A Letter to Honorable Precious G Jamie Dedes — Anjum Wasim Dar

Life is a mysterious web of intricate interdependent relationships, and diversity is at its heart.

Kenny Ausubel
Dear Jamie,

Ji we never met on this Earthly abode,
yet we were together by soul spirit thought and words
Our virtual meeting place was the Japanese garden close
 to your home full of sweet scented flowers and small ponds of water
You were so happy to shift in the one room studio 
which had more open space and place for the Life Line... oxygen

Oh Dear Jamie Ji your trips to the hospital would make me feel so 
helpless, for long hours nothing except prayers gave me hope that 
all would be well, and it did, for many days, as Allah Most Gracious
gave time to share creative positive work and you shared more than
your strength and heart could bear. You lifted so many who needed the support, 
your affectionate inspiration, grace and encouragement just
wafted like the soft breeze of summer spersed with tender tweets of
birds who sounded like a choir in harmony, singing a prayer then 
a hymn.

But Jamie Ji on this Earth, the Creator's most blessed gift,
humanity suffered severely due to the shortage of the one thing
you too needed most—"oxygen".

Jamie Ji I never knew that a few days after you won the struggle
and quietly passed on to the promised heaven I would be down
on the prayer mat asking the Almighty for mercy forgiveness and 
help for the same 'Oxygen for my own son in law, caught in the lungs
by Covid19, breathing heavily, within hours was put on the ventilator.

Confined, I felt extremely helpless, grieved and holding
on to your thoughts, your brave spirit and uplifting shower of
smiling stickers that would tingle and brighten up the mini screen
of the mobile, but the phone was silent this time, and so were you,
no words came through and my heart, laden with
sorrow asked me, "Think of how Jamie Ji must have felt?"

It was a severe hypoxic moment and as time passed no oxygen
had any effect. It was time. Time to go home for Salman,
time for us all to be patient, to accept the divine will, to wait. 

Time took over. Your Japanese Garden will never wither.
Life gives hope for some time as flowers will bloom silently,
unnoticed, in the deep snow and emerge with lovely colors 
to spread fragrance all around. 

Constantly with your thoughts inspiration and guidance.

A.

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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Jamie Dedes’ Special Skill and Vision — Anjum Wasim Dar

Respected G Jamie Dedes had this special skill and vision for selecting quotes from various authors and preceding them with her own poetic expressions. She dearly loved nature, flowers, tall green trees and gardens, specially the Japanese gardens. She wished to merge her spirit with that of nature and sink deeply into its beauty. Here she quotes from Anne Frank’s famous diary.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I was greatly inspired and wrote the following lines in response to Jamie Ji’s quote. My poem was featured in Jamie’s “The Poet by Day” blog at www.jamiededes.com on 28th August 2019.

“In the Beginning or In the End, a poem by Anjum Wasim Dar…posted by Jamie Dedes. In Nature, Poem/Poetry.”

In the beginning or in the end, we are but particles
unknown, powerless realizing changes that emerge
in our soul and spirit, settle in the blood and flesh,
becoming one with us, invaders to us, they occupy
our spaces, our inner chambers, pollute the air we
breathe, but all this is part of the nature that we so
dearly love, appreciate and be happy and peaceful
with, nature too loves us dearly seeking to possess
sometimes abruptly sometimes slowly, silently so
quietly that we are caught unawares, sometimes
with terror and fear, the strength then lies not in
defense but in the bravery to face and fight it, all
our prayers merge with the majesty and grandeur
of nature, its beauty color and sweet fragrance,
combine as love meets love and differences
disappear, spaces vanish and glorious heavens appear.

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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The Light Has Gone Out — Carolyn O’Connell

In Memory of G Jamie Dedes

From the silence of a room
where others would be drowned
you breached the net of pain 
and strife to inspire and unite.

No cause too small or big your 
voice called others to the cause
of love and care for the world
and all that live on it in unity and peace:

Your dream will live on.

For you are now at peace
flown from pain and loss
and passed your dreams to others
to dream on for you.

