Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

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

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


– Mbizo Chirasha

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

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

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

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



POEMS

DEAR COMMISSAR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FREEDOM DISCORD

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

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

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

© 2019, poems and photos, Mbizo Chirasha
““““““
RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in Poets/Writers, TheBeZine

Introducing John Anstie, lead for the December issue of “The BeZine,” theme “Life of the Spirit”

copyright – The BeZine

John Anstie is the lead for the next issue of The BeZine,  which is open for submission to its December issue through November 15. The theme is “Life of the Spirit.” Submission to bardogroup@gmail.com Please read our submission guidelines. Meanwhile, I invite you visit John’s site and get to know this fine musician, poet, grandfather, trainer of dogs for the blind, and so much more. In short, a renaissance man.



You can read an interview with John HERE.

The Chalice, a poem by John Anstie

The Chalice

Dear Earth, you are a sacred aqueous Isle
in a dark and endless sea of universe.
You may never reveal your strategy.
We may be  bound  by  genetic code
to the presupposing chemical destiny
of one great astrophysical master plan
for all living things. We, who represent
your malaise,  your chronic infestation;
we,  like a fleeting itch in your long life,
will never comprehend it.  But, in truth
you know too well  that  we can never
understand more  than one percent
of all there is to know. You contain
the knowledge that is beyond us.
We are but a rash on your skin.

One day, we know you will
raze all of our delusions,
prepare us for the day
when a blinding light
will  inoculate  you
and inform us  of
a moment when
extant humans
will, at last be
prepared to
distinguish
the  l i e s
f r o m
truth
and

so
we
a r e
m e r e
a t o m i c
p  a  r  t  i  c  l  e  s
inside   a   temporal   chalice

© 2014 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Posted in Michael Dickel, Poets/Writers

Contributing Editor, Michael Dickel’s new collection, upcoming from Finishing Line Press



Congratulations, Michael. We’re so proud.

I’ve read Michael’s latest collection and will post a review, interview, and some sample poems shortly on The Poet by Day… Meanwhile NOW IS THE TIME TO PRE-ORDER Michael Dickel’s title, Nothing Remembers.
Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor, The BeZine


Advanced praise: 

.
“He raises the question of whether the past can be preserved in memory, or whether memory is most effective in the face of loss. Either way, what does the past leave us, who are we with or without the past, and if poetry can occasionally fill gaps in our present, what if anything can it give us of our past? Is poetry anything at all — or is it nothing at all, and is the nothing of poetry the best memorialization? Dickel’s sensory, sensual, musical lyric roves across wet and dry landscapes, food and drink, family and friends, darkness and light, sleep and wakefulness, dreams and reality. His words hover between his homes in the Mideast and the American Midwest, conveying the fragility of present and past, enacting a memory at high risk of loss, maintaining faith against staggering odds. Nothing Remembers is a dream of peace, the peace that may come if and when persons and peoples live in a present comfortable with close and distant memory.
–Hassan Melechy, author of Kerouac: Language, Poetics, and Territory (Bloomsbury) and A Modest Apocalypse (Eyewear)
.
Michael Dickel combines powerful imagery and poetic beauty with a reality beneath life’s skin, that will gently shake the reader into an awareness, refreshing and engaging. He will take you through his pages to a ‘resting state’ where possibilities in your mind will feel endless.
–Silva Merjanian, author of Life and Legends
.
Between knowing and dreaming, shattered screams, pulses, shadows and longing, Michael Dickel’s arresting fourth collection, Nothing Remembers, navigates an erotics of re-membrance renegotiating a Proustian ethos of things resonant, prescient, and the ghostly revenance of hope.
–Adeena Karasick, author of Salomé: Woman of Valor
.
“I know so many wildly talented writers. It is one of the great privileges in my life. Michael Dickel is one of them: he uses language like layers of color in a complex painting — you can access experiences that you otherwise wouldn’t have. I’ve just preordered his upcoming collection, Nothing Remembers, from Finishing Line Press; poetry lovers, this is worth having.”

–Ina Roy-Faderman, author of 56 Days of August: an anthology of postcard poems

Posted in healing, poem, Poets/Writers, The BeZine

Deena Metzger, a triumph of tattoo and poetry over mastectomy; “The BeZine” call for submissions

c Jamie Dedes

My mom had her first mastectomy in 1949 when she was pregnant with me.  Things were different then. Mom and her contemporaries had no support after mastectomy. They had the surgery, were sent to get fitted for prostheses … and that was that. There were no hospital or clinic classes in art and poetry for healing. There were no support groups, no talk therapy. Perhaps worst of all, there was no privacy about medical records. My mother actually turned down a promising job opportunity because the firm’s board members wanted to review her medical records before hire.

Things have improved since Mom’s day, thank goodness. Privacy and rights are better protected. There’s patient support available before, during and after mastectomy. There are more options after recovery then chosing between having or not having prostheses. I’m artsy enough myself, I guess, that I love – and am touched – that some women choose to cover their scars with gorgeous, colorful and creative designs like the one below, which triggered this post. Allegedly Facebook kept taking this photograph down, seeing it as offensive. Who knows? Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. I can’t image why they would. This is a brave and beautiful thing. There’s nothing obscene about it.
11156334_10153170849803886_8901359381613103_n-1

Tattoos over breast-surgery scars started – as far as I know – with a poet and writer, Deena Metzger:

c photo by Hella Hammid
c photo by Hella Hammid

Deena (b. 1936), the proud Amazon. This photograph of her is iconic and became – with the addition of the verse below – “The Poster,” which was designed by Sheila Levrant de Bretteville.

I am no longer afraid of mirrors where I see the sign of the amazon, the one who shoots arrows.
There was a fine red line across my chest where a knife entered,
but now a branch winds about the scar and travels from arm to heart.
Green leaves cover the branch, grapes hang there and a bird appears.
What grows in me now is vital and does not cause me harm. I think the bird is singing.
I have relinquished some of the scars.
I have designed my chest with the care given to an illuminated manuscript.
I am no longer ashamed to make love. Love is a battle I can win.
I have the body of a warrior who does not kill or wound.
On the book of my body, I have permanently inscribed a tree.

© Deena Metzger

If The Poster had come out when my mother was alive, I’d have bought it and had it framed for her.

*****

Deena Metzger is a American writer and poet, essayist and screenwriter, an advocate and counselor. Her book Writing for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner World (Harper One, 1992), is ideally suited for those of us who see writing as a spiritual practice. Her website is HERE.

Appropo our upcoming June issue of The BeZine, I particularly appreciate Deena’s essay, The Language and Literature of Restoration..  I think the quotation (below) is relevant to our concerns for our earthly environment, which is the focus of the June issue.  Deena is holding us – lovers of nature, writers, poets,  and lovers of the arts – accountable for our part in what comes next, extinction or survival.

“Extinction stalks us. Not an act of God, but a consequence of how we have chosen to live our lives. Such choices are handed to us by language and literature. Literature that is reduced to media, obsessed with violence, conflict, sensationalism, nationalism and speciesism. We are each responsible – we participate – no exceptions. The antidote for extinction is restoration. Languages and literatures that lead toward restoration are essential. So we have to try ….” MORE

Note: The BeZine is a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines.

© 2016, words and mother/daughter photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; © Deena’s photograph and poem Deena Metzger.


“THE BeZINE” CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS thebezine.com is open for the upcoming June edition to be published on June 15, deadline June 10. This is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. We are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge for submissions or subscriptions. The theme is sustainability. We publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, feature articles, art and photography, and music videos and will consider anything that lends itself to online posting. There are no demographic restrictions. We do not publish work that promotes hatred or advocates for violence. All such will be immediately rejected. We’d like to see work that doesn’t just point to problems but that suggests solutions. We are also interested in initiatives happening in your community – no matter where in the world – that might be easily picked up by other communities. Please forward your submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com No odd formatting. Submit work in the body of your email along with a BRIEF bio. Work submitted via Facebook or message will not be considered for publication. We encourage you to submit work in your first language, but it must be accompanied by translation into English.

– Jamie Dedes 

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, Poets/Writers

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER – Let’s Do It!

“Pithy and powerful, poetry is a popular art form at protests and rallies. From the civil rights and women’s liberation movements to Black Lives Matter, poetry is commanding enough to gather crowds in a city square and compact enough to demand attention on social media. Speaking truth to power remains a crucial role of the poet in the face of political and media rhetoric designed to obscure, manipulate, or worse.” MORE, Poetry Foundation



OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, I’m inviting all Facebook friends – and this post is an open invitation – whether you are poets or not – to Like 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change 2018 GLOBAL EVENTOf course, there’s no obligation to do so, however given the state of the world at this time, it’s important to throw our energy and support behind this effort. It sends a message to those who . . . 

  • use their power to harm people, culture and environment,
  • to the folks on the run who don’t know we care, and
  • to each other that we are together – have one another – in support of PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY & SOCIAL JUSTICE.

