Posted in interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry, poetry

just a thought & 2 more poems | Lonnie Monka

just a thought

a gazelle
            leading its herd
can only turn
            as sharply as it
can gallop fast
            enough not
to become trampled
                        —thoughtlessly

along sections of the coast

regardless of who paid to put them there
there are "Danger of Landslide" signs
embedded into the Mediterranean sand


signs that bystanders only take as seriously
as they wonder about the future...
the future—which only ever seems to be


projections of the past—& regardless
of all their writing these signs present
an illustration of a skull facing the horizon

surely someone needs to say the cliché:
a skull has no face—no skin—no nationality
a skull just depicts the peak of naked human history


& I would never have recognized that skull as mine
until happening upon one sign that had been uprooted
and covered by—surprise surprise—a landslide

violence & the pupil

pounding their hooves gazelle search for food
in the Negev's largest nature reserve
until in the sky erupts a distant rumble

the gazelle jerk their gaze upwards
as eyes fidget across a blue & white expanse
expressing a bellow in motion

then as a target on the central hilltop explodes
the violence of the world penetrates the pupil
& an inert luster of the orb reflects

an Israeli Air Force jet zooming ahead of its own voice
restricting firing practice damage to that one hilltop
where earth is freshly blackened with each new blow

each explosion shakes the gazelle's fear-bound bones
but never ignites that ever-expansive desire
urge upon urge to preserve & to be preserved

oh!—how I wish I were a child again
ruled by cravings to touch all objects in my gaze
unaware of the damaging effects of expressing interest

before internalizing Rabbis’ tales of my people
gathering before Mt. Sinai as newly freed slaves
unwilling to face a thundering voice of the divine

"go to the top of the mountain without us"
we plead & instruct our leaders
"pound those awful sounds into marks on stone"

©2022 Lonnie Monka
All rights reserved


Lonnie Monka…

…a Jerusalem-based poet, founded Jerusalism, a non-profit organization to promote Israeli literature in English. He is a PhD student at Hebrew University, researching the intersection of modernist art and orality through a study of David Antin’s talk-poems, and he is currently an OWL Lab Fellow.

Jerusalism


Quote from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

April in The BeZine Blog


Posted in interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Poems from Purpose | Gary Beck

Poems from Purpose, an unpublished poetry collection that calls attention to the horrors and beauties in this complex life…


Urban Entropy

The extremes of nature
shock city folk
unaccustomed to deluging rain,
suddenly vulnerable
weakend by mass comforts,
survival capabilities
in dire disasters
highly questionable.

Betrayed

The homeless sit
on crumbling sidewalks,
cardboard signs proclaiming need
disintegrated
from rain, snow,
being ignored
by almost everyone
almost as needy,
abandoned by the 1%
no longer concerned with
the suffering of the people,
the state of the nation.

Track Flower
Photograph ©2022 M.S. Evans

Usurpation

Since man first organized
into family units
one had to be above average
to advance in the clan, tribe,
early cities, city-states, nations,
all well established hierarchys
classified by rank, trade, wealth.

Thousands of years later
shortly after World War II,
returning U.S. soldiers
went to college on the G.I. Bill,
a free education
for seven million men
who jumped to middle class,
a social revolution
unprecedented
in human history.

Soldiers were usually discarded
when no longer needed,
for few had the skills
to make them desirable.
Then millions of graduates
went into the world
with valued professions
that produced wealth and comfort
only dreamed of in the past.

The legions of ex-warriors
unresentful of their treatment,
unlike many soldiers past,
took their places happily
as prosperous citizens
with little need to question
the practices of their rulers,
who successfully bought off
the makers of rebellions
blinded to the oppression
of oligarch exploiters
by the abundance
of goods and services.

©2022 Gary Beck
All rights reserved


Gary Beck…

…has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 34 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of plays.


Quote from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

April in The BeZine Blog


Posted in interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

framed in solitude | gary lundy

it feels as if death the only reward whether

for friends or strangers we've lost the appeal of 
a promise of years to come unaffected by 
momentary surprises you tool around town 
defying calls toward turmoil while most lie 
immersed in shallow panicked breaths skin itch 
tingles unattended it seems not to matter what 
language greets at birth the side of any road 
splits open scattering impotent seeds the drought 
now so prevalent we must accustom ourself to 
the limited volume of cessation five shot dead 
including probable head of household and how 
attracted authority figures are to the fatality of 
knees on back of necks only race a permissible 
excuse we watch as a parent walks the 
neighborhood carrying their growing child and 
responsibility living in an environment where 
vehicles required in order to run even short trips 
you were impressed learning how little they had 
in savings still equaled your yearly salary while 
several state governments lay claim upon all land 
access still preoccupied with the genitals of 
children no wonder we all feel a recoil under thin 
layers of flesh you notice their nipples harden 
whenever you finally decide to leave
Framed in Solitude -1
Digital landscape
©Michael Dickel

that’s what can happen after spending months

framed in solitude when a crumb from sandwich 
startles as it hits floor every physical pleasure 
renounces presence how a page read 
disappears as quietly as it was brought to mind 
we team up with neighbors to solve a crisis of 
monetary valuation when the you vanishes 
along with any thought uttered to halt the 
displacement what to think when the crowd 
peopled by lost relatives friends peppered with 
occasional strangers pass as well in the natural 
putrefaction of oxygen deprived materiality two 
birds flattened in alley a few days ago now all 
but gone save for irregular damp spots 
evaporating in the warm daylight they remain 
confident to an extent not worrying about cloth 
labels poking out from under the seams fevers 
splayed separated by fluid shadows only 
sometimes does a letter repeat conjoined rested 
from anticipated coming fresh wounds or 
perhaps in candor words form an unknown 
source as if onward into a renewed terror
Framed in Solitude -2
Digital landscape
©Michael Dickel

a pause between two stanzas a musical silence

flairs brightly back to surface ease under 
diversionary noise we roam the four small rooms 
as might be counted ignore bathing toilet room or 
you might rather enjoy the open fields of a library 
tying two into one larger room local artists walls 
doctored for pleasure they answer the call of 
anger jealousy impotence so more shot dead 
another one wears mesh mask as if thus 
illustrating their neighborly care earlier a young 
child flinches when spoken to reflects our facial 
reaction every morning when climbing out of bed 
seeing mirrored shallow tics or might it be a 
return to bearable odors of bleach disinfectant 
who can possibly imagine what lies hidden that 
compels such stubborn rampant busy dashes 
and apostrophes we just realized they'd joined in 
giving birth a name three or four years ago prior 
to the now ever present opportunity to face rarely 
unexpected death sentence you remind life has 
always been a losing hand of cards check and 
recalibrate the timing of regional locations 
somewhere as a walking pathway inarticulate 
refusal dizzy within new gnawing hunger intuition 
misguiding directionality seek dictionary advice 
their attempt at forestalling the deceit of sensual 
fantasy again improbable pause then leap into 
new noise habitation served up on plastic 
swimwear coal carrying train cars
Framed in Solitude -3
Digital landscape
©Michael Dickel

