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

The Ebb Tides of Eternity by Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Kaitlan Balsam, Unsplash

“A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose



Eternity flows deftly through these pandemic* days
enfolding in her stream the many with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality

Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among
our relations and friends
……….a love that blossoms still, as fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles

We thrash and crawl and climb
………puzzling over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts are cupped in one another’s hands,
……….talking drums, they communicate across
……….time and space

Our measured moments grave lines
……….in real and phantom fears,

……….they fly, they hover, storm clouds above us

In words of jade, our softest speech is elegiac
Our tears merge into raging rivers
Our smiles mask our grief and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild and reckless

We see one another in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless faces
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

* pandemic days: COVID-19, environmental degradation, hunger and starvation, poverty and lack of healthcare, nuclear proliferation. Will we succumb or evolve to conquer?  Either way, nothing can take away the love we’ve given and received or  the life we’ve had.

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

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

Before Corona by Mike Stone

Once, a long time ago,
Before Corona,
People sat together
Talking in soft voices
That only they could hear
Heads almost touching.

People held hands
While walking along
A riverbank
At sunset.
Sometimes people
Held each other so close
They could feel each other’s bodies
Underneath their clothes.
Sometimes they kissed
Tasting each other’s mouths.
Sometimes
They pleasured each other.

And sometimes
There were the accidental touches
On crowded trains or buses or planes
That you each savored privately
Arms brushing against arms,
Hand touching hand
While passing a cup of coffee
To someone,
A head heavy with sleep
Leaning against you
Long hair spilling across your shoulder.

These were the times before Corona
That we lived for,
That we couldn’t imagine
Having to do without,
That we thought would go on forever.

April 22, 2020

©2020 Mike Stone
from “The Hoopoe’s Call”

Before and After
Time of Coronavirus
Digital Landscape from Photographs
Photographs ©2007
Michael and Aviva Dekel
Artwork ©2020
Michael Dickel

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

Pandemic Haikus Collection by Anjum Wasim Dar

covid haiku

 

red killer virus

unseen contagious, small

stay clean, far, or  fall.

 

Social distancing

washing hands fast becoming

new law of all lands.

 

Corona dharna

houses safe, don’t wire us,no

lathi-charge*, just soap.

 

who locked me in first

now corona virus has

taken my revenge.

 

value the window

all the world is in it now

zoom in side, zoom out.

*lathi-charge: (India) The police tactic of charging a crowd with lathis or batons in order to disperse it.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

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

Beyond Yearning to Hope

Courtesy of Nick Fewings, Unsplash

“This virus is teaching us that from now on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right versus wrong, life versus death.” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, American Protestant minister and political activist. Rev. Barber is the author of several recommended books. His Amazon page is HERE.



The dreams can drive you crazy sometimes
The ones that envision a just world, one
Where equity is the backbone of endurance
A vineyard of bliss, so to speak, a garden of joy
Relative to the greed times of unworthy living
In a penthouse with a golden toilet, while
Others sleep on cardboard outside, urinating
In the streets, begging for lunch and walking
Barefoot in the snow, betrayed from day one
By the false ideal of rugged independence,
Of monied might is alright, of resource hording
By the richest and unconscionable trafficking of
Children for the unhinged pleasures of the elite
Oh my God, how did this happen? and who
Might have thought that the munitions factory
Of a deadly virus would bring us nose to nose?
How COVID-19 recognizes no bank account or
Prestigious position, just drops its noxious tidbits
Indiscrimanently, into lungs of princes, prime ministers
Those sleeping rough on city streets, its travels
Enhanced by an uneven distribution of access
To water, healthcare, space, living wages,
Paid time off, the rudiments of a civilized life
Girded by compassionate societies, lessons
Learned, we await implementation, and
Dare we move beyond yearning to hope

Originally published by Brave Voices and as The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt 

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

This poem and post are dedicated to the much admired Rev. William Barber and to Bernie Sanders. 

