat Neverland,
Tinkerbell grounded by chow she’s demolishing.
Cattle confused grazing rainforest land,
passed off as food at world’s worst burger-stand.

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – Pushkin Sonnet

The cattle farmed where once was leafage,
force-fed with drugs unfit for us,
supplying world’s worst burger beefage
by farmers in disguised disgust.

Nutrition nadir should be outlawed,
to spare the trees the rasping chainsaw;
to spare the cattle cheap mince fate;
to close the flooding fast-food gate.

In wilful ignorance we swallow,
in sucking down scared meat with Coke.
Obese, they bloat in oily soak,

in lack of self-esteem they wallow.
Let kids carouse Fat Neverland,
at Ronald’s clowning, cloying hand.

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – free verse

Factory-farmed on rainforest land;
force-fed with antibiotics to serve a
hoodwinked world’s worst burger-stand.

A nutrient nadir that should have
them banned, even when just drunken
teens in their night-kitchen, sucking
down scared meat with cardboard and Coke.

Wretched obese bloat oily soak, in
triple chins of self-loathing they wallow;
farmers swallow disgust and
statutory antidepressants
supplying mass substandard beef.

Consciences slip through
ringed fingers like sand.

Wallets are plump

greenlighting
……..greenfelling
…………..greenforest land.

Golden the arches, but ain’t worth a thing;
Ronald’s grave future sees
past catching up with him –
homeless –
……………….McCuster’s last fastburger-stand.

Clown let the kids carouse Fat Neverland,
now Tinkerbell’s grounded
by chow she’s demolishing.

Cattle confused, passed off as food
at world’s worst burger-stand.

Villanelle – A1-b-A2 | a-b-A1 | a-b-A2 | a-b-A1 | a-b-A2 | a-b-A1-A2

Pushkin Sonnet (Onegin Stanza) – AbAb CCdd Eff Egg

 

© 2012, Luke Prater, All rights reserved


LUKE PRATER is a seriously talented English poet and musician. Many of you may be familiar with his work. (And I believe his dad was a fairly well know and highly regarded musician in England.) Luke founded Facial Expression Poetry and Critique and WordSalad blog, both of which are gone now. He shared the piece above with readers several years ago. I present it as an example of his work for those of you who haven’t read him.  He’s a very worthy man. If you are able to help a bit I hope you’ll consider doing so. / Jamie Dedes
Image may contain: 3 people, outdoor and text

Luke Prater Facebook

**We’re two thirds of the way there!**

I’ve been seriously unwell for a very, very long time. Fourteen years, in fact. Some of you know this, others don’t. For Facebook friends, and old friends I haven’t seen since school or my early/mid twenties, the truth is I have often made it seem like nothing is wrong. Which is possible on the internet, and with the crutch of a lot of medication. It almost feels like I’ve been living a lie for years, (when not completely absent), because I just wanted to snatch a few minutes of normal. To pretend everything’s okay. The point I’ve reached is this: I cannot continue — the years slipping away, existing rather than living, the continual pain, dis-ease and discomfort. Therefore my family (including sisters Susie Ro Prater and Joy Prater) are fundraising so I can go for treatment at a private clinic in Germany that specialises in chronic and degenerative diseases using stem-cell therapy and other protocols. We’re two thirds of the way there! Here is the link to the fundraising campaign –

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Far from Eyes Broken

San Francisco Bay Area poet, Ann Emerson, was one of the first two people I invited to join in the collaboration we now call The BeZine. It was originally named Into the Bardo, in reference to the Buddhist state of existence between death and rebirth; so named because of life-compromising illnesses.

Ann was a gifted poet, but she didn’t find that out until after she was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. She discovered her voice in a hospital poetry class. Ultimately she studied with Ellen Bass in Santa Cruz, California. 

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After diagnosis, Ann survived for an almost consistently tortured six years. Physical pain. Trauma. Fear. Chemo. Poverty. She had signs posted around her house that said, “Live!”

While Ann spent a lot of time in the hospital, her home was a cabin in the Redwoods of La Honda, a stone’s throw from the log cabin where Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters so famously partied in 1964. She lived with her cats. Originally there were six and they were all blind. No one would take them in, so Ann did.

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Ann was just a thesis away from her Ph.D. A few weeks before she died, four of Ann’s poems were published in American Poetry Review

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Two days before Ann died, she married the gentleman who was her sweetheart of thirty years. Ann’s wedding was held in her hospital room. Those of us in the attendance were required by the hospital to wear yellow gowns over our street clothes. The bride wore yellow too. The flowers and the ring were from the hospital gift shop. The founder and leader of our support group for people with catastrophic illness, a Buddhist chaplin, performed the ceremony. One of us took wedding photographs using a cell phone.  I created a virtual wedding album.The wedding was in its way lovely, but it was achingly sad.

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When Ann died, we sat with her for some time because Buddhists don’t believe the soul leaves the body right away. Ann’s Buddhist teacher – someone she held in high regard – came and lead us in meditation and blessing.

Here – are three of her poems – posted today in her memory. In closing, I added A Hunger for Bone, the poem I wrote the day her ashes were released to the sea near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. My poem in no way comes up to the gold standard Ann set, but it tells the story. 

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– Jamie Dedes


Elegy for Cat Five

Fuck the Glory that is Poetry,
fuck the smell of God in my hair,

The world is the color of driftwood,
this ordinary Wednesday in June.

Let’s have a moratorium on poems
about my shitty news from Stanford

and how I can’t tell heat from cold.
My blood dirty as brown sand in a museum,

and my cat, well, he has news too.
Death woman, skeleton cat,

I turned 57 yesterday when
the veterinarian said No.