monologic pendulum within invented diversity

over compensates the small group of seven or 
fewer in the warmth of shaded looks hidden 
under ignorant familiar colors when hair sparks 
envy or our dress surprises misremember 
height as being greater now gaze down upon 
fake dreams spread lotion on over washed hands 
form as kindness lacquer speckled cracking low 
humidity and softly sore nipple from earlier 
stimulation the addendum approaches from the 
north or east building for revitalization implosion 
fold within dry lawn and wilted flowers you 
pretend to hear the footsteps of a spider only to 
look up discover it dangling webbed to ceiling the 
end grows customary losing spread over the last 
fourteen months we interrupt to wash dishes 
silverware pour hot water over floorboards one 
still wallows in defeated romance commonality 
peppers the street with skid marks tomorrow 
inoculate from present foreboding separating 
allergic figures of speech awaiting the cliché of 
some other shoe dropping watch your age when 
nearby important adults transfix upon an over 
staying for sale signage as personal loss we 
wager outweighs others
Framed in Solitude -4
Digital landscape
©Michael Dickel

to slow down when you feel already atrophied

not only by the isolation but rising rent the loss 
of unemployment checks even food stamps of 
little good turned down regularly they recover 
from heart attack have migrated from wheeled 
walker to single metal cane at that age when 
even nostalgia fails to temper despair almost 
seems the most regularly used word on this 
cloudy windy rain whispering day a love fest with 
your cat sitting sharing internet chores they take 
an extra day off for recovery from anguish 
needles and ink endorphins we remain so 
overwhelmed much yet remains to be done 
details of a poorly written description empty even 
of driving popular narratives finish coffee return 
to the slumbering apartment watch old cop show 
pretend it's a televised day off instead of the 
continued replay of bad news channel incinerate 
repetitious tattered worn out dreams our beard 
still grows whether liked or not the child wounds 
three early morning school day what to make of 
this drive to destroy maybe simple species defect 
had you more quickly read the marking slivers 
doubt might not have curled around the sound of 
pen on paper a dark sound of interrupting texts 
sent by unknown others you could care less 
about busy close contact rendering likenesses
Framed in Solitude -5
Digital landscape
©Michael Dickel

©2022 gary lundy
All rights reserved


Quote from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

April in The BeZine Blog


Posted in interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Finding My Way | Patrick Connors

Finding Myself

Strive to change the world
in such a way that there's
no further need to be a dissident.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art

Rising up from deep within
the very core of my being
the essence of who I am

underneath my public image
is the need to find myself  
someone to admire.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti spoke the words
the world needed to hear
at that exact moment.

Best of the Beats
because he promoted the rest
above himself.

Paragon of enlightenment
inspirer of a new way of being
artistic role model.

Ferlinghetti would have loathed
such titles based on what
little I know about him.

He would have frowned 
if not downright sneered
at such fanboy foppery.

In the same way 
many reading or hearing this could be offended
by words like humanist, socialist,

countercultural, malcontent, protestor,
activist, freethinker, nonconformist.

In the Coney Island of My Mind
—or, more accurately, Exhibition Place— 
I get to play with words

turn image into meaning and back again
with enough musicality to form a poetry
of concise language and complex thought

imagine these words 
making this world a better place
at least for a moment

and believe if I say them with clarity
and integrity for long enough
you may just listen to me.

Prisoner

I have lost my voice.
The only word I have ever felt beating
in my heart, echoing through my mind
has been taken from me.

The other prisoners 
hiss and whisper the words
the broken-hearted cannot say out loud
and leave me in solitary silence.

But I know why.
They don't understand
the burden I am bound to carry
and must keep hidden deep inside.

This burden keeps me alive.
It gives me passion and purpose
and is the only thing I have
which is real.

If this word trapped in my throat
found daylight at the tip of my tongue
I would sing and shout, laugh and cry 
and my sentence would be complete. 

If I could see her again
make love to her slowly and gently
if I could say her name once more
then I would be free.

Middle-Aged White Men Are Ruining the World

The Saturday bus ride to Morningside is so much better
than my weekday drudgery along Sheppard
up whichever connecting route presents itself
to get me east on Finch to my workplace.

Everybody is in a better mood, more courteous
more concerned about others around them.
They are on their way to fun excursions, or shopping
to meet their needs, as well as those of whom they love.

The Morningside bus ride south is even better. The bus takes
longer to arrive, but the driver wants to chat and be part
of the community, part of your day. Everyone makes room
for baby carriages and people with canes and each other.

But not LAST Saturday.

A guy about my age got on the Morningside bus with his two sons.
Two stops later, a kind enough looking guy, clearly down 
on his luck, maybe hadn’t eaten in a while, entreats 
the driver to let him on the bus without paying.

The guy about my age turns to his sons, shakes his head,
saying, “The driver let him on the bus for free.”
The two sons were at that age where their view
of the entire universe was filtered through their father.

What an entitled, arrogant, self-righteous, ignorant…
What kind of legacy are we leaving behind?
What kind of world are we leaving for the children?
What else can we teach them other than right or wrong?

I wondered how he would feel in the unlikely event
either he or one of his sons were in that predicament.

Try

the world tries
to tell me
I am something
I am not
and I fight back
and I lose
so I try 
to be what they say
they want me to be
and I succeed on their terms
for a moment
and then the moment passes
so I try 
to be myself again
and I fail
and then I try 
something different
and I fail
but the failure
seems to be 
the shit I must get through
so I can
finally grow up
so I laugh
not a maniacal laugh
merely a buffer 
against the underlying darkness
which tries
to overwhelm me
but 
I rise
try to clean myself up
and realize 
this is the day
I become
a little more
human

Patrick Connors’…

…first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was released by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. Other publication credits include: Blue Collar Review; The Toronto Quarterly; Spadina Literary Review; Sharing Spaces; Tamaracks; and Tending the Fire. His first full collection, The Other Life, is newly released by Mosaic Press.