©2021 Carolyn O’Connell
All rights reserved


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One Woman Leads to Another — Judy DeCroce

older, older,

this slow retreat of you
vanishing like one glove lost

while you are ending,
someone, somewhere,
is beginning

from woman to woman
our songs stride in odd moments
watching soft dark not far from here

simple as an apron—
stronger than night

your feet may stumble
hers will run

older, older, older

I know time has stopped
and another, begins
where a spirit has just passed

©2021 Judy DeCroce
All rights reserved


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Gospel — Peter Mladinic

Schaeffer writes to Tasia:

“Rhythm & blues, nothing like it!
The languid lovely haunting sound
I heard back then, and now
when I see music I see a long
narrow shop, walls lined with
’45 vinyl discs sometimes red
or yellow, mostly black, inlaid
with labels: blue, green, pink,
black and names: Chance, Duke,
Peacock, Checker, a montage
of color and design.  Up front
across a counter sat Dennis:
dark eyes, rosy cheeks, sensuous lips
and a few thin cowlicks spilled
partly down his forehead.  Dennis
knew R&B very well, not
R&B as we hear today, but stuff
from the late 40’s, early 50’s.
he was fortunate to be at the heart
of all those languid melodies,
not jump tunes, but the ballads.”

Schaeffer saw him in later years
only once before Dennis passed.
A different record shop, where both
were visitors.  Dennis’s opened black
leather revealed a waist that had
thickened, and instead of rosy cheeks
there was a puffiness to his face.
Somehow gospel came up in their
talk, Schaeffer said the Swan Silvertones
to which Dennis replied, Oh,
they’re the best, a wry smile
in his eyes.  Schaeffer felt he’d
been right all along, these past
few years, since he began listening
to gospel, that the Swan Silvertones
with their tenor lead Claude Jeter
were the best.  Dennis corroborated
Schaeffer’s feeling.  He thinks—
when he sees Dennis up front in
a corner of the long narrow shop—
music is feeling, you feel the music.

Schaeffer’s Notion of Beauty

Bombs turn a building to rubble,
rescuers find 
an arm, a leg.

In a mall a maniac fires a rifle,
leaving in his wake
dead children.

Hate manifestos 
all over the Internet,
in the world there is danger:

a racist shoots Satyajit Chandra
at a bus stop
and nothing is done.

Still, even now, beauty 
is with us.

©2021 Peter Mladinic
All rights reserved


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The Pine Cone Project — John Anstie

The Woods
Colored Pencil
Kim Patton ©2021
In the midst of turmoil,
our Mother Earth besieged 
by bloody conflict,
in a world beleaguered 
by well-healed negligence,
humanity is laced
with one great flaw.

Children are dying
We are dying with you.
I am crying for you.

Yet, whilst this goes on,
you walk the woods,
harvesting your pine cones
putting them in your wishing well.
Your unconscious prayer
for a better world,
for love, for life,
that sows the seeds 
of perfect purity
in heart and mind,
that will not fade with time.
This is the magnificence,
the magic of your spirit
that is untouched
by a tainted world.

Then, in one gesture,
one single act of generosity,
of utterly moving faith,
you beckoned me 
come close to you.
You looked me in the eyes;
and I was hypnotised.
Then, you gave it to me,
one single piece of magic,
a piece of nature's bounty,
and bade me keep its secret
as covert as a spy.

Each time I hold your gift,
when we are far apart,
I'll think of you and
remember this moment,
by which you have renewed
my faith in all our futures.

You could melt the heart,
like chocolate on a Summer's day.
You could soften steel
in hardened minds.
You and your magic 
are our future.

