Fall 2022

Volume 9       Social Justice     Issue 3
listening, learning, reaching out 

Summer 2022

Volume 9       Waging Peace: personal & global      Issue 2

Contents V9N2

The  BeZine

Volume 9       Summer 2022       Issue 2

Waging Peace

balancing personal & global crises & needs 

Cover art: Extinction
Digital Art
©2022 Dean Pasch


Introduction

Waging Peace: balancing personal & global crises & needs 

“We can never obtain 
peace in the outer world 
until we make peace 
with ourselves…”

Not for more than a generation has the word ‘Peace’ held so much meaning and poignancy as it does now. The unjustified and inhumane attack by massed Russian Military Forces on Ukraine in February this year, is the largest scale act of aggression by any European country since Nazi Germany started its Blitzkrieg on Europe in 1939…and it does feel like the Russians have taken a leaf out of the Nazi book of waging war whilst making it look like a mercy mission.

Fear and anxiety are often referred to by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, as the source of all human conflict. They lead to a defensive attitude, deception, division, jealousy, greed, territorial conflict ultimately the relentless pursuit of wealth and power. 

When the individual pursuit of wealth engages with other individuals in that pursuit and is scaled to an organisational and political level, then a culture develops, which engages with and infuses itself into a nation’s conscience on a social, cultural and even religious level to help achieve political approval. When this point is reached, national borders can no longer contain our ambitions. 

It feels awkward to admit that, as a member of the human race, but I understand that desire to keep on gaining money and all that it can buy, like the very first and most important task of securing the first roof over your head, a dry and warm space to call your own home, followed by some material comforts. In certain parts of the world, the so called First World, symbols of status will often start at a very much more humble level, then follow in all their variety. The means of securing them will then inevitably be needed and so on and so relentlessly forth we go. The more of all these things we have, the more we feel entitled to, the more we want. The more we have, the more we fear its loss. The more threatened we feel for the loss of these things, the greater the insecurity, the greater our anxiety, the greater we feel threatened, the greater the risk of extreme reactions. 

“People exist to be loved
Objects exist to be used.
The World is in chaos
…because these things
are the other way round.”

In the mind of an independent individual this cycle of cause and effect will eventually give rise to conflict. If it occurs in the mind of an already powerful political leader, then it has the potential to cause conflict on a massive scale. Whether we like it or not, we are all to a greater or lesser extent bound into this human process, because we are too small as individuals and dependant on the authorities that rule…until we discover the way to influence by ‘waging’ peace on a irresistible scale.

There can be no true peace in the minds of those, who have allowed themselves to be caught up in this vicious circle of cause and effect, of being driven by the desire for things and led by the providers of things…not love.

“If you wish 
to experience peace, 
provide peace 
for another…”

The challenge we face with our desire for peace in the World is that it has at its root the state of peace inside our minds. Seeking happiness may seem like a worth while cause, but it isn’t a guarantee of a peaceful life. Only by finding peace inside ourself, inside our unique and individual selves, in a way that will preserve our ego and nourish our soul, would you be able to contribute to peace for others. We are all trying every day, but it is always made the more difficult by the actions of those, whose goals may conflict with our own, who do things outside our control that make us uncomfortable, unhappy and stressed, that, worst of all, make us feel angry! 

Waging Peace—what we are striving to do right now at the BeZine – will speak to you of all this, but so much better. Such thoughts, writings, works of art and performance have been telling the same stories, in all their different ways, throughout the history of humanity.

If you think we as individuals can make no difference to the huge challenges that face us, even if only by allowing the thoughts of others to help you, I heartily recommend you to take in the many perspectives that our contemporary creative and talented poets, writers and artistic contributors can cast on the way of the human world and the many variety of ways in which they find they can commit their thoughts to the greatest challenges that humanity faces.

“If you think you are 
too small to make a difference 
try sleeping with a mosquito 
in the room…”

All quotations: Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

— John Anstie, Associate Editor


  

Table of Contents

BeAttitudes


Poetry


Prose


Music



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Coffee | Artemis

Cappuccino
digital art from photograph
Michael Dickel ©2022

Coffee

I’m sorry, she said. Fuck you, zey said. I made a mistake, she said. You make a lot of mistakes, zey snapped. She hid away under a widow’s veil of tears. Zey hiked the Bahamas and found forgiveness.
	She tried to contact zem a month later: hope you’re doing well.
	Apparently, zeir forgiveness only extended so far.
	It had been two years, three months, eight days. Like planets orbiting the same sun, they once again aligned: they walked into the same coffee shop. They froze, stared. You dyed your hair, zey said. You gained weight, she said. Zey smiled; coffee--on me?

©2022 Artemis
All rights reserved


Artemis…

…is a high school student pursuing writing. Their favorite elements of writing are clever word plays and irony. They have been published in the anthology The Sky’s the Limit as a result of winning a writing competition, and the The Thread, their school’s art and writing anthology, for three years in a row. When they’re not writing, they spend their days creating resin dolls and sewing clothes.