Really I think we outnumber the bad guys. We just don’t get the press. We have to make our own. 


FROM MICHAEL ROTHENBERG:

“Do you want to join other poets, musicians, artists, mimes, dancers, photographers, performing artists, clerics, and friends of the arts around the USA and across the planet in a demonstration/celebration of poetry to promote serious social, environmental, and political change?

“September 29th is the global 100 Thousand Poets for Change Day, 2018!

“This is our 8th year!

“If you would like to organize an event in your community, join us here and write to us directly to register your event at

Sign up:
http://100tpc.org/sign-up/

– Michael Rothenberg, Co-founder of 100TPC with Terri Carrion


UNIQUE EVENT AS PART OF 100,000 POETS (and friends) for Change 2018, Global

American-Israeli Poet, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) / Play) and others are organizing a 100TPC event in Jerusalem during Sukkot this year. Sukkot is a harvest holiday celebrated in temporary structures (a sukkah, singular; sukkot, plural) to commemorate the time when the Jews wandered in the wilderness. It is traditional to eat meals and sleep in the sukkot during the week of the holiday. The plan is to offer poetry, shared food, and comfort in one or more sukkah in Jerusalem in the spirit of peace, justice, and sustainability. More details to come. This year Sukkot ends during 100TPC weekend.

Connect with Michael HERE on Facebook for more information if you want to help with and/or attend the Sukkot event. You can also leave a message for Michael Dickel here at The BeZine blog in the comments section below. I’ll make sure he sees it.

Non-Jews living in and near Jerusalem are welcome.

This event in Jerusalem suggests another way to organize around 100TPC, which could be emulated elsewhere. What holy days or feast days are celebrated in your tradition near September 29, 100TPC Global 2018? Or, do as Rev. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) did one year: 100,000 Peacemakers for Change. Egypt did 100,000 Mimes for Change. There have been 100,000 Drummers for Change … and Musicians and Photographers as well. All these registered their events with 100,000 Poets for Change. Our only limits are a lack of energy, imagination and passion, so rev up your engines and let’s do it …

Let’s do it … and, let’s get the word out with Joy! Gratitude! Caring! Sharing!

If you are organizing a registered 100TPC event in your area, I’m happy to include details about your event on The Poet by Day if you send your announcement to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

– Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day)

Posted in General Interest, Poets/Writers

HEADS-UP POETS AND POETRY LOVERS in and around Hamilton Ontario: Save-the-Date, The BeZine Contributing Editor, Michael Dickel reading


 

MICHAEL DICKEL a poet, fiction writer, and photographer, has taught at various colleges and universities in Israel and the United States. Dickel’s writing, art, and photographs appear in print and online. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. His chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism came out from Locofo Chaps in 2017. Is a Rose Press released his most recent full-length book (flash fiction), The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos… He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36(2010). He was managing editor for arc-23 and arc-24. With producer / director David Fisher, he received an NEH grant to write a film script about Yiddish theatre. He is the former chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. Meta/ Phor(e) /Play is Michael’s blogZine Michael on Social Media: Twitter | FaceBook Page | Instagram | Academia  Michael is also an a member of The BeZine core team.

Posted in poetry, Poets/Writers, Writing

FOR POETRY MONTH: Meaning and Pleasure … featuring Michael Dickel and Myra Schneider

It’s great to get a poem or story published. It’s about income and getting read and for some it’s validation as well. These are all important (even vital), but I was reminded recently that our poetry and other writing is about so much more.

In the introduction to the March issue of The BeZine, themed Science in Culture, Politics and ReligionContributing Editor Michael Dickel wrote:

American-Israeli Poet, Michael Dickel

“The title of David Cooper’s book on Kabbalah invites us to re-think the Creator as Creating: God is a Verb. While I don’t want to equate science to God in a religious sense, I want to borrow this re-conception. Science is creative, creating, if you will, knowledge of the world. Science is a verb.”

 

Jamie Dedes

A friend of mine came to visit and glowed when she told me she’d read Michael’s introduction. God is a Verb and Science is a verb popped out at her. Something she’d been struggling with suddenly fell into place. Other company arrived and I wasn’t able to get further explanation. I’m pleased but not surprise with her reaction to Michael’s piece. It demonstrates the power of words to bring joy, clarification and healing.

My own recent experience: a few people commenting or emailing me saying my post here – not with a bang but a whimper – helped release needed tears.

On another occasion in woman in Scotland wrote to say she’d read my poem – Wabi Sabi – to her wabi sabi group.  They found it inspiring. Wow! While I do need my payments, it’s this sort of thing – this human connection – that is satisfying right down to the marrow of my bones.

Poetry is also important as an entry point into sacred space for both artist and audience.  This is motivation for everyone to practice their art, whether professionally or as amateur, which is not a pejorative. I’m sure many of you – if not all of you – know what I mean.  There’s a shift that happens. Sometimes it feels more like channeling than writing. The experience is illuminating, healing and peaceful. An unexpected insight often arrives just when you need it.

Our job as poets and writers goes even further: we bear witness, we give voice to the voiceless, and we observe and commemorate.

English Poet Myra Schneider at her 80th Birthday celebration and the launch of her 12th collection

Myra Schneider said in an interview HERE, that “I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others. Many people who suffer a loss or go through a trauma feel a need for poetry to give voice to their grief and to support them through a difficult time. When an atrocity is committed poems are a potent way of expressing shock and anger, also of bearing witness. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.”

So, as we celebrate poetry this month, be sure to give yourself time to read and write … for the sake of your spirit and for the rest of us too.

Please join us at The BeZine on April 15th for our special interNational poetry issue. Michael Dickel is the lead editor.

© Each of the personal photographs belongs to the poet pictured, all rights reserved.

– Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day)

Posted in M.Zane McClellan, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

Tattered Trees

​Black limbs with outstretched sleeves
full of holes and bloodstained leaves,
soughing from groves of tattered trees,
blowing mournfully in a lead-filled breeze.

Thorns stem from grafted roots
poisonous runners sprout sickly shoots
tendrils smoking, choking, twenty-one gun salute.
Eyewitness videos can’t refute.

As soaking in a withering rain
the rotten gardeners remain
now all around us bears the stain,
deaf to the haunting refrain.

M. Zane McClellan
~
Copyright © 2016
All rights reserved

Posted in M.Zane McClellan, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers, Writing

By the Authority Vested 

Who grants
authority
Vested in thee?
Taking
what cannot be
given back,
if mistakenly,
found
standing on
tremorous
moral ground,
unarmed, dead bodies
strewn around.
Granted power,
the right.
Constitutional,
Legal,
protection
from public
oversight.
We become
desensitized
society, inured is
traumatized
by so much violence,
it’s hard to
keep facts straight.
Another one?
Botched executions
by the state.
International conflicts
conflate.
Genocide
at alarming rate.
Global expansion
allowing for
export
of our
chief
cash
crop.

M. Zane McClellan

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved

Editorial Note: Today we introduce a new member of our core team, M. Zane McClellan. He grew up in New York where he attended Adelphi University and was the first African-American to play lacrosse and serve as the Freshman Class President. He studied Psychology before joining the Marine Corps. McClellan recently initiated an international collaborative poem called, Poets for Peace, and is working on his debut novel, a fantasy. To read more of M. Zane McClellan’s poetry, please see, The Poetry Channel. J.D.

Posted in M.Zane McClellan, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers, The BeZine

Unfolding

unfolding
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com. Public domain, license cc0

Something about the weight of it.
It settles so well in my hands,
appealing to my sense of touch.
The warmth of the cover,
crisp edges sliding across my thumb
as I fan.
The soft scraping sound of the sheets,
like a tree branch brushing against the window,
playing hide and seek with the moon
casting shadows on my equilibrium
as they are cast across the room.
As I am enchanted
by the bending of the spine,
the unfolding of wings as a butterfly.
That which was cocooned
in another’s chrysalis mind
transformed
to take flight in the
infinite sky,
this imagination of mine.

– M. Zane McClellan

Copyright © 2016,  All rights reserved

Editorial Note: Today we introduce a new member of our core team, M. Zane McClellan. He grew up in New York where he attended Adelphi University and was the first African-American to play lacrosse and serve as the Freshman Class President. He studied Psychology before joining the Marine Corps. McClellan recently initiated an international collaborative poem called, Poets for Peace, and is working on his debut novel, a fantasy. To read more of M. Zane McClellan’s poetry, please see, The Poetry Channel. J.D.

Posted in Michael Dickel, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers, The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

April 2016, Vol. 2/Issue 7 ~ Celebrating Poetry Month

15 April 2016
Poetry Month

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

I. The Burial of the Dead

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten.
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.…

A tidal wave of poetry, perhaps.

Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor

While Eliot declares the cruelty of April, April also happens to be National Poetry Month in the United States and Canada. In our online, social media world, it has become an international celebration of poetry as well. To join in this celebration, we in the Bardo Group Beguines dedicate the April issue each year to poetry. Many of us who write regularly for The BeZine are poets, and we usually include poetry. So, for us, it is a happy celebration—nothing cruel about it!

And what a wide-ranging celebration we offer in the 2016 National Poetry Month The BeZine issue! W. B. Yeats is oft quoted as saying, “What can be explained is not poetry.” So I won’t explain. I will tell you that Terri Muuss’ poem, “Thirteen Levels of Heaven,” takes you far and wide in a few grains of sand. “The Other Woman,” Imen Benyoub’s heart-wrenching poem, is not who you think—but in the current global storm of conflict and national political climate, indeed, she is Other. Michael Rothenberg’s “Poem for Mitko” personalizes the news we hear by imagining its impact on our mutual friend, Macedonian poet Mitko Gogov.

What these three featured poems have in common is their ability to take the intimate, the personal, the real moments of every day life, and reflect in and from them larger issues of humanity and life. Each describes very specific, personal scenes. According to Joy Harjo, “It’s possible to understand the world from studying a leaf.” And all of these poems open our eyes wide to the world. Sharon Olds tells an interviewer about poets she admires: “Their spirits and their visions are embodied in their craft. And so is mine.” And so are the spirits and visions of the authors gathered here.

“It may also be the case that any genuine work of art generates new work,” Donald Barthelme tells us in a Paris Review interview. As you read the poems, essays, interviews, and reviews in this month’s issue, I imagine that they will generate new art for you. Whether the art of living, the art of knowing others, or “the Arts,” you will want to do more of it after reading what we offer this month.


Last year, the Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN) collaborated with The BeZine during April to present poetry from the SLN. In this year’s issue, you can read more about the network in “SECOND LIGHT NETWORK, showcasing the ambitious poetry of ambitious women.”  Jamie Dedes’ essay “POET, TEACHER, INSPIRATION: Dilys Wood and the Latter-day Saphos” also sheds light on Dilys Wood, founder of the SLN. This year, in my dual roles of contributing editor here at The BeZine and associate editor at The Woven Tale Press, I have served as liaison in a new collaboration. The works specifically from the collaboration appear in their own section in the table of contents below.

However, the whole issue represents collaboration—not only between the two publications, but between all of the writers. We work together, as a community. In putting this all together with Jamie Dedes and my Bardo Group Beguines and Woven Tale Press colleagues, I came to realize how many of the poets here I know personally—separately from these two publications. We all come from an organic online writing community. By organic, I mean through no organized effort or special social website.

After years of knowing Michael Rothenberg through email and Facebook, I only finally met him in person this past summer. Terri Muuss and I met at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village, also years ago, where her husband, Matt Pasca (who also has appeared in The BeZine), Adeena Karasick, and I performed one lovely evening. All four of us keep in touch through Facebook now.

I met gary lundy a long time ago and have spent time together, including road trips and as roommates for a few months. However, most of our friendship has been sustained and maintained by email and online connections—dating back to before any of us had heard of Facebook. UK poet Reuven Woolley, Romanian poet Liliana Negoi, Natasha Head, as well as Jamie Dedes and the rest of the Bardo Group Beguines, I only know “virtually.” Until a few months ago, the same was true for The Woven Tale Press publisher and editor-in-chief, Sandra Tyler.

Today, the world of poetry, as with everything else, has transformed under the influences of technology and social media. Last year, I spoke to a graduate-student seminar about social media, poetry, and the latest wave of “democratization of poetry.” That discussion evolved into the foreword of The Art of Being Human, Vol. 14, which you can read in this issue as “(Social) Media(ted) (Democratic) Poetry.”

I won’t try to count how many waves of “democratic” trends in poetry have washed up on the beach. A couple of centuries ago, poets were concerned “just anybody” might write poetry, and they didn’t think that was such a good idea. Some probably still don’t. Free verse and the Beats in the mid-Twentieth Century have been associated with the idea, for better or worse, depending on who made the association.

Today, poetry slams usually involve actual voting, as do many online sites. Self-publishing has become easy and cheap, so anyone could have a book who wants to, now. As a result of all of this, editors—such as those putting together a special poetry issue—serve much more as curators than as the gate-keepers of old. So, we may be in one of the greatest ever waves of “democratic” poetry.

A tidal wave of poetry, perhaps.

Don’t worry. While it will wash over you and change you, you won’t drown. Enjoy the poetry, writing about poetry, and other work presented here for your celebratory pleasure!

“There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school.”
― Sharon Olds


Table of Contents

Featured

POEMS

ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS

WOVEN TALE PRESS COLLABORATION

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK

IMG_9671CONNECT WITH US

Beguine Again, Spirtual Community and Practice

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, General Interest, Peace & Justice, Poets/Writers

In Conversation: Poet/Musician Graffiti Bleu & Michael Rothenberg, co-founder of the global initiative, 100,000 Poets for Change

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You can listen to the two-hour podcast HERE. Recommended! This post is meant as an alert and also to share my two cents.

As I write, it’s just a few hours after listening to Just My Thoughts with Graffiti Bleu on BlogTalk Radio. The show started with an exploration of What does the revolution look like? with Graffiti Blue, Michael Rothenberg, and the show’s panel and callers comprised of poets involved in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC).

Harkening back to Gil Scott-Heron and his poem, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,  part of the discussion was on technology and social networking and their roles in fostering peace, social justice and sustainability. When Heron wrote his poem in 1971, the means to formulate and distribute information and opinion were dominated by mainstream media and corporate interest, which were not in sympathy with the revolution Heron envisioned. Those interests are still dominant and still lack sympathy, but there’s something of a balance occurring – however imperfect – now that we plain folk have access to the tools of technology and social networking. Without social networking, we wouldn’t have 100TPC, which can happily be said to have gone viral since Michael Rothenberg put out a call on Facebook for poets to join in a global peace effort back in 2010. While each of us in the “100,000” has a relatively small “audience” together we touch many, many minds and hearts. We do have an agenda, but it doesn’t foment strife. We’re not in anyone’s pocket. That’s clean power. It’s power to …

On a personal level, one benefit of technology is that people who are homebound – as I sometimes am – can take part in change-making initiatives more actively than simply writing letters-to-the-editor or to our legislators, which is not to say we should give that up. I started a virtual 100TPC via The BeZine and with The Bardo Group Beguines so that disabled people and people who do not live near a 100TPC event would have the opportunity to have their say, to lend their support. Our 2015 commemorative page is HERE.

We need to do more than “talk.”  Agreed. And I think that one of things 100TPC gives us is hope … huge hope from seeing that there are people in every nook-and-cranny of the world who share our values and priorities. This helps us to keep on keeping on with our local grassroots initiatives as well as our broader advocacy. This serves to sustain our faith and commitment.

Ultimately for me, 100TPC is about breaking down barriers, crossing boarders. It leads the way in our evolutionary journey toward a sustainable peace. In the documentary film Ten Questions for the Dalai Lamathe Dalai Lama says “we need more festivals.”  In other words, if we get to know people, if we break bread with them or share a bowl of rice, we are less likely to think of them as “other.”  It will be more difficult to turn around the next day and do harm.  100TPC is our festival. Once we’ve shared hearts, souls and stories through poetry, how can we marginalize anyone? How can we abandon or abuse?

Can the revolution be bloodless? The question is really “will it be?” I don’t think so. I don’t think revolutions are by their very nature “bloodless.” The psychopaths will always be with us and until we stop marginalizing people and leaving them desperate and vulnerable to tyrants, we’ll never have bloodless reform. We’ll never achieve a sustainable peace. Peace is a state that takes awareness and awareness takes growth, which is an evolutionary process.  That doesn’t mean we should give up. It means that as poets we should continue to bear witness, to touch hearts, to raise consciousness and to nurture the process of growth. As poet Michael Dickel said in an interview on this site HERE: “. . . it may not be ours to see the work completed, but that does not free us from the responsibility to do the work.”

– Jamie Dedes

© 2016, words, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved; photograph courtesy of Graffiti Bleu and Michael Rothenberg.

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

News: Second Light Network, “ARTEMISpoetry”, Fugitive Flags, and The BeZine’s 100,000 Poets for Change

Editorial Note: The September issue of The BeZine will be out on the 15th and we’re all set for the big event on the 26th. Meanwhile …

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SECOND LIGHT LIVE: Everytime I visit Second Light Live, the website for Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN), their biannual magazine (ARTEMISpoetry) and SLN’s two anthologies, Images of Women (Arrow Press and SLN, 2006) and Her Wings of Glass (SLN, 2014), there’s news . . . . Unlike a lot of news, it’s all good.

The poem of the month, Stones by Marion Tracy, is HERE.

Check out SLN for poetry, classes (including remote), and poetry news. The network is for women.  The poetry is for everyone.