Eight years ago, my then 4-year old granddaughter gave me a pine cone. She had found it as the family walked together in the woods. She called me to her, very secretively, and put it in my hand, confiding in me that it was a magic secret and that I should tell no one. She bade me keep the secret, which I did do for five full years … until 29th September 2018. This particular date was the 100 Thousand Poets for Change annual celebration, which, in that year, was embellished by a campaign to Read-a-Poem-to-a-Child . It finally came to the day, five years after she gave me that pine cone, that I should share this magic moment with a wider audience for the sake of the mission of Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, who established the 100TPC in 2011. Its mission is in complete harmony with the mission of the BeZine, to promote Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice. It was, most important of all, a reminder that we should appreciate, value and respect our children, grandchildren and all those who follow us, for the sake of a sustainable future for generations of young minds, whose task it will be to care for this precious planet …

… thank you Jessica.


Text ©2021 John Anstie; Art ©2021 Kat Patton
All rights reserved


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Sustainability — Benedicta Boamah

Impossible Spring
Miroslava Panayatova ©2021
  
Diminished mutters of an uncommon past; withheld resource
The expressions of squally times,
An evolving ponder of thought
Left in thresholds of a contemplated climate change
Peeping signs of unbearable moments; pandemic
Intermixed with marshes of a stiffened gaze
An un-hooped highlight in distant frameworks
Sustainability the solemn definitions of characteristic indignation & condescended adherence
Tentative an adjunct to propel a sustainable reaction
Mazes & fundamentals, the baseline tapers of prospective yields.

Poem ©2021 Benedicta Boamah
All rights reserved


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Climate Crisis – Anjum Wasim Dar

Think. Do not cut the funding
Rapidly warming Earth cries,
droughts, conflicts, floodings rise.
Pastoralists compete, struggle, worry,
as grazing lands gradually shrink.

Think, do not cut the funding.
Depending on subsistence farming
humans fight for life in camps.
Searching for food each day, as
plants trees crops slowly ... die
Think, do not cut the funding.

Pandemic lockdown proving seismic,
adaptation, adaptation, is the call,
O, please do not cut the funding.
Help All!  Do not cut the funding.

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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Extinction Event — Michael Dickel

Winter Nights
Painting
Miroslava Panayatova ©2020
I’m going to sink into oblivion,
obviously linking this planet 
we’re living on to contagion
so many see raging in our lives.

The planet eyes a sad reprise
in an extinction surprise designed
to rid it of us—such a fuss to save
the ducks, dolphins, and newts.

Bring luck to what our environs once
meant, turning now to the battle cry:
Arise quills, venoms, and ills! Erase
the worldwide virus that is us!

©2021 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


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A Gathering of Stones — Michael Dickel

A Gathering of Stones

I gather stones from ocean, sea, lake, river, stream, and the dry desert wadi; to protect my straw life from the storm winds of time they line the walls, shelves, walks, and a small corner rock garden. Snow buries them in winter, the outer ones, and the inner turn invisible beneath plaster and book dust as these stories and poems renovate the narrative, revise my living space into something that might hold up to erasures of climate, and my life into—something. Long after my DNA strands become a statistical probability chancing in some descendants’ groins; long after the house falls to dust, the garden to weeds, the shores of the oceans and seas recede, advance, the lakes come and go, the rivers dry and flood, the wadi erodes to flatlands; long after all of this; a few stones out of place here in a row, there in a pile, might attract some little notice, a bit of curiosity. This flint tool from Baaka.  This agate from Superior. Amethyst from Ontario. Lava from Hawaii. Mica from Pennsylvania. Polished smooth granite. In some way we will remember. Where did such stones come from? When?  How did they end up here? Why? What story do they tell? Who gathered them in? And who after all will stop to notice; in what climate will these stones be uncovered? Perhaps by a robotic rover returned from Mars…

A segment from Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z First High-Resolution Panorama
March 02, 2021 — Cropped and adjusted in Adobe® Photoshop® by Michael Dickel
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Poem ©2012–2021 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


An earlier version of this poem appeared in Synchronized Chaos, November 2012.