Website / Reedsy



Mitosis in the Burial Mounds | Ester Karen Aida

Mitosis in the Burial Mounds

In my body rattle the dead
like beads shook-up with longing
in Rachel’s ovaries. 

Oleander, calendula or olive,
Only the living sow memory,
open their eyes each dawn

to scan the fields.
I buried a tooth for every
kindness I recall.

In the days between Yizkor
and Yom haZikaron, some being
of smoke fills my throat.

Is an organ implanted in a
body, a tree’s grafted limb?
What is your heart’s fruition?

Ima from Kafr Qassem,
where exactly are you now,
Neshama sheli?

I think I should ask your 
home-town Sheikh, who wrote, 
organ donation will be halal.

I ask my heart: do you hold 
two souls? We’ve cradled one 
another, not months, but years;

should time condense to tissue,
This, then?  —a culture unfolding,
beating its wings, in another. 

—and we all hold our parents.
Do I contain four souls—
No, her parents—six?

My heart is splitting 
And living. 

This heart—what does it mean to you?
Shireen’s question
like rain pelting earth

When that had done rattling
in my head, I asked my heart
how do you feel?

She burst into streaks of water,
throat of smoke: my kids—
How old are you now?

What have the years been for you?
Who has cared for you?

We used to tell 
the younger ones, stay together 
and take care of each other

But our children begin 
by scanning the fields 
for a few stalks of kindness.

Sukkah Spirits
Digital Landscape from photographs
Michael Dickel ©2020

Poem ©2022 Ester Karen Aida
All rights reserved


Ester Karen Aida…

…is a writer, poet, and peace activist residing in Jerusalem, Israel. Her writing and art frequently appear in The BeZine.



Sunday | John Anstie

Sunday

Walking home from church.

Like seeing the sun rise
over the week ahead,
mind full of penitence
a righteous child, wrapped
in reverential warmth and
a sense of duty fulfilled.

That place of comfort,
as short lived as chocolate
such pleasure lies in this
some selfless, priceless
kind of self-indulgence
in your own kind of God.

Who can resist that path
to an easier peace where,
one day a week, the ad-man
cannot get to you; where
you miss nothing; where
those urges play no part.

Where has Sunday gone?

About Flowers
Digital Art
Miroslava Panayotova ©2022

©2018 John Anstie
All rights reserved

This poem was previously published in The BeZine in March 2018. The author thought it timely to present again because of its poignancy in the light of how children might be dealing with the change to their lives in Ukraine … far more violent than we have had to cope with in the West in the past two generations, by simply growing up. He is currently an Associate Editor of The BeZine.


John Anstie …

… Qualified as a Metallurgical Engineer, for the first quarter of his working life he worked as a scientist and engineer, for the second quarter, as a Marketing and Export Sales Manager, both in the Steel Industry; in the third quarter he held a variety of roles in IT and Project Management and was Master of his own company. The last quarter could well be his most fulfilling, if of least financial advantage, as a writer and singer in a small local chamber choir and with one of the UK’s finest barbershop choruses. Married with three children and six grandchildren. He is currently an Associate Editor of the BeZine.



From a Friend Now Living in Israel | Holly Day

From a Friend Now Living in Israel

I hear horrible things on the news, in movies
and call her up to ask if they’re true
what it’s like to live around such atrocities
if she doing anything about it herself.

She laughs and tells me that everyone
hates Israel, that she’s gotten used to living in a country
that outsiders just don’t understand. “It’s all lies,”
she adds, says something about anti-Semitism

and Arabs, and how people mostly just want to live with their own
but that people are welcome to live wherever they want
she doesn’t mind.

Roses
Digital Art
Miroslava Panayotova ©2022

Poem ©2022 Holly Day
All rights reserved


Holly Day…

…has worked as a freelance writer for over 30 years, with over 7,000 published articles, poems, and short stories and 40 books and chapbooks—most recently, the nonfiction books, Music Theory for Dummies, Walking Twin CitiesTattoo FAQ,  and History Lover’s Guide to Minneapolis, and the poetry books A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing),  In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Press), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit), and Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press). Her writing has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, a 49th Parallel Prize, an Isaac Asimov Award, eleven Pushcart awards, three Dzanc Book’s Best of the Web awards, a Rhysling Award, and two Best of the Net awards, and she has received two Midwest Writer’s Grants, a Plainsongs Award, a Sam Ragan Prize for Poetry, and a Dwarf Star Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association.



