Three Haikus

Nature: A Mother’s Love

We reap your colors
And still, you send us rainbows
Your tears mixed with oil

Sacrifice

I heard you drowned in
Plastic bags and straws so, I
Stopped drinking coffee

Not happily every after

Can’t think of beauty
Without beastly pollution
Nature has no prince

© 2020, Irma Do

IRMA DO (I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . ) is a writer, runner, and raiser (of children not plants or animals). She is an avid anti-racist, anti-pollutionist, and anti-antipathist. Her poetry and other writings, can be found on her blog.

Cento

I put on my body armour of black rubber
the absurd flippers, the grave and awkward mask.
The salt is on the briar rose. The sea howl and
the sea yelp are different voices. I go down
an innocent ladder. Where is there an end
to the drifting wreckage the silent withering
of autumn flowers dropping
their petals and remaining motionless?
First having read the book of myths
I come to see the damage we’ve done
trying to unweave, unwind, unravel.
Yes, we believed that the oceans were endless
surging with whales, serpents and mermaids
there is no end but addition the trailing
prayer of the bone on the beach where we heard
consequences of further days and hours
demon-haunted and full of sweet voices
while emotion took to itself the emotionless
years of living among the breakage
to lure us over the edge of the world. We were
conquerors, pirates, explorers, vagabonds;
years of living among the breakage, war-makers,
sea-rovers, we ploughed what was believed in
as the most reliable, made maps that led others
to the sea’s harvest and therefore were the fittest
for renunciation and sometimes we heard dolphins
whistling, older than the time of chronometers.
Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
into the wind’s tail, where the fog cowers?

We cannot think of a time that is ocean-less.
The catch was good and the oceans endless
for a haul that will not bear examination.
Where is there an end of it, the voiceless wailing
the backward look behind the assurance
towards the primitive terror?

1 Helen Dunmore, Dolphins Whistling: T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets: Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck.

© 2020, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher who lives in the NE of England.

A Walk in the Park

Like our manic thoughts, she opines while pointing
to the exquisite whiteness of a swan on the lake.
How its feet are scrabbling under the water as it glides
serenely. As we walk further round the lake
a submerged swan twenty times bigger
hoves into view, its wooden neck two feet above the water.
One black-headed gull perches on its hull swivelling
its winter-white head and stretching alternate wings.
Later in the park café she tells us she’s knitting mittens
for the koalas burnt in Australia’s fires but she thinks
we’ll all be incinerated eventually. She talks with a twinkle
in her eye about the death of flying foxes who can’t fly
fast enough. Maybe she’ll knit joey pouches or bat wraps
next if she has time. She sips her hot cappuccino and tells us
about the melting cameras set up to capture
the regent honeyeater’s nesting habits.
Her smile’s disarming as she hands round the biscuits.

© 2020, Eric Nicholson

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher and lives in the NE of England. He writes poetry occasionally but more recently has focussed on painting.

Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem

Environment is a tremendous thing that shapes life regardless

Stephen Crane

 

Let Freedom Ring

An Anti-Deterministic Poem

 

Environment is a petri dish

of caste and killing, beauty and beasts.

Stephen Crane called it a ‘tremendous thing

That shapes life regardless,’ Crane’s deterministic take

On what we’re trapped for life in.

 

Once, as a wee RH preemie, I was predetermined

to be transfused, born blue all over,

baby teeth erupting this pale green

Oh, those beautiful poppies outside

and that fog, a fog creamy white

as the flitting sanctity of dreams’ sleep.

 

Life as this hard swerve between

clean and mean, Cain’s pain and Abel’s over, these love splits,

And all we need is love, but we be bombed with the environment of death,

impending and unrelenting. Radioactive mushroom skies once

crisscrossed gorgeous blooming fields of California ranunculus,

clean there as any ruby glistening,

and now we’re in a poison spin,

retching in a tremendous lock-down. Alone as winter birds

and, below, ants impudently copulate by the sink.

We surrounded by empty enemy talk. It could all be ending so.

 

But something in my preemie eyes wants us to draw together,

our hearts saying love sweet love. George Harrison’s balmy eyes.

Just be kind and hold out, hold out your soft hand.

If we can stay sweet eyed, we’ll keep

Death and blight at bay to sustain what matters:

The freedom of our name, nature and nation

In the harmony we make, we’ll sustain us on our own

 

Oh Susannah had that buckwheat cake in her mouth.

He sang, ‘Oh, Susannah Now, don’t you cry for me

‘Cause I come from Alabama

With my banjo on my knee.’

 

In that coming over and over and over

We can join together for the biggest little things.

For forever, a long bit of together

And let our love sing louder than that tremendous environment

Dings.

© 2020, Linda Chown

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

Do We Need To?

Puzzles of fire solved by the ashes
while water wonders- how a piece of glass smashes
the rock beneath the starfishes: embraced
Upon the reddened shore lost-footsteps traced
Our memories do we need to remember,
if from the heart all ache we dismember?

“Before Hail Melts Away”

We need to use the rain water before hail melts away
Hours we have to count before the end of the day
But how can we save the light after the dark
When flickers of flame fade in a moment’s spark?

“Spring”

When the river needs its murmuring sound

Inside my heart the swan-song I’ve found

The softness of grass beneath my feet

Another holy morning here to greet

Fragrance of spring carried by the bloom

Taking hope in, breaking away from gloom

© 2020, Munia Khan

MUNIA KHAN was born on a spring night of 15th March in the year 1981. She enjoys her journey to the literary world. Most of her works are poems of different genres, short stories and articles. She is the author of four poetry collections and one non-fiction inspirational book : ‘Beyond The Vernal Mind’ (Published from USA, 2012), ‘To Evince The Blue’ (Published from USA, 2014), ‘Versified’ (Published from Tel Aviv, Israel, 2016) and ‘Fireclay’ ( Published from USA, 2020) and ‘Attainable’ ( USA, 2 June, 2020) Her poetry is the reflection of her own life experience. Her works have been translated into various languages: Japanese, Romanian, Urdu,Italian, Dutch, Croatian, Spanish, Portuguese,Russian, Albanian, Finnish, Greek, Indonesian, Hindi, Turkish, Arabic, Bengali and in Irish language. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, literary journals, magazines and in newspapers.

The Veggie Lady, a poem by Adrian Slonaker

The Veggie Lady

The veggie lady
grows ingredients in a garden 
in a part of the heartland where the peckish 
primarily crave pork and poultry
over pea protein and spirulina.
The veggie lady
sells her “social distancing snacks” out of
a sliding window on a multicolored bus,
brightening an otherwise empty parking lot
on eerily dreary spring afternoons 
while suggesting singing Partridges
during the days of the plague. 
As the Pied Piper of 
plant-based well-being,
the veggie lady 
encourages concerned consumers to locate
her vehicle and discover the pleasurable 
treasure of sustainable sustenance never
blood-splashed
inside an abattoir,
perpetually promoting 
the peaceful, 
the perennial and
the renewable 
in a way that's
as whimsical as it is
realistic.   

©2020 Adrian Slonaker

One Sky, One Earth

The land is not just earth
But one ploughed into existence.
As one removes each layer
Sweat, dreams, and streams will flow.
Wherever the war is,
Our heart walls are hurt.
Whichever field is burning,
Yours or your neighbour’s,
It is life that starves.
It is the earth’s womb that turns barren.
When can we ever build a dream
that all can see together…?
When can we all join in one prayer
Under the same tree…?
As birds fly beyond borders,
I dream of a nationality
Where I am not a foreigner,
A dream of a singular Nationality.

© 2020, Ambily Omanakuttan 


AMBILY OMANAKUTTAN is fom Kerala, India. She is a writer , poet and activist. She is writing continually articles in news papers and magazines. Her poem published in so many Magazines , weekly and news medias.She has participated in numerous national and international literary events.She was a bank employee but she resigned it for     her social work. She working in more national organization for human rights , environment and nature.her activities were centered on tribals. While working for their welfare, she also involved herself in struggles against their exploitation and for their rights. She, who is raising her voice constantly through essays and poems against the injustices meted out to them by the society and the political system.She also uses her word power against the attacks on women and children. She  is saying ,Poetry is her soul but more than it like a weapon for her activities.

Tread Softly

Tread softly on Earth,
Its semblance fools us
into believing that it is indestructible.
Ecosystems of growth and grandeur
hide within tunnels
formed eons ago,
based on assumptions that
man would tread softly on Earth.

Tread softly on Earth,
Its resilience
veils its core of tenderness;
its need for nurturing love
of the abundant bounty within.

Give thought to preserving
all the wondrous revelations
still hopefully waiting,
with infinite trust, that man will
tread softly on Earth.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel

IRENE EMANUEL is from South Africa. She is the winner of the “Hilde Slinger” cup for poetry in 2009 and again in 2013, winner of the “Fay Goldie” cup for General Success in the World of Publishing in 2011.  Both these awards are presented by the South African Writers” Circle. In 2008, Irene represented Live Poets’ Society  at “Poetry Africa, an International Poetry Festival” held annually, in Durban, South Africa.

Irene tells us that, “Poetry allows me to get my message across with rhythmic speed and clarity and is the written word that I like best.  My passions are music, reading, movies and cats”

Her poems are published widely and – among others – are included in: “World Anthology of Journeys”; In  “Unbreaking The Rainbow, Voices of Protest”;  “A Hudson View” and “The Speech and Drama Association of S A.”  She has four published collections of poetry. In 2008, Nine of her poems were published in “Signatures” an anthology of women’s poetry.

Tomorrow’s Question

My heart feels heavy today.
Peace seems so far away.
My own, my inner peace
And yours, dear Earth, so triste.

The spring rain, meant to be
Awakening and warm to me,
Comes cold and harsh upon my head
And fails to wash away my dread.

Is my pain a fantasy
Or does it have its roots in me
That reach unto my very soul
And show it to be a lump of coal

Black as the moonless sky above.
Or is it more a sign of love
Whose color is as white as snow
That melts in the sun’s soft glow

That gives each day its early start
And, reaching the chambers of my heart,
Warms tomorrow’s blood.
To live another day is good.

© 2020, John Ehrenfeld


DR. JOHN EHRENFELD returned to his alma mater, MIT, in 1985 after a long career in the environmental field, and retired in 2000 as the Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment. Since retiring, he has authored The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World (2019); Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture (2008); and Flourish: A Frank Conversion about Sustainability (2013, with Andrew Hoffman).

In October 1999, the World Resources Institute honored him with their first lifetime achievement award for his academic accomplishments in the field of business and environment. He received the Founders’ Award for Distinguished Service from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Natural Environment Division in August 2000. He holds a B. S. and Sc. D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is author or co-author of over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications. He has been writing poetry for the last few years. He is 89 years old.

creatures today

shadow-tailed squirrel
swift then still
inquisitive

house sparrow alights
on sunlit sidewalk
softly sounding

American lindens
touch heart-shaped leaves
clumped together

another sparrow
tricolored trilling
Lake Erie’s eastern shore

at my window
I consider
their unjust absence

© 2020, Connor Orrico


CONNOR ORRICO is a medical student with interests in global health, mental health, and how we make meaning from the stories of person and place we share with each other, themes that were explored in his publications in Headline Poetry & Press and Dreich Magazine.

Nature We Failed

It’s late at night, I can hear nature cry,
along with the coyote’s howl, and the
brambles soft quiver.

Late at night, I can see a world without
greed, death, and destruction, a world
without forest lines that retreat to the
point of annihilation.

Creatures of remaining forest are
scattered, dwellers of the sea fished
into oblivion.

The carcass of nature is covered by a
a harsh blanket of concrete, asphalt,
and steel.

While we as a civilized human species,
turn a blind eye to the carnage we reap.

While climbing ladders to ascend to the
top of the pile, pat-on-the-back world
conqueror.

How’s the view?

© 2020, Wayne Russell

WAYNE RUSSELL is or has been many things in his time upon this planet, he has been a creative writer, world traveler, graphic designer, former soldier, and former sailor. Wayne has been widely published in both online and hard copy creative writing magazines. From 2016-17 he also founded and edited Degenerate Literature. In late 2018, the editors at Ariel Chart nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize for the poem Stranger in a Strange Town. “Where Angels Fear” is his debut poetry book published by Guerrilla Genesis Press.

A Series of Haikus

I

Quiet waves of earth
Tilled to receive the seed
Again and again.

II

There is no gate
only the path
One foot before the other.

III

Grasses wave
near the stone path
No gate opens
No gate closes.

IV

Walleye
On the hook
The fire is lit

© 2020, Chris Northrop

CHRIS NORTHROP is a poet from the Northeast, writing free verse and currently experimenting with haiku.  She has a degree in Creative Writing and several publications.

Côte-Nord

After Constantine Cavafy’s Ithaca

paired, as clasped hands,
girl & woman are acquainted
with such spaces

a white clenching outrage,
a burrowing for warmth,
how joints settle in rest

mythology unfolds
on this rock, brackish night
ringed with fireflies

woman & girl follow water
cook over a blue flame,
pray that the road is long

© 2020, poem and illustration, Candice O’Grady


CANDICE O’GRADY is a writer and poet who cut her teeth as a crime reporter in the Yukon. She lives near the water in Toronto and sometimes tweets from @candiceogrady.

Daylighting

lost yellow stream
lost boggy ravine
where the boy with
dinner roll legs toppled
in & vanished

lost doughy boy
lost straying creek
buried now beneath
potholes, sooty floors
& children’s feet

lost boys & girls
lost woods, lost water
changeable earth
sown with towers of
borrowed light

© 2020, poem and illustration, Candice O’Grady


CANDICE O’GRADY is a writer and poet who cut her teeth as a crime reporter in the Yukon. She lives near the water in Toronto and sometimes tweets from @candiceogrady.

Migration

You came in small pieces,
a spine of light, the burnished
colour of water in August.

Sailor heart—this swallow
stitched to the ribs, weary song,
abeyant treatise of longing.

I watch the northern shore,
for the migration of birds,
to bring you home.

© 2020, Candice O’Grady


CANDICE O’GRADY is a writer and poet who cut her teeth as a crime reporter in the Yukon. She lives near the water in Toronto and sometimes tweets from @candiceogrady.