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

Heroic Words by Adrian Slonaker

“How are you?”
Here’s a hackneyed platitude
sidelined like sticky bottles of
condiments at the edges of
booths in greasy spoons – way back in February,
when they were
open,
throwaway words in the time of
meet-ups and Tinder, when
free physicality flowed
like turbid streams
coursing from their sources.
Yet during the drought,
the bromide won’t abandon its
fair-weather friends
as our touches and taps
and caresses and kisses are
evicted by locks and walls and
worry and six feet-
or two meters –
of mandated
icy space.
“How are you?”
A phrase as familiar
as crammed cafés
or yell-laden yellow schoolbuses
or sweaty discotheques,
a sanity-sustaining
semantic squeeze,
a question of concern,
of care,
of connection
softens the strange
hole of isolation.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

ADRIAN SLONAKER crisscrosses North America as a language professional, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Adrian is fond of opals, owls and fire noodlesAdrian’s work has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ez.P.Zine, Page & Spine and others.

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

Tomorrow by Ronny Sommek, Hebrew with English by Karen Alkalay-Gut

@2020 Ronny Semmek


מחר

בְּרֶגַע זֶה כָּל מִלָּה הִיא רַעַף בְּגַג הַבַּיִת
שֶׁאֶבְנֶה מָחָר.
בַּחוּץ קַר.
זוֹ לֹא סְטִירַת הָרוּחַ שֶׁל מֶרְץ אוֹ אֶגְרוֹף הַבָּרָד
מֵהַחֹדֶשׁ שֶׁעָבַר. זוֹהִי הַמַּכָּה מִתַּחַת לְאֵין-חֲגוֹרָה. הַטֶּבַע הוּא
אֶגְרוֹפָן הַמַּכִּיר רַק אֶת הַמִּלָּה
“נוֹקְאָאוּט”.

פִילִיפּ שׁוֹלֵחַ מִמִּילָנוֹ תַּצְלוּמִים שֶׁל אֲרוֹנוֹת קְבוּרָה.
אֵיזֶה בִּזְבּוּז לְהַפְקִיר אֶת הַחוּם־אֲדַמְדַּם
שֶׁל הַמָּהָגוֹנִי וְלִטְמֹן אוֹתוֹ בָּאֲדָמָה. אֲנִי שׁוֹלֵחַ מַבָּט
לַטִּפּוֹת הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁנִּשְׁאֲרוּ בְּבַקְבּוּק הַמַּרְטִינִי,
וְנִזְכַּר בְּדוּכַן הַמְּכִירוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל הַמַּשְׁקֶה שָׁם בְּאוֹתָהּ מִילָאנוֹ.
לְמִי שֶׁשָּׁכַח, הַכֹּל מַתְחִיל בְּוֶרְמוּט וּשְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר אָחוּז שֶׁל
אַלְכּוֹהוֹל נָקִי מֻשְׁרֶה בְּעִשְׂבֵי תִּבּוּל. אָז בּוֹא נִשְׁתֶּה לְזִכְרָם. רוּסוֹ,
בְּיַאנְקוֹ אוֹ אֶקְסְטְרָה־דְּרַי.

סָלָח מִתְקַשֵּׁר מִפָּרִיז וּמַזְכִּיר לִי שֶׁהָרוּחַ הָרָעָה נוֹשֶׁבֶת גַּם בָּעִיר
בָּהּ נוֹלַדְנוּ. קוֹרוֹנָה בַּגְדָּדִית עִם עָרַבֶּסְקוֹת .הוּא מְחַבֵּר לָהּ קְלָלָה
שֶׁהִיא הַגְּרוּשׁ שֶׁהָיָה חָסֵר לַדִּינָר בַּבּוּרְסָה שֶׁל עִירָאק.