Addressing a Foreign World | David Dephy

Take Your Sandals Off Your Feet

You are in Ukraine, take off your sandals, 
for the place where you are standing 
is holy and the air you are breathing is holy,
touching rays on your face,
drifting through the noise of madness
from the other side of the dark,
still, the lips touch the air 
and this body is a foreign language 
addressing a foreign world,
and its foreign skies. I say, 
take a deep breath, my love, 
let us embrace this great void as an old friend, 
perhaps then we shall discover each other 
far on the other side of alone.
Have you heard a song of braves?
Take your sandals off your feet, 
the place when you’re standing is holy,
every grain is the heart of a child, 
the grain of truth—
breathing through the golden shadows.
Have you heard the laughs and smells?
This is the greatest afternoon of freedom.

Peace #8
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Love Song of Rays

See the rays over there? Did you hear songs? 
Yes, songs from the frontline? Mariupol. 
The pearl encircled by rays. 

Muscovites hate the rays, ray means freedom, 
they don’t understand freedom, they hate themselves,
that’s why they hate the world, hiding faces in the dark. 

“This is the end, beautiful friend,” remember?
We need victory, over the spiritless corps, 
not just a peace—

peace is a luxury, as this second is one more 
deadly breath of time, we do not have much time 
for peace, we have time only for victory.

Even shadows shake when mother’s voice 
echoes from far beyond. How can you say peace 
should give you comfort? Peace does not dwell 

on the other side of war, but victory. 
Maybe there is no peace in the world, 
that’s why we should win. 

See the voices of kids how colored the ground?
Each thing born from those rays is our hope. 
Who can succeed with all those rays, 

full of those voices? Rays blow through the blood.
Who would like to dictate to you?
Who among us is right? Most valuable?

Who most resembles God? Have you ever seen God?
Touch the rays in Mariupol and you will see.
If there is peace deep in the ground, 

it should feel the fear and joy, 
If there is peace it should be a memory,
but memory is not powerful enough, 

is not beautiful at all, never forget we are free, 
that’s why we can see the rays. 
We can smell the rays, touch them 
with every beat of our hearts.
We are dying, we are living, not complaining, 
we touched each other with our hearts

because we were born in the hearts of each other,
because we required life, because we all are in the war.
Touch the rays. Peace.

Peace #14
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

96 Year-Old Man

I was standing alone in front of the stillness 
of March, not expecting the flow of memories.We are living without love, that’s why the war

can’t be measured by history, by ashes, by art.
Without today we breathe between yesterday 
and tomorrow. Do you know something about time?

About time, yes, and its insanity?  
Do you know something about yourself?
About me? How I lived? How I loved? 

What I did? Maybe you can predict future? 
Time should have some meaning for you.
For me it’s insanity. 

I felt history’s neurasthenia in that very afternoon 
when I was standing in front of the stillness of March
and not expecting the flow of seconds. Nerves of time.

I understood and I did not expect to be alive,
time is meaningless and it’s suppressing us. 
I didn't expect to feel that deadly second again,

in emptiness, but my heart was able to beat again, 
my heart is remembering, after centuries, 
how to beat again in the frozen silence of fears, 

war, in the raw, 
cold breeze of the laughs 
and howl.

96 year-old man. 
Mr. Romanchenko. 
Survived the concentration camps: 
Buchenwald, 
Peenemünde, 
Mittelbau-Dora, 
Bergen-Belsen. 
Yesterday he was killed 
by the Russian missile 
hitting his apartment building in Kharkiv. 

Russia, the "denazifier," 
did what the Nazis 
couldn't do.

Poems ©2022 David Delphy
All rights reserved


David Dephy

…is a Georgian/American award-winning poet and novelist. The 1st place winner of The Artist Forum Poetry Award in New York 2021, the winner of the Finalist Award in the 2020 Best Book Award National Contest by American Book Fest, the finalist and shortlist winner nominee of the Adelaide Literary Awards for the category of Best Poem, the winner of the Spillwords Poetry Award. He is named as A Literature Luminary by Bowery Poetry, The Stellar Poet by Voices of Poetry, The Incomparable Poet byStatorec, The Brilliant Grace by Headline Poetry & Press and An Extremely Unique Poetic Voice by Cultural Daily.



Invading Nation | Irene Emanuel

Ukraine Burning

Invading nation
annihilation, desecration
without conversation.

Invading nation
altercation, condemnation
without invitation.

Bombs landing
on people standing,
no permission or intermission.

Crumbling bricks,
Russian tricks,
no remorse, war in force.

People crying,
people dying;
homes deserted, justice perverted.

Landscape battered,
thousands scattered;
next excursion to border incursion.

Bully bashing,
Ukraine crashing;
History veiled as the World derailed.