I’ve read both anthologies, by the way. I enjoyed them immensely and go back to them frequently.

ARTEMISpoetry: The May 2015 issue of ARTEMISpoetry is still available for purchase.  I’m just getting ready to submit my request for permission to post some poems from it and once I have that you’ll see a review go up here along with two or three poems from that issue. Meanwhile, poems and artwork for the May 2016 issue are due by 28 February 2016.  Submission details are HERE.

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FUGITIVE FLAGS: On 26 September, “100,000 Poets for Change” are celebrating their annual day of action, when poets all over the world call for social and political change.  [That is for peace, sustainability and social justice.] On that day we ask literature institutions and writers to fly a white flag.

Why: We want to make a stand for a different treatment of refugees: for respecting their human rights.

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When:  26 September, 4 p.m.

What Can You Do?  Fly a white flag (e.g. made of napkins, bed linen, table-cloth, …) from your window or balcony.  It should say “refugees welcome” and “100,000 Poets for Change.”

Please share this call for action.

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THE BeZINE’S 100TPC: Only seventeen more days to go for The BeZine‘s virtual event.  The theme we chose this year is poverty.  A post will go up on our blog and you are invited – encouraged – to link in your own relevant work. (How-to will be provided in the post.) We hope you will also read the work shared by others as well.  Ultimately the links will be gathered into a commemorative Page on our site and also archived at 100TPC.

I hope you are all working on your poems, music videos, art and so on to link in with our virtual event that day.

If you are coming late to this announcement, here are some informational posts to check out:

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The BeZine‘s revised Submission Guildelines – including our schedule of themes through December of next year – is now available for view HERE.

Don’t forget to check for Writing Contests, Grant and Awards at Poets & Writers Magazine.  You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Thank you! Please feel free to reblog this post. 

Jamie Dedes

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, General Interest, justice, Michael Dickel, Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers, Sustainability, The BeZine, Writing

100,000 Poets (and other artisits and friends) for Change, 2015: over 500 events scheduled around the globe

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These are busy days for Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion who founded 100,000 Poets for Change.  Michael announced yesterday that 500 events are now scheduled for September 26, 2015, the fifth anniversary of this global initiative for change; that is, for peace and sustainability.

For those who are just catching up with us100 Thousand Poets for Change, or 100TPC, is an international grassroots educational organization focusing on the arts, especially poetry, music, and the literary arts. It was founded in 2011 by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion and is centered on a world-wide event each September. This past June the first World Conference on 100TPC was held in Salerno, Italy.

There are also several offshoots cropping up: 100,000 Photographers for Change, 100,000 Drummers for Change … and so on. A little searching on Facebook and you’ll find them, though the umbrella for all,  100TPC, does include a range of artistic specialties and friends of the arts and is not limited to poets and poetry.

We – that is The Bardo Group and Beguine Again, publishers of The BeZine are hosting a virtual event and you are all invited to attend and add links to your own relevent work.  The links will be collected and published in a Page on The BeZine site and also archived at 100TPC. Michael Dickel (Fragments of Michael Dickel) of The Bardo Group is the lead for this event. Michael is also the organizer of an event scheduled in Israel this October.  You can contact him via his blog or message him on Facebook if you have an interest in participating there.

Meanwhile, here is an introduction to the visionary founders of 100TPC, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion:

MICHAEL ROTHENBERG was born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, and has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 37 years. Currently Michael is living and creating among the redwoods.

Michael is co-founder of Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica, which is dedicated to the cultivation of orchids and bromeliads. He is a poet, painter, songwriter, and editor of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, a webzine of poetry and everything else.

In 2011 he and Terri Carrion co-founded the global poetry movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change. His songs have appeared in Hollywood Pictures’ Shadowhunter and Black Day, Blue Night, and most recently, TriStar Pictures’ Outside Ozona. Other songs have been recorded on CDs including: Bob Malone’s The Darkest Part of The Night (Caught Up in Christmas) and Bob Malone (Raydaddy’s Blues), Difficult Woman by Renee Geyer, Global Blues Deficit by Cody Palance, The Woodys by The Woodys, and Schell Game by Johnny Lee Schell.

Michael’s poetry books and broadsides are archived at the University of Francisco, and are held in the Special Collection libraries of Brown University, Claremont Colleges, University of Kansas, the New York Public Library, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, and UC-Santa Cruz.

His most recent collection of poems is Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story (Ekstasis Editions 2013) and Murder (Paper Press, 2013) My Youth As A Train published by Foothills Publishing in September 2010.

TERRI CARRION was conceived in Venezuela and born in New York to a Galician mother and Cuban father. She grew up in Los Angeles where she spent her youth skateboarding and slam-dancing.

Terri Carrion earned her MFA at Florida International University in Miami, where she taught Freshman English and Creative Writing, edited and designed the graduate literary magazine Gulfstream, taught poetry to High School docents at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and started a reading series at the local Luna Star Café. In her final semester at FIU, she was Program Director for the Study Abroad Program, Creative Writing in Dublin, Ireland.

Her poetry, fiction, non-fiction and photography has been published in many print magazines as well as online, including The Cream City Review, Hanging Loose, Pearl, Penumbra, Exquisite Corpse, Mangrove, Kick Ass Review, Jack, Mipoesia, Dead Drunk Dublin, and Physik Garden among others.

Her collaborative poem with Michael Rothenberg, Cartographic Anomaly was published in the anthology, Saints of Hysteria, A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry and her chapbook Lazy Tongue was published by D Press in the summer of 2007.

Terri’s most recent projects includes collaborating on a trilingual Galician Anthology, (from Galician to Spanish to English) and co-editing an online selection of the bi-lingual anthology of Venezuelan women writers, Profiles of Night, both to appear in late August, on BigBridge.org., for which she is assistant editor and art designer. Currently, she is learning how to play the accordion. Terri Carrion lives under the redwoods and above the Russian River in Guerneville, Ca. with her partner in crime Michael Rothenberg, and her dogs Chiqui and Ziggy.

Posted in 000 Poets, 100, justice, Michael Dickel, Musicians, Peace & Justice, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers, TheBeZine, Writing

The Poet as Witness: “War Surrounds Us,” an interview with American-Israeli Poet, Michael Dickel

Editors note: The theme for our September issue is poverty. It is part of our 100,000 Poets (and other artists and friends) for Change event (change being peace and sustainability) to be held here as a virtual event on 26 September 2015. Michael Dickel takes the lead on this project and the September issue. Here’s an opportunity to get to know him better. Michael’s vision: “… hope must/ still remain with those who cross/ borders, ignore false lines and divisions/” is consistent with the mission of Bequine Again and The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine.  The September issue will post on the 15th. J.D.

5182N5cYeEL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_“That some of those labelled as enemies
have crossed the lines to offer condolences
at the mourning tents; that the mourning
families spoke to each other as parents
and cried on each others’ shoulders;
that we cried for the children who died
on both sides of the divide; that the
war began anyway; that hope must
still remain with those who cross
borders, ignore false lines and divisions;
that children should be allowed to live;
that we must cry for all children who die”

– Michael Dickel, (Mosquitos) War Surrounds Us

Jerusalem, Summer 2014: Michael Dickel and his family including Moshe (3 years) and Naomi (1 year) hear the air raid sirens, find safety in shelters, and don’t find relief during vacation travels.  In a country smaller than New Jersey, there is no escaping the grumbling wars that encircle. So Michael did what writers and poets do. He bore witness. He picked up his pen and recorded thoughts, feelings, sounds, fears, colors, events and concerns in poetry. The result is his third collection of poems, a chapbook, War Surrounds Us.

While some use poetry to galvanize war, Michael’s poetry is a cry for peace. He watched the provocations between Israel and Hamas that resulted in war in 2014 and he illustrates the insanity.

            And the retaliation
Continues, reptilian and cold,
retaliation the perpetrator
of all massacres.

Though the poems change their pacing and structure, they present a cohesive logical and emotional flow, one that takes you blood and bone into the heart of Michael’s experience as a human being, a poet, a Jew, a father and husband. He touches the humanity in all of us with his record of the tension between summer outings and death tolls, life as usual and the omnipresence of war.  Both thumbs up on this one. Bravo, Michael.

– Jamie Dedes

Poems from War Surrounds Us:
Again
Musical Meditations
The Roses

TLV1 Interview and Poetry Reading

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MY INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL DICKEL:

Jamie: Putting together a poetry collection and ordering the work in a way that enhances the meaning and clarity of poems included is not easy. One of the first things to strike me about the collection as a whole is how it flows, so well in fact that it reads almost like one long poem. I found that quality contributed to the work’s readability. How did you work out the order? Was it consciously ordered or did it arise organically out of the experience of the war?