©2022 Patrick Connors
All rights reserved


Quote from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

April in The BeZine Blog


Posted in Poems/Poetry

IFLAC WORLD PEACE POETRY CONTEST 2022

The International Forum for Literature and Culture of Peace is pleased to announce its Peace Poetry Contest 2022 (in English or Spanish). You will be able to register your poem for this competition from the 15th February to the 15th July 2022. The winners of the contest will be announced on September 2022, during the celebration of the International Day of Peace.

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry, song

A Letter to Jonathan by Manouk Rachelle Rosenfeld

In Hebrew, the same word is used for song and poem. This song is a poem, or this poem is a song, in any language. Manouk, a student of mine at David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem, shared this with me. As we continue poetry month(s) into May, we at The BeZine want to share its message with you, our readers.

This past week has been one of loss and sorrow here in Israel, with the death of 45 people in a crushing crowd during a religious celebration last Thursday night into the early hours of Friday morning. Lag B’Omer, the holiday, celebrates freedom and resistance to tyranny. The religious aspects go deeper, with Mystical Connections to an ancient rabbi believed to have handed down the Zohar, a principle text of Kabbalah.

This song is dedicated by its writer to Yonatan Zaken, who died too young. The BeZine dedicates it also to the 45 young and old Israelis who died last week, and to those we know and love we have lost in this past year.

—Michael Dickel, editor


Dedicated to Yonatan Zaken
Music and Lyrics: Manouk Rachelle Rosenfeld (Vd Woestijne)
With Yonatan Gelfand, Guitar, backing vocals, and recording
Lyrics translated into Hebrew by Noya Rosenfeld
@2020 All Rights Reserved

There is a place
Called heaven
Where loved ones go
And never come back,
Where time is not counted.

Magical rides
And violins 
Play in the dust of clouds.
And i am here empty handed…

It's been a long time now,
I've seen the contours
Of your face.
You have been brave.
They say you're better off now…

I look up high.
You promised me
You would be the brightest of all.
I know you will always be

Dancing in a field
Of memories so free.
No, I won't forget,
You remain a part of me.
יש מקום
הנקרא גן עדן
שלשם האהובים שלנו הולכים
ולעולם לא חוזרים
מקום בו הזמן לא נספר

נסיעות קסומות וכינורות
מתנגנים בעננים של אבק
ואני כאן בידיים ריקות

עבר המון זמן
ראיתי את צורת פניך 
היית אמיץ
והם אמרו שיותר טוב לך עכשיו

אני מסתכלת למעלה גבוה
הבטחת לי שתהיה הכוכב המואר ביותר
אני יודעת שתמיד תהיה 

לרקוד בשדה
של זכרונות חופשיים
לא, אני לא אשכח
אתה חלק ממני

The roof of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Tomb, Mount Meron, Israel (2010 photo)
It was at the site of this tomb that the Lag B’Omer Tragedy of 2021 happened.
Source: WikiMedia. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
4.0 International3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
Bar Yochai Tomb, Mt Meron, Israel
(photo from 1920–1930)
Public Domain Source: PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project via WikiMedia

©2021 Manouk Rachelle Rosenfeld
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Sometimes life is full of questions

What do you feel
	when a rock of ages 
	tumbles into the the sea
	when something you relied on 
	sat upon, learned from and 
	leaned on for good counsel
	that you needed to be 
	reassured and feel secured 
	and rooted in your trials, to be 
	there regardless, even if you were 
	somewhere else entirely ... or not
	a rock that’s been there for always
	this life just entered the realms 
	of leavened legend and lore 
	knocking at the gates of Neverland.

What can you say
	when someone asks you 
	“how do you feel?” about such a 
	controversial, yet conversational 
	challenging, yet charming 
	pragmatic, yet princely 
	daring and duke-it-out 
	yet dutiful and dashing 
	outspoken, yet outgoing 
	much loved, yet likeable rogue. 
	
	Why didn’t you expect it? Why 
	did it suddenly become 
	the least wanted wish 
	after all this time, taken 
	for granted, yet forgotten 
	in the background, yet difficult 
	to ignore. What else would we 
	impossibly say ... or want?
	
What do you do
	when time freezes 
	into glacial slo-mo 
	a clip from an epic film 
	a moment when child-like
	uncomprehending
	self-preserving denial
	an innocent hope of
	one more time, again
	please, please, please
	let’s go to sea once more
	reflect, respect, deflect
	the imperative 
	to understand 
	the inevitable change

What did we learn
	in the aftermath, if you spent 
	an incalculable time, not wasted 
	in the shadows, but replete with 
	so much energy, so much given 
	simply feted pre-modern man 
	as modern as tomorrow 
	as modest as any soul, with 
	a zest for knowledge, that 
	when least expected, rocked 
	the best brains, with a power 
	to convene the greatest minds 
	of Gods and Engineers, who 
	would change the World, 
	where it mattered not who 
	you are, as much as what 
	truly interests and moves you 
	to take what privilege you have 
	and use it to serve, continually 
	to learn so much, care so much 
	about advancing the causes 
	conserving of species of ... even 
	one less seemingly insignificant 
	precious life on Earth. 


Written in the immediate aftermath of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, Consort of Queen Elizabeth II.


©2021 John Anstie
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

having no one to keep us | 8 poems by gary lundy

you set out
to write narratives

of your life after the fact as all 
stories are we find those 
thoughts enjambed racing 
toward intolerance pages 
unnumbered mixing tea bags 
in hot water the repeated 
inaccurate refrain they find a 
small hope suddenly crystalizing 
on artificial sweetener with snow 
forecast in inches over night our 
muscles begin to atrophy a kind 
act among hundreds of other 
assortments never worry about 
prepositions repeating even 
when swallowing hard a day 
dream awakens unexpected 
hunger you feel the press of 
their attraction weighing down 
opportunity events from a past 
muddle through too many filters 
until only pure illusion gathers 
among the quiet introverted the 
collection resonates internally 
with few avenues of escape

then they the lies
abundant built

upon those acceptable which 
means leaving more than half 
alive out our denial and refusal 
the medicinal median you gave 
in four days ago and more than 
hearts break little fuss to make 
out of no longer having to wait 
for this event while others play 
overhead on imaginary tight
ropes to choke the life out 
pretending choice personal so 
block out the porous windows 
brick closed the two doors 
escape prevented no longer an 
advocate for certainty even when 
in its midst blankets quartered 
around the filleted body last night 
a repetitious dream just before 
waking a circle of colors blended 
gray you will be missed had 
already been solvent for years