No relief
from disbelief
that leaders kill just for the thrill.
20-03-2022

Peace #16
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Ban the Bomb

Bloody bombs,
Burning bombs
Breaking lives and worlds.
Bleeding bombs,
Blasting bombs
Broken bodies curled.
Body bombs,
Car bombs,
Intent on dying.
Big bombs,
Baby bombs,
GOD is really crying.
Who are they
Who die to kill,
Who seek their glory
In one last thrill?
Who are they
Who make their plan
To obliterate all
That belongs to Man?
They’re Devil Blood,
They’re in Satan’s purse;
They thrive on pain
And pray a curse.
But still the bombs
Are bursting through
With no regret
For them or you.
Battered people
Hurting people
With bombs.
Black bombs,
Blue bombs,
Bruised bodies.
Brown bombs,
Red sand,
Screaming land.
21-11-2015

Poems ©2022 Irene Emanuel
All rights reserved


Irene Emanuel…

…was born in Johannesburg, lived in Durban, and now lives in Port Elizabeth. She won of the “Hilde Slinger” cup for poetry in 2009 and again in 2013, and the “Fay Goldie” cup for General Success in the World of Publishing in 2011, both from the South African Writers” Circle. Nine of her poems were published in “Signatures” an anthology of Women’s poetry (2008), and shre represented “Live Poets’ Society” in “Poetry Africa” that same year. In 2006, “A Scorpion Sings,” her first anthology, appeared. Other anthologies published between 2006 and 2015 are: “Count Catula of Shadoland & Friends,” “A Peace of Me.” and  “A Scorpion Sings Again.”



Life, Tricks, Death | Vern Fein

Our Life Again

In grad school behind a wall
of books, sealed into the words
of Poe, Stevens, Hemingway
Faulkner, Salinger, Albee.

Dominoes fall 
and Goliath lies, 
claims a David
from Viet Nam
dared sling a torpedo
at one of our ships.
We attack Communism 
and those fierce, small,
black-clad people
as if our economy
depended on it.

In love with Lydia, a young nurse,
fingers as gentle
on my body and soul
as her patient hands on the dying.

That was our life.

I dropped out of school,
buried my love of books,
chose a love of marching.
Lydia nursed us through protests
to foment a revolution
that had no more chance  
than our nation could keep 
from shooting missiles
at foreign lands.

Once again the world is at war,
this time another Goliath
against another David,
its own brother
as Russia attacks Ukraine.
The bombs fall and people flee
just as they did so long ago.

This is our life again.

The Unbearable Sorrow of Being…
digital art
Kat Patton ©2022

Old Tricks

In our apartment building,
when I was a child, 
old Mrs. Greta Shultz horrified me.
We lived by an airport,
every whining sound of jets
sent that creaky lady
scuttling under the kitchen table,
duck and cover every time,
air sucked in, moans-- 
for her an American Luftwaffe,
Slaughterhouse Dresden memories--
her mind recoiling
at the screaming sounds 
from her younger girl day/nightmares.
Despite heart-felt pleas,
Greta was safe under the table.

After years of marriage, 
we rescued a dog.
She had been caged 
for months in cold wire.
We gave her our warm and safe home.
But when my wife ever went out,
Butter would mewl by the door,
shiver and shake
till the door opened, 
de-plane on my wife's lap.
No coaxing mattered.

You can’t unlearn old tricks.

Stalin: A Slice of Death

At twelve I was aware of the world.
News flash during Ramar Of The Jungle:
Joseph Stalin dead of a heart attack.
I jumped up and yelled through
my house as if the Devil
himself had finally been slain.

When he had a traitor executed,
the whole family was killed
like Achan’s tribe at Jericho.

Terrorizing the population,
sent his soldiers into big cities,
to murder a few thousand innocents.

Slew over half of his advisors.
Would throw parties, shoot
those not drunk enough.

Chased down Trotsky in Mexico.
Axed Leon, his comrade
who dared to oppose him. 

Loved flowers but at the end
nightly commanded his gardeners 
to decapitate every blossom
and replace the flowers the next day
for another pogrom of his garden.

Absolute power over more people
than anyone in history, estimates
of over 20 million slaughtered.

Why obeisance to the One,
allow One to dominate us,
allow One to kill so many,
allow One to hoard the wealth,
bend the knee to One,
kiss the ring of One?

Poems ©2022 Vern Fein
All rights reserved


Vern Fein…

…a retired special education teacher, has published over two hundred poems on over eighty sites, a few being: *82 Review, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Courtship of Winds, Young Raven’s Review, Sledgehammer Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Poesis, and Monterey Poetry Review. Recently his first poetry book—I was Young and Thought It Would Change—was published by Cyberwit Press.