Michael: I’m very gratified that you noticed this about my book. I hadn’t thought of it quite in that sense, of being one poem, but I like that it reads that way. The sense of a book holding together, a collection of poems having some coherence, is important to me. I don’t think my first book achieved this very well, although it has some flow poem to poem. The whole is not focused, though. My second book has a sense of motion and narrative, from the Midwest where I grew up to arriving and living in Israel, and now being part of the Mid-East. However, War Surrounds Us, my third book, finally has a sense of focus that the other two did not.

Unfortunately, I probably can’t take too much credit for that coherence. Even more unfortunate, a real war raged in Gaza, with rockets also hitting the Jerusalem area, not that far from where I live. As we know now, thousands died, most apparently civilians, many children. Just across the border to the Northeast, diagonally opposite of Gaza, a much larger scale conflict burned and still burns through Syria—with even larger death tolls and even more atrocities over a longer time. These wars had, and still have, a huge impact on me and my family.

During last summer, the summer of 2014, this reality of war surrounding us had all of my attention. And it came out in my writing as obsession with the war, my family, the dissonance between living everyday life and the reality of death and destruction a missile’s throw away. So the topic filled my poems those months, as it did my thoughts. And the poems emerged as events unfolded over time, so a sort of narrative wove into them—not a plot, mind you, not exactly, anyway.

This gives a chronological structure to the book. However, not all of the poems appear in the order I wrote them. I did move some around, seeing connections in a theme or image—if it did not jar the sense of the underlying chronology of the war. Some of the events in our life could move around, and I did move some poems to places where I thought they fit better. I also revised the poems, reading from beginning to end several times, trying to smooth out the flow. A few of the poems I actually wrote or started before this phase of the ongoing conflict broke out—but where they also fit into a pattern, I included them. In the end, I moved and revised intuitively, following my own sense of flow and connection. I’m glad that it seems to have worked for you, as a reader, too.

Jamie: What is the place of the poet and poetry in war? Can poetry, art and literature move us to peace? How and why?

Michael: This is a difficult question. Historically, one place of poets was to call the soldiers to war, to rile them up and denounce the enemy. There is a famous poem from the Hebrew Scriptures. Balaam is called by Balak to curse Jacob and his army. The story sets a talking donkey who sees an angel with a sword and other obstacles in his way, but long story short, he arrives and raises his voice. He is the poet who is supposed to curse the enemy. Instead, he begins, “How beautiful your tents, O Jacob…” and recites a poem that is now part of the Jewish liturgy. This is not necessarily a peace poem, but it shows words and their power to curse of bless. I think the place of the poet is to bless and, rather than curse, to witness with clear sight.

There is a long history of poet as witness and observer. Czeslaw Milosz in The Witness of Poetry and Carolyn Forché, following him, in her books Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness and Poetry of Witness, which goes back to the 16th Century, argue that the poet’s role is to observe and bear witness to the world—to the darkness, the atrocities, genocide, war… Forché quotes Bertolt Brecht: “In these dark times, will there also be singing? / Yes, there will be singing. / About the dark times.” I think that is what we do as poets. That’s what I hope that War Surrounds Us does at its best, albeit as much a witnessing of my own family and context as of the Other. Then, as feminist theory has taught me, the personal is political, the political personal.

A1oKsOxRrJL._UY200_Can art and literature move us to peace? I don’t know. I hope it can move us to see more clearly, to feel more acutely, and to embrace our humanity and the humanity of others. Perhaps that will move us toward peace. There is so much to do, and it is as the rabbinic wisdom says about healing creation: it may not be ours to see the work completed, but that does not free us from the responsibility to do the work. As poets, we make a contribution. I hope the songs about the dark times will also be blessings for us all.

Jamie: Tell us about your life as a poet. When did you start and how did you pursue the path? How do you carve out time for it in a life that includes work, children and community responsibilities. You live on a kibbutz, I think.

Michael: Well, starting at the end, no, I don’t live on a kibbutz, I live in Jerusalem (the pre-1967 side of the Green Line). I do teach English at a college that was started by the Kibbutz Movement as a teacher’s college in the 1960s, now Kibbutzim College of Education, Arts and Technology. That appears in my email signature and confuses some people outside of Israel, who think I teach as part of living at a kibbutz. I’m actually more like adjunct faculty, but no one at the college works directly for a kibbutz as far as I know, and the college is open to anybody who qualifies.

While I only have a short day, from when the kids of my current family go to pre-school until I pick them up, I also usually only teach part-time. Some semesters I teach full-time or even more, but usually not. And, many of my courses in the past couple of years have been online, meeting only a few times during the semester. This helps.

My wife works full-time in high tech, which allows us to survive on my irregular, adjunct pay. She also has some flexibility, which allows her to usually be free to pick up the kids as needed around my teaching schedule, and we have on occasion hired someone to help with the kids so I could teach, not so much for my writing. But that has allowed writing time on other days.

Mostly, I write during those few hours when the kids are at pre-school, after the kids have gone to bed, or even later, after my wife has also gone to bed. If I’m working on a deadline or a large project, such as some of the freelance work I do for film production companies, I write after my wife gets home from work even if the kids are still awake. Usually, though, I write when I find time, and I find time when I don’t have other obligations.

Perhaps of relevance to this book, the writing took over. I was late in getting papers back to students and delayed other obligations and deadlines, even canceling a couple of other projects—although it was not just the writing, but the whole experience of the war, dealing with it and wanting to be very present with my children. As the poems relate, we went to the Galilee, in the North, for a month, a vacation we have taken before. Last summer, though, it had extra urgency because of the war. Unfortunately, during an outing picking apples in the Golan Heights, we heard artillery across the border in Syria, and that’s when I wrote the title poem of the book, “War Surrounds Us.”

The summer before, on that same month-long getaway, I wrote a lot of flash fiction, which makes up most of my next book, which should come out by the end of the year. I wrote during both summers when the kids were napping or after their bedtime, mostly. The place we stay in, a friend’s house (he travels every summer), has a lovely courtyard, and after the children went to bed, Aviva and I would sit out in it, usually with a glass of wine. She would read or work online and I would write on my laptop into the night. It was lovely and romantic.

I have to say that I almost don’t remember a time when I didn’t write poetry or stories. I recall trying to stop on a few occasions, either to work in some other aspect of my life, or when I did a different kind of writing, such as for my dissertation (which devolved into creative writing for more than half of it). But really, going back into my early years, I wrote stories or poems of some sort—influenced I suppose by A. A. Milne, Sol Silverstein, Kenneth Grahame and, later, Mark Twain and even Shakespeare. I had books of Roman and Greek myths, the Lambs’ bowdlerized Shakespeare for children, and some Arthurian tales as a child, not to mention shelves of Golden Books. Later, I read Madeleine L’Engle and a lot of science fiction. And everything I read made me also want to write.

I owe the earliest of my poems that I can remember to exercises from grade school teachers, one in 3rd grade, maybe 4th, the other in 6th grade. However, I’m sure that I wrote stories and possibly “poems” earlier. My first sense that I could become a poet arrived via a junior high school teacher, who encouraged me to submit some poetry to a school contest. I tied for first place.

So, I started writing forever ago. By the time of the junior high contest, I had read e e cummings, Emily Dickinson, some Whitman. By 9th grade, I discovered the Beats through a recording of Ginsberg reading “Kaddish” and other poems. Hearing him read the poems, then reading them myself, changed everything.

Alongside this development, one of my brothers brought Dylan records home that I listened to. All three of my brothers, with my parents’ tacit approval, played folk music and protest music in the form of songs of Woody Guthrie; The Weavers; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul and Mary; in addition to Dylan. These influenced both my writing and my world view. The same year that I came across Ginsberg’s work, I was involved in anti-war activity in my high school. That spring, four students were shot at Kent State. In another way, that changed everything, too.

Writing, activism, and politics, for me have always been interwoven. I also heard that year about “The Woman’s Movement,” which today we call Feminism. Later, much later, I would read and take to heart the idea of the personal being political, the body being political. I think my poems, even the most personal, always have a political and theoretical lens. And the most philosophical or political or theoretical, also have a personal lens. I don’t think that we can help but do that, but I try to be aware of the various lenses, of using their different foci deliberately as part of my craft. I’m not sure that is the current trend, and much of my work doesn’t fit well in spoken word or slam settings (some of it fits). However, this is my poetry and poetics—and they arise from a specific cultural context, the complexity of which I could not begin to convey in less than a lifetime of writing.

My development from those awakening moments looked like this: I read. I wrote. I shared my work with other people who wrote. Sometimes I talked with others about writing. My first degree in college was in psychology, not English, because I naively thought that psych would help me understand the human condition and that English would “ruin” – suppress – my writing voice. However, I took a lot of literature courses and my study abroad term focused entirely on literature.

After college, I had a career as a counselor working with runaways, with street teens, with children undergoing in-patient psych evaluations, and in a crisis intervention and suicide prevention center—a career that taught me a lot about politics, gender, race, and justice. I continued to write, often about some of the most disturbing realities that I encountered, but not well.