there hope is
hard to come by

so many alone in beds meant 
for brief visits we want to 
scream but instead live in our 
head accede to the believed 
in and deeply held reality not 
as imagined or experienced 
but folded under our skirts 
and dresses those boots yet 
to be waterproofed wet hands 
glove covered in snow you 
welcome the new adventure 
never subverted by their kind 
eyes and character flaws in 
another score two sing out of 
key join in uncomfortable 
liaisons bodies lined weight
less prayerful savants gleaning 
unnatural release belief held 
only in what they are told 
without question to read

the expiration date
was missing

so you licked tentative the day 
turning into evening amid the 
constant choking we carefully 
build out of their words to fortify 
the fear embraced in isolation 
refuse to answer phone voice 
mail or text block all numbers 
free ourself from pretense of 
common clear pathway your 
heart skips beat back aches the 
body always up to this moment 
our family knew nothing of our 
propensity for dresses and 
tubular vegetables pliable 
though functional made up 
swirls in their empty imagination 
the silence is never deafening 
rather an uproar of places things 
and voices their volume once 
again pliable the days resort 
shuffle into new brackets of 
darkness and light savings

yes once again
over many

nights their twenty four hour 
lip service wind awakens the 
solitary walkers who shrug 
off the litany of complaints 
sounds used to hear ourself 
at what expense those others 
whose practice learned doing 
the same while sources 
evade detection cheat in the 
rubble that remains of an 
earlier rousing party of some 
kind and the nonexistent 
masks clog the plumbing 
around town make for bad air 
quality sneezes feel good 
even when aimed at inside 
elbow at least for another few 
nights pretend you haven't 
lost us altogether make this 
look more like what it pretends 
to be wash hands again repeat 
a pleasure of those who have 
the time and where with all

endings rapid fire
up and down

the streets trees flutter their 
communal dance of sharing 
you enter into their enclosed 
safety open windows through 
out the apartment time how 
long it takes for frost to form on 
various edges those things 
once so valuable now aflame 
in frigid light we go in and out 
without effort keep forestalling 
reflection through computer 
screen name begin to vanish 
flies unseasonable dying on 
horizontal flat lines little reason 
left for italic moments of capitals 
your state of mind ground down 
only to worthless replace the c 
with an x to disappear into what 
can never be easily followed

passing by
the noon bell an

hour ahead gray birds in the 
starkly black black and white 
domain of conjoined conflict 
lies building upon lies push 
you back to bed and the wail 
of those usual broken love 
songs while lyrically diverse 
the message the same their 
bodies magical hidden as we 
will be by mirrored glass judged 
inappropriate you have never 
been prescient but understand 
the absence hours compel out 
of any context save wonder 
rereading those memories to 
ensure erasure the failure when 
using language with a known 
assumed listener reader in mind 
scrambles forms of alliterative 
translation forms of abstinence 
don't worry the operation went 
smoothly although what's 
missing remains tactile faulty

having no one
to keep us

company the days languish 
late autumn grayness around 
the base of the two new trees 
leaves burrow for warmth a 
smell of bread toasting a time 
ago shots of brandy and 
laughter talking power outages 
and strange surroundings when 
young you kept hidden beneath 
surfaces a sense of safety 
which was all along absent 
gathering groups of memorized 
thoughtless inarticulate truths 
leaving out a consonant or 
vowel feels as if we've pulled 
away from each other unnoticed 
by anyone builds to a crescendo 
where opposites join force 
restive in ourself never a melodic 
introverted caffeine synthesized 
dusk lock the off switch

©2021 gary lundy
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

You set out
to write narratives
Poem ©2021 gary lundy
Artwork ©2021 Michael Dickel

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Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry, Poets/Writers, Video

The Book of Lumenations — Interview with Adeena Karasick

Introduction to Eicha—Adeena Karasick

Particularly speaking to this “Covid moment,” Eicha (איכה) comprises 5 videopoems which takes as its jumping off point, the Biblical Eicha, The Book of Lamentations, which laments the destruction of Jerusalem and through reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language, homophonically re-situates the original text to the horrors and hope of the present moment. Tracking through “the city” as a desolate weeping widow overcome with misery, and moving through desolation, ruin, prayer, and recovery, it explores ways that in rupture, there is rapture.

As transpoesis it acts not only (in General Semanticist terms) as a “time binder” but through a luminous, voluminous threading of light, it highlights how darkness is a form of light, how text itself is, in essence, black light on white light, and thus opens up new ways of seeing and the cyclic nature of meaning and being.

Text written and performed by Karasick and comprises the first section of her forthcoming book, Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations. The music is composed and performed by world renowned Grammy Award winning composer, trumpet player and Klezmer giant, Frank London. Eicha I includes Vispo by Jim Andrews and Daniel f. Bradley with Titles by Italian filmmaker Igor Imhoff. Eicha II and III, music by Frank London and video by Igor Imhoff. Eicha IV and V are still under construction and will be launched for Tisha B’Av.


Eicha I–III

Text written and performed by Adeena Karasick
Music Composed and performed by Frank London
Eicha I: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music composed and performed by Frank London
Vispo by Jim Andrews and Daniel f. Bradley
Titles by Italian filmmaker Igor Imhoff

Eicha II: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music Composed and Performed by Frank London
Video by Igor Imhoff

Eicha II: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music Composed and Performed by Frank London
Video by Igor Imhoff

Adeena Karasick—Interview

Michael Dickel: Your theoretical frame for this work takes us from The Book of Lamentations to General Semantics developed in the 20th C. to the present moment of pandemic. What intrigues me about this is something I have thought about for some time. Before I heard of Alfred Korzybski, I had begun to think that cultural products—specifically but not only visual arts, music / dance, and writing—formed a sort of socio-cultural DNA. The “stories” or “meanings” they convey shape socio-cultural formations much as DNA shapes life forms, but outside of the body of course. And as such, they are apparently uniquely human. This is how I understand Korzybski’s “time-binding.”

In this framework-metaphor-analogy, would you agree that “reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language” could resemble RNA / DNA dividing and recombining? Perhaps I’m asking if your work introduces and “recombines” the DNA of light (luminosity, lumen) into the sorrow of loss and darkness (lamentation)? Or is the case completely different?