וּבְרָמַת גַּן אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לְהַדְהִיר אֶת הַמִּכְחוֹל
כְּמוֹ שֶבָּאשִׁיר אַבּוּ רַבִּיעַ מְמַלֵּא אֶת סוּסָיו
בְּצִבְעֵי הָאֵין־סוֹף.
אֲנִי רוֹצֶה שֶֶׁקְיוּזוֹ מִ”שִּׁבְעַת הַסָּמוּרָאִים”
יַצִּיל אוֹתָנוּ.
שֶׁיָּבוֹא וְיִלְפֹּת שׁוּב אֶת חַרְבּוֹ כְּיֶלֶד הַמְּאַגְרֵף אֶת הַסֻּכָּרִיָּה
הָאַחֲרוֹנָה בְּכִיסוֹ,
שֶׁיַּזְכִּיר לַצֶּלוֹפָן שֶׁעָלָיו לְהַסְתִּיר אֶת אוֹתָהּ סֻכָּרִיָּה
מִשִּׁנֵּי הָעוֹלָם.

מָחָר יִהְיוּ הָרְעָפִים מֵהַשּׁוּרָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה גַּג מֶטָפוֹרִי
שֶׁל בֵּית קָפֶה לְמָשָׁל.
שָׁם נָבִין סוֹף סוֹף שֶׁגַּם עִרְבּוּב חָלָב
בְּתַחְתִּית הַסֵּפֶל יָכוֹל לִבְרֹא
עוֹלָם חָדָשׁ.

Hebrew poem ©2020 Ronny Sommek


Tomorrow

Right now, every word is a tile on the roof of the house
I’ll build tomorrow.
It’s cold outside.
It’s not the slap of the march wind or a punch of hail
From last month. This is a blow beneath the beltless. Nature is
A boxer who knows only the word
“Knockout.”

Phillip sends photographs of coffins from Milan.
What a waste to sacrifice the red-brown
Of mahogany and bury it in the ground. I glance
At the last drops left in the martini bottle,
And remember the first kiosk of that drink in that very Milan.
In case someone has forgotten, it all begins with vermouth and eighteen percent of
Pure alcohol soaked with herbs. So let’s drink to their memory. Rosso,
Bianco, or extra-dry.

Salah calls from Paris and reminds me that the evil wind is blowing as well in the city
We were born. Baghdadi Corona with arabesques. He composes a curse
That it was the last piaster missing from the dinar in the stock exchange of Iraq.

And in Ramat Gan I would like to make a paintbrush gallop
The way Bashir Abu Rabia fills his horses
With paint of eternal colors.
I want Kyuzo from “The Seven Samurai“
To save us.
To come and grasp his sword once more
Like a child who clenches his last candy in his pocket
To remind the cellophane that it must hide that candy
From the teeth of the world.

Tomorrow the tiles from the first line will be a metaphoric roof
Of a coffee house for instance.
There we will understand, at last, that stirring milk
in the bottom of the cup can create
a new world.

English translation ©2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut


Pandemic / Tomorrow Digital Landscape from Photographs ©2020 Michael Dickel
Pandemic / Tomorrow
Digital Landscape from Photographs
©2020 Michael Dekel


Karen Alkalay-Gut’s latest books, due to be published next month, are the dual language Surviving Her Story: Poems of the Holocaust (Courevour Press), translated to French by Sabine Huynh, and A Word in Edgewise (Simple Conundrums Press). She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and an outdoor alley cat.

See her two pandemic poems on The BeZine Blog here.

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

Two Poems by Anjum Wasim Dar

The World Came to A Stop

Another day, another death,
another night, another sin
committed not regretted, nor repented,
routine pulled in pain, in beating
the grain for hours, sweat poured,
didn’t wash the hurt,

the baby cried, hungry, on the back
exhausted by jerky rhythmic jolts
then, the world came to a halt-
no cries sounded as bodies fell
listless without breath, awe and fear?
blood sacrifice, so near?

Take cover, take cover, unseen
strafing , women children men, free
of shades, cash or kind, Flee! Flee!
Death defies borders, barbed wires
make no sense, bullets batons guns
lose power.