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Crawfish / Haiku 2020 — Dennis Formento

The Crawfish

the little crawfish that nipped my finger 
has the coolest job on earth

rolling clods of wet humus
into moist balls 

to build a chimney & bring 
rich dark earth to the surface 

its chimney had closed somehow, so
I turned the tower over with my foot
thinking I did him a favor
opening an air duct

a cardinal mistake—

this tiny crawfish emerged 
from the thick gray mud
claws raised toward me
flexing & threatening

so I slipped a finger beneath it 
to lift it back into its hole
the mudbug pinched me hard
a little fold of skin

bunched up between the pincers, the mudbug
not half my thumb’s length 
squeezed it tight
today that hole was plugged again 
from the inside

when the weather’s warm & dry 
the crawfish rolls another ball
capstone to close the chimney 
and hold moisture in

until late winter rain 
or a much too early spring

Haiku 2020

“may we all have better vision in 2020”

          picked off my hand
the ant that just bit me
          —I might have killed it—
                                3-8-2020

          two bumblebees buzzing
	             belly to buttonhole
	             zizz over my head
                                  3-22-2020


                     turning over 
                     the garden shovel and-- 
                     out drops half a worm
                                  3-23-2020


second night of quarantine
          —the smell
of someone else’s barbecue
                                  3-24-2020



carpenter bees on 
corner of the garage next door  
eating the building            
                                  3-25-2020



The clouds are about 
to drop from the sky
Aw! They crushed the moon!
	                                  3-29-2020


a curtain over
          the window keeps lightning
                    from coming in
                                  4-19-2020


epigram

“it's either in this world
              or never”


waiting for the wind
          to raise a ruckus
                    tornado warnings again
                                  4-19-2020

it was just a handful of rain
          flung out of a cloud onto
                    the sidewalk
                                  5-16-2020

©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


Dennis Formento promises never to write a bio longer than the average poem. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, Mississippi Bioregion, USA. St. Tammany Parish co-ordinator of 100,000 Poets for Change. Author of Spirit Vessels, Cineplex, Looking for An Out Place. Poem “Amarcord,” appeared in English and Italian, in Americans and Others: International Poetry Anthology, Camion Press, 2nd ed., 2020. Poem, “the floe of ice,” performed with Simone Bottasso on organetto, is on Youtube  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlXNe9lKkxg 


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a pale reflection of the moon — Dennis Formento

if I have to sleep, I’ll sleep, but the moon isn’t there anymore  
what you see is a pale reflection, the moon
is self-generated light
what I mean when I say self-generated light 
I mean a solar sail like a giant curtain
dragged behind the moon & keeping it 
in perfect orbit above the earth’s surface

the real moon is gone, taken apart
by scientists from NASA, EU and the KGB
“the moon”
is just a thin metal disk powered by that solar sail
some people think 
the moon itself is the sail but
I think the sail is deployed behind the moon
trapping light from the sun, powering the engine
that keeps it in orbit 
you can see it if you telescope real close

astronauts know this—high-flying pilots know this—
just a few lousy miles across, the thin metal plate reflects the sun’s light
and the earth’s shadow just the way the moon did
well some people think it’s thin, durable mirror
but I think it’s metal—highly polished metal that resists
the pings and arrows and chips you’d normally get
from junk up there at the front door of space—
some people say it’s the frontier, but I say it’s the front door of space

The real moon is gone Scientists took it away
and left a lot of junk behind
Imagine all the lovers without a moon—
the bad poets—Jungian psychologists—I call ‘em
“spychologists”— basing their poems and prognoses on nothing 
but a thin metal plate hovering above the earth
Oh, the tides have nothing to do with the moon
they never did, the tides are created by the sun
Everybody born with their moon in Aries through Pisces
has to find another planet for their sign
Your lives are meaningless NASA and the Russians
have stripped the moon of meaning
and replaced it with a thin solar sheet

The moon people 
have nothing to believe in
The President knows this in his Oval Office
The Oval Office is a symbol of the moon!
He’s fighting to bring the moon back
but he can’t tell you, no one would believe him
and he’s got to keep his credibility intact
He knows why women are going crazy
their ovaries so accustomed to the moon’s 
spiritual pull— they have evolved for millennia to respond to it—