I had been out of college nearly a decade when I took some courses in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, at the suggestion of some friends in a writing group who had also taken some. One of the professors encouraged me to apply to the Creative Writing Program, where I was accepted. The acceptance was a poignant moment—I was out of state at my father’s burial. My now ex-wife remained back with our then 2 year-old daughter. She saw the letter in the mail, so called and read it to me. It was also my 32nd birthday. So many emotions all at the same time. Mostly, I remember wishing I could have told my father—from when he first heard that I’d applied, every phone call we had included his asking if I had heard yet if I had been accepted. It was the most direct way he had of saying he was proud.

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Jamie: Tell us a little about 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) in Israel and how people can get in touch with you if they want to participate this year. Are you able to manage a mix of Arabs and Jews?

Michael: The thing about 100TPC is that it’s pretty loose, as an organization, and very anarchic in governance. Which is to say, I’m not sure there is something I could call 100TPC in Israel. There’s a wonderful poet in Haifa who does some events, I don’t think every year. She is very active in peace activism and poetry. There’s an Israeli mentor of mine, Karen Alkalay-Gut, who has organized 100TPC events in Tel Aviv since the first year. For the past two years, I organized a poetry reading in Jerusalem. The first one was small, a few people I knew and cajoled into reading. The second one was much larger, over 25 poets. We had one Arab writer, who writes in English, at the second reading. Her poetry is powerful and personal, written as an Arab woman, a mother, and an Israeli. An Arab musician was going to join us, but he had a conflict arise with a paying gig. It is difficult to manage the practical, political, and social barriers, but people do it here. I am just learning a bit how to do this now.

For this year, I am working with two other organizations—the Lindberg Peace Foundation, which has held annual Poetry for Peace events. This year will be the 40th anniversary (yartzheit, in Hebrew) of Miriam Lindberg’s tragic death at the age of 18. She wrote poetry, was a peace activist, and also an environmental activist. Her mother was a poet and professor, and passed away a few years ago. Joining us in planning the Jerusalem event will be the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Their mission as I understand it is to develop interfaith leadership for common goals related to eco-justice that would also provide a model for solving the Middle East conflicts.

The Jerusalem events won’t be the same date as the national event (26 September)—our dates will be 15–16 October, to honor the 40th anniversary of Miriam Lindberg’s death. Dorit Weissman, a Hebrew-language poet and playwright, also has become part of 100TPC this year, and she and I are having a smaller reading on 8 October with other poets.

We are just setting up a Facebook page for organizing with the three groups, 100TPC, the foundation, and the center. People could look for me on FB and send me a chat message there to be in touch. I hope that we will have the events posted on FB in the next few weeks, but we are still working on the details. The devil is always in the details, as the saying goes.

Michael will host The BeZine‘s virtual 100TPC this 26 September 2015.

Be the peace.

© 2015, book review, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; words, poetry, photographs of Michael, Michael Dickel, All rights reserved; cover illustration, The Evolution of Music, by Jerry Ingeman, All rights reserved

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, Poets/Writers, Sustainability

SAVE THE DATE: 26 Sept. 2015: 100,000+ poets in solidarity for peace and sustainability

Heads-up everyone: For the fifth year on September 26, 2015, more than 100,000 Poets (and artists, musicians, and other creatives and activist) will meet in town squares, theaters, on beaches, in cafes and probably some backyards in solidarity for a peaceful and sustainable world.

At The Bardo Group/Bequine Again, we’re hosting a virtual event so that those who have no neighborhood events to go to or who are home bound can participate.

At this writing founder Michael Ronthenberg, poet and publisher, reports that 300 events are already registered.  To see if there’s an event near you or to register an event in your neighborhood, go to the site. 

The following is a message from the founders of 100TPC:

Michael Rothenberg: Poet and editor of Big Bridge Press and zine

and

Terri Carrion: Associate editor and visual designer of Big Bridge Press and zine

100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE [100TPC] MOVEMENT for PEACE & SUSTAINABILITY!

Do you want to join other poets, musicians, and artists around the world in a demonstration/celebration to promote peace and sustainability and to call for serious social, environmental and political change? 

“What kind of CHANGE are we talking about?”

The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This changes how we see our local community and the global community. We have become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It is empowering . . .

… and there is trouble in the world. Wars, violation of human rights, ecocide, racism, genocide, gender inequality, homelessness, the lack of affordable medical care, police brutality, religious persecution, poverty, censorship, animal cruelty, and the list goes on and on.

Transformation towards peace and a more sustainable world are the major concerns and the global guiding principle for 100 TPC events. War is not sustainable. There is an increasing sense that we need to move forward and stop moving backwards. But we are trying not to be dogmatic. We hope that together we can develop our ideas of the “change/transformation” we are looking for as a global community , and that each local community group will decide their own specific area of focus for change for their particular event. All we ask is that local communities organize events about change within the guidelines of peace and sustainability.

“I want to organize in my area. How do we begin to organize?”

100 Thousand Poets for Change will help organize and find individuals in each area who would like to organize their local event.

If you are an organizer for your community you will consider a location for the event and begin to contact people in your area who want to participate in the event. Participation means contacting the media, posting the event on the web, in calendars, newspapers, etc., reading poems, doing a concert, performing in general, supplying cupcakes and beer (it’s up to you), demonstrating, putting up an information table, inviting guest speakers, musicians, etc., organizing an art exhibit, and documenting the event (this is important, too), and cleaning up, of course.

Organizers and participants will create their own local event as an expression of who they are locally. Do they want a a concert or a jam session, candlelight vigil or a circus, a march or a dance, poetry reading in a cafe or on the subway, do they want absolute silence, a group meditation on a main street; it’s up to the local organization.

However, groups should try to hold some part of the event, if not all of it, outdoors, in public view (not required). The point is to be seen and heard, not just stay behind closed walls. It is also important that the event be documented. Photos, audio, videos, poems, journals, paintings! Documentation is crucial. The rest of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change want to hear what you have to say about change and enjoy your creativity too! The documentation will be shared through a blog/website that I will set up, a blog/website where groups can share and announce event information, as well as post photos, videos, poetry, art, and thoughts. But an event doesn’t have to involve tons of people. It can be just you (the organizer) and your pet, on a street corner, with a sign. Just let me know what you are planning!

Every effort counts!

Each local organization determines what it wants to focus on, something broad like, peace, sustainability, justice, equality, or more specific causes like Health Care, or Freedom of Speech, or local environmental or social concerns that need attention in your particular area right now, etc. Organizations will then come up with a mission statement/manifesto that describes who they are and what they think and care about. Mission statements form arround the world have been collected and worked together into a grand statement of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

Thank you for joining us!

Best, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion

—————————–
Michael Rothenberg: Poet and editor of
Big Bridge Press and zine

Terri Carrion: Associate editor and visual designer of
Big Bridge Press and zine

Posted in General Interest, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

The BeZine, April 2015, Volume 1, Issue 6 – Table of Contents with links

OUR THEME THIS MONTH:
POETRY in honor of
interNATIONAL POETRY MONTH

Mid-wife

A poem is as new as beginnings,
as fresh as the first day at school.

A poem is as bright as our admiration
for courage, our respect for freedom.

A poem is as early as the first leaf,
as white as the most swan-white cloud.

A poem is a drop of rain, a little
convex mirror with the prime of day in it.

A poem is so raw, so young that it has grown
no first, second or third skin.

Dilys Wood, All rights reserved

April 15, 2015

Poetry is that particular way of organizing our thoughts and imagination into music, emotion, image and story. Through poetry we live hugely, with more beauty, and we seek to break the limitations of our minds, to understand the powers that are living us (to borrow from Auden) and connect with the rest of humankind and that ineffable something that is greater than ourselves. It is both art and meditative practice. Ultimately it becomes a collaboration between writer and reader.

Celebrating poetry in April for interNational Poetry Month has been a Bardo Group tradition since 2011. This year, together with our partner, Second Light Network, our core team and our guest poets we bring you – as poets and poetry lovers – a rich collection of poems, resources and inspiration.

We are pleased to partner with Second Light Network of Women Poets and to bring to your attention the work of 100,000 Poets for Change and Stephen F. Austin State University Press, which recently published a new biography of Sylvia Plath by Julia Gordon-Bramer. Ms. Gordon-Bramer explores Plath’s work through her well known interest in Tarot and Qabalah.

It occurred to me as I was putting the final touches on this month’s The BeZine that there is a sub theme:  the way poets reach out not only with words – but with actions – to help make the world a better place.  Second Light Network reaches out to support women poets in their later years. 100,000 Poets for Change is a global effort  to raise awareness of environmental issues, climate change and human rights issues.  Poet Silva Zanoyan Merjanian, a Lebanese-American of Armenian decent, is donating the sales of her second book, Rumor (Cold River Press), to the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund. 