A Little Poem

George Orwell (1903-1950), BBC Photograph in the public domain an curtesy of Penguin Books, India
George Orwell (1903-1950), BBC Photograph in the public domain, curtesy of Penguin Books, India

A LITTLE POEM

A happy vicar I might have been
Two hundred years ago
To preach upon eternal doom
And watch my walnuts grow;

But born, alas, in an evil time,
I missed that pleasant haven,
For the hair has grown on my upper lip
And the clergy are all clean-shaven.

And later still the times were good,
We were so easy to please,
We rocked our troubled thoughts to sleep
On the bosoms of the trees.

All ignorant we dared to own
The joys we now dissemble;
The greenfinch on the apple bough
Could make my enemies tremble.

But girl’s bellies and apricots,
Roach in a shaded stream,
Horses, ducks in flight at dawn,
All these are a dream.

It is forbidden to dream again;
We maim our joys or hide them:
Horses are made of chromium steel
And little fat men shall ride them.

I am the worm who never turned,
The eunuch without a harem;
Between the priest and the commissar
I walk like Eugene Aram;

And the commissar is telling my fortune
While the radio plays,
But the priest has promised an Austin Seven,
For Duggie always pays.

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And woke to find it true;
I wasn’t born for an age like this;
Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?

– George Orwell


Eric Arthur Blair (1903 – 1950), better known by his pen name, George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic. His work is characterized by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

As a writer, Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism; and is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working-class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences soldiering for the Republican faction of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), are as critically respected as his essays on politics and literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked George Orwell second among “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.


 

Translations

The Zambezi River in the Mana Pools National Park / Public Domain Photograph


Each raindrop, fast, often furious,
Rushing to greet the earth, often hard and thirsty earth,
Transitioning, into pools, rivulets, and,
Surface runoffs to the drain,
After roots had sucked enough,
To the tributary and mother river,
To the sea or lake,
Far off too, to the ocean,
Steam off the seagull Nation,with waves crashing on whale fins,
Up and up the heat flies up,
Clouds picking wings and forming fluffy feathers,
Am from the South where men play dice with human bones,
And the best use of the mouth is to chew held dreams,
And spit them into fresh graves,
While father’s walk the slow walk of the ninth trimester mother ready to deliver,
Except,the new born is an old lie wrapped in diamond glitter,
Am now in the East, where Christmas happens every market day for those with pockets,
While hunger roams the side streets of those politically incorrect,
Am going to the North, where hope still holds a decent conversation,
And reason is not needed to allow a man to breath,
Invited by a soul who knows my needs and not my name,
Perhaps I may end up West,
Where feathers once adorned a brave head,
There, I might rest a night and a day,
Waiting for paid maladies to find a cure,
And social consultations to search my roots,
At this cross section where my dreams sit anxiously,
Am kept alive by sweat of Angels from
Lands I know from Google map,
Am constantly logged on the accounts of good will,
Never lacking for sleep for the flow of interrupted hope,
I see in my mind’s eye why faith is such a divine virtue,
Hunger has failed to dim my steps,
Cold has refused to deaden my prayers,
Am a warrior first who fights best on his knees,
Pillars that stand like lighthouses never fail to send light my way,
Am mothered by love that is beyond blood and tribe,
As for father’s, their silent arms embrace me from afar,
So dressed in the dusty clothes of a traveler,
Bearing temporariness like a permanent feature,
I transact my steps in Translations of survived hits,
Counting my blessings in the power of ten like Man Musa
And the Commandments, I transition each night
From a wide freelancer boy to a missionary with a mission and vision,
What the world will know one day is this,
Some paths are never chosen by those who walk them,
And that the path does pick pillars to support such a walker,
And I, son of an uprooted existence,
Is borne on this journey by true Angels,
Am a beneficiary so grateful,
That when a tear drops,
I catch it first before heaven thinks am ungrateful.

Dedicated to all the folks who are supportive of me in my exile.

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha


MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, the Black Poet)  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 Ganges and Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.


Together

A free form poem
(about continuously foraging for peace)

Patience has kept me sitting tight
being a role model…

Back at my station,
I have cut some branches
sliced open some new and old wounds
fingered them gently just to see why

When we’re on the phone it’s love
the same as that which kills us

Tears are at the fore
with promises building bridges
through the skies
we breathe together and hold it all back
until tomorrow

We’re growing together all the time
I have someone who can guide me
when needed
who helps to prop up some pride

Everything is open
the gate, the sky, these shackles
even these two black eyes

© 2020, JJ Aitken

No More Numbing

About striving for peace

I tell myself
I’m being strong

It’s not really strength
I don’t think

It’s more regulation
than anything

I need to witness
truly feel
what’s happening
for me

Just let it happen
be kind to it
don’t put words to it
act gently

This is
what I need

No connecting
with passed emotions
caused by ancient prejudices
ill-informed comments
on how it is
for someone else

They’re just words
with no life
lost to memory
and the culprit

Let it go, my friend
please let it be

The other side
is surely amazing
it always is
I know this

This exhaustion
and trepidation
is breeding
new connection

Serotonin is growing
with momentum
across this divide
screaming “thanks for believing”
you will be you again
and you’ll love it

© 2020, JJ Aitken

Big Mama Is Dancing on the Purple Tide

eyes of stone
people dying without the caress of a gaze
hearts of plastic
beating a music no one wants to play
hands closed
seeds won’t come from those fingers of cement

birds know we are alone
so they try to keep our moral up
fishes are waiting for our holy bath
meanwhile they laugh silently

peace seems a lost island
the one cartographers put on maps
just to make their work look different
just to drive sailors crazy

a black woman
wide breasts full of ivory milk
is smiling to her holy baby
a lullaby in the air
is the half-moon chilling the wind

I know you
you’re the one who cried yesterday
when a little boat was shipping from the harbor
on a purple calm ocean

you said
how beautiful
and tears fell down
because all was so calm and chill
your heart found the path to peace island

no one was there to say
ha ha you dumb boy
you’re crying like a sissy girl

the ocean tide grew
your flood brought a vein of gold into it
sun setting on the horizon

I heard the wind blowing your voice
I found the stairway to the great vibration
you said

and everything was in peace
for a moment
forever

© 2020, Mendes Biondo

 

Wars Whirling, Worsening World

All Lessons from the Heavens above
were of  peace patience and love.
Who created among  birds, the Dove?
Wars in the clouds war in the skies
what did man gain by all the lies?
Blood all over, all over, cries,

weapons made for hunting food
were made all strong and good,
iron sharp, defense understood—
O’ Peace where art thou fixed?
So lost forever in River Styx?
Condemned thou like Sisyphus?

Twirling planets, endless encircle,
shine shimmer, forever glimmer,
are they lights or tears that quiver?
Swords flash bullets splatter,
scrapers shatter,
but what does it all to richness, matter?
Silence stands silent, loose tongues chatter,

under the bridge hungry bodies curled
bags of  bones looted and hurled.
Wars, murders, meaningless unfurled,
wars whirling, worsening world.
Time for The Message to come again,
to relieve the misery injustice and pain.


© 2020   Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.
Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
 .
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
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Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.



Make A Vow, Remember

Melodies begin music flows the heart warms as love grows
smiles beam on all  faces as people collect in small places

some moments together we sit to share, soon time will not spare
so let us be peaceful and enjoy, comfort each other and care

who rules what place what land, what difference does it make
don’t you have your own freedom, your way, your own land?

if all humanity alike, women and children just different names
all were guided the same, one home, played the same games

what lessons from previous wars do  we remember, be it
Chawinda, D-Day, Waterloo, or 6th of September,

nothing did we gain but death destruction downfall and pain
killing each other, unknown strangers again again and again;

and so many think and talk and speak and call for peace
and write and write essays stories and poems for peace

but still produce gather and buy weapons bombs and guns
each moment each hour lose life families and loving sons

I am no princess nor a peasant just a simple human, now
seeing blood and death, I pray peace, real peace now

lets now make a vow, along with the candles and bouquets
lets all try, put down the rifles and guns, call back the jets,

try to end all conflict, live and let live, end all strife
you can call back the tanks and troops, but you cannot

ever ever ever call back…a life’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar


ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.

Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.
.
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.

Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.


Hope and Wishes

When I saw local policemen beating young students protesting for their rights.

I wish I had not seen  this but I did
for I was free and so I thought in
my own country,
on the screen what
all was happening on the street
it is not a foreign place nor foreign
are the men on the beat.
How safe are we today at home?
I wish I had not seen this—

from time to time I cried and
prayed and prayed with the people,
felt the hurt they suffered—what if
it had been me or mine—but it is
to me it could happen—so are we free?
How safe are we today at home?
I wish I had not seen this—

I see them smile hardly 4, 6, 7, and 10—
my own kids with such responsibility,
and I thought ‘I crossed barbed wires
and so soon the wires are back in place?
And in my own free country?
I wish I had not seen this.

They said it was a new country.
our own land, our own home free,
the colonial crown is down
gone is the purple gown—
but so soon we are marching again
in the sun in the rain with deep pain
sonorous thumping sounds as
breathing is heavy the eyes burn.
We are still trying to remove the stain.’
I wish I had not seen this—

Who is right who is true who
is for me and who is for you?
O you who are so cruel and
all ready to kill and duel—
remember that in the end it is
nothing but a Pyrrhic victory—

the grave you dig for others
may be your own, who knows?
The wealth you gather now, will
be no more in hands or shows
but when greed and wine in
arrogance flows and the wit is out,
all is soon over but the shout.

I wish I had not seen this
But I wish a time when I would like to see
my own free land in peace and bliss
free for all people equally.

I wish and pray…and hope…and…

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar


ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) is one of the newest members of “The BeZine” core team.

Anjum was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.

Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.

Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.


 

Paper Boat

Each time I search and squint…
night doubles.

Today’s mirrors
and yesterday’s borders haven’t changed.

After hasn’t landed yet,
Before looks fuzzy,
but Something waits further out.

Is that tiny dot peace getting back to normal?

Healing must be a paper boat—
drifting on and on.

©  2020, Judy DeCroce

JUDY DeCROCE is an educator, poet/flash fiction writer and avid reader whose works have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Pilcrow & Dagger, Amethyst Review, Tigershark Publishing, and many others. As a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre, she also offers, workshops in flash fiction.

Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband poet/artist, Antoni Ooto.

This is not Paradise nor a Place to be Lost

no Bodhi tree
no way through

here is where the road
changed its mind

a gray snake
pulling close its end

where words fall like
some—through a shedding tunnel

this is not a place to be lost
there isn’t enough darkness

only a place to pick up a few thoughts
palm them tightly

before time changes its mind

© 2020, Judy DeCroce

JUDY DeCROCE is an educator, poet/flash fiction writer and avid reader whose works have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Pilcrow & Dagger, Amethyst Review, Tigershark Publishing, and many others. As a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre, she also offers, workshops in flash fiction. 
 
Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband poet/artist, Antoni Ooto.

Before

hard choices had to be made,
living was sometimes easier.

The afters never left the flagpole;
time stretched wide and forever.

Now, with so many afters,
before is emptier—(grateful this is over),
or, what is left has given some peace.

It never lived up to the before, however,
when we could check the flag pole
and feel safe.

© 2020, Judy DeCroce


JUDY DeCROCE Is an educator, poet/flash fiction writer and avid reader whose works have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Pilcrow & Dagger, Amethyst Review, Tigershark Publishing, and many others. As a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre, she also offers workshops in flash fiction.

Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband poet/artist, Antoni Ooto.


 

through the ache of time

Courtesy of Greg Rakozy, Unsplash

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living



see it moving – Life!
moving through the ache of time
seeking that place
where identity isn’t worn on a sleeve,
where individuals challenge the tribe,
where beauty frees itself from convention,
where the chains of fear dissolve

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day), a Lebanese-American writer and activist, was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. She’s worked in social services as an employment counselor, case manager/supervisor, career center manager, and ultimately as a planner in a government agency with duties that included writing position papers, requisitions for proposals, and grant applications.

Jamie founded The Bardo Group Bequines,  publisher of The BeZine of which she is founding and managing editor.  Our goal is to foster proximity and understanding through our shared love of the arts and humanities and to make – however modest –  a contribution toward personal healing and deference for the diverse ways people try to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which illness, violence, despair, loneliness and death are as prevalent as hope, friendship, reason and birth.

pulsing peace

courtesy of Christine Wehrmeier, Unsplash

“They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.” Howard Zinn



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . these
the quiet afternoons pulsing peace,
Bach on the radio, sustenance simmering
on the stove of my tranquility, the days
chasing night, the nights chasing day,
rhythms caressing my face, love-bites
armouring the leg of my being, heart
beating at one with the sighing Pacific
and only gratitude for the gift of life,
no more scandalized by the news of
death, baptism into heaven, whatever
that means
, but the reports center on
conflict, Palestine, Ukraine, Maghreb

easy to foment flash-points for horror,
even easier to forget just how sweet it is
to breathe with the moon and sun and
to grow with trees bending in the storms,
obeisance to the seas and sky and
living on the edge of eternity, time to
give it up, to give-up strife and anger for Lent,
to never pick them up again, to be moved only
by the gentle breeze of butterfly wings,
color and transport for our feasting hearts

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day), a Lebanese-American writer and activist, was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. She’s worked in social services as an employment counselor, case manager/supervisor, career center manager, and ultimately as a planner in a government agency with duties that included writing position papers, requisitions for proposals, and grant applications.

Jamie founded The Bardo Group Bequines,  publisher of The BeZine of which she is founding and managing editor.  Our goal is to foster proximity and understanding through our shared love of the arts and humanities and to make – however modest –  a contribution toward personal healing and deference for the diverse ways people try to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which illness, violence, despair, loneliness and death are as prevalent as hope, friendship, reason and birth.