One Day This War Will Be Over | Leslie Grollman

Peace #18
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

One Day This War Will Be Over

Eens zal deze verschrikkelijke
oorlog toch wel aflopen,
eens zullen wij toch weer mensen en
niet alleen Joden zijn!
—Anne Frank [1]
Jews! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Muslims! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Christians! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Genitalia! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Hurting! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Running! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Space! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Color! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
What we eat! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Emojis! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Features! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Named! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Loathing! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Enemies! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Country! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Afraid! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Bordered! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Shattered! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Stanzas! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Emails! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Dialect! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
Ists! just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
just not and again people be we’ll when come will time the
 
the time will come
come time war when
will come when 
when over the war
people will time 
be people again 
not again people 
again and this not
not just time and war
and we’ll be when time
we’ll be again time
people in time
and we will be just

Poem ©2022 Leslie Grollman
All rights reserved


Leslie Grollman…

…has work appearing in Sweet Lit, Ellipsis Zine, Moist Poetry Journal, Yolk, Spoken Word Scratch Night, Writing Utopia 2020 Anthology, The Selkie, Together: An Anthology, Thimble, Nailed, Pathos, other publications, and is forthcoming. Leslie was chosen to be a reader for one of Octopus Books’ open reading periods. She earned an MSc Creative Writing, Poetry, with Distinction, from the University of Edinburgh in 2020.



[1] Translation: “Someday this terrible war will end, one day we will be human again and not just Jews!” [back]

Order of Battle | Pete Howard

Order of Battle

The struggle for peace requires nothing short of total war.
Accomplishing victory with the deployment of unconventional weapons.
Like love,
Wielded by:
Squads of sympathizers
Platoons of providers
Companies of caregivers
Battalions of believers
Regiments of realists
Divisions of dedicated
Corps of compassionate
Armies of activists
And then, united and unyielding in the face of it. The scourge of nature and humanity will truly be defeated.

Peace #5
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Poem ©2022 Pete Howard
All rights reserved


Peter Howard…

…is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University where he majored in history and minored in social studies. He is very interested in events and people of the past and the present. He has worked at a non-profit for individuals with intellectual disabilities for over a decade and enjoys writing poetry, as well as the visual arts.

Website / Blog Linked



Garden Photograph Blues | Dorothy Johnson-Laird

This Garden

You see all we have is this garden. 
These bare, raw, hardened hands.
All we have is this garden. 
This earth to grow with, these plants to root for. 

All we have is this gathering of brother, sister, father, son.
They come here to garden together,
To break bread and sip water in the dusk.

In this garden, love was made. 
Children grew and learned the flowers, 
And grew some more and learned to plant. 

The old woman with her white, white hair
Comes here to work the corn. 
She sings to the children as they gather at her feet. 
They can recognize the sound of her deep, husky voice. 
“We shall overcome, we shall overcome,” her voice embraces the night air
The children memorize the song until they can sing it back to her. 

You see they want to call this land real estate. 
They think they can split it apart at the center, 
Destroy its twisty paths, willow tree. 

They think more of a community can be made by 
Gutting the earth and slapping concrete over it, charging per square mile. 

They imagine that the love this garden was made with can be uprooted, 
Tossed to the side. 
They have forgotten the feel of fresh corn in hardened hands, 
How the sun strokes your back as you work the tomatoes.
They have forgotten that a child’s wisdom isn’t always found in books. 

This garden was a refuge for the children
In the hustle of this crazy city, 
To try to prevent them from running wild on the Lower East side 
When the streets are layered with drugs, syringes, anger. 

Maude with her white hair and bustling energy 
Has spent hours tending to this sweetness.
She knows the way to create with plants,
How to tend to them, 
Caress them with her fingertips, even sing to them.
  
She won’t let anyone hurry her. 
She is stubborn with her blue cotton scarf on 
And a tunic that contains her gardening shears, her winterized gloves.

The men with the bulldozer have come.
But Maude saw them from down the block, long before they arrived.  
She just sits down, planting herself on the earth,   
Rooted as a wizened tree 
She blocks their passage at the garden’s entrance 

“They cannot enter” she sings to herself “They cannot enter.” 
The children sing behind her, echoing her. 
And then she lets out a big belly laugh, 
She cackles at them, not saying a word. 
In her firm, rooted place, nothing and no-one’s going to move her now,
                    Not even their big engine.

A Rose
Digital Art
Miroslava Panayotova ©2022

Harriet’s Last Photograph

In the last year of your life, they took a photo of you.
It was a formal picture.
You were seated outside in a large wooden chair,
You were seated upright, the green lawn falling away behind you, The trees marked a background in the distance. 

Your eyes looked out far beyond the camera lens.
Your eyes looked away from the camera's eye in defiance,
You were not going to smile in that moment.
You were not going to pretend happiness:
It was impossible for you,
Not after the years of fighting.
You were not going to let the viewer of that photograph forget your journeys, The way your hands had lifted up young slave children from the floor, Pulling them onto your back,
Stepping out into the cold winter night, with no possibility of going back, Finding a way to keep going forward. 

In this last photo they took of you,
You were dressed all in white, with a shawl wrapped around your thinning face, White hair cut close to your head.
You were strong, yet a model of peace. 