Remember Jesus has a house on Mars—but NASA
doesn’t want you to know—
there are pictures Jesus would have to be eighteen feet tall
to be seen in this resolution some people say eighteen I think that’s impossible
but he’s the son of God so you never know
The scientists don’t know
The Moon the wolves howl at, the one we see
dipping into the Western sky—our Western sky
that belongs to us—remember the flag that was planted there?
It’s in a museum in Russia with Lenin’s tomb—
the Russians must hand over the moon—
a thin sheet of glass—some people say
—but I say it’s metal 
sometimes visible during the day 
reflecting the sun’s light
and the earth’s shadow in a perfect imitation of the real
psychological moon. The one in our dreams has been stolen
and the scientists have stolen our dreams.
Only the President and his queue
of anonymous advisors know this.

Poem ©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


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Dennis Formento promises never to write a bio longer than the average poem. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, Mississippi Bioregion, USA. St. Tammany Parish co-ordinator of 100,000 Poets for Change. Author of Spirit VesselsCineplex, Looking for An Out Place. Poem “Amarcord,” appeared in English and Italian, in Americans and Others: International Poetry Anthology, Camion Press, 2nd ed., 2020. Poem, “the floe of ice,” performed with Simone Bottasso on organetto, is on Youtube  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlXNe9lKkxg 

Garden be Wild – Matt Gilbert

I’m letting the garden be wild, 
I think, 
stop mowing the lawn 
to benefit bee,
butterfly, spider— 
never air-puddling
gnats, they agitate my sky.

I’m letting the wild be, think garden
hedges hanging loose, 
holly thickening, 
sparrow gossip halls, 
goldfinch clown acts,
and no fly zones 
for all the shitty grey pigeons.

I wild, I think I’ll garden, 
bindweed no,
pluck it out!
slash bramble,
all interlopers can wait 
to be rotten beneath the
ash I allow to remain.

I’m garden:
Wild!
send hard boots down, 
suppress tangle and weed,
crush compost,
except you—pretty mallow, 
you may stay.

I’m thinking YES, wild garden, 
until a furred fury of
vigorous sinew 
erupts in my eyes, 
like a scream, 
upending all assumptions 
with a pink flick of rat-sceptic’s tail.


[With a tip of the hat to Wendy Cope]

Poem ©2021 Matt Gilbert
All rights reserved


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Volumetric Concave Evil — Gábor Gyukics

volumetric analysis

the perfect pronunciation may seem unnatural 
in this ostensibly reprimanded formless morning cavalcade
turning into a shapeless day of an awkward evening 
lost in a mute doorframe
leading to a private cloud of a colorful sky
full with goshawks calling each other 
pointing out the plummeting temperature 
in the surrounding cities where people
live off the grid due to introvert
blindsided authorities ostentatiously lurking around
protected by their frozen shells
without explicable reason that would make them
taintless before the spirits 
and their invented gods 
with thin-lipped smiles




concave manhole

shriek as a nail pulled from dry wood
is the sound of death’s hoofs 
covering a landscape measure
to reach 
a wanna be constable 
he who is hamming
behind a promisingly protective curtain of smoke
like an aardvark in the mud

we easily leave death alive 
to get rid of creatures 
unwished for

name your weapons
they cry
and those who rebel
will reach their demise

the sound of dying
reminds us of a place
we have never wished to discover

how to get rid of evil

light dirtied his pedantically flinching face
the frozen shell of rehearsed authority
cannot grasp the significance of resistance
despite our laid-out world in a stretcher
his confidence is crumbling in the gestures of this particular centrality

he is astonished in glancing at and discovering a two-way traffic in his unadorned brain
that made him lose his equilibrium 
his benignity equals with fleecing 
one can carry it anywhere
to conventional storefronts 
to inconvenient staircases
to a convenient store upstairs
and leave it there as a 
compensation of an incredulous notion of 
trap buttoned
confidence

©2021 Gábor Gyukics
All rights reserved


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Well, Maybe Someday — Joseph Hesch

 I keep some shirts at the far end 
 of my closet, shirts I’ve owned 
 for decades (since back when they fit).
 I own some shoes with holes in the toe
 almost worn through; shoes I’ve kept
 in the dark corner of my closet floor.
 