At a Peace Reading

The first of George Frederic Watts’ paintings of “Hope” / Public Domain Illustration

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” Augustine of Hippo



At a café, a peace reading ~
the reverent and irreverent
We delivered our poems as prayer
as though every Utopian dream of ours had the
fragrance of sanctity, the well-chiseled
face of true North…

A battalion on the march, we poet-healers,
laying our mystic grace like the psalmist’s
table before enemies

We are sure . . .  positive . . .
while we hike the mountain of our despair,
we sense the true depths of human Hope along
the wormholes in the spacetime of our convictions

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day), a Lebanese-American writer and activist, was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. She’s worked in social services as an employment counselor, case manager/supervisor, career center manager, and ultimately as a planner in a government agency with duties that included writing position papers, requisitions for proposals, and grant applications.

Jamie founded The Bardo Group Bequines,  publisher of The BeZine of which she is founding and managing editor.  Our goal is to foster proximity and understanding through our shared love of the arts and humanities and to make – however modest –  a contribution toward personal healing and deference for the diverse ways people try to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of a world in which illness, violence, despair, loneliness and death are as prevalent as hope, friendship, reason and birth.

Drear

One needs a little dull.

Gray, fallow ground of naked winter
Wrinkles, cracks, rocks,
A leftover wheat straw
Stuck, quavering in cold mud.

Folks gathered on a weathered wood porch
Staring at nothing
Waiting for nothing
Holding.

Grit, under an old boot sole
Half-screeches hardship
Half-whispers freedom
Beneath steps without invitation.

Adventure
Time
Struggle and
Celebration
All pause.

Space not for let
But to allow.
Room not to fill
But to air.

How do I stay fresh?

Like this—
Inside a hoary mystery
That resolves in its own good time.

© 2020, Anita East


ANITA EAST has been writing stories, funny letters, and melodramatic poetry since second grade. She didn’t keep much, bouncing around the world, but has it on good authority that there are always more fresh words to write.

Writer friends have threatened to hold her under until she bubbles if she does not publish. Her will to live, therefore, forces her to submit and collect her fair share of  rejection letters. Good friends are hard to find; harder, still, to bury after you drown ‘em. I must spare them the trouble.
Anita draws inspiration from the mundane to the unseen, and performs regular psychic readings of her bellybutton lint to stay on course. She managed to keep her three children alive to adulthood. She finished a four-year college degree in a mere twenty-two years, and holds a master’s degree in systems counseling. She abandoned a private practice in psychotherapy to become a starving artist, and to properly raise her cat, Bailey. Bailey works in graphite, oil, and watercolor with snaffled art supplies, as well as scratch art. Anita is a photographic artist, part-time painter, start-and-stop musician, and compulsive writer.

Most of Anita’s writing topics involve subtly bossing people around who are on the verge of consternation and sheer panic. Some call it “inspirational writing.” Others don’t know what to call it, but claim it’s worth a giggle.


Search

I’m chasing peace
But this search is endless
All of us are not truly humans
There are so many wild animals in human disguise
Their nails are scratching my soft heart
Their bloody tongues are tasting the corpses of my friends
Their sharp teeth are tearing my brother’s flesh
I’m one of unstable heart
I’m one of scared mind searching for a little bit of peace
I’m one of shaking lips finding those cute faces clinging very close to my heart
Nowadays on a moonlit night I recall my backstage story
I see a birch tree listening to the sad song of a green bird
I pull out my wounds
I drag out some dirty faces from the courtyard of darkness
Nowhere am I finding peace
But still I’m chasing peace as I want to light my little heart by fire of happiness
I may be unlucky
May the bird of peace not be ever in my grip
But I would not stop
I would not linger anymore to find it
As I know
Peace would never entangle me itself.

© 2020, Kakali Das Ghosh

KAKALI DAS GHOSH was born in India.  She has a is post graduate in Personnel Management, a teacher, writer and painter.Kakali has e written for The Poet by Day, The Bezine, Country Tales etc. One of her poems was selected for Alfastar Records International and International Poetry Digest.

Reprieve

I made it through the war without a scratch
Though in harm’s way like so many others
I did not die like so many others
I’m home, in one piece, enjoying peace
Unlike so many others

I’m not ashamed to be here
I’m proud of my service
But as I walk to work at Penn
The greatest danger being the crosswalk at Walnut and South 34th Streets
Something nags at the back of my mind

I’m not sorry to have survived intact when
I see others with lost limbs or minds
But as I sit on the beach
Surrounded by beautiful ladies starved for young men
There’s a voice asking me if I deserve this

Here is what I’ll do
Work for peace
Work to prevent war from returning
For I understand what it does to men
Whether or not you survive it
Like so many others.

© 2020, Robert Gluck


ROBERT GLUCK‘s poems have appeared in Nova Bards 2016, Nova Bards 2017, Nova Bards 2018, The Poet’s Domain Volume 32, and Poets Anonymous: 25 and Beyond. His chapbook, My Childhood Home, was published by Local Gems Press, May 2018. He has a self-published collection of poems entitled Below and Above Ground. His poem Mind Tricks placed third in the NEW VOICES category of the 2018 Poetry Society of Virginia’s annual contest. He lives in Herndon, Virginia, with his wife and three cats. He is a proud grandfather.


 

the full moon’s light

in warrior eyes,
against life’s flow

the AK47’s steel kiss
The barrel’s small o

concentrated in leaden thought

In the chamber nests
a fertilized zygote

snug in its brass case womb

all this dying war
both inside and outside:

wash away this death—
it clings to my bones

© 2020, Ed Higgins


ED HIGGINS‘ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Ekphrastic Review, CarpeArte Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, Statement Magazine, Wales Haiku Journal, and Sum Journal, among others. Ed is Professor Emeritus, English Dept. and Writer-in-Residence at George Fox University, a Quaker-heritage institution south of Portland, OR. He is also Asst. Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction. Ed lives on a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR where he raises a menagerie of animals, including a male whippet, Mr. Toffee, and an Indian Runner duck named Duck.


refugees

they
stream
like tears
out of my magna-
vox eye,
staining my
carpeted
comfort
with misery
no rug
shampoo
can
remove

© 2020, Ed Higgins


ED HIGGINS‘ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Ekphrastic Review, CarpeArte Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, Statement Magazine, Wales Haiku Journal, and Sum Journal, among others. Ed is Professor Emeritus, English Dept. and Writer-in-Residence at George Fox University, a Quaker-heritage institution south of Portland, OR. He is also Asst. Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction. Ed lives on a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR where he raises a menagerie of animals, including a male whippet, Mr. Toffee, and an Indian Runner duck named Duck.


Epistemology

It’s always about loss,
this kind of epistemology
philosophers regard with dread.
And we can fool ourselves with thinking.
Like the grandfather
I read about recently
who picked up his four year old grandson
in two pieces on a Baghdad market street,
after a sudden car bomb there.
And then just yesterday grocery shopping,
concentrating on which broccoli florets to buy,
out of the corner of my eye
a little blond four year old girl
is running to the side of my leg
yelling grandpa, grandpa, we saw your car
in the parking lot and knew it was you.
And my son and his beautiful wife
are smiling an aisle away,
near the potatoes and sweet onions,
she holding their year old daughter
on her hip the way mothers do.
And I’m so happy to see them all there
in one piece that I begin to cry,
like a foolish, foolish old man.

© 2020, Ed Higgins


ED HIGGINS‘ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Ekphrastic Review, CarpeArte Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, Statement Magazine, Wales Haiku Journal, and Sum Journal, among others. Ed is Professor Emeritus, English Dept. and Writer-in-Residence at George Fox University, a Quaker-heritage institution south of Portland, OR. He is also Assistant Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction. Ed lives on a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR where he raises a menagerie of animals, including a male whippet, Mr. Toffee, and an Indian Runner duck named Duck.


 

Good Vibrations

Through the skylight,
I view
a small rectangular patch
of moon’s shine,
so bright,
like a highway line
under a day-glo light.
The power of the moon
to bring forth altruism.
Championing those,
who’ll walk
across a room,
and put a new member
of a group at ease.
Advocating for those,
unabashed,
while dancing in front of others,
(even if they’re solo.)
Promoting those,
whose smiles reach their eyes.
Upholding those,
who recognize misery,
and work to eradicate it.
The world will truly
be full of music
when the moon teaches the sun
to sing just as benevolently.
© 2020, Linda Imbler
LINDA IMBLER (Linda’s Poetry Blog)has five published poetry collections and one hybrid ebook of short fiction and poetry. She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee.

By what right?

Hearsay of the war
Are we about to go so low?
Again?
Well, many want to die anyway
In a world we see today
And who with a sound mind
Would say it will get better when we fight?
There is no shame to cry for someone else
Nor is it obnoxious to bear another’s pain
So why then it is so common to forget
About the sufferings on Earth?
Some wish to win some battles
In their mind they have to happen
For some reason I believe
The motive of this need
Lies somewhere deep
Somewhere where lives the defeat
And by what right
These are the minds to decide
About fate, death and life
Of whole mankind?

© 2020, Magdalena Juśkiewicz



MAGDALENA JUSKIEWICZ is a master free spirit, who has hundreds of interests and for some reason keeps adding  more for herself.  After being born and growing up in Bydgoszcz she…stayed in Bydgoszcz. She attended high school, where she was studying graphic design only to not really work in that occupation. Graduation time is the exact time when her whole world decided to play twister and fall over. Her greatest accomplishment is lifting up that clumsy dude—life—from the floor and looking younger that she is meanwhile.


 

Out of Sight

The times they are a changin’
-Bob Dylan

It was a decade
of innocence and awakening
an era of protest
a coming of age
a time
when expressions like “hip” and “cool”
weren’t exactly out
but “far out” was really far in!

a time
when we traded in the stuffy square
for the more open rounded circle
when we traded
sit-downs for sit-ins
social unrest for Berkeley protest
the small screen for the real thing.
a time
when we unplugged our inhibitions
opened the doors of perception
and broke on through to the other side

In tribal splendor we “happened” at gatherings
in Woodstock San Francisco Chicago and L.A
synthesizing with Leary in holy sugar-cube communion
of divine LSD conception and the expanding consciousness
of One. Evolution was our revolution.
Change was in the air We exploded everywhere
while the government blew smoke-rings around smoke screens
smuggling heroin back from Nam like our dead in body bags
We checked in And we checked out–
as did Janis Jimi and Jim

It was the Summer of Love—
music turned us on music tuned us in
The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper rolled off our tongues
and out of every window Lucy
was in the sky with diamonds
The Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow
took us to a new plane with White Rabbit:
And if you go chasing rabbits
and you know you’re going to fall,
tell ‘em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
has given you the call. Ask Alice.”
And The Doors promised to take us even higher.
Come on, baby, light my fire. Gonna set the world on fire!

Miles and Coltrane were blowing their horns (New stanza)
Dylan and The Dead “like a rolling stone”…
no direction known were somewhere blowin’ in the wind
And some of us were just blowing it!
Blowing our noses
blowing our minds
blowing our inheritance of plenty
and then some!

We were scoring pot rolling grass smoking weed
and taking tokes off Wolf Thompson and Kesey
who first ignited our imaginations
then lit up the whole damn joint!
Every trip—manna from Heaven fuel for The Road
While Kerouac guided us down the back-roads
Ginsberg howled on up the high-ways
as did Corso Ferlinghetti Snyder–
and those faithful few who kept the beat
in the ever-altered States of these United

It was a season when
we placed flowers in our hair
we placed flowers on our graves
we stared down the National Guard
and we placed flowers there
We generated peace
we generated love
we generated the minds of the next generation
We dropped out of school
we dropped acid instead of bombs
we dropped sometimes like flies
off the face of the earth
But we NEVER
dropped
out
of
sight

© 2020, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KLIMENKO was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London. A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant: Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art, archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael Rothenberg (100 Thousand Poets for Change) is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris, where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.


 

Waging Peace

i have been
in
the ground
for
many years now
my
once
soft flesh
has given way
to
decay
and
my bones
are
iron ore red
adopting
the color
of
my
current
home
once
i walked
the
earth above
as
a freedom fighter
fighting
to
foster
peace
waging war
to
acquire
the antithesis
of
what i was doing
war
has always
been
marketed
as
a means
to
an end
the end
proposed
was
peace
but
i’ve had some time
to
think
and
it may be
that
waging war
is
not
the way
to wage
peace
perhaps
waging peace
is
just
as the words
imply
the acquisition
of
calmness
no troops
moving
forward
or
backward
no weapons
hoisted
upon shoulders
or
drones
like
mosquitoes
filling
the air
no
just calm
each person
taking
the time
to
reflect on the beauty
of
life
having
no time
to
wage war
and
thus
waging peace

 

© 2020, Charles W. Martin


CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Upon retirement in 2010, he turned his full attention to poetry and photography.

Charlie publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience.  He has self-published a book of poetry collections entitled The Hawk Chronicles A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s joint venture, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon as are all his books.


 

Let Peace Be the Journey

Shower the world with drops of love and humility
Wash yourself with the spray of calmness
Eradicate any hatred. Anger or frustration
You have inside of you.
Delve into the branches of happiness
We together as a nation can protest against war
Living in harmony amongst one another
We do not need violence,
Put an end to all negative thoughts
Evoke feelings of joy, splendor and amusement
Laugh, smile and relax with the world.
Waves of tranquility drowns on you.
Let peace be the journey…..

© 2020, Neelam Shah


NEELAM SHAH has a Masters Psychoanalysis Kingston University-2017. She is currently a temporary Researcher and a freelance Academic Health Researcher/Writer for Knowledge Links, Freelance Proof Reader for London Skills Network and Adhoc Ranstad Disability Support Worker as well as a Short term freelance Project Manager for Read a Book for Charity. In her spare time she says she genuinely enjoys tutoring online, baking, painting, drawing, travelling, photography, dancing, playing the keyboard in addition to her passion for writing blog posts and articles, poems and short stories. She relishes reading novels and visiting historical and art exhibitions. Neelam is also an e-activist, Global Citizen Leader, Campaigner, and political lobbyist for PETA, Walk for Freedom Slavery Activist and End Global Poverty, Unicef Children’s Champion, GQ Transforming Mental Health Supporter/Campaigner.