Looking out beyond the camera, what did you see?
Perhaps you still carried within you
Those old journeys to freedom, hiding behind newspapers,
Lodging yourself between cars on trains,
When they set dogs on you, you disappeared.
You had a way of knowing how to find the shadows of walls in the middle of sun-light. It was a power that they could never know or pull apart. 

Harriet, you were born different from the other girls.
Less passive, you carried yourself upright,
When the other girls giggled or looked down at the ground. 

Araminta was your birth name, it meant defender of the people.
Once you crossed the line to freedom, you could have remained North,
But each time, even though your hands were worn out, your feet were calloused from miles of walking. You determined to go back again to rescue someone.
You said, “I never lost a passenger”

You were 94 years old in this photograph.
Even though you were aged, you gripped the chair's arm firmly. The toughness was still inside you.
It allowed you to journey forward
No matter what came your way. 

Irises
Digital Art
Miroslava Panayotova ©2022

Manhattan Lock Down Blues

Woke up this morning with the Manhattan lock down blues 
Said I woke up this morning with the Manhattan lock down blues 
Something came over this country 
And I can no longer lace my shoes 

Someone has stolen the economy and sent it out with the rain 
Someone has stolen the economy and sent it out with the rain 
Companies are starting to crash, jobs going down the drain 

He’s a mad magician pulling feathers from his hat 
But has the Doctor told him where the rabbit's at? 
The narcissist has taken over 
His twitter feed has gone wild 
Now even more journalists must fact check his lies 

The police have become the military 
Shooting at random with no restraint 
The police are now an army 
And they are starting to look insane 

Woke up this morning with the Manhattan lock down blues 
Said I woke up this morning with the Manhattan lock down blues 
There’s a Mad Hatter in Washington 
Who is out on another tirade

Meanwhile, the sirens in New York city soar 
And a thousand homeless people are not rescued from their shelter 
Don’t mention the unemployed who must decide between rent or hunger 
And the person who doesn’t have a voice to express his anger

As the virus numbers peak 
Mr 45 says he is not so sick
And he breathes heavily outside the White House front door 

Mr 45 claims there’s an easy cure 
Perhaps he wants to distract the public with his talk of greatness again
But he’s left his medicine in the Hospital with his hydroxychloroquine brain

©2022 Dorothy Johnson-Laird
All rights reserved


Dorothy Johnson-Laird…

…is a poet, social worker, and activist who lives in New York City.  She received a B.A. in creative writing from New School University and an M.F.A in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.  Dorothy also works as a music journalist with a passion in African music. She has published journalism with Afropop Worldwide and World Music Central, among others.

A recent poem was accepted for publication by Evening Street Review. 



Be Change—3 Sonnets | Peter Lilly

Fights

Men will clutch at illusions when
they have nothing else to hold onto.
—Czeslaw Milosz
Presuppositions, carrots, sticks and stones.
Break my bones. Re-mortgage my fractured home.
A system built on never ending loans
Will divide against itself and implode.
It’s hard to kick against the fiscal goads, 
But people remain people, even so.
There comes a time when they will seek themselves
And find their shelves of purchases to be
Their allocated eternal dwelling,
As decided by the salesmen who delve
Into new definitions of this free
Doom. Despite the great reckoning welling
In the hearts of the masses, wound up tight,
The violence sparked will not be the good fight.

The Good Fight

I’ll fight your rope, your rules, your hope
As your sparrow does under your supervision!
—Jack Mapanje
The good fight is not in the violence
But the grueling daily grind of being
Fully present. Movable in silence
And in shouting. Invisibly seeing 
The power behind the play, and playing.
But taking the game from the arena
And into the sand-pit where it belongs.
Noticing the blood, tending the lesions,
Both broken nose and cut knuckle. Weighing
Not the trifling arrest and subpoena
But the breath, every note of tragic songs,
And every synthesized social adhesion.
Bandwagons of revolution comply.
If your hope is in them, it’s already died.

Revolutionary

There is one thing, and only one thing,
in which it is granted to you to be free
in life, all else is beyond your power:
that is to recognize and profess the truth.
—Leo Tolstoy
To be a revolutionary is to 
Let your living make the mightiest noise,
Not to write a message of peace in blood,
Or let a movement’s leader dictate to you.
It’s not to find the tribe that fits your voice
But to reject tribalism for good,
As a concept and as a condition.
You don’t prove you’re not a pig by grunting
In protest against the proposition.
You must be changed to be change to see change,
And know the bed-rock of what you’re wanting
Beneath the gargantuan mountain range 
Of rough rubble reasons rabble rousing,
To the meat of the hope you’re espousing.

Poems ©2022 Peter Lilly
All rights reserved


Peace #17
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Peter Lilly…

…is a British Poet who grew up in Gloucester before spending eight years in London studying theology and working with the homeless. He now lives in the South of France with his wife and son, where he concentrates on writing, teaching English, and community building. His recent and forthcoming publications include Dreich Broad 3, Paddler Press Issue 4, Archetype Issue 1, Radix Magazine, Spillwords and Lothlorien Poetry Issue 7.