Second Light Network (SLN) of Women Poets

Founded by English poet Dilys Wood, SLN is all about encouraging and promoting the work of women in their third act, especially those who are coming to poetry for the first time late in life. Full membership is open to women over forty years and affiliate membership is open to those under forty. Visit Second Life Live for details. Membership is not limited to residents of the U.K.

SLN sponsors classes (including remote classes), is often able to make special arrangements for disabled, and publishes anthologies of women’s work and ARTEMISpoetry magazine (May and November). While the network is for women only, the poetry is for everyone.

– Jamie Dedes

The HEADER this month is the work of our AmeriQuebeckian poet Annie Wyndham, who publishes Salamander Cove. It has an irregular schedule. There’s a fine archive of poems from some of the world’s finest poets.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BOOK EXCERPT

Fixed Stars Govern A Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath by Julia Gordon-Bramer.

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK (SLN) OF WOMEN POETS

About SLN
Second Light Welcomes Women Poets
Comments on Second Light: organization, publications and remote workshops
Enthusiastic Supporters of Second Light

Features from ARTEMISpoetry
Three Young Poets on Plath’s Influence by Kim Moore, Lavinia Singer and Sarah Westcott
We As Human Beings Must Not Forget, An Interview with Argentinian Poet Ana Becciú by Maria Jastrzębska
My Life in Poetry by Ann Stevenson
Petronella Checks Submission Guidelines by Kate Foley

100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE

Poets and Artists Raise Awareness, Work to Inspire Positive Change

Poems

Past Master by John Anstie
The Dream of a Poet by John Anstie

Le Fée Verte, Absinthe by Jamie Dedes
Blue Echo by Jamie Dedes
Wabi Sabi by Jamie Dedes

Father Sky by Priscilla Galasso
Morning Dove by Priscilla Galasso

How to Write a Poem by Joseph Hesch

The Saints in My Rain by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian; artwork by Steve McCabe
Converge by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

race by Lilianna Negoi

The Will of the Quill by Corina Ravenscraft

Survival by Myra Schneider

Reel to Reel by Anne Stewart

Double Dutch by Terri Stewart

Reasons by Blaga Todorova
After Neruda by Blaga Todorova

Our Stories by Annie Wyndham

The BeZine, Issue 5
The BeZine, Issue 4
The BeZine, Issue 3
The BeZine, Issue 2
The BeZine, Issue 1

The Bardo Group/Beguine Again on Facebook

The BeZine is a publication of BequineAgain and The Bardo Group.

Posted in Bardo News, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Peace & Justice, Poets/Writers

BARDO NEWS: “Beguine Again” + “The Bardo Group” merging; Poetry Kudos; 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change event; the People’s Climate March gone global …

800px-rafael_-_el_parnaso_estancia_del_sello_roma_1511-1STATUS ON MERGING  Beguine Again and our collective, The Bardo Group, continue with sharing of ideas and some modifications to site links already in progress. At this point the intention is to continue with daily posts. The official transition date is October 1st. On Saturday, October 4, Terri Stewart will post a more complete status report. Jamie Dedes will remain as a part of the core team and as poetry liaison.

We move forward with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change. However, we have streamlined the plan given the weight of work that is now upon us. We won’t be able to publish a book this year – a dream for next year maybe – but we’ll still have daily post/s and in the spirit of the occasion, we invite readers to link in their own relevent work to the posts via Mister Linky or in the comments sections starting September 27 and through October 3 inclusive. Shortly after the event close, we’ll collect links into a Page like the one we did for Poets Against War, 2013 Collection HERE.

The Bardo Group chosen area of concern for this year’s event is Peace and Justice.

The founders of 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change are enthusiastically rolling forward. Founders Michael Rothenberg, poet and editor of Big Bridge Press and zine,  and Terri Carrion, poet, writer and associate editor and visual designer of Big Bridge Press and zine, have pages set up for all participating organizations. THE BARDO GROUP event page is HEREWe take this opportunity to thank Michael and Terri for their vision and their work.

Michael and Terri have written: 

“The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It will be empowering.”  MORE

KUDOS

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PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH (HERE) The largest global demonstration for climate action in history is scheduled for September 21. In solidarity, Beguine Again will post spiritual practice relevant to the issues.

(c) 2014 Jamie Dedes
(c) 2014 Jamie Dedes

 

More than 100 organizations are taking part in an online recruitment drive to sign people up for the demonstration. In the first hours of the push, thousands of new sign-ups have already begun to flow in.

The People’s Climate March is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The march takes place just two days before world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. Marchers are demanding leaders go beyond rhetoric and commit to bold action at the summit.

More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the People’s Climate March, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of buddhist monks.

In total, the groups represent roughly 100 million people worldwide.

The scale of organizing for the march now rivals that of a major electoral campaign, with thousands of volunteers, daily phone-banks and canvasses in NYC, and a major online operation to turn out marchers. Updates from the field include:

Trains and hundreds of buses will be bringing people from across the country for the march. Including a dedicated train from San Francisco to New York, a dedicated train from D.C. to New York, and buses from multiple points outside of New York.

More than 45 labor unions have signed onto the march, pledging to turn out members in New York City and from surrounding areas.

Connecticut alone has over 40 different groups confirmed to attend.

Renowned artist Shepard Fairey, whose Obama Hope poster has become world famous, has donated a poster design for the march.

At a warehouse in Brooklyn, artists are creating giant sculptures, floats, and banners for the march.

The global campaigning group Avaaz has secured 10% of the subway ads in NYC for the month before the march. The ads were chosen after a poster design contest that netted over 400 entries worldwide. Groups are planning a major student recruitment push for college campuses as classes resume in September.

In New Delhi, thousands will take over the streets on September 20 to demand a renewable energy revolution.

In Australia, organizers are expecting hundreds of individual events to take place across the country, including a major march in Melbourne.

In London environment organisations and faith groups are combining forces to create a historic march through the city to the steps of Parliament.

In Berlin three parallel marches will combine forces in a colourful festival.

Events are already being planned in Ghana, Kenya, DRC, Nigeria, and Guinea, along with a major march in Johannesburg.

In Paris, local groups will create the “Paris Marche pour le Climat,” with parades, marches, and bicycle rides planned across the bridges of the Seinne.

Reports are also coming in of large mobilizations planned in: Kathmandu, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai and Istanbul.

Organizers are confident that the sheer scale and diversity of the People’s Climate March events, from the headline demonstration in New York City to the simultaneous events worldwide, will show politicians that there is a massive, energized movement demanding immediate action to address the climate crisis.

In New York City, the message will be difficult to ignore: marchers have come to an agreement with the NYPD for the march to flow directly through the middle of Manhattan. The march will begin at Columbus Circle at 11:30am on Sunday, proceed over on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square.

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The march and the Climate Summit in New York mark the beginning of a busy 18 months of crucial international negotiations. Climate negotiators will head to Lima, Peru, in December 2014 to make progress towards a global climate deal. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will meet back in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the global post-2015 development agenda. Three months later, the world will gather in Paris to try and sign a new international climate treaty.

BLOGGERS AND WEBSITE OWNERS don’t forget that September 10 is Internet Slowdown. This is all about NetNutrality. Our site host, WordPress, is participating.

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

The Bardo Group

Posted in Bardo News, General Interest, Islam, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

BARDO NEWS: Blessings on Ramadan; “Begin Again” blog expands its writer base and gets funding; artfully eco-friendly . . ….

Islamic Center of the U.S. in Washington by agnosicpreachers kid under CC BY-SA 3.o license
Islamic Center of the U.S. in Washington by agnosicpreachers kid under CC BY-SA 3.o license

BEST WISHES to our Moslem contributors, readers and friends all over the globe on this: the first day of Ramadan. ~ During this month, 1.6 million Muslims – or 23% of the world population according to Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project – observe a strict fast if they are of an age and healthy enough to do so. The fast extends each day from sunrise to sunset. The month-long fasting ends with a feasting celebration, Eid al-Fitr (the breaking of the fast), which falls on 28 July this year.

Britain’s David Cameron has this to say:

Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!

May everyday find you in good health!

Kazim Ali (b. 1971) American poet
Kazim Ali (b. 1971) American poet (c) Kazim Ali

CELEBRATING POET, NOVELIST, ESSAYIST and EDUCATOR, KAZIM ALI ~  who was born in the UK, is from an Indian Islamic household, and was educated at State University of New York (SUNY) and at New York University. Currently he lives in Oregon.

Of his most recent poetry collection, The Fortieth Day, the Library Journal review says that Ali …

“continues his task of creating a rejuvenated language that longs to be liberated from the weight of daily routine and the power of dogmatic usage . . . writing in the tradition of Wallace Stevens, Ali is clearly a poet of ideas and symbols, yet his words remain living entities within the texture of the poem.”


Of his essay collection, Fasting for Ramadan, Notes on Spiritual Practice, Tupelo Press states …

“Kazim Ali’s searching descriptions of the Ramadan sensibility and its arduous but liberating annual rite of communal fasting is sure to be a revelation to many readers — intellectually illuminating and aesthetically exhilarating.