 

Global Forest

Goat tree was an old birch
named for his long burl face of wise knots
his horns of shadow-branch

Old birch danced a dappled wedding
Old birch rocked some kids, friended
a lonely yard dog, sang night-breeze soothes
to a sleepless poet
Old birch was cut down dead
by a new landlord. ‘For the light’.
So poet mourned-by-light – the new patch of blue sky
shone only in the shape of the loss

But the thing about trees is
they forgive from the roots
greensticks growing up now
from that great ringed history-bone, gangly-ranked soldiers
already six feet tall
headbutting clouds from that yard

And the thing about a forest is that the roots of trees share water
even with a stump among them, knowing it only as a tree
And the thing about sap is that it finds a way to rise
And the thing about sap is that it rises like words
And the thing about words is that when you cut
them down, they bleed themselves right through the earth
watering the world-web of unseen roots

Greensticks growing up now all over the place
from the great ringed history-bone, gangly-ranked soldiers
already headed six feet deep, uprooting the rocked
kids, the loney yard dogs, the weddings, the light
oh it’s always for the light

And the thing about us is
we don’t grow again from the stump
when the axe comes, but the whole forest readies its water
at the sound of the very first blow

© 2020, Ankh Spice


ANKH SPICE is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand), whose poetry has appeared in more than 30 print and online publications internationally in the last year. He is a co-editor at IceFloe Press, a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine, and a firm believer that words have the power to change the place we’re in.


 

The Path of Empathy

“When did the left foot stop walking with the right?
—Fu Schroeder
Green Gulf Ranch, California

Head swollen, eyes still blackened and green
from injuries sustained in a skirmish
I turn to meditation

My body this old dog
finds a spot to rest—
it is my mind that rattles
like a snake in a bamboo tube

Is it not the same with war and peace?
Within without
my country your country
I’m right you’re wrong
Hsssssssss
Many go to war two by two—
left foot right foot
left foot right foot
forgetting they are One.
Others—yogis
may cross the entire universe
without ever having left

Every day
I put one breath after the other
just as Someone Else
puts the other breath before.
Breathing out breathing in–
the world becomes larger
the world becomes smaller–
continuously living
continually dying

On stage online on website blogs:
message in a bottle—
see me hear me feel me touch me
screams a disappearing world in high definition
while I in my easy chair feed these pages
with bite-size impressions

3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
in protest of their government
3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
with Jesus in the desert
walk barefoot
with Buddha in the forest
walk barefoot
with Moses on the mountain
The earth is moving (New stanza)
and still I sit
The mountains are moving-
they are running beside the rivers
But I do not budge–
I hear but I do not listen
I am liquid says the snake your river flows within
I am skin says the snake you can peel me like a glove
I am mindful says the snake
you must change to BE changed.

When did the left foot stop walking with the right?
When did you stop becoming me?

There are many languages
but there is only one tongue
When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
I could feel the dry explosion in the squeeze of my throat.
I could taste its bitter root on the tip of my tongue
When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
a thousand consonants like stars flew in different directions
Consonants gagged on spittle and yesterday’s dust
consonants gagged on consonants
and in no particular order

When I opened up my mouth and heard myself scream
I knew then that they would want to blindfold this poem
and question it until it cracked!
Soon they are sticking bamboo shoots
under the nails of every sentence to extract their full meaning.
But I do not budge
I won’t give up the vowels
I WON”T GIVE UP THE VOWELS!!!

I a large toad growing larger on my cushion
transforming in mid-air… nightmare into dream
Eyes that stutter with all the old stories–
the history of my life
written across my bruised body in Braille

Where is Kindness?
with her thousand fingertips
to trace the shadow of our suffering
and soothe its man?
What have they done with Quon Yin?
with her thousand arms and cameras flashing–
eyes rolling in the palms of her Hand
eyes to record and to remember. ..
what we leave out!

3,000 Burmese monks walk barefoot
in protest of their government
while I a large toad a leap of faith
go hopping on one foot across the Universe
across the only One path I know—
the path of empathy

My mother (breathing out, breathing in)
rolled bandages in basements
with women who wore numbers on their arms.
My father (left foot right foot)
could never step into anyone else’s shoes
When he died…they had to cut off both his feet

When did the left foot stop walking with the right.
When did I stop…becoming you?

First published in Big Bridge

© 2020, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KLIMENKO was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London. A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.


 

To Write a Peace Poem


“Poetry. It’s better than war!”  Michael Rothenberg, cofounder of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change


Introduction for grownups

In 2013, I originally developed this exercise for some poetry workshops geared to upper-elementary school children in English language classes at The Jerusalem School of Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem. The school’s motto is “Peace begins with me,” also the name of a poetry anthology for children. My workshops coincided with Peace Days at the school. This version is modified here a wider audience.

I posted it on my blogZine, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play in 2018. It has been a very popular post, one of the most popular on that Zine.

Please feel free to use this exercise with children, teens, adults you know or work with, and to modify it to your needs. I ask only that you give me credit for it and include the credits for the poems, if you use them.


Introduction for everybody

There are some words a poet might call “big.” They are not long words, with lots of letters. However, they are “big” because when you say them or when you read them, they hold a lot of things in them or a large, important meaning.

Now, if a word is very big, a poet may not want to use it in the poem at all. The whole poem may be about this very big word. If I put the word in my poem, though, it could break the poem. A person reading it would not know exactly what I meant by it. Or a person may mean one of the other things the word could mean.

Peace can be a very big word like that. We can all say we want peace. Every person might make a wish like this: “May Peace prevail on Earth.” (When something “prevails,” it wins, it is everywhere and leads everything.) Yet, the poet asks, “What do I mean by peace? What exactly is this peace I want?”

Poets can write about a big word like peace though, if they ask questions about it. They write about the answers they find. They do not always use the word “peace” when they do.

Let’s try to write a poem now, about peace. But don’t use the word peace!

Instead, ask some questions about peace, and write your answers down.


What kind of questions do poets ask?

Some of the questions poets ask have to do with the senses. Others have to do with places, or people, or things.

Below are some questions a poet might ask. They are here to help you write a poem about peace. You can ask your own questions, too.

Write down some answers to these questions (or your own, or both). You can make a list of words or phrases, write a sentence, a paragraph, a story, or a piece of a poem…

But you don’t have to write the whole poem. You will do that after answering the questions.

Some questions to help you start

1. What does peace look like? Is there a place that you go to or have gone to where you can see peace? Where the view looks like peace?

2. What would peace feel like, if you could touch it? Is there something you touch that feels like peace to you?

3. What does peace sound like? Is there a sound you hear every day or just sometimes that sounds like peace for you?

4 What about a taste? What would peace taste like ? Do you eat anything that tastes like peace?

5. What would peace smell like? Do you ever smell peace? What other things might smell like peace?

Some more questions

Your answers from the questions you just answered can help you answer some of these questions. Or, write new answers.

Imagine someone who doesn’t know what peace is. Try to describe peace to this person as though it is an object in the world.

What does it look like?

What does it sound like?

What does it smell like?

What does it taste like?

And, what does it feel like?

Imagine someone else who doesn’t know what peace is. Try to describe peace as something people do.

Who does it?

What do they do?

Where do they do it?

When do they do it?

Why do they do it?

How do they do it?

What do they look like doing it?

What do they sound like?

Write your own poem

Look over all of your answers. Can you think of other things to write to say more about your answers? Do you have other questions that you want to ask about peace?

Do some of your answers help you think of a poem to write?

Are some of your answers fun? Funny?

Do some excite you?

Do some seem very true to you?

Do the answers to one question seem connected to the answers to another one?

Now write down a poem. You can change it as you go. You can change it after it is all written down the first time, too. Your poem can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. The lines of a poem are usually short, but you can also write them longer. Usually, they are not really, really long. Sometimes, they look like prose (and are called “prose poems”).

Try it now!


Now that you have written a poem

Go to page 2 to read two of my poems that I share with classes.


Bizarre

We bring
Truth through lies
Reconstruction through destruction
Peace through violence
Liberation through occupation
Democracy through repression
Life through death.Their propaganda
Our news
Embedded.
Our intelligence; their spies
Their guerrilla war,
Our just cause
Our soldiers; their terrorists
Their irregulars; our resistance
Our freedom fighters; their guerrillas.

Their weapons of mass destruction
Our deterrents.
Our collateral damage
Their atrocities.
Their war criminals
Our special forces
Guilty losers
Never winners

How bizarre.

© 2020, Mike Gallagher


MIKE GALLAGHER was born on Achill Island in 1941. Like practically all islanders and the majority of young people born on the west coast of Ireland at that time, he was forced to emigrate, arriving in London in 1960. For the next forty years, he worked on building sites there. On returning to Ireland he worked in construction for a further ten years. He did not find the building industry conducive to writing and, consequently, did not write his first poem until he was sixty-three years old. Since then, he has been published and translated throughout the world.

He won the Michael Hartnett Viva Voce competition in 2010 and 2016, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award in 2011 and won the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Contest in 2012. In 2018, he was placed at Listowel Writers Week.

His poetry collection Stick on Stone was published by Revival Press in 2013.

Another protest song | a poem

 

Again. War machines seek blood.
Fucking military industrialists
penetrating, Trump’s premature
timing, vampire-sucking lives dry.

Hezbollah meeting
with Hamas faction leaders.
A pre-dawn rocket fired
from southern Gaza
to north of Tel Aviv.

The pounding of Gaza
a deep bass drum.

Let’s try canceling
the Israel elections.
If Bibi-Bob does it here,
Trumpty-dump can do it

anywhere.
Tick-tock

unwind the lock
rewind the hammer,
the bell, the song.

Peace.

Peace.

Peace.

Ring your bells
across the valleys
and echo across the hills
until the war machines
break down under
pressures of harmony.

–2019 from Israel

©2019 Michael Dickel

History of Peace / History of War
Digital Landscape from Photographs
©2020 Michael Dickel

 


Michael Dickel
Lucky Goat Café,
Tallahassee Florida
©2018 Cindy Dickel


Michael Dickel (a contributing editor for The BeZine) has had writing and art in print and online since 1987.  His latest collection of poetry, Nothing Remembers, came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press, and received 3rd place for poetry in the Feathered Quill Book Awards–2020. His also won the international Reuben Rose Poetry Award (2009 and 2008), and has been translated into several languages. A poetry chap book, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017; The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, a flash fiction collection, came out in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us (2014), Midwest / Mid-East (2012), and The World Behind It, Chaos… (2009). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and -24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. With producer / director David Fisher, he received a U.S.A. National Endowment of Humanities documentary-film development grant. He currently is a lecturer at David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.



For Victims of Natural Catastrophes

We cross the river to the other side where a mother
and child wait for the sun before going forward. The

new day a promise fulfilled to them. And us. So we
celebrate life every day because a catastrophe can

happen without a moment’s notice. Uprooting. To
transport the will where it does not want to go.

A stubbornness unfamiliar only in its familiarity,
like a counterpart that is part of the whole.

Life happens with intrusions. It is true that every-
thing breaks and needs fixing. An answer that precedes

the question that births it. There is a fate
that becomes you and that you need to make

a home of, with walls of hope that let love in.

© 2019, Elvis Alves

Elvis Alves is the author of Bitter Melon (2013), Ota Benga (2017), and I Am No Battlefield But A Forest Of Trees Growing (2018), winner of the Jacopone da Todi poetry book prize. Elvis lives in New York City with his family.

A Christmas Connection

This quarter The BeZine focuses on “A Life of the Spirit”. Read here and be inspired by others who show us that the word “Spirit” comes in many forms, shapes, sizes and meanings. I chose to write a poem about part of the “Christmas Spirit”, which is spending time with loved ones at Christmas dinner, the connections we have with others we cherish. But what about those who don’t have anyone to enjoy that event with?

The holidays can be extra challenging for the elderly. Often alone, with no one to spend these special days with, they can get depressed and lonely. Please make an effort this season to check in and spend a little time with any seniors you might know who could use a smile or two, whether they’re family, friends, neighbors or even strangers in nursing homes. Give the gift of your time and attention to someone older. It’s one of the greatest presents they can receive. 🙂

~ A Christmas Connection ~

He shuffled softly down the well-lit aisles,
Searching for a Christmas meal just for one.
His wife, God rest her, was gone a long while,
And he knew the kids weren’t able to come.
Of course they were busy, lived far away,
But he missed their smiles, and the grand kids, too.
“We’ll see you next year!” They would no doubt say,
Though their short visits were still far too few.

She came looking for a Christmas repast,
Stopped in front of the frozen t.v. meals.
Her faint breath frosted the door of thick glass,
Of the case which housed the advertised deals.
Her mind caught in times of holidays past,
She recalled the faces and names held dear.
Of all those remembered, she was the last.
Old and lonely, she now found herself here.

The man paused in the frozen dinners aisle,
Drawn to the woman’s soft, sad demeanor.
He wondered if he could coax a small smile,
Ambled closer, picking out a dinner.
As she reached for one, it slipped from the shelf,
Fell to the floor near the elderly man.
“Turkey Pot Pie? Almost got this, myself,”
The man smiled gently, the box in his hand.

Cheeks pink from embarrassment, she smiled too.
“Thank you,” she said. “I don’t cook anymore.
It’s just me now, so no real reason to.”
He nodded agreement, closed the case door.
“Forgive me if this sounds forward,” he said.
“But would you care to have dinner with me?”
Afraid of rejection, he rushed ahead,
“I’m by myself, too, and it’s rough, you see?”

“No one should be lonely on Christmas Eve.”
Her eyes got bright and she nodded assent.
She said, “Nor hungry either, I believe.”
He laughed, “I agree, one hundred percent!”
“I’m Josef,” he smiled, and gave a small bow.
“It’s nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?
I’m Marie,” she answered, less lonesome now.
From there, their friendship continued to grow…

© 2019, Corina Ravenscraft

CORINA RAVENSCRAFT ~ dragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~   posts about things important to her and the world in which we live. She  champions extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes she waxes philosophical, because her blog is a place where she feels she always learns about herself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ – by which she doesn’t mean “net-working” – with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Progress

Last year, a wheelchair and sessions of hydrotherapy –
the water supporting your crumbling back
as you strode, slo-mo,
across the pool.

These days, no wheelchair. Exercise and calcium pills
have strengthened your muscles and bones,
but the pain still nags you
for Cocodamol.