Emptiness prevails on land, animals
watch caged humans, no honks for way
on roads. Yesterday what we loved to
touch, that very thing we fear, but will
life be the same again? Will there be
honest care?

The sun still shines, the moon in silver
smiles, rivers run for miles, ranges guard
birds twitter, trees remain calm and green,
fruit is plenty, clouds float in the sky, I—
alone, sigh, and cry—I hear my heart say

Now you know, why?
‘Because You would not stop for the World
It kindly stopped for you.’


The  Skean

Boomeranged, the skean slashed, unseen like phosgene on
the terrene, unforeseen unseen, it ripped smothered innocent
breathers, hundreds at once, to thousands in seconds.

Ominous signs forewarned, scary ghostly widespread happening
suspended in the blue expanses a cloudy white sinister skull trailing
horrifically, manifested across boundless, beyond measure,

unknown, space disturbed, restless undines sensed strange miracles in
ocean fathoms-staggering, half-clad, barefooted, marginalized living
bodies, swayed in dizzy drunken states,

dozing, drowning in Shebeen, for uncounted times, now fully wayward,
drifting, stepping, sinking in dunes, sliding aimlessly, what hopes
for humanity when denes destroyed by humanity itself?

Habitats erased mercilessly and clear silver streams
filled with propylene. No Hippochrine in soul and spirit awakens here,
silence the tambourines, smoke not the dudeen,

Sunk to Lethe lust and greed, oblivious of love kindness and good deeds
why to animal level have humans fallen? Believing not The One Unseen?
Now fearing this—though invisible?

The world in speed, metamorphosed  by tiny  Covid-19—enforcing equity—
knows not rank nor caste, nor color nor creed, nor walls nor wires of any
country, nor age nor gender nor family.

Humanity now on a single plane, no one to lose or gain, death is ordained
for rich or poor, dark or fair, all belong here, shrouds no pockets have, just
fabric layers—

Covid-19—with fear you conquer but one strong weapon will win over you,
Humans have faith and prayer, good deeds and Hope—
Hope is their strength—with Hope the pandemic will surely end.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

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

A Litany in Time of Plague (1593) by Thomas Nashe

Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss!
This world uncertain is:
Fond are life’s lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade;
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

– Thomas Nashe

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

Lockdown by Jamie Dedes

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy


Bronchi- and alveoli-seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of COVID-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly, and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear-hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

Originally published in Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine  in response to Michael Dickel’s Wednesday Writing Prompt

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Earthquake and Devastation by Michael Dickel

The poem Earthquake and Devastation as graphic art, with a photo of flowers in the background.
Poem, photo, and art
©Michael Dickel

Earthquake and devastation

Shaken earth weeps
floods of ice in all lands,
attempts to cleanse itself.

We diseased cells have
metastasized, eaten
its forbidden flesh,
perforated its bones.

What it cannot shake
off it sweeps away
with wind and rain,
or burns off in fires.

Glaciers wear down
what remains. Everything
known is now extinct.

Only new forms will emerge,
scathed and transformed
by death, cancerous greed,
into fallen-Phoenix grace.

©Michael Dickel

An earlier version of this poem appeared in The BeZine, Summer 2018. It is part of a selected and new poems collection with the working title, Necropolis. It is presented here as a metaphor for the pandemic.

MICHAEL DICKEL, co-managing editor of The BeZine, has writing and art in print and online in many venues. His poetry has won the international Reuben Rose Poetry Award  and been translated into several languages. His latest collection of poetry Nothing Remembers, came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press, and received 3rd place for poetry in the Feathered Quill Book Awards–2020. A poetry chap book, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017; The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, a flash fiction collection, came out in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us (2014), Midwest / Mid-East (2012), and The World Behind It, Chaos… (2009). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and -24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. With producer / director David Fisher, he received a U.S.A. National Endowment of Humanities documentary-film development grant. He currently is a lecturer at David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.