“Fasting for Ramadan is structured as a chronicle of daily meditations, during two cycles of the 30-day rite of daytime abstinence required by Ramadan for purgation and prayer. Estranged in certain ways from his family’s cultural traditions when he was younger, Ali has in recent years re-embraced the Ramadan ritual, and brings to this rediscovery an extraordinary delicacy of reflection, a powerfully inquiring mind, and the linguistic precision and ardor of a superb poet.”

Unknown-8Ali’s poem Ramadan is from his collection, The Fortieth Day.

You wanted to be so hungry, you would break into branches,
and have to choose between the starving month’s

nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third evenings.
The liturgy begins to echo itself and why does it matter?

If the ground-water is too scarce one can stretch nets
into the air and harvest the fog.

Hunger opens you to illiteracy,
thirst makes clear the starving pattern,

the thick night is so quiet, the spinning spider pauses,
the angel stops whispering for a moment—

The secret night could already be over,
you will have to listen very carefully—

You are never going to know which night’s mouth is sacredly reciting
and which night’s recitation is secretly mere wind—

– Kazim Ali
“Ramadan” except from The Fortieth Day. © 2008 by Kazim Ali, posted here under fair use

“Poetry is the smallest way – it is a small, small way, but it is a way indeed – that the individual body can express its own personhood and value in the face of faceless systems.” Kazim Ali

Terri Stewart
Terri Stewart (c) Terri

TERRI STEWART REPORTS on the expansion of Begin Again, the blog she started and hosts ~ “First news, welcome Bruce Chittick to the team of writers! Woot!! He will bring an awesome perspective to Sundays and inspiration. I can’t wait to get to know his writing. I experience him to be a thoughtful, gracious, inclusive kind of guy. His first post went live on the 22nd!

“And, in other exciting news, we got some funding. The United Methodist Church, in an expansive move towards trying new things (although we aren’t exactly NEW) has decided to fund my position at BeguineAgain.com AND all the technology for the next year and a half. This gives me & us time to build a class & subscription base to move towards an independent funding mechanism. This is awesome on so many counts. They know what we have been publishing and are willing to sit in that tension. Amazeballs! And it also lets the pressure off of me regarding all the work I am doing to create alternate funding mechanisms for my own family’s subsistence. Whew. Chaplaincy pays like zero. It is being billed as an online spiritual community. Very vague.

” … I can’t wait to try some of the new technology that will be available now that I can upgrade us to WordPress pro!”

Rose at Dusk (c) Jamie Dedes
Rose at Dusk (c)  Jamie Dedes

ARTFULLY ECO-FRIENDLY

Dutch Nature Artist, PAULA KUITENBROUWER (Mindful Drawing) ~ a long-standing member of The Bardo Group and a contributor to the blog has sent out a call to all of us  – team members, bloggers and friends – to initiate discussions of how and why we are living and working in an eco-conscious ways and how we can use our art and our blogs to encourage environmentally sound practices. Paula shares on her Guilt-Free Art Page …

“My original drawings are drawn on acid free paper. In the process of making acid free paper fewer corrosive chemicals are used, which makes acid free paper significantly environmentally friendlier than normal paper.

“For packing my fine art cards and reproductions, I use biodegradable plastic. I like my art work to be as environmentally friendly as possible and I select my products carefully. My paint-brushes are synthetic without animal hair.”

Other eco-friendly living practices that might be shared would include the ways in which we order our lives to enable no-or-minimal use of cars, mindful shopping (buying only what we need and buying from bulk containers rather than packaged items, buying locally produced food and other products), using biodegradable cleaning products and reusable shopping bags. Yes! All this and how about telling us about your advocacy efforts?

We invite you share your thoughts on this in the comments section here, on your own blogs (then leave us a link under any current post so that we can publicize it in the next Bardo News) or as submissions to The Bardo Group blog this month. (If you are not a core-team member, please email us at  bardogroup@gmail.com.)

Coming up:

… and many more goodies from our Core Team, readers and guests. This month’s guests will include:

Poet K.A. Brace (The Mirror Obscura) and Jewelry-Maker, Writer, Photographer Isadora (Inside the Mind of Isadora)

bardogroup@gmail.com

The Bardo Group Facebook Page

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

THE BARDO GROUP

Posted in Dharma Talk, Essay, Meditation, memoir, Poets/Writers, Priscilla Galasso

Honoring My Father

George William Heigho II — born July 10, 1933, died March 19, 2010.

Today I want to honor my dad and tell you about how I eventually gave him something in return for all he’d given me.

My dad was the most influential person in my life until I was married.  He was the obvious authority in the family, very strict and powerful.  His power was sometimes expressed in angry outbursts like a deep bellow, more often in calculated punishments encased in logical rationalizations.  I knew he was to be obeyed.  I also knew he could be playful.  He loved to build with wooden blocks or sand.  Elaborate structures would spread across the living room floor or the cottage beach front, and my dad would be lying on his side adding finishing touches long after I’d lost interest.  He taught me verse after verse of silly songs with the most scholarly look on his face.  He took photographs with his Leica and set up slide shows with a projector and tripod screen after dinner when I really begged him.  He often grew frustrated with the mechanics of those contraptions, but I would wait hopefully that the show would go on forever.  It was magic to see myself and my family from my dad’s perspective.  He was such a mystery to me.  I thought he was God for a long time.  He certainly seemed smart enough to be.  He was a very devout Episcopalian, Harvard-educated, a professor and a technical writer for IBM.  He was an introvert, and loved the outdoors.  When he retired, he would go off for long hikes in the California hills by himself.  He also loved fine dining, opera, ballet, and museums.  He took us to fabulously educational places — Jamaica, Cozumel, Hawaii, and the National Parks.  He kept the dining room bookcase stacked with reference works and told us that it was unnecessary to argue in conversation over facts.

Camping in Alaska the summer after his senior year in High School: 1951.

My father was not skilled in communicating about emotions.  He was a very private person.  Raising four daughters through their teenaged years must have driven him somewhat mad.  Tears, insecurities, enthusiasms and the fodder of our adolescent dreams seemed to mystify him.  He would help me with my Trigonometry homework instead.

Playing with my dad, 1971.

I married a man of whom my father absolutely approved.  He walked me down the aisle quite proudly.  He feted my family and our guests at 4 baptisms when his grandchildren were born.  I finally felt that I had succeeded in gaining his blessing and trust.  Gradually, I began to work through the  more difficult aspects of our relationship.  He scared my young children with his style of discipline.  I asked him to refrain and allow me to do it my way.   He disowned my older sister for her choice of religion.  For 20 years, that was a subject delicately opened and re-opened during my visits.  I realized that there was still so much about this central figure in my life that I did not understand at all.

Grandpa George

In 2001, after the World Trade Center towers fell, I felt a great urgency to know my father better.  I walked into a Christian bookstore and picked up a book called Always Daddy’s Girl: Understanding Your Father’s Impact on Who You Are by H. Norman Wright.  One of the chapters contained a Father Interview that listed dozens of questions aimed at bringing out the father’s life history and the meaning he assigned to those events.  I decided to ask my father if he would answer some of these questions for me, by e-mail (since he lived more than 2,000 miles away).   Being a writer, this was not a difficult proposition for him to accept.  He decided how to break up the questions into his own groupings and sometimes re-phrase them completely to be more specific and understandable and dove in, essentially writing his own memoirs.   I was amazed, fascinated, deeply touched and profoundly grateful at the correspondence I received.  I printed each one and kept them.  So did my mother.  When I called on the telephone, each time he mentioned how grateful he was for my suggestion.  He and my mother shared many hours reminiscing and putting together the connections of events and feelings of years and years of his life.   On the phone, his repeated thanks began to be a bit eerie.  Gradually, he developed more symptoms of dementia.  His final years were spent in that wordless country we later identified as Alzheimer’s disease.

I could never have known at the time that the e-mails we exchanged would be the last record of my dad’s memory.  To have it preserved is a gift that is priceless to the entire family.  I finally learned something about the many deep wounds of his childhood, the interior life of his character development, his perception of my sister’s death at the age of 20 and his responsibility in the lives of his children.   My father is no longer “perfect”, “smart”, “strict” or any other concept or adjective that I could assign him.  He is simply the man, my father.  I accept him completely and love and respect him more holistically than I did when I knew him as a child.  That is the gift I want to give everyone.

I will close with this photo, taken in the summer of 2008 when my youngest daughter and I visited my father at the nursing home.  I had been widowed 6 months, had not yet met Steve, and was anticipating my father’s imminent passing.  My frozen smile and averted eyes are fascinating to me.  That I feel I must face a camera and record an image is somehow rational and irrational at the same time.  To honor life honestly is a difficult assignment.  I press on.

© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

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004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey. Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.