A wheeled walker eases the stress on your back,
so you’ve stretched your walks ‘just round the block’
to half a mile
and the local shops.

Now you’re taking lengthier walks from the holiday let
down to the beach and to the restaurants in town.
No faster than you were,
but what great strides!

© 2019, Mantz Yorke

MANTZ YORKE is a former science teacher and researcher living in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong. His collection ‘Voyager’ will be published in February 2020.

The Valley of Death

“Whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day,
and does good deeds – all such people will have their reward with their Lord,
and there will be no reason for them to fear, nor shall they grieve.”
Surah Baqara The Cow 2.62



After Jamie Dedes’ poem

Every night I am taken to a place unknown
in a state, motionless, quiet, still like
a huge stone, unfelt, unheard, in oblivion
not knowing light or darkness or any color,

I cannot see the sky or stars or birds that
fly, or clouds that float in the vast blue
nor the sand or soil beneath my feet do
I feel, nor dainty flowers in my view, nor

fragrances in my senses do come, no one
is near me to hold or hug or comfort-
the last I remember, just a sharp pain rising
from the back, between the shoulder blades,

I was light as a feather, I was flying in a void
A blurred vision of
The softness of a pillow, a white sheet a warm
blanket cover and the faint odor of menthol

vaporub, fingers gripping the glowing beads
of ‘tasbeeh’, no consciousness of time –but
awareness of boundless dimly lit space
a dark shadowed ethereal plain, silent,

neither warm nor cold, no door floor or
fold yet there was someone beside, out
of sight, a shake a light touch and I was
awake,where had I been ? How did I survive ?

How am I alive? my struggle begins but
I believe I am blessed with another day
to work and pray, come the night,
slow is the breath-as sleep drowns, in the

Shadow of The Valley of Death

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR was born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir,Migrant Pakistani and educated at St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. She holds an MA in English. Anjum has be writing poems, articles, and stories since 1980. She is a published poet and was Awarded Poet of Merit Bronze Medal  2000 USA .She’s worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer and is an Educational Consultant by Profession.

My Valley of the Shadow of Death

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” Tecumseh



Night makes way for morning
The clouds tumbling in like
Cotton bolls blown across a
Field of promise, sun ablaze
Tinged with crimson and saffron
Grooving to the rattle and the click
And caw of our city corvids, and
Hear too the blue jay’s whispered
Song, the mourning dove’s coo

In my kitchen, five stories up, is a
Breakfast reminiscent of my father
Broiled trout, roasted potatoes, and I
Pull cartilage from the fish, evocative
Of a trachea, and salt the potatoes
To the humming of O2 concentrators
I drag on a nasal cannula, life support
In this, my Valley of the Shadow of Death

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES is a former columnist, publicist and the associate editor to a regional employment publication. Currently she is a homebound freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. Jamie manages The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry. Jamie’s work is featured widely in print and digital publications. Her primary professional affiliation is Second Light Network of Women Poets.

A Shower of Roses

“I will let fall from Heaven a shower of roses.” St. Therese of Lisieux 1873-1897

I didn’t ask for roses
when I whispered Pray for me, Therese,
but it’s the way you often answer.
A blush of winter buds.
A single bloom at my feet.

Now, in this humid,
dog-eared June,
I see roses white as breast milk
on the bush I pruned last year,
abandoned to frost.

Regrown, it tempts me outside.
I forget aches and pains
and weariness of soul.
I sweep dust from the path
and peg clothes on the washing line.

Some theologians say roses
doesn’t mean roses, just blessings.
But you loved the flower, Therese;
watched roses sway in the courtyard
as you lay dying.

Handed one, you crumbled it
over the crucifix
on your bedsheet and smiled
as petals fragranced
His wounds and holy face.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

SHEILA JACOB was born and raised in Birmingham, England and lives with her husband in Wrexham, on the Welsh border. Her poetry has been published in several U.K. magazines and webzines. She recently self-published her short collection of poems that form a memoir to her father who died in 1965. Sheila finds her 1950s childhood and family background a source of inspiration for many of her poems. You can connect with Sheila by email: she1jac@yahoo.com

 

stillborn

you are always with me
even when you are not

Life’s full empty room
Breath’s bittersweet sigh

color of Nothingness
transparent as angels
color of darkness
perforated with light
color of tears
fallen
from the dotted blue blanket of Sky

you are always with me
even when you are not
suspended like the crescent moon
the alphabet of stars
the space untraveled
between us

as if
inextinguishable
presence and absence
relinquish their names
surrender themselves to the Invisible

as if
only
without holding
may we trembling feel
the infinite nearness
of our immense
aching
fragility

i marvel
at the innocence
of your tiny unopened fists
how

butterflies still
fly from your lips
how mine drown
in the drool of gurgled silence

how
even as the umbilical cord
untangles around my neck
my voice so far away
is trying to reach you–
buried so inexorably
in your muffled lullaby

i am always with you
even when i’m not

© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO  is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.

What We Gather

Taking nothing with you 

leaving nothing behind 

I find only your scent 

 

Floating   unbounded 

without your breath of spirit 

to hold its bouquet — 

 

it passes through me now 

while still it lingers 

Holding on     while letting go 

 

is never easy 

Holding on      while letting go 

is breathing out while breathing in 

 

is water slipping through fingers 

is loving with your eyes wide shut 

and your heart slit open 

 

Flowers 

cut down in their prime 

lose the earth 

 

only to return to it once more 

while women with parched lips 

still chant the names of rivers 

 

and other beds gone dry. 

Every day 

I gather at the river– 

 

                        river of tears 

                        river of refuse

                        river of dreams 

Every day 

I kneel in the banks of my memory 

making large withdrawals 

from smaller deposits 

of dwindling return 

 

Today                                                                      

the darkness flows within me 

and without me 

Tomorrow 

I will gather   and be gathered

 

Each experience

but yet another flower

 

for the vase

 

© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko

 

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and widely widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.

Two Poems by Rae Rozman

I want to talk about you
with someone who doesn’t remember your name
who hears our stories as new
leans in on knitted fingers
and asks me to tell her more
tell her how you made me feel
says she sounds beautiful
and means I can tell you loved her



Quiet love, ask me my name
and I will tell you
that the mountains have whispered ballads
about a woman who asked for nothing
but a symbol of anonymity

A goddess in her right,
she stood on the edge of everything
and wished only to be on the verge of a dream,
only to be a breath from somebody

© 2019, Rae Rozman

RAE ROZMAN is a former seventh grade English teacher and current middle school counselor. Her poetry often focuses on themes of queer love (romantic and platonic), brain injury, and education. A Jewish femme dyke, her personal is political, and all of her work is written through the lens of living on the interstices of identity. Rae has poems published in the Stonewall’s Legacy poetry anthology, Nixes Mate Review, and forthcoming issues of Trouble Among the Stars, MockingHeart Review, Eldritch Lake, and Black Coffee Review. An avid bookworm, Rae can often be found curled up with a YA novel to discuss with her students. She lives in Austin, Texas with her long term partner. For poetry, book reviews, and pictures of her rescue bunnies, you can follow her on Instagram @mistress_of_mnemosyne.

Healer

She said when she ran, thunderous
footsteps followed her like parasols.
In the 5D realm of lucid crossing blur,
truth skims her mind’s dusty corridors.
Ancestors free their undelivered lives
from graves as true beings of ether.
The pledge is simple the first time
they visit; they are meant to whisper
in ears; feather noses with their words –
cause the itch, steer it to urgency –
she said when they spoke, they sang
of destinations. Her visions grew loud
as ears dubbed near and far sightings;
faint-pitched ringing, the warble of air
entering thin enclosures, and the walk
of feet on breaking ripples. Her mind
hovers above her sleep as she wakes;
light hatching a misplaced apparition –
landing of a mayfly on night’s shoulder.

© 2019, Sheikha A.

SHEIKHA A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her works appear in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Recent publications have been Strange Horizons, Pedestal Magazine, Atlantean Publishing, Alban Lake Publishing, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Greek, Arabic and Persian. She has also appeared in Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love anthology that has been nominated for a Pulitzer. More about her can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com

ToSayThinking

We need above all to learn again to believe
in the possibility of nobility of spirit in ourselves.
Eugene O’Neill

To Say Thinking

Benjy was say-thinking his turbulent way out loud,
that Caddie smelled like trees, he knew to know
And I cannot breathe I said under my chest breath
And autumn flowers they fill my lungs
with flower dust, a mildew I cant touch.
Ibsen’s Oswald in his stunned syphilis
called out. And I’ll ever forget this need:
Give me the sun, he cried, Give me the sun.
Like anyone could ever give that. Benjy peered through a fence
Smelling honey suckle. I can’t breathe, i said, my father’s gray shirt
had oval wear holes and Oswald was radiant there with hope
that he might live with some brightness.

This spirit land needs what folds under, how we know our songs in the deep,
How we touch each other’s skin where it is all most open. Most acute.
Spirit land makes us burgeon brighten and bespeak what we are.
Eugene O’Neill, in his wonder, thought spiritual realism truest: it was, he said,
really real in the sense of being spiritually true, not meticulously life-like.
No one much listened to his words then, being full as they were then of that thing obsession.

You know, really spirit is right here, before, in us, in you when we stop making words
And just let the say-thinking part emerge to show us out, in,
The fresh hot baked side of us. The shivers of skin. How we surge to quicken
And fall in far to loveth. My mother a true spirit woman felt so different to the world,
her noble heart-self rang to us each and gave forth holy.
She wore flat round clip-on earrings, not danglies.
Between these dull stone bubbles her face gave out spirit shapes,
for she was our flag in the wilderness of materialist monotony.

© 2019, Linda Chown

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

An Epitaph

I prized my strength.
Like a great oak
I towered on
the land I broke

as if red clay
were ruddy gold.
None moved me till
Christ broke my hold.

Come in His hand,
I yield and give
like windswept reeds
and yet I live.

© 2019, William Conelly

WILLIAM CONELLY took both his BA and MA degrees under Edgar Bowers at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This was after his military service. Unrelated work in research and composition followed before he returned to academia in 2000.  Since then he’s served in both the US and UK as an associate professor, a tutor, and a seminar leader in writing and English Studies. The Able Muse press brought out a collection of his verse in 2015.  It’s titled Uncontested Grounds and may be reviewed at their website or via Amazon.  Dual citizens of the US and UK, Professor Conelly and his wife reside primarily in England in the market town of Warwick.

Paradoxical Time

“To be human is to be whole, but to fail to see this wholeness.”  Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Painted Oxen



We are

koans

poems

riddles

rhymes.

We pass our days in paradoxical time.

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES is a former columnist, publicist and the associate editor to a regional employment publication. Currently she is a homebound freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. Jamie manages The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry. Jamie’s work is featured widely in print and digital publications. Her primary professional affiliation is Second Light Network of Women Poets.

It Was Love Kept Me Anchored

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov



One winter I ate the sun, it warmed
It warmed the moon dancing with my heart
It calmed the seas that ran in my veins
It drew spring flowers from crusts of ice

I wrote a poem to the sun, to the future
I wrote another to the eons gone by
Still another told of history’s lessons
But it was love kept me anchored
Earthy, yet not earthbound, love

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

JAMIE DEDES is a former columnist, publicist and the associate editor to a regional employment publication. Currently she is a homebound freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. Jamie manages The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry. Jamie’s work is featured widely in print and digital publication. Her primary professional affiliation is Second Light Network of Women Poets (U.K.)

The Flood

 

I fold a piece of paper, a ghost from the past.
Will it rain tonight, as has been forecast?
If a downpour falls, will flash floods follow?
Water would erode the lies and the glitter,
I hear, that I freely threw out on my way.

I fold a piece of paper, a ghost of the past,
faint shadows of words once boldly painted black.
When the downpour comes, will the flash floods blast
through the rock walls that grief has packed?
Will I sift fool’s gold from that loosened silt?

I fold a piece of paper, a ghost from the past.
The fortune in my cookie was never meant to last.
I don’t know if that’s good or bad. At dinner,
the conversation turned. Falling rain drowned
out whatever sense that may have remained.

I fold a piece of paper, a ghost of a crane,
in the hopes that peace will come into my refrain.
Will the rushing waves finally clear a way?
I wonder if that time comes, will I be able
to travel the paved road that remains?

I fold a piece of paper, a ghost from the past.
Will it rain tonight, as has been forecast?
If a downpour falls, will flash floods follow?
Water would erode the lies and the glitter,
I hear, that I freely tossed in the way.

—Michael Dickel ©2019

 

 


Michael Dickel—Digital Self-Portrait from Photograph
Michael Dickel
Digital Self-Portrait from Photograph
©2019

Michael Dickel is a contributing editor for The BeZine. He writes, creates art, and teaches in Jerusalem, Israel, where he lives with his wife and two young children. The World Behind It, Chaos… (WV? eBookPress, 2009), one of his first books, includes photographs and digital artwork from photos in a free PDF eBook format. His resistance chapbook of poetry, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism (locofo chaps, 2017) can also be downloaded for free as a PDF (or purchased in paper). His latest collection of poetry, Nothing Remembers, came out from Finishing Line Press in September, 2019. Other books include The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, a collection of Flash Fiction (art by Ayelet Cohen), and War Surrounds Us, a collection of poetry, both from Is a Rose Press.


 

Hope Spoke

Find me, hope said
where headwaters unfurl
and roll across eons of rocks
polished by the playful tumble
of a rumbling stream. I stir belief
in the faintest trace I leave
under layers of a forest bed
the faint murmur of a mountain spring
where the ascent of a desert trail
is more than water
and the curl of a wool blanket
around the thumb of a sleeping child
is more than warmth.

Find me
where daydreams break
and flood the order of days
bridged by that narrow crossing
between duty and yearning. I destroy walls
from the rigid constructs I emerge
from labyrinths of complex reasons
the unwanted changes and the changing wants
where the hunger on the abundant earth
is a promise made
and the bend of the searching sun
under the months of winter snow
is a promise kept.