Blog



letters, gunshots, another dream, and more | Lonnie Monka

I’ve been sending letters to various
areas controlled by the islamic
          state

explaining how peaceful & loving ways of life are possible
that to kill in the name of God is mistaken
& that a little dialogue could do wonders

I sent poems describing a future world without war
& inspiring quotes from political & religious leaders

then
          one day
                    I received a reply:
“to the dreamer who mistakes a nightmare for paradise”
          it began
“it is beyond us to know if by God you mean Allah
          yet let us assure you
a thirsty man lost in the desert may find a pool of pure water
          revive himself
& then run off to share his hydrating discovery
          until the pool is depleted
such is your state
          you call out to God
to control the rain
          & to replenish the empty form
which memories & stories claim was filled
          with purity
we
          by the power of Allah
will move from pool to pool

decimating fraudulent temples erected not to worship
          but to control the rain
until the whole world submits to Allah
          & our expansion ceases
leaving only a pure motion

dams will not be erected
          as people flow across the land
no different than water
          across the earth

you speak of love & peace
          but
you only want us to pay taxes
          to erect more static artifices

& please
          from now on
use extra postage
as we grow
          our operations carry more overhead”

Photograph
Michael Dickel ©2022

gunshots in the distance

          in distinct intervals
marked by a sloppy unison
          of soldiers at the firing range
the odd out-of-sync shots
          blossom into a single roaring echo
as I lay in a bush-filled field
          surrounded by weeds of varying heights

perched in a weed’s canopy

          of white flowers
a white spider
          waits

black flies & red beetles
          scrummage through the bed of sweets
climbing beside & even over
          the still white spider

its body mounted
          by little legs
while two longer white legs
          extend half bent in the air

till certain sized flies pass
          its face
triggering those long thin legs
          to swoop down
striking prey dragged
          into a hungry face

sometimes when released
          those bodies fall motionless
& sometimes they begin
          mid-air to fly

Falling spider, invisible thread
Digital Art from Photograph
Michael Dickel ©2022

another dream

          of two soldiers in a watchtower
                    talking through the night
will history judge us poorly?
          one asked
                    & his friend said
yes & no
          since history forgives the perpetrators
                    with a flare
for watching those who suffer most
          as those
                    who inherit evil

so they say

an M-16 in someone's hand asserts: kill or be killed
it only argues with adults—whereas children
they deafen all arguments into chatter

a stray dog doesn't know that it roams about as if it's not a target
a tree couldn't care less that it can sustain many bullet wounds
a wall must separate sides—no matter its thickness

it's fine if we're mistakenly standing on some graveyard
it's ok if you can't stop all people from fighting
it's nice to take care of a cat that you dislike

let all the varied kinds of privileged people tell you what's right
let thoughts of distant violence grow more distant
let yourself breathe—simple & stupid—grinning like a gorilla

it's alright if the news improves its powers of seduction
it's alright if one day the sun just burns out
it's alright if you desire—deviously—to litter a little

even if ambiguous firework-explosions startle you
if you move & speak according to what you believe is right
it's good if life & death dissolve into some unspeakable truth

veteran field

—for Mr. Visher
both before our lives and before our eyes
           upon every death before us we live
thoughtlessly leaping from this height to that
           we continue & learn also to love
to continue living as if stable
           upon whatever ground beneath our feet:
our subtle world produces fertile soil
           like this lush field where children play—knowing not
how they grow upon the dead body parts
           of some passing war & of all thought as war:

with ever-shifting translucent pillars
death supports all mortal experience

waning & waiting

bullets whiz
           past people’s ears
every day
           on city streets
I have shot
           the same gun
others have used
           for suicide

the stop signs have
           no gun holes here
the sun is blocked
           from flirting strands
of light—flickering
           with the rising
& the setting
           of lust-filled days:
maybe tomorrow
           I’ll find her
perhaps I will pull
           hard on her hair

every day
           I wake up
a blinded bird
           that craves to fly:
who can resist
           the savage pleasure
of pushing hard
against the air?

©2022 Lonnie Monka
All rights reserved


Lonnie Monka…

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



The Bellicose Vein | Bruce Morton

The Bellicose Vein

Which or why matters not.
It would be best to forget
The whole damned lot.
But what do you want to bet
That we will go for a rerun.
		 
We will do as we have done,
Enlist the starry-eyed young,
Stack them like cordwood
Tight in the barrack bunks
Prepared to feed the flame.
		 
We will play the patriot's game,
Wave the flag and sing the song
Fight for right and right wrong
And it will not be long, again, before
We exhume the past, bury the future.