Adeena Karasick: So many interesting questions, Michael. First, if we think about “time binding as a kind of recognizing of pattern recognition—how cycles emerge in conjunction with the zeitgeist, aesthetic and political and social orders of the day and bound by semantic environments and spacetime contingencies to a past which is ever  re-articulated in an ever contemporaneous present; as Korzybski might say, by abstracting nutrients, growing subsystems, which over time re-orient the narrative, language, “meaning” —  in this way it is in a sense a recombination (or in Abulafian terms, a permutation and recombination), restaged into something new.

So, yes between the layering, the looming of the lament and the lumen i’m interested in illuminating the way the present re-presented through an ever-shifting past pinned to a future that is ever-fracturing; how darkness and light are always already embedded in one another – and we see this through our very rituals. For example, on Tish B’Av, when we read the Book of Lamentations which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s followed by the kinnot, the liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the 1st Temple, the 2nd Temple, reminded of all the other major calamities, the murder of the Ten Martyrs, medieval massacres, the Holocaust. Everything gets bound in these cycles of language of time of repetition and reproduction a simulacric spiraling that bleeds into the prescience of this very moment. A moment that itself (due in part to the weight of cultural memory) fractured and re-reflected, deflected, where limerence lamentation and lumenation emanate: When life gives you laments make limnade ; )

MD:  A liminal moment. Your discussion of darkness being a form of light, or the light in the dark, reminds me of Carl Jüng and also of Robert Bly’s A Little Book of the Human Shadow. Both of course metaphorically could be seen as responses to the concept of yetzer hara (יצר הרע). However, the quantum optician Arthur Zajonc perhaps more literally addresses this light in the dark idea in his book, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind.

Zajonc points out that the night on Earth is not an absence of light. The sun’s light is still in the sky, as can be seen by its reflection from the moon. He describes a demonstration he uses to show this of a box that has a vacuum inside—no dust, nothing. The inside is all painted flat black that is totally non-reflecting. There is an eyehole on one side to look into. There is also a light that shines from a side 90-degrees to that. And a mirror or flat object inside that is black on the back but can be rotated. The box looks “dark,” that is pitch-black, until the object is revolved and reflects the light. Then it is clear there was light in the box all along.

It seems that what you are doing is showing us that the dark / night / shadow always contains light. That darkness or shadow provide the contrast and form to reflected light. And that the light we see, as Zajonc points out, is only the reflected light. Even the sky reflects dust to become blue.

With this other, different framework-metaphor-analogy, does this seem a reasonable way to understand your hybrid title, “Lumenations”, which of course plays homophonically with illuminations…?

AK: So important particularly in these troubled times to shift the perspective, change the channel, shift the diorama, “peepholes, eyestreams” and recognize the light in the darkness; to revel in the white space, between the letters, the long silences, the emptiness, the shudders / shutters, suspensions and remember that as in the Zohar, the darkness contains the light.  Or the absence contains the presence – thinking about maybe Heidegger’s translation of Heraclitus preserved by Hippolytus (which i quote in another section of The Book of Lumenations), that even in the presencing of all things present, itself remains concealed from being present, “not as presence presently absent or an absence absently present but as the absent present that continually withdraws in the spectacle of its present absence”[i] Acknowledging how it’s so important to complicate these dichotomies, uncover its fabrication, and analyze the violence this initiates and sustains.

And like the flash of primordial letters clothed in the nothingness of being enshrouded in the disquiet of dissembling – letters, like desire itself, embodies all that is to come; comes and keeps coming in an ever-arriving future. So yes, it’s both a reflection defection, deflection, confection ; ) playing with ways all is simulacric and thereby produces a kind of co-sanguinity mirroring how like in the 2nd C. Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), primordial creation is ever re-created through the articulation of each letter – which contains all the future within it[ii]

MD:  Now, how does all of this fit in your thinking with the Time of Coronavirus / “Covid moment” we find ourselves living in?

AK: Well, we’re living in dark times. And in many ways like the word COVID itself which homophonically can be transliterated in Hebrew as Kavod כבוד, which (as you know), means glory, honor and respect; ie when we congratulate someone we say Kol HaKavod, ‘all the honour’ (Good job!), or close a letter with the word V’Kavod (‘with respect’) Yet — ironically, COVID kaved is also “heavy. And throughout Exodus, the presence of God in the tabernacle is symbolised by the word ‘Kavod’ ((which is also represented by a cloud!)) So, like The Book of Lamentations itself which is mired in darkness, heaviness and cloudiness – a masking of the light, like you mentioned earlier, with reference to Zajonc, it’s so important especially now to recalibrate how we see, what we see; displace our usual systems of spectrality. Through this homophonic translation, this transpoeisis, it displaces a sense of language belonging to a particular moment but marked by chasms, folds,  paradoxes, turbulence and desire, highlights the Other in language, coveting and foregrounding its caveats.


[i]. Elliot R. Wolfson, Heidegger and Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis, Indiana University Press, 2019, p.5.

[ii]. See Sefer Yetzirah, 2:2. Wesier Edition, Trans. Aryeh Kaplan, San Francisco, 1997.


©2021 Adeena Karasick and The BeZine
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry

~ The Will of the Quill ~

(( wrote this after an extended blog conversation with another talented poet friend of mine about the limits of the written word and language. As good/succinct/clear as a writer strives to be, there always exists the possibility of misunderstanding, and that can be very frustrating! She inspired it (Thanks again, E!), and rather than use an image for this one, I think it's more appropriate to let the words do the talking this time...)
Thick as the speed of clotted thoughts,
This language suffices;
A cumbersome tool.
Experience sought (and bought)
The sacrifices
That made wiser men
From ignorant fools.

Words escape.

You. Me.
They cannot be caught,
Yet aren’t quite free,
For every one comes attached to a thought,
And for every action,
It was birthed in naught but
Electrical energy --
Brain waves of….what?

Symbols understood, with meaning,
But none can accurately catch the dreaming,
Teeming shores of what it means to live.
Sensation lingers in the mind’s mouth,
Tasting phrases.
Sifting variations of description,
Through this medium’s sieve.

It still lacks
The richness of the moment’s impact.
In fact,
It’s amazing communication takes place.
Limited as we are,
By our lack
Of (understanding)
The rigidity of moving back
And forth,
Through
Time
and
Space.

Seeking to capture a feeling,
A sight,
To explain human nature --
Thus, stealing it, right?
We take from experience,
And categorize.
We label our labors,
And ceaselessly prize the “Hows“,
And “Whys”,

But Language,
The bridge of the written word…

*sighs*

Though inadequate,
Sometimes succeeds,
And we’re “heard”.