Find me
where smoke rises
and lifts the ghosts of mourning
entrapped by a constant churn
of candle stubs. I unite breath
under melting symbols I bow
to the church of the desperate fate
the humble faith in the big mistake
where a vow of strange forgiveness
is more than peace
and the prayer for a shamash flame
or the chant to an endless knot
is more than peace.

© 2019, Oz Forestor

OZ FORESTOR is a former journalist. He began writing short fiction, poetry, and essays when he realized the topics that don’t make news are more interesting than news: class struggle, un-planet Pluto, geriatric romance, power psychology, migratory birds, Nazi-era art suppression, trees.  Forestor’s nature-themed poetry chapbook sold out–all three copies- when he was nine. He enjoys hiking, travel, is prone to getting lost, and does not believe in GPS technology.

The Believer

I have faith in the darkness

that surrounds me—

in the holy unspoken prayer

the unborn child

the photograph coming to light

 

So small am I in my inertia

like Nothing hurtling through

the eternal chasm of my loneliness

And   yet only out of the depths

am I able to climb deeper into That

which holds me suspended

in the knowable Unknown

 

I do not know if I am

sinking or rising star

morning or evening

What does it matter?

I just keep climbing

out of myself

out of that dark hole

I have dug once too often

 

into the Holiness

into the Holiness

© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO  is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.

From One-hundred Lost Letters

From an ongoing project in which I reflect on what St Thérèse of Lisieux may have written to her spiritual director, Père Almire Pichon. All the letters she sent to him in actuality have been destroyed. 

4

The tunnel through the mountain,
its black rush, crash of sound –

o my father, is this head-on death?
I have hankered after martyrdom,

the drama of severance, and yet
the sheer void, the long-drawn

clamour of hollowed-out rock –
a nothingness I had not intimated,

nor had I prepared for the shock
of hurtling back into the light.

25

I have retrieved, Mon Père, the grace
of clumsiness. Just now I dropped

my copybook: its cracked spine
fractured all my limping words;

earlier I knocked the bread
from basket to refectory floor;

for penance, I wear broken crusts
around my neck. I think of them

as sacramental; rough-cut hosts –
and I their battered chalice.

32.

With all my clumsy sentences and songs
I hope to make you smile, Mon Père,

the way a child delights her mother’s heart,
or a poor girl, given fine sandwiches

dreams against the tree, while Papa casts
for the bon mot, a flash of fish –

it seems I have one bouquet I can share,
the holy moment of the lips and eyes

as though I tender in my catch of time
a little sliver of eternity.

© 2019, Sarah Law

SARAH LAW lives in London and is a tutor for the Open University and elsewhere. Widely published as a poet, she edits the online journal Amethyst Review, for new writing engaging with the sacred.

Merge

The frenzied shrieks of a lapwing
more accustomed to singing
in the sunlight ring out
prolonged
The ceiling fan scatters
stinging mosquitoes
A street-light beams brilliance into the room
piercing darkness
with a gleaming shard

The night with
its primal instincts swirls in
no longer separate or still
soporific
It breathes quietly inside my head
and I begin to

merge

The walls are my skin
the slimmest of sheaths
They pulse with
every breath I take
I am the house

Buffeted by nocturnal silence
I inhale wisps of sterile moonlight to quench
my senses
until concreteness falls away
Unfettered and formless

I am the night

© 2019, Urmila Mahajan

URMILA MAHAJAN worked for over two decades as an English teacher in various schools. Passionate about drama she now works as a drama consultant for schools.Her poetry has won several online prizes. She published her poetry book, Drops of Dew, with a foreword by Ruskin Bond, in 2005. Her more recent poems can currently be found at on her blog HERE.Her full-length children’s novel, My Brother TooToo, was published in 2010. Around the same time, her articles on using English correctly were a regular feature in a youth magazine. She lives in Hyderabad, India. Her hobbies include birdwatching, growing organic vegetables and of course, looking after her cat.

 

winter rain in my muse-like homeland

the eyesome fay at the crack of dawn in winter

is weeping

the winter rain in the form of magnificent teardrops is dropping down

it is to be mesmerized in glaciated dreams of muses

the shepherd boy hears the falling of the more tender rain like meek tears

*

the docile Nixie by Christmas morning

is crying

the winter drops in terms of mignonne teardrops are falling down

it is becharmed in a snowy soul of muses

the child of a falconer tastes these Apollonianly meek drops

*

the meekly miraculous Siren at sunset glow

bawling

the winter snow – wonderfully tearling-shaped – falling down

it can be ensorcelled in frosted muse-like hearts

the druidical companion looks at flurries full weird of the tearlets

*

the magnanimous Sibyl at midnight in December

crying

the winter snow-rain – marvelously tearlet-shaped – falling to the ground

it’s worth being enchanted in the hazy fantasy of the muses

the guardian of Winter Queen’s touches some Herculean traces of the rain

© 2019, Pawel Markiewicz

PAWEL MARKIEWICZ was born in 1983 in Poland (Siemiatycze). He has has English haikus as well as short poems published in the good literary magazines, including Ginyu (Tokyo), Atlas Poetica (U.S.), and The Cherita (U.K.). He has published some poems in Taj Mahal Review (India) and Better Than Starbucks (U.S.). He has also published poems at Blog Nostics as well as a short prose piece entitled “The Druid.” Paweł has published more than fifty German-language poems in Germany and Austria and three Polish-language chapbooks in Poland.

Grey Dawn in Chaco Canyon

Lean eye bone to wall bone,
thumb stone’s scars and fissures.
Draw myself into the narrow dark
into the lore:

Birthed from a molten core
bathed under six oceans, thrust
into turrets, wind washing dust
to the Gobi, cliff dust, my dust
Hint of damp. Once a slim straw
of water leaked from hidden lips,
fed the beans, kept the Anasazi alive.

My belly, the rockbelly
our motion placental.
I pull my eye away, cheek chafed,
lift my hand to the tenderness.

Lift my gaze to the cliffs
centuries of hard mothering.
Children hidden in her skirts,
love, a silent trickle from deep inside.

© 2019, Nancy L. Meyer

NANCY L. MEYER, she, her, hers: Avid cyclist, End of Life Counselor, grandmother of five. Nancy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work may be found in many journals including: Colorado Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Bitterzoet, Indolent Press, The Centrifugal Eye, The Sand Hill Review, Caesura, Snapdragon, Passager, Ageless Authors, The Asexual, The Writer’s Cafe. Published in eight anthologies, most recently Open Hands Tupelo Press and Crossing Class by Wising Up Press.

Undersides

Lie under a stand of wild carrot.
Five-foot tall, blooms held up to the sky
like candelabras. Look up
at their undersides. Light
pierces each floret, tattoos
your cheek, frilly.

Quiet, hear the bluster of bees.
If the ground is not too lumpy
under your spine, rest long enough
to inhale the astringent stalks
stroke their hairy length.

Maybe a friend lies with you, little
fingers touching along the sides,
palms sensing the first warmth
of soil in spring.
Play along the rim of a fingernail.
Raise your clasped hands and sing
You Are My Sunshine. just sing it
before you feel foolish.

Or tell stories
dizzying over and over
down grassy slopes until
you create a new world. Then
sit up, a happy sick swirl
back when
that sensation was fun.
Before you notice the itch
from the grass or mind
the stains on your shorts.

Lie here long enough
to contemplate why you don’t usually
lie
on the ground
under wild carrot.
Why not,
since you are happy now.
Just imagining it.

© 2019, Nancy L. Meyer

NANCY L. MEYER, she, her, hers: Avid cyclist, End of Life Counselor, grandmother of five. Nancy lives in the SF Bay Area. Her work may be found in many journals including: Colorado Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Bitterzoet, Indolent Press,The Centrifugal Eye, The Sand Hill Review, Caesura, Snapdragon, Passager, Ageless Authors, The Asexual, The Writer’s Cafe. Published in eight anthologies, most recently Open HandsT upelo Press and Crossing Class by Wising Up Press.

Numinous

there is an immense ocean over which the mind
can sail upon which thought has not yet been launched

here with thoughts of benevolence the mind of so many
thousand years has worked round and round

in circles pervading first one direction then a second
there is so much beyond all that has ever yet been

imagined as I write these words I look in a third direction
then a fourth direction then above then below

I feel the whole air the sunshine lighting up the dark
ploughed earth identifying with all existence

as I write as I exist at this second a sublime initiation
I pervade the entire universe with thought so miraculous

strange and eternal feeling compassion with heart enlarged
wide everything I see and hear boundless like the ocean

the earth the trees the hills the birds eternal
purified of all ill-will the same sun the caveman saw

rise beyond the sea he too closed his eyes
and looked into himself becoming all existence

* Found poem. Sources: Richard Jefferies Autobiography and The Brahma Viharas

© Eric Nicholson

ERIC NICHOLSON is a retired art teacher who lives in Gateshead, UK. He has followed Soto Zen for over 35 years and occasionally visits a  Zen Buddhist monastery near Hexham.

One Hundred and Eighty Degrees

until you see it and approach it
the unknown that keeps tugging unexpectedly

you’ve imagined perfection,
and after all the effort
find it ordinary

you try to recapture it
in the most promising light;
then, turn 180°
as with a camera

Voilà!
Perfect!

Hope.

It’s like falling in love.

© 2019, Antoni Ooto

ANTONI OOTO has and still looks for answers which he shares at times with poetry. He finds pleasure in reading the works of many poets such as WS Merwin, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Elizabeth Bishop, Margret Atwood, and the humor of James Tate.“I read various poet’s first thing in the morning aloud. My wife and I discuss the structure, rhythm and beauty of the lines.” Reading poetry aloud (he feels) allows the voice to find a cadence that the reader might miss when seeing the words on a page. Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer. He came to writing late after many years as an abstract expressionist artist. He eventually found his voice in poetry. His works appear in Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, The Ginger Collect, Soft Cartel, Eldritch Lake, Pilcrow & Dagger, Young Ravens Literary Review, and many others. Antoni works in upstate New York with his wife poet, storyteller Judy DeCroce.

Simply a Song

What if the spiritual world were simply
a song, a song that stripped
away the world yet left us
home and listening

but not home as we knew it,
a deeper home that just kept
getting deeper until we were
no longer big enough to hold it

And we had to – no, wanted to –
let the ever-changing, ever growing
song be what it was
and not constrained by
small lungs and narrow mouths.

Accepting our acceptance
The song grew as we dissolved
and was not heard anymore
because it had replaced hearing
With being,

And then there was only being
And what is the Being is
heard by everyone who listens
but I was not there, anymore
Because

We are here

© 2019, Stephen Tanham

STEPHEN (STEVE) TANHAM is a mystical writer, poet and prolific photographer. He is one of the founding Directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit distance-learning organisation that offers a proven path to deepening our internal and external consciousness. Steve lives in the English Lake District with his wife, Bernie and their Rag Doll cat and Collie dog. Prior to founding the Silent Eye, Steve spent a working life in IT, culminating in running his own software company for over twenty years. Throughout his adult life, Steve has worked as a senior field officer (on a voluntary basis) for various mystical schools, including the Rosicrucian Order AMORC and The Servants of the Light.

Steve is the author of several mystical books. They are written as stories rather than more formally. These are available on Amazon in both print and ebook format. Steve’s Amazon Page UK is HERE.  Steve’s Amazon Page U.S. is HERE. His WordPress website is suningemini.blog. Steve can be contacted on rivingtide@gmail.com

just sayin’

just mindin’ my businesss
just walkin’ down the street
move along move along
(you lazy loot… get your black ass gone)

just enterin’ my home
in this hood i don’t belong
don t shoot don t shoot!!
(tough luck kid! your color’s all wrong)

i’m just eighteen
the whole rainbow all in one
i was black before my father
i’m as old as the sun
the same DNA
as the moon and the stars
the bloodstains on my pillow
are no different than yours

please Officer PlEASE!
don’t point your gun at me
i’m not the enemy
i wasnt’ born i wasn’t mourned to be
white chalk on asphalt
what ? your murderin’ me is my fault?

you call me the ‘ n’ word
Martin Luther MalcolmX Mandela
you call me the ‘n’ word
and claim you are a brother
while you insult ass-ault
my father sister mother
(you mother!)

beaten in our fields
raped in our beds
the seeds you sow still reek
of oppression and dread
of lead and rubber bullets
of pointy gnarling teeth
you re the Boogeyman from Hell
come to get me in my sleep

you’re darker than night
you’re blinder than blind
i’m the candlelit vigil
of your impoverished mind
the nightmare the daymare of sirens screaming
another brother down !! let freedom ring ??
he died for your american dream!
shrouded in secrecy indecency bigotry
democracy of thee i sing? what a mockery !!
we choke on your hipocracyyyy

i’m talkin bout YOU Mister Evil
oounting blood like money
talkin bout YOU Snake Eyes gamblin away our lives
YOU Ms Fraidy Cat hiding behind your chagrin
tightening the noose with sympathy around our necks
just boys barely men we’re hep to your sins
to the legacy of hate of apathy the shudder of death
the fear of our own footsteps

strange fruit hangin’ from the old oak tree
roots steeped in blood and sorrow
hearts caught in our throats for eternity
who knows who’s next tomorrow

i’m just eighteen
the whole rainbow all in one
i was black before my father
i’m as old as the sun
the same DNA
as the moon and the stars
the bloodstains on my pillow
no different than yours

generations of tears
flow from ancient holy skeyes
mine eyes have seeeeen the glory
the in-justice of our lives
you conceived in love
what are you SO afraid of
the color of my skin
or the darker matter you’re made of
deface me debase me erase me
you can’t replace me
deny me or your own humanityyy
you can shackle my dreams
but the spirit flies free
you can shackle my dreams
but the spirit flies free
and

when i honor you
i honor me
when i honor you
i honor me
when i honor you
i honor me
when i honor you
i honor me

© 2019, Antonia Alexandra Kilmenko

ANTONIA ALEXANDRA KILMENKO  is a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants:  one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.