Poem ©2022 Bruce Morton
All rights reserved


Peace #9
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Bruce Morton…

…divides his time between Montana and Arizona. His poems have appeared an many magazines, most recently  Grey Sparrow Journal, Rat’s Ass Review, The BeZine, Ibbetson Street, and Muddy River Poetry Review.



Raging at an uncommon pace… | Fabrice Poussin

Peace #13
Digital Art
Dean Pasch ©2022

Chasing the Muse

Raging at an uncommon pace
eons accelerating through the stars
little bright spot in the immensity traces
the sign of what it may become
a line disappearing in a soft vibration.

Fleeing to escape modern history
it may never be seen but as a memory
shiny speckle into the depth of an abyss
made of eternity and absent souls.

The poet squints to fix the moment
and imagine the words it may have spoken
echoing for all to hear the dying symphony.

Perhaps it will return with the new dawn
looking for a mate to grow in harmony.

For yet it seeks a rebirth in a hostile sphere. 

In the Soul

Some join in the deep of secret hours
behind curtains thick with lies
truth does not know the way in
when they share ultimate fancies.

When dawn comes they will part ways
rushing onto a path into other tragedies
after a night to decades of illusions
they pretended to believe in eternity.

Shells will survive into their world
upon streets of stench and dark asphalt
where they will smile again with faith
that no one will scent their death.

Strange liquid like putrescent molasses
ooze from those living corpses
enveloped by a cloud of love
as they like to make it known on the rooftops.

I would rather walk by her side
Safe, surrounded by her aura
with a touch of her soul upon my breath
inhaling her being through every pore. 

Rolls Royce and Little Yachts

Dressed in a bright gown
feet in golden stilettos
she stirs the Lamborghini to a halt
near the Cartier store where she will splurge.

Not far behind her the smoke of a city
fallen to the greed of the would-be gods
a low cloud hovers thick as muck
heavy with the weight of infinite miseries

The tuxedo waiting for her, too dreams
of helicopters and private jets	
lounging on the acres of his vast greens
one step closer to vast fortunes.

Descendant of royalty long forgotten
little, wrinkled by endless suns
alone in the dingy room she cleans
mansions and castles large as her city.

In thousand-dollar Hawaiian suits
others bask on the beach of their own islands
fake hair and skin made of silicon they also go
to the tomb… in million dollar outfits.

©2022 Fabrice Poussin
All rights reserved


Fabrice Poussin…

…is the advisor for The Chimes, the Shorter University award winning poetry and arts publication. His writing and photography have been published in print, including Kestrel, Symposium, La Pensee Universelle, Paris, and other art and literature magazines in the United States and abroad. Most recently, his collection In Absentia, was published in August 2021 with Silver Bow Publishing. 

Website / Blog Linked



Peace with Ourselves | Mike Stone

The Irony of Ploughshares

In the Middle East
If you want to prepare for peace
You must first prepare for war
Because peace must be waged
With the same seriousness of intent as war
And there are as many obstacles and pitfalls
On the path to peace as there are along the path to war.
A weak man cannot forge peace because
His weakness tempts his enemies to attack
And weak are the saber rattlers
Hoping to frighten their enemies
With simulations of disproportionate force.
Their fears and uncertainties blind them
To the path of peace.
Only a strong man is confident and sees clearly.
He walks calmly along the path
Narrow as the razor's edge.
The path to peace meanders through Gaza
Where we've been eyeless and
Our plow shares will be made out of swords,
Neither flowers
Nor gentle breezes.
				September 28, 2016

Rosh HaShana

Enough of idle dreams and wishes
Enough of sweetness, honey and apples.
The light does not come from East
And not from West,
But from inside us.
Peace will not come from one of us
But from all of us.
There is no time but marching forward
To futures where Abraham's progeny
Sit together at a table
Sharing food and drink
And all men's children
Play and grow in health
Uneducated in the ways of war
But wise in the paths of peace,
All men necessary on this march because
No one knows from whence come saviors,
What will be their color or creed,
What language they will speak,
Whether man, woman, child
Or stranger.
October 2, 2016

And In The Darkness We Shall Dance and Remember What We Are
Digital Art
Kat Patton ©2022

Making Peace with Ourselves

Most of the time I’m just me
And sometimes I’m we
But every once in a while, we are them
And they are us.
It seems to me that everyone
Who wants their story heard
Would want their own country
To tell it loud and clear
And the problem with countries
Is that nobody will give you one
Just because you asked for it nicely
And nobody wants to be occupied
So, if you still want a country
You’re going to have to make life
Pretty uncomfortable for the occupiers.
I mean when we were them
And they were us,
Why can’t we remember that?
Then maybe we could make peace with ourselves.

March 7, 2020

Poems ©2022 Mike Stone
All rights reserved


Mike Stone…

…was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. He graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army and the Israeli Defense Forces. Mike moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He has self-published eight books of poetry. Mike is married to Talma. They have 3 sons and 8 grandchildren.

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