©2009 C.L.R.
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poetry

Kelly Kaur — Two Poems

A Singaporean’s Love Affair

I utter in clandestine code 
Nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee siam 
Paratha, mee pok, char kway teow, 
Biryani, nasi padang, rojak, char siew pao, 
Roti john, mee soto, popiah, putu piring 
Embedded in my genetic soul 
Ravenous for the familiarity of 
a satiating sustenance
a childhood defined
a hungry rebellion usurped
a displaced gluttonous immigrant 
lost in a gumbo of new worlds 
a legacy of bewilderment
longingly relishing fuel
that coursed through my veins
I prattle my mindless mantra 
Durian, satay, ice kacang, kaya, teh tarik 
Ketupat, laksa, lontong, dosai, agar agar 
Putu piring, wonton mee, chili crab 
Bak kut teh, chendol, gado gado
A foreigner
Forever famished

Untitled III
Photograph
©2021 Miroslava Panayotova

Exist

sometimes it's arduous 
being colorful 
in this white world 
 
sometimes I stand out 
in the forest of humanity 
 
sometimes I fade 
in the landscape of dirt and mud 
 
sometimes I become invisible 
in the shroud of possibilities 
 
sometimes I crave to be  
a shade of nothing 

sometimes I yearn to be
simply monochromatic
 
Then you see me 
For who I am 

In that blind understanding

phenomenal love 
makes intricate connections

our disparities
fervently celebrated
by our equal residency
on this universal concourse
of life

and we all
simply
exist

©2021 Kelly Kaur
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poetry

Guerrilla Poetry plus 2 more from Lorraine Caputo

A poetry reading
Digital art from photographs, ©2021 Michael Dickel

Comments on a Reading

You create images
	with words you’ve carefully chosen
		& modeled into verse
But in your droning monotone
	they fall lifeless
		before my ears     my mind

Breathe the fire you felt
	when you wrote that poem
Let the words escape from your mouth
	the way they escaped from your imagination
Let me hear the laughter       the groans
	the serenity       the anger

Your words sputter out in a constant stream
	to stop
			dead
		before reaching my Spirit


GUERRILLA POETRY

The idea ….

Take the poetry out of the coffeehouses & classrooms
	Take the voice to the streets

Small groups       3 or 4 voices united
Guerrilla strikes       poetry readings
Hit with the power of poems
		& disappear, then
	into the mundane life

		laundromats
	speaker’s circle
shopping malls
	convenience stores
		police station waiting rooms

		wherever people are
	sludging through the mud
of rutted life

Strike       with the word

Then       vanish

DO IT!

BANQUETE CULTURAL

On a ball court
in Barrio Edén
we set chairs around
the stage-buffet
we are laying

creating a different space
from the bar on the corner
blaring tropical rhythms,
from the traffic going
some place
some place else
this Saturday night

Families & neighbors
take a seat, their hungering
souls, hungering minds
feasting on the songs & stories,
poetry & mime—the visions
we serve at this 
Cultural Banquet,

a now & then breeze
softly wiping away our
sweat, softly swaying palms
to our rhythms
in this different space

©2021 Lorraine Caputo
All rights reserved


Lorraine Caputo

Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 14 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She travels through Latin America with her faithful companion Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.


The BeZine Spring

Posted in Art, interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry

Somewhere a Whirring Fan

                         “With this beginning, the unknown concealed one created
                           the palace. This palace is called אלוהים (Elohim), God.
                           The secret is: בראשית ברא אלוהים (Bereshit bara Elohim),
                           With beginning, _______ created God (Genesis 1:1).”
Zohar (I:15a)
                         “…She knows that her beloved is searching for her;
                          so what does she do?  She opens the portal to her
                          hidden room [in the palace] slightly and reveals
                          her face for a moment, and then hides it again.”
Zohar  (II.99a)
 Somewhere, a whirring fan
 in an open window spins
 possibilities into threads.
 I heard a rumor that the
 Oleander flowers shed
 their pink and white grace
 for poisonous reason.
 A car slinks down traces
 of a melted tar road.

You like to stand by the window,
 and want him to see you there,
 behind a curtain. He doesn’t
 know you or you him. He walks
 the span of street, infrequently
 catching a glimpse of blue
 eyes, a reflection in cracks
 of the cotton-hued skies.

The crow calls from a tree.
 Another day, green parrots
 screech louder than the
 traffic flees. The heat lays
 like a corpse upon our city.
 Bougainvillea bracts spot
 gardens with false hope,
 colorful arrays of forgotten
 pain turned to sweet honey.

He forgets you, though you
 never meet. And you, also,
 forget—window, curtains,
 the desire for a stranger's
 glad glance. Someone wants
 this to be autobiography, a
 short recollection of moments
 actually lived. That person never
 dreamed, does not exist anymore.

 And I never existed because I
 don’t stop dreaming. Poetry, like
 a god, provides code for an image,
 keying it to suggest a revelation-lode
 from your past. You want it to be
 my past. Parrots screech.
 A crow calls. A beautiful Other
 by the window waits. This all
 happens to you while I write

 these scenes tangled in dreams,
 whirring fans—the poem unable
 to light any form, your reading,
 this page; unable to discover more
 than bare wisps of  meaning in the
 vibrations of words—your song longing
 for someone in the infinite void. Wanting
 a mortal to read you into this, to see you
 alive, you seek a new beginning—genesis.
Asemic Writing Crab / Self-portrait
©2021 Michael Dickel

Note: Zohar refers to The Book of Splendor, one of the main texts of Kabbalah. Translations are from Daniel Matt’s work.

Somewhere a Whirring Fan is from Michael Dickel’s collection, Nothing Remembers.