I Pegasus

lift my hooves for gallop,
rise as my white wings open.
Wind rushes into my pricked ears.
Excitement whinnies from my mouth,
ripples through my flanks, drives me
towards a place that’s always cloudless.
Below me are snow-spattered peaks,
valleys where rivers wander, where trees
are laden with oranges, small suns
which pay homage to the sphere above.
Below me are huge cities with domes,
spires and innumerable buildings,
the tallest invade the blue of sky.
I miss nothing: the glassy stare
of cars stampeding like maddened cattle,
humans fleeing from burning towns,
forests felled like mighty armies,
the sea hurling itself in fury
at the land, barren fields thirsting
for water, skeletons of starved creatures.
I choose a verdant slope when I land,
hoof its milky grass and a spring
bubbles up from earth that’s rich
with squirming worms. Then I rejoice
for I am the breath in and the breath out,
I am the quickening which comes unbidden
to the mind, blossoms into words
that tug the heart, I am sounds which bell
the air and enthral the ear, shapes
and colours which come together
to sing. I counter hatred, destruction.
I will not be stamped out.

from Lifting the Sky (Ward Wood Publishing 2018)

© 2019, Myra Schneider

MYRA SCHNEIDER has had eleven full collections of poetry published. Her most recent publications are Lifting the Sky, Ward Wood 2018, The Door to Colour (Enitharmon 2014) and the pamphlets Five Views of Mount Fuji , Fisherrow 2018) and Persephone in Finsbury Park, (Second Light Publications 2016). Other publications include books about personal writing, in particular, Writing My Way through Cancer, Jessica Kingsley 2003 and Writing Your Self (co-written with John Killick), Continuum Books 2008.  Myra’s books also include three novels for young people. She was shortlisted for a Forward Prize in 2007 and her poetry has been published in many anthologies and well-known journals, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in Poetry Please and on Radio 3. She has co-editeD anthologies of poetry by contemporary women poets and is consultant to the Second Light Network for Women Poets. She writes reviews and articles about poetry and co-organizes the local Poetry in Palmers Green programme with poet Katherine Gallagher.  She has run one-off poetry workshops in many parts of England, also in Ireland and Normandy and has tutored for The Poetry School since it was started by Mimi Khalvati in 1997. She lives in London UK. She has taken part in many poetry festivals and done readings all over the UK and in Ireland and Trinidad. She has also collaborated with up and coming artist Robert Aldous.

Peace

 

Disputes of imperfection,

Forbidden paths of injustice,

An advanced keen search of leadings into the past,

A grant of amnesty with guided routes of the unveiled truth,

Relays of an open form with no opposing jurisdiction,

A sketchy dialect of continuous trials,

The nooks and cranny of faded laws,

Adding principles & measures as hues to a truce that turns the tide,

Genuine quotes of peace which resolve a flaming misunderstanding.

“Peace & Solidarity: revolution assets of life.”

© 2019, Benedicta Boamah

Five from Faruk Buzhala

Lazy afternoon

The faded afternoon
sitting in a corner
makes the calculations of the day.
With a taste of café in the mouth
smokes the next cigarette in laziness!

Is this the same

To walk alive
Among the dead
Where everyone watches you
And no one sees you
Or
To walk dead
Among the living
Where no one looks at you
And everyone sees you

Is this the same?!

Traces

Satan is gone
But among us has left
A lot of his bastards.

Prophets voice
Despaired of the views
That appear on my window.
I hear voices that echo from
The bottom of the souls
Shrieks of which
Keep me hanging over the ground!

I want to scream with all my voice
And tell them that
We live at the end of the apocalyptic world!

Grief

I want to cry
To blow the peel of grief
That enlaced my heart
I want to cry
To be a tear at all
In the darkness of grief
Flowers let’s get drunk
In the garden so that I’m not
completely dried out

© 2019, Faruk Buzhala

Pushing through Utopia

How we eagerly read so many new names 
       (like Rousseau, Robespierre, Marx)
         of social revolution
             in books at Berkeley, 
                  read of feasts of blood
                      and showers of murders through Western times

How it was quickly becoming something more to me than history 
      It was becoming an exploding passion
        as we sat on a mountain on the edge of America over the Bay
          dangling our feet to see how far we could go for pure freedom  
              pushing away the mind’s old dandelion utopias.

How John Muir pulsed in our veins, his steadfast embrace of rampant wildness 
          in his dangerous life, he challenged the just wear a dark suit men
               all my life sick on the edge before, made me more ready to jump
                    into more, all that I didn’t understand 

How to go further, trembling as I was, into Berkeley’s tempting rabbit holes
       hands and feet slither into a green New Age of ecology and equality 
           Into a light that saved trees and food that fed souls
                  how we broke all our molds, wrote over stingy rules 

How we stood together, norm creators envisioning in a blur of newness
       charting new ways with glittering eyes since we knew 
              we were climbing as one into the unchartered
                   without pretense or yesterday’s food

How we felt raw and naked in our bones beginning it all 
        Protected by beautiful Berkeley light
                Secure in our mysterious dreams pushing hard, way beyond
                      The rigid order of Victorian sight

©2019, Linda Chown

TimeInWar

We lived in the war pasting coupons
page after page in the war our parents
subdued for us, banned in a loud quiet,
banning feeling in themselves
keeping the lights bright. We lived in a war
bleeding alone, for there was no tv
to see. Night radio muffled. The war hit our hearts,
what else? We ate polite weeklong pot roasts.

And knew something was missing. It was fear
that the world would not be here, nor we,
that the rituals would crash like Alice
fell through, fell to nowhere-land.

Oh, where will we go when we pass
into you? Will our hearts even start?
Who will keep this ritual life going
with all the killing and darkness?

Anne Frank at least she said, and Joan of Arc withstood.
And we all targets geographical and physical
and we exposed and frightened, having
to put a good face on this evil which threatened all
those war days and witch-hunt days and
always in our ever oppositional living.

And now again as the long days pass casting evil
again I wander-wonder alone what I’ll do when
Life turns into a living bomb cast and I’ll have no
pot-roast or pretense. Writing my
globetrotting weapon and disguise.
In out and all about. In rife absurdity.
Calm the bombs and silence the mad.
Let’s feel clear water and soft words all
green, clad in long love and trust beyond bloodshed.
Not hope but a sudden heartening.

©️2019, Linda Chown

Don’t Be Stupid

Stars are out there, many, everywhere, all the time.
Try not to think about this all the time.

Those stars, they’re everywhere, even in us, all the time.
Don’t be stupid about this. Try not to think about this all the time.

If it’s important to you where Space ends, you may not
Be picking up the clothes you always drop on the floor,
For someone else to pick up. Learn to pick up, all the time.

Mountains change, rivers change, weather changes,
Volcanoes are still erupting, it’s colder some days.
Why is this so hard to understand? Don’t think about it.

We can’t remember everything that’s happened. That’s
Why we always mess things up. That’s not hard, is it?

Don’t be stupid. Another person is a person to appreciate.
You can’t appreciate only those who look and act like you.
This isn’t hard, but don’t be so afraid. Take a deep breath.

Stop doing that. Whatever it is you are doing, stop that.
Why are you this old and you are still acting like that.
This isn’t hard, it just takes practice. Don’t think about it.

Of course, we are water. It goes in every day. We wash up.
We wash what’s dirty. We are in awe of its beauty.
If you don’t know that, wade in, go under, hold your breath.

Stop asking for applause. Do what you need to do well.
What’s hard to understand about that? Are you still that needy?

The best line of that movie was Will it help? So stop worrying.
When has worrying ever helped you to get things straight?

We are all here, standing line. You can’t make us go away
Like that. Stop blathering so. You look silly doing that.

Are you a busy person? Nothing to admire there.
Everything else in the cosmos is not busy, but it’s there.
Staying busy will tire you out. Take a 2-minute time out.

Are you feeling any better? You know, there are no truths.
I know that’s hard, but get used to it. Don’t think about it
Ever again, just try doing everything you’ve done, better, that’s all.

© 2019, DeWitt Clinton

Rising Up, You Poets

 “I knew—had long known—how poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire. And, in spite of conditions at large, it seemed to me that poetry in the United States had never been more various and rich in its promise and its realized offerings. But I had, more than I wanted to acknowledge, internalized the idea, so common in this country, so strange in most other places, that poetry is powerless, or that it can have nothing to do with the kinds of power that organize us as a society, as relationships within communities.  If asked, I would have said that I did not accept this idea. Yet it haunted me.” —Adrienne Rich in preface to her book What Is Found There, Notebooks on Poetry and Politics (W.W.Norton and Company, 1993)



You bare witness to the spirit of the times,
recording the minutes, building monuments
with your soft technology of healing, elevating
consciousness, What joy you feel in rising up!

Rising up, you Poets, from silence and solitude,
from ear to the ground, observation is your
spiritual practice, you’ve all been oppressors and
oppressed, now use words to change the world.

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

One Dark Stand

One dark stand against the world
Can light up & ignite the universe.
The voice of change for justice
Is fierce, unafraid it can’t be-coerced
It strikes fear in evil men’s stomachs.

One dark stand against the world
Can lead the enslaved to freedom
Break the chains that bind the unbeaten
And lead us all to a midnight vigil
And all it takes is “one individual.”

© 2019, Mark Heathcote

request…

i’m not certain
which
deity
is going
to
respond
and
i
honestly
don’t
care
i’d just
like
for once
to
have
a
response
so
here we go
dear
what’s your name
i
would like
to
request
an
end
to the senseless slaughter
of
children
if
grownups
want
to wipe each other
off
the face
of
the plane
then
let it be
but
raping the life breath
from
children
should be
banned
by
you
dear
fill-in-the-blank deity
a
gender
neutral
title
and
honorific
implied
you
needn’t
respond
directly to me
i’m
not
a priest
or
particularly wise man
just
a concerned
citizen

 

© 2019, Charles W. Martin

The Long Dark Night

stuff bottled inside
about to shatter
world going crazy
does it matter?
so much violence
so much strife
desensitizing human sensibility
help!!!
turn up the music
let harmonic sound abound
oldies but goodies
sooth harm and hurt
“ride Sally ride”
ride throughout the earth
“unchain my heart set me free”
free the words inside of me
free calming words
free soothing words
free encouraging words
let them ride with mustang sally
speeding in space
emitting messages of tranquility
that reverberate throughout the cosmos
let the balm of Gilead perfume the atmosphere
soothing all fear
ride sally ride
ride through the USA
declaring this a day of harmony and serenity
ride sally ride
ride through Africa and Asia
declaring this a day of a peace to release all animosity
ride sally ride
ride through Europe and Australia
declaring this a day of communication and restoration
ride sally ride
ride through South America, North America, and Antarctica
ride throughout the world
ride on the road of time
eradicating eons
filled with hatred
filled with wars
filled with a power-hungry lust
that never trusts the source of light
that invites mankind into a relationship of love
a love that shines from above encompassing all
who choose to be stars through this long dark night

© 2019, Tamam Tracy Moncur



 

Ju$t d1$$1m1l@r

 

Dedicated to Swami Vivekananda

Jump out of your well, little frog.
Jump out of it, to see the world.
Your well isn’t the only place of existence.
There are many wells—
bigger and prosperous wells.
Wells with diverse cultures.
Just different—not good or bad.
How can you judge your well to be the best?
When you haven’t seen any other well, dear frog.

Don’t mock others frogs from different well
or berate them for being dissimilar
to the frogs from your well.
Learn from others for each has a reason
and a habit for being them.

Don’t let the well—define you either
or become your only identity.
Remember, you are a frog first.
Just as unique as all other frogs.

There is a world out there
Waiting to be explored.
Waiting to enchant and delight you

Jump out of your well dear frog
Leap out of your well, now!

© 2019, Sunayna Pal

Don’t Hang the Poets

Raanana, January 23, 2018

By the time you read this
I’ll be long gone,
Not in a sad sense
But in a hit the road sense.
Did you think I’d stick around forever?
I’ve got universes to create
And people to make.
Besides, I’m infinite and you are finite.
Do the math.
You can’t count up to me
And I can’t subtract myself to get to you.
Everything you do or say is finite.
I do nothing, yet it is done.
I can’t know or care about every hair on your heads,
Nor every cell or atom in your bodies.
There are so many worlds and galaxies,
Yet they are finite.
Yes, my prototypes,
I knew them well enough.
No, I wasn’t angry when she bit the fruit of knowledge
And offered him a bite.
What parent would?
And I didn’t kick them out of Eden.
They just took up responsibilities
And fended for themselves.
Eden was their childhood
But then they were adults.
These books you so revere,
The Bible, Quran, and others like them,
You should know I had no part,
Men forged My name and that is all.
They quoted what they wrote for
Ungodly purposes I assure you.
Don’t let them lead you
For they know not more than what you know.
There have been wise men
But you seldom had the wisdom to follow.
I didn’t make you master over My creation,
You are just a part of a wondrous whole
Where every part is necessary
Or the whole is diminished.
One more thing before I close:
The poets, please don’t hang the poets
For I was one once, my words were worlds,
From them will come your soul’s salvation.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Sounding Bugles

Tonight’s moon will be heat-throttled;
my father’s slow-turning eye watches
the rising reformation of our country’s
people—the ones with more bread less than
equal to the ones that learn they can survive
hunger with a special kind of tobacco
pressed between the teeth and cheek,
the kind that acclimates with blood. Grief is
malleable in skilled hands; soon children
for whom school is a visit either to a future
or a means to learn, furthermore, the way
to escape the need for alternate food, mining
the grounds of their minds with comic strips,
become the intellectual whose arms are
muted under grinding a balance between
logical escape and patriotic leisure. But the heat
is rising; the bated night is luminous, bands
of clouds invisible, like homes of dreams
lacing fragile exteriors. Our voice is ground for
debt, that is like delayed prayer shot from
a freshly oiled barrel; tonight the moon will watch
fireworks going off on a rich man’s terrace
resembling broken dawns. Opinion is didactic
in skilled hands. My father shall recognise
the sounds through his impaired hearing,
drink enough water to fill to the brim of
his stomach, turn off the touting reforms
and wait in his sleep for the next prayer.

© 2019, Sheikha A.