I am taking us both to the ocean
for as long as we need:

red sand staining white fur.
I am smelling my cat’s iodine breath,

I am putting my hand in the wound
in my side. Dry brine stinking up

the air, seawater choking the
cawing gull in his throat.

And my face, he’d better
not fucking forget.

One more day leaving me
for a little peace of mind.

.
A Modern Poem (draft 1)

.
I am walking again through an American night,
past police stations with barred gates, windows
glazed warm with doughnuts, patrol cars in the lot.
I stand outdoors seeking coffee: someplace where
eyes will not wander through me when I sit in a red
booth filled with books as women fearing Altzeimer’s
hoard cats. I stay up until dawn, waiting for panic
to subside, to find the meaning in all things
in a city which says I am nothing.

..
I wake in my American forest, from a dream
of being shot: when one lives in a forest one cannot expect
the humane society always arriving in time. I walk through
the cabin and on down the path: moonlight blurs the redwoods,
wind blurs water. I feel like a girl safe in a picture book.
Indoors the television screen shines blue as topaz.
I am walking again through the forest aglow with
snowy owls and see-through salamanders.
Far from eyes broken like windows, and people
thinking they are nobodies, reading the paper
about life being rebuilt by night so that
no one notices it tumbling by day.

 

The Wrong Side of History

Fifty years ago, a house of
pale cinderblock. Sixty miles

north of here, Richmond
California, the poor

mending holes with colored thread.
I live in a house of

unnatural law, I am painting
landscapes in black: horses

and floating carpets of leaves.
When I am ten my father fills my mouth

with dirt for saying I want to die:
a ripped sheet twisted over my eyes,

my ankles hobbled in bed;
I summon the kingdom of horses

where lullabies murmur
brittle-legged ponies to sleep.

When I am twelve the city catches fire:
ruined faces of mares stretch for pages,

and when the tar roof seeps into
my room, I still do not run away.

Say nothing about the comfort of solitude,
stars crowded like sensations under the skin.

Say nothing about the morning blow of light,
the herd coughing on last night’s oily weed

– Ann Emerson


A Hunger for Bone

we scattered your relics, yours and your cats,
chared bone to be rocked by waves,
to be rocked into yourself, the rhythm
enchanting you with cool soothing spume
merging your poetry with the ether,
rending our hearts with desolation,
shattering the ocean floor with your dreams
lost in lapping lazuli tides, dependable ~
relief perhaps after pain-swollen years of
suckle on the shards of a capricious grace

those last weeks …
your restless sleeps disrupted by
medical monitors, their metallic pings
not unlike meditation bells calling to you,
bringing you to presence and contemplation,
while bags hung like prayer-flags on a zephyr
fusing blood, salt, water
into collapsing veins, bleeding-out
under skin, purple and puce-stained,
air heavy and rank; we came not with chant,
but on the breath of love, we tumbled in
one-by-one to stand by you

to stand by you
when death arrived
and it arrived in sound, not in stealth,
broadcasting its jaundiced entrance
i am here, death bellowed on morphine
in slow drip, i am here death shouted,
offering tape to secure tubing, handing
you a standard-issue gown, oversized –
in washed-out blue, for your last journey
under the cold pale of fluorescent light

far from the evergreen of your redwood forest,
eager and greedy, death snatched
your jazzy PJs, your bling and pedicures,
your journals and pens, your computer and
cats, death tried your dignity and identity –
not quickly, no … in a tedious hospital bed,
extending torment, its rough tongue salting
your wounds, death’s hungering, a hunger
for bones, your frail white bones – but you
in your last exercise of will, thwarted death,
bequeathing your bones to the living sea

– Jamie Dedes

© 2011, Ann’s poems, her photo and that of her cat, Ann Emerson estate; © A Hunger for Bone and the yellow flower photograph,  Jamie Dedes; photograph of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur courtesy of wordydave under CC BY SA 3.0

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

Thousands and Millions, a poem by John Anstie

This is our (The BeZine) new poster for 100TPC 2018. It was designed by Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

One hundred thousand
Poets for change,
so many voices and
carefully chosen words,
at times decay into a void
of the anechoic chamber.

Earthly Fathers praying
for the Establishment,
that sets our stage,
and casts our values
in concrete, steel,
plastic … and carbon.

Leaders of the World,
whose balance sheets and
logical, numerate intellect
measure only a notion
of success. What is that?
Temper your ambition.

For aren’t we just that,
a wealth of rich and
creative intelligence,
maybe the only hope
for our universe
to understand itself?

Heavenly Mothers ask us
why digitise and monetise
and worship at the alter
of the great god, Thworg,
when we are in the face of
richness beyond measure.

Escape to the stars, if you will,
but answers will be found not
in the vanity of space-time travel,
but here, with this unaided vision
they lie in the green and blue,
right before your disbelieving eyes.

Permit your heart to rule
even if only one day a week, when
the visceral, and the common sense
will sit above logic and intellect, and
that subliminal noise in our head
will slowly rise to the conscious.

Maybe, one day we’ll be
Seven Thousand Million
Poets for Change!
Our time will come. Atonement beckons.
It’s in the wind, this beating heart,
a movement beyond the gaze of mortals …

© 2017 John Anstie, All rights reserved.  You can visit John at My Poetry Library.

This is John’s tribute to the 100,000 Poets for Change – 100TPC 2017 – movement, which had its annual celebration on 30th September.

Posted in John Anstie, Poems/Poetry

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

 

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Silencing The Lambs

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

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

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

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

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

when we were wise
before the window led to
pleonexia

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

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

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

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

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

by silencing the lambs
sociopathy will win
and life will perish

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

– John Anstie

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

John Anstie
John Anstie

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

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

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

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

Posted in General Interest, Mortality, Peace & Justice, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Some Kind of Hell to Pay

Breadline
Breadline

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

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

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

© Jamie Dedes

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

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