©2019 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in Music, Musicians, Poems/Poetry

Progression of Buts, &c. | Robert Priest

Progression of Buts

I shouldn't be saying this but —
Typically the majority stand for it but —
They assumed we'd go on being quiet but —
They said that moral courage was at a minimum but —
They thought we'd go on stunned in the grey TV glow but — 
They thought we were flies on the screen forever but —
Even we believed we had no wings, no grandeur but —
They thought our outrage was dead but —
There’s supposed to be limits on how long you can push it
                                                        push it push it but but but —
We thought we'd lost each other but —
They believed that silence was assent forever but —
It looked like it was going to be World War III but —
They said that faith was not a well, not a flow, not a channel but —
I was telling everybody don't count on me
                                                        I can't be relied upon but —
They're going to tell us we're not brave but —
They’re going to push the negative but —
They said there was no buttress but —
No resistance but —
No insistence but —
No victory but —

Give Us a Floor

Give us a floor we can drag a chair over
And leave a mark
A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing
We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like

A floor you can jump on
Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour
And no one cares
We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two

A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps
Fifty stomping bikers on choppers
And still be fine for yoga in the morning
It is important to have a floor you can fall on

A floor good for trying risky positions
Tipsy calisthenics
Maybe one day we’ll want to invite
Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying

A floor equipped to bear them all
And still take a child’s lightest footfall
With never the creak of any small floor complaint

A floor to hold up the elephants
And hippopotami

A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts
Held in thrall by mere matter
By love by stampede

We want a floor to bear seven generations
Each unfolded out of the other
All at once in a great hootenanny and holler

A floor to bear the greatest table ever made
For a feast where no one’s missing
We don’t want some poor flat excuse
We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor
We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted

A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry
And ready to fall
It’s time we had the floor

Give us the floor

poem from Previously Feared Darkness


Spread the Word

Spread the word outward
From the centre
To the edges
 
Spread the word like the word
Was your wings
And you could fly
 
Spread the word
Like wind in all directions
Let the word be spread
Like a lover's legs
Like petals strewn upon a bed
Like the breath of life
On the land of the dead
 
Spread the word
Let nothing go unsaid
That must be said
 
Spread the word like breath
To the drowning
Like food to the unfed
 
Spread the word like medicine
To a child on a deathbed
Spread it like a wild fire
Of thought in some genius head
 
 
Spread the word to all and one
Alike
Refusing it to none
Like wealth like water
Like thirst
All over the earth
Let it never go unheard
 
Spread the word

Islam Means Surrender

There is a lot of Islam
In everything
 Those who surrender to Jesus
Are Islamic - 'Islam' means surrender
 
If you yearn to give up your essence
Into nirvana - isn't that a huge surrender?
 
Islam!
 
And Jews who seek to do the will of God
They surrender themselves to the teachings of the Torah
 
Very Islamic
 
Even lovers who bow to one another's pure forms
Or those who give in the needs of the moment — surrender
 
Islam
 
Is beautiful

—Robert Priest


Robert Priest Poet
Robert Priest

A literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist, Robert Priest is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.


Robert Priest is the author of fourteen books of poetry. His book, Reading the Bible Backwards, rose to number two on the Toronto Globe and Mail’s poetry charts. He is a previous winner of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry award. He co-wrote the hit, Song Instead of a Kiss, for Alannah Myles, which is still played all around the world and went to number one for two weeks in Canada and six weeks in Québec. His aphorisms show up frequently in Colombo’s Canadian Quotations and The Farmer’s Almanac.

His latest book of poetry for children, The Wolf is Back received a Gold Moonbeam award in the US and his previous volume for children, Rosa Rose, was a book of honour in the Lion and the Unicorn award for poetry in the North American category at John Hopkins University. His fantasy series, Spell Crossed, was described by Open Book as a ‘Modern Classic’. He is also a singer-songwriter and children’s singer-songwriter of note with songs on Sesame Street. For two years he was the resident topical songwriter on the CBC radio program Is Anybody Home and has contributed topical songs to CBC’s Sunday Night News. 


Robert Priest—Audio Video
Listen to BAAM! and Feeling the Pinch on Spotify.
Poem Video: What Ugly Is
Poem: In the next War
Song: The bomb in Reverse
Song/poetry album: BAAM!
Live version of Alannah Myles performing Robert Priest co-written,
Song Instead of a Kiss (four weeks at number one in Canada).
Some Links

Poetry books for purchase online
Previously Feared Darkness
Reading the Bible Backwards
Blue Pyramids: New and Selected Poems
How to Swallow a Pig

Selection of poems for reading
Robert Priest, Hand Poems

Robert Priest Retrospective in Big Bridge

Robert Priest’s Children’s Site

Children’s Books
The Paper Sword from Dundurn Books (on Amazon)
Spell Crossed—three book bundle from Dundurn Books
Rose Rose
The Secret Invasion of Bananas


All Contents ©2020 Robert Priest,
except where otherwise noted for recordings on YouTube.
All rights reserved

Posted in Art, homelessness, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

Spare Guardian


Aware that M.S. Evans paints and draws, as well as writing poetry, The BeZine invited her to submit artwork to accompany these poems when we accepted this blog post. We asked M.S. Evans for artwork to accompany and complement the words on the screen (we used to say “on the page”), not to “illustrate| the poems. The result is this blog post, which The BeZine presents here as separate yet interconnected works of art by M.S. Evans.

—Michael Dickel, Editor


Spare Guardian Floating


Spare Change

Spare Change
Sidewalk, slouched.
 
My eyes circle the rim of a crumpled
paper cup.
 
Puddles cooly stare up;
too sure of an answer. 
 
Strangers offer me
naked cigarettes;
slim-boned solidarity.
 
My softness wrapped
in copper wire,
 
I learned to smoke.

Floating Away
oil pastel

Guardian of Keepsakes

The weight of boxes ease; released,
forgotten, re-homed.
 
A guardian of  keepsakes,
I carry the irreplaceable,
sentimental.
 
Not naive enough to trust
my home will last
 
this time.

Bronx Botanical Garden
watercolor and ink

Kicked Out

They gave my room away
when I became pregnant
 
You’re welcome to pay for the basement;
uneven floodplain.
 
First trimester: missed period, tender,
insulted.

Backdoor
tercolor and ink

—Poetry and Art by M.S. Evans


Artist’s Notes

“Floating Away” is an oil pastel piece I did in the early 2000s, when my housing was very unstable. There is a lot of yearning in this piece: for stability, but generally for a future. 

“Bronx Botanical Garden” is a watercolor and ink piece from my time in NY, in the late ’90s. At that time I was doing a work-exchange for a room in the house of an elderly Yiddish poet and artist. 

“Backdoor” is a watercolor and ink piece from my current living situation in Butte, Montana. There are signs of decay, but also of continuity and intent. 