Silent Courage

 

Santiago Atitlán

Three o’clock
The Catholic bells begin ringing
Women in their red huipiles
& ribbon-wrapped hair
wound ‘round their heads
enter the church

I quietly slip in & see
Father Stanley Rother’s heart
buried in the right wall
This Maya village wished it so
after his assassination in 1981
Variously colored crosses surround it,
each one with a name, a date

I reenter the sunlit afternoon
& aimlessly wander the market streets

Five o’clock
The village echoes with the
hand-clapping & tambourines
the singing & hallelujahs
from the seven or more evangelical temples

I am haunted by the horror of that memorial
I am haunted by the testimony of a volunteer
who investigated a massacre in this village
just over a year ago

As dusk falls
I once more climb those round steps
& enter the white-washed church

I sit in a pew near the priest’s heart
meditating upon those lives embracing him

Green paper crosses for the 209 killed here
22 yellow ones for the wounded
68 pink, the kidnapped

I walk back into the twilight
thinking of that December night massacre
not so very long ago
& how these villagers marched to the
military base & ordered them
to leave, to end the murderings
of their pueblo that had gone on
for too, too many years

The two nearest volcanoes are capped
by towering grey clouds
Thunder rumbles the empty streets

©2019, Lorraine Caputo

“Nights with Ghosts,” a poem from a child in Zimbabwe

 

“Poets Against War continues the tradition of socially engaged poetry by creating venues for poetry as a voice against war, tyranny and oppression.” Mission Statement for Poets Against War.



Back around 2008 when I started blogging, Poets Against War, founded in 2003 by American poet Sam Hamill (1943-2018) in response to the war with Iraq, was still going strong and some of my poems were accepted for online publication. This was my baptism into socially engaged poetry. The thousands of poems that were contributed to the database from poets around the world are archived at a university, the name of which I’ve long forgotten. There were some other great efforts including Poetry of Solidarity, which made use of the easy and economical outreach the Internet offers. These two sites have gone the way of all things. The links I saved for them now get a 404 error code. Today we have 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change, founded in 2011 by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion.

Fortunately, I did keep notes on some of the poetry and activities I encountered in those early blogging days. What follows is a translation of a poem written by a child in Zimbabwe after the government made war on its own people in June 2005—200,000 people became homeless.  This poem was included in an article by American poet Karen Margolis in the now defunct Poetry of Solidarity.

nights with ghosts
.
dear samueri, my friend
i will never see you again;
maybe i will.
but i shall not know
until father finds us a new address
,
addresses!
we have none anymore.
we are of no address.
.
now that i have written this letter,
where do i post it to?
shall i say, samueri,
care of the next rubble
harare?

—child’s poem

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’” American poet, Eve Merriam

— Jamie Dedes

Change

 

“If you want change, let me throw it at you
as hard as I can at your dirty face…”
—Homeless read mean tweets (YouTube, now private)

Let me throw justice at you, let it hit your face
and wake us up. Let me throw opportunity at you,
let it hit your face and give us a chance.

Let me throw change at you, change in the world,
change creating justice and freedom,
change creating opportunity, real change
for all. Let me throw democracy at you, let it
hit us in the face so hard that it cracks open
and spills out into the land, everywhere, change—
real democracy, real hope, real opportunity.

Let me throw change and the stinking, rotten
carcass of consumer capitalism and greed at
those so privileged and shallow as to think white
teeth are more important than your humanity.

And then, god help me, let me find love
and compassion to throw as hard as I can
into our faces, into our lives, into the hearts
of us all, of us all standing here watching
in voyeuristic pleasures of despair.

© 2019, Michael Dickel

After the 2016 Election

We share this common irritant: the smoke of distant fires.
It scalded the morning and evening sun
ember red, then hung a net of haze over the city.
After two days, friends are confined indoors, wheezing.
My throat is raw, sinuses ache.
Now dark clouds rise from the mountain.

The day after the election, police in Alton Park
stop black residents up and down the Boulevard,
as if it is Apartheid, or a new Jim Crow.

My son is driving, stopped in traffic, radio blaring.
A cop on a motorcycle passes, hangs a U, comes back,
tickets him for going 50 in a 35 mile zone.
“Yes sir,” is the drill we instilled
when we had the Talk all parents have
with their sons of color.

Five miles over the state line in Georgia,
a white boy walks the high school parking lot,
a Confederate flag tied at his neck like a cape.
Later, black students yank it from his backpack,
stomp on it, igniting threats of a race war.

My eyes are burning. Smoke threads through
the indoors air in the gym and large commons.
We choke on the fire of distant words.

Not again.

© 2019, Rachel Landrum Crumble

The Poor

In the sky, it’s raining backwards,
always backwards. From where we stand,
it is a nightmare—our tears are the sprinkler system
of heaven. The clouds grow lush and green.
They tantalize beyond our ability
to desire. We stand, poor,
with sand in our shoes,  and
dust in our mouths, holding buckets
upside down to catch the rain.

© 2019, Rachel Landrum Crumble

Substituting Life

Lost, yet nowhere to go,
I wade through this journey
by finding substitutes for life
and the living that follows
the desires of what is expected
by the standards of society
Which I thought was
democratically formed
by people like me
but even the grand normal
daily strives for
and gets buried under
the illusion of perfection.

© 2019, Sunayna Pal

Flow Gathering Springs

	     with thanks to Aaron

flow gathering springs
transitive   to flow up down
always through around and ever

Mid-river, the current
unforgiving, a construction crew
Is doing what it’s paid for.
One of them is a flinger of hoses.
First snake to spit out the mud,
second to calm it back level.
Clamber here, there,
somehow they’ve convinced the river
to flow slowly around them

rattle it down,
	dance like a clown,
who knows when the water will crest

Old Firehouse Park, grassy ground,
tree roots just touching the side currents,
smack dab hallelujah in the middle of downtown
Janesville, glory of the old firehouse painted
on a nearby wall. We huddle
in the shade, careful to keep the workers 	
in sight, wait for a few stragglers to join us.
Then we begin to sing,

“join us, join us
 may the river always join us
	don’t risk The Rock
 don’t risk The Rock”

As if we could hinder the mud’s
setting up, hardening,
soften this merciless bridge building, 
hold back the machines, if only for a day,
these semi’s born of Budweiser,
this crane head spiking the sky red.

flood stage, 15.5
may it ripple,
rage our feet home

Next an Ojibway holy man 
leads our wave line in chanting 
and dance. Current stronger now,
drum, drum, a commanding pressure. 
Four times we circle a small rise

small rise, small rise
open your eyes

Spring by spring, rain over,
rain under, legs find the feel 
of cresting. Then lose it, stumble,
find it again.

Too soon I begin to weaken, broken hip
three months before, bones newly
healed, flesh flabby.

Die chant, rage gone,
never quite song.

Flood stage 15.5 feet,
flow up, pray over,
river springs, put out the fire.

©2019, Lynn Shoemaker

War and Peace (Rime Royal)

How can we endure any more winters
Slip-sliding on icy terrains of war
Jagged politics scattered like splinters
Never ending, demanding an encore
Never a moment to form a rapport
O, could we behave like the best of friends
Understanding brings lavish dividends…

What are the six senses of calming peace
Scented cinnamon sweetens saline lips
Stroking soft fleece, hear music’s masterpiece
While light becomes night in solar eclipse
Sense the finish of outmoded warships
Just resting my eyes, just stifling my cries
As flowers of accord bloom in the skies

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens

Women in Woad

Women in woad*
Shaking undressed breasts
Leading the warriors
Down Irish roads
Banshee-ing through the air
To cause enemies fear
O, to be with you
When war was for defense
Against Romans marching
Through sacred forests

Women in revolt
Beside their men
Stuffing the cannons
Riding like Revere
Founding Mothers
Some disguised as men
As their great-great granddaughters
Four decades later did
In a civil war of economics
O, to be with you
When war was for
Something grander than balls
And women of all races
Did their part
Against Kings of foreign lands
And decades later
With amazing bravery
Against Kings of slavery

Women in partnership
In the War to End All Wars
But no, once again,
In the War to clean up
The economic and territorial mess
A second world war where
Women were winding through alleys
With secrets in their minds
Torn apart by the enemy
No chance of apology
The height of equality
In the torture culture
In hindsight, I would not have wanted
To be with you

On and on
And then I came of age
Married during the Vietnam war
Mom threw out everything
Even my genuine winter pea coat
And summery field jacket
From the Army & Navy store

Here’s an aside:
Why did we protest
That ambiguous conflict
Yet wear war gear?
Sympathetic magic?
Or, worst of all,
A mistaken glamour?
Clad in the garb
Bathing it in words
From Dylan and Ochs
Peace, man
What a joke

Decades later, sadly
Homo sapiens still wants to kill
And despite taking classes
For karate and gun safety
Defense for my sons and me
I’m still wondering
Where have all the flowers gone
Still damning the masters of war
And me, I ain’t marching anymore
Not lifting my voice in protest
It’s for the new young to do

But the desire
The belief
In love and peace
Is still in my aging heart
Still want global good
Still sign those petitions
Still write Congress letters
Now tweeting and emailing
Now posting and texting:
Stop it! Please stop it!

Why have we buried
The end-the-war manifesto?
Why are we all still
Killing the men
Raping the women
Destroying the children
Poisoning the pets
Polluting the water
Burning the books
Cremating the crops
All in the name
The name that does change
Of the jealous god
Let’s build a wall
Around hate and death and war
Because destruction
Is not glamorous at all…

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens


* Woad, also known as Jerusalem Asp, is a plant used in ancient times to make a blue die, which was used in some cases as a face paint when going into battle, particularly in East Anglia.


 

I Never Knew I Was So Numb

 

I never knew I was so numb

Deaf to loud blasts and bullets strafing
to screams and cries and houses burning

To hard footsteps roughly marching
occupation curfew sounds of silence

I never knew I was so numb

Unseen unknown muddy roads I traveled
people’s heads I saw moving, shaking

Why the heads went backward and forward,
smile less, sad long faces, tortured, awkward

I never knew I was so numb

Homeless helpless refugees made by the wall
forced, humiliated, beaten bound, innocent, all

I as a child was part of it, born in strife
though for some time was free in life

I never knew I was so numb

And now my homeland is under siege
with bayonets bullets blood that bleeds

Women fair, helpless, ravaged virgins
easy targets, free prey for ready vermins

I never knew I was so numb

And now my numbness is complete replete
with curfew starvation and defeat

For what crime I am enslaved in captivity
who will be the savior, if ever, of my liberty

I never knew I was so numb

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Control

She has fear in her eyes. Her son was diagnosed and recommended
medication by someone who is not a therapist or doctor. She asks for

advice. I apologize—say that the teacher (a colleague) who diagnosed
her son is wrong, outside of her league. I spew that white students who

“act out” are labeled normal (they are kids being kids). But that black and
brown students are offered medication to control them. She knows this.

It is the source of her fear. We talk about programs outside of school to help
her son advance. Her bright son. I mention the Saturday program at the

Schomburg Center in Harlem, Prep for Prep, and the Oliver Scholars program.
She knows about these and is looking into them. I promise to stay in touch.

Say that I am willing to help. She smiles. The fear gone, for now.

© 2019, Elvis Alves

The Long History of Genocides

Touching land with toes is like
returning to a home you never left.

It is like returning to a home you never
left because the leave taking was one of

necessity. You were priced out of your
neighborhood. The newcomers feel that

it belongs to them. That it was always
theirs for the taking, was just waiting

for their arrival. Columbus and
his crew took land from the natives as if

it was always theirs for the taking, was just
waiting for their arrival. They plant flags,

cast spells with a new language, and decimate
with diseases. The land was always theirs for

the taking, they believed. And they did take.
Gold to Europe. Tobacco. Cotton. Sugar. Bodies.

The land has a way of remembering. Humans easily
forget. They call Columbus a hero, build statues

of him, when in reality he was taken back to
Spain after his third voyage bound in chains—

appropriate uniform for a criminal. Murderer.
But who is listening? Who is reading history?

© 2019, Elvis Alves

dissecting the Geneva Convention

the summer is what it is here
the humidity clinging to my tired skin
like a crazy 50’s t.v. wife mockery
on Wall there’s the law and then there’s us
each side with glaring mutual understanding
that nothing is being done
no longer angels no longer devils
Gods gone fishing and they won’t be coming back
the species of Adam failed to keep their end of the
Covenant with Noah and Jesus holy shit what have we done
in life there is reason and there’s law
inside the soul there is right and there is wrong
inside the ego all is mine and nothing yours
on Koehler there is a man who doesn’t know he suffers
the fear he knows not himself prisoner of
the bio-hazardous ecosystem freedom gone awry
the filth the human shit the rage the insanity disease
the pain addiction poverty starvation piss trash
tears the waste of modern time
no longer get through the stains of a life
poorly lived or sorely wasted no logic
no feelings no rhyming no Kingdom will come
betwixt the cardboard and the shelter
the damage has been done
wage on me wage your wars
indifference is your nuclear weapon

© 2019, mm brazfield

Scary People and Madmen

 

The Death of a Robot, 6/21/2019

It appears
our robot
has met an unfortunate end
while flying over
the Strait of Hormuz.

The office staff is still playing
Hide-and-Seek
with the Nuclear Button
and it seems the president’s
received
another call
from Putin.
For that, I’m truly
grateful.

There really is–
nothing else
to say
when dealing
with scary people
and madmen.

© 2019, Bill Gainer

 

Humanity is often a place of forgetfulness

Humanity is often a place of forgetfulness
It’s often-a-place of solitude
A place of dreadfulness, fretfulness
It’s often-a-dwelling place a mirror eschewed
A place, without benevolence
A place, the neediest feel subdued
A place people wander around, incredulous
Humanity is a place you find the destitute
The place-you-come-across negligence
The place-you-come-across the most-ineptitude
The place-you-come-across the most-resentfulness
The place-you-find the most crewed
The place where cruelty finds its prevalence
The place charity can lead to decrepitude
Humanity is a place of opposites of redolence
It’s-sadly a place of corruption as a way not to preclude
It’s-sadly a place of hucksters directionless
Often-it’s the place of a cold absolute
Take my hand, and I’ll promise all you Denizens
A better life, I’ll promise not to pillage or loot
I’ll promise you, humanity, forget all other parables.

© 2019, Mark Heathcote