Poetry and Artwork ©2020 M.S. Evans
All rights reserved


Posted in Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

(R)Evolution — 4 poems

Crows Are Being Born Again

     It is an undeniable fact now: 
They have arisen from the bare ground
 
Like the phoenix flapping its wings out of its 
Legendary ashes, where are they going?
Nowhere but high up into a virtual space, a world 
That, like history book, is full of black headlines
 
Big names, & bold details. All transmitted
Into digital forms. Even the most unidentifiable
Has become a star above its dark caws. 
    Each 
Taken for an angel winged with the rainbows 
Of tomorrow, while all cranes and swans are lost 
In their dances to the tune of death             

(R)evolution towards Dataism 

More advanced in evolution than their human masters are chickens as they outnumber the stars in the whole universe, and occupy every corner of the entire planet, but as in-dividuals, no chicken can fly higher than a low fence, make love within its confinement or live together with its children. The only thing they do besides laying eggs and growing meat is standing there, day and night, as if meditating about the meaning of evolution:

It took hundreds…of thousands…of years for…homo erectus to evolve…into sapiens and longer…for chimpanzees to…erectus, but…engineering ourselves…by way of biochemistry…cyborg and…AI, we are upgrading…ourselves into…godlings—all it takes…will be just half a century…where science beats gods…and devils, saints and ghosts alike…at only…a fraction of second, when a whim…pops up for a human…to go back…to a wild animal, again…

Now given each organism as a biochemical algorithm, your life is a programmed process proving your consciousness is actually far less valuable than a fucking Frankenstein’s AI

As giant ants march ahead in nightly arrays
Demonstrating against the ruling humans
Along the main street of every major city
Hordes of hordes of vampires flood in, screaming
Aloud, riding on hyenas and
Octopuses, waving skeletons
In their hairy hands, whipping at old werewolves
Or all-eyed aliens standing by
With their blood-dripping tails
 
Gathering behind the masses are ghosts and spirits
Of all the dead, victims of fatal diseases
Murders, rapes, tortures, wars, starvation, plagues
Led by deformed devils and demons
As if in an uprising, to seek revenge
On every living victor in the human shape
Some smashing walls and fences, others
Barbecuing human hearts like inflated frogs
Still others biting at each other’s soul around black fires
All in a universal storm of ashes and blood
 
Up above in the sky is a red dragon flying by
With a heart infected by the human virus

Second Departure: for Yeats

 Going, going away in an ever retreating bay
The ebb starts below a quickened sun setting
People swarm here, watching, picking, fighting
Over the fishes, shrimps, crabs, shells, weeds
All left stranded, struggling for waters on the beach
They do not care if darkness stalks right behind
Their shadows, rolling like a tide upon their souls
They care only about the benefits they can gather
The sea produce they can trade with one another
 
Surely some ignorance is still in proper place
Surely the second departing is taking place
The Second Departing! The very idea stirs in the minds
A huge flock of crows beating their darkening wings
Flapping into the narrow sky of the prolonged history
It’s these crows, these very unidentifiable black birds
That are driving the light beyond the horizon, inner or outer
(Where they have found God as a redundant re-creation
Where they believe they are the right gods for themselves)

Epilogue: A Parallel Poem

Just as both God and Devil are man’s incarnation,
so are Heaven and Hell both man’s construction. 

I
From the front yard of a melodious morning
From the busy road of a sweet Saturday 
From the moist corner of a heavy march 
From the back lane of pale winter
We have come, here and now, all gathering
In big crowds gathering in big crowds
Gathering in ever-bigger crowds gathering
For the boat to cross the wide wild waters
Before the fairy ferry is fated to fall
Under our feet too heavy with earthy mud 
 
II 
You may well hate Charon
But you cannot help feeling envious:
That business of carrying the diseased
Across the River Styx is ever so prosperous
The only monopoly in the entire universe
That has a market share
Larger than the market itself
Daydreaming, on this side
Of the river, how you might wish
To be an entrepreneur like him
A success American dreamer
 
III 
Flying between sea and sky 
Between day and night 
Amid heavenly or oceanic blue
I lost all my references 
To any timed space
Or a localized time
Except the non-stop snorting 
Of a stranger neighbor
 
Then, beyond the snorts rising here
And more looming there
I see tigers, lions, leopards 
And other kinds of hunger-throated predators
Darting out of every passenger’s heart
Running amuck around us 
As if released from a huge cage

As if in a dreamland

—Changming Yuan


Changming Yuan

©2020 Changming Yuan
All rights reserved

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, poem, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Linda Chown

A Time for God

This is the time for God,
for a roaring sonorous voice,
a biblical moment, indeed,
when we’re shouldering the slaughtered daily,
trying to assuage the fire of fear in and around us,
when leaders spring forth and speak
with the hallowed tone of the ancient tabernacle.
Ages old salt smells, a smear of blood
We’re ready for the divine, dying alive in our
concern. This big, larger than life moment
when life and death waver voluptuously around us.


Modern Life Is Being

masked faces in the cubist ball
that modern life is being,
that modern life is seeing
masked ones gloved and covered
floating mindless in Edgar Allan Poe’s hives,
his Masque of the Red Death breaking,
reality cracks & strange shapes rattle
much like Robert Louis Stevenson incubates
fabulous forms his boats steering far off course, heroes double vestiges of how they thought themselves to be what they were
Poe and RLS brilliant slantwise visionaries. Besides they spun torn lives on the edge,
blooming irregular tunes, masked and twisted.

© 2020, Linda Chown

LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row.  BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Out There

I need to air out my brain
I say
to the walls
that never reply

will they miss me?
will they even notice I am gone?
I clip on my helmet
and mount my bicycle
she is stiff
not an easy ride
but she has taught me so much

as my feet spin
slowly
the air hits my face
sharp, cold

tears well up in my eyes
as I cruise along deserted streets
crawling past a speckling of people
walking in pairs or alone
like myself
alone

I slip into a world
all my own
forgetting the crisis we are in
I marvel at the incredibly skilled rollerblader
in front of me

Criss crossing
spinning
and somehow missing the many lethal potholes
I feel as though I am getting my own private show

Stopping I hike up to my spot
on a rock
amongst the trees

I watch as the sun slips away
behind the buildings across the way

sipping on tea
I think
we will be ok
this will all be ok
what ok looks like
I do not know
whether I can be patient
is uncertain

the cold creeps in
and my toes begin to transform
into ice cubes
I listen a little longer
to the rustling leaves
and whispers of bird cries
then lift off
and carry on this adventure
we all call life.

© 2020, Tricia Enns

TRICIA ENNS’ work explores how our relationship with the social and material spheres of the world impact the well-being of us as individuals, of our communities, and of the environment. She uses craft, illustrations, performance, writing, movement, playful interventions, humour and more recently electronics in her practice.