 If you were to ask me why I’ve kept them,
 what with the shirt collars an inch
 too small and the shoes a few steps shy 
 of perforated, I’d say, “Well, maybe
 someday…” 
 But we know most somedays never come.
 
 I own a memory I keep safe at the far corner 
 of my mind; a memory of …something… I’ve kept 
 for a couple of decades (when I could remember).
 I hold this hope, one I’ve worried thin like a child 
 would his button-eyed, floppy friend, now worn
 to almost gossamer thinness,

 And if you ask why I’ve kept them, 
 what with the way most memory fades 
 in each new day’s light and how gossamer hope
 doesn’t spring eternal I’d say, “Well, maybe
 someday…”
 That's because, if most somedays never come, 
 that must mean some do. 
 

©2021 Joseph Hesch
All rights reserved


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Bridges — Jerusha Kananu

We watch in pain as they plunder 
The middle class worry and wander 
Peasants live in wonder 

Big bellies parade slums masks covering the stench 
They with no hope of tomorrow in hot sun sweat 
Listening but not hearing the empty blubber
by bellies under tent’s shade
Hoping they will drop fifty shillings
for the malnourished child's feed

Dust from big taxpayer range blind them, they don’t see
prime Minister leave 
The only six public toilets‘ contents lack space
and their smell sickens 
They can’t serve them all, they pee and poop in buckets
for the poop man to dispose nearby 
The poop man knock their door in the morning 
They spent the day listening to prime Minister
so no money for poop man 
The heat in slum houses is unbearable
and the poop is boiling in bucket

Coin of the day take malnourished child
to nearby government hospital 
Nurses are on strike, no drugs, no doctors, slum dwellers
parade all sick of hunger 
Police chase them from hospital
because they don’t have masks 

The newshour, prime Minister reported to have built houses
in the slum, hundreds of billions used 
They stare in wonder, prime Minister came to ask for their help 
He talked of building bridges initiative and need
for voting for constitutional changes 
The country needs more leaders and the need
to increase constituencies 
Do they have to burn even the small rotten bridges
leading slum dwellers to national cake?
Who will pay the park of wolves that they want to increase?
The prices for commodities shoot overnight 
Another day, no pay for poop man, the day spent in hospital 

Citizens views needed on constitutional changes 
Trillions set aside for a yes or no campaign 
Children back to slums teachers on strike 
The competition for toilets is worse in the slums,
stench is unbearable 
The stench of the greed by ruling class is worse 
Global warming has made the sun mad
that it threatens to burn slum houses

Roses
Painting
Miroslava Panayotova ©2020

Poem ©2021 Jerusha Kananu
All rights reserved


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The Cows Walk In — Carolyn O’Connell

The cows graze in the green valley
on grass studded with wildflowers,
drink from a river where trout play
voles dance on through its banks.

They walk to parlour when they want
when their bodies say they need to be milked
hitch themselves to the robotic machine
that cleans udders, sucks the milk away.

There’s little labour for the farmer 
no need to round-up, milk or carry
or spray pesticides as his father did: 
he’s alerted to all twenty-four hours
for the land looks after itself, rain or shine.

He’ a happy man for his milk sells 
for premium prices, he exports it 
for its value for its great goodness,
filled with nature’s gentle bounty
and tuned to the season’s rhythms.

The cows, and the productive land
he’ll pass in perfection to his children.

                                                          —7/2/2021

Fancy Rooster at Sunrise
Colored Pencil
Kat Patton ©2020

Poem ©2021 Carolyn O’Connell
All rights reserved


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Unforgettable

A tribute to an unforgettable woman who lifted us all.

 This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is for-jamie-2.jpg
Photo © 2020 Corina Ravenscraft All Rights Reserved

 ~ For Jamie ~

Gracious guide to my muse inside,
 
Joy lifted me every time we spoke.
Always so humble, yet beatified,
Mentor, mother, how our hearts broke
In two when we learned you’d be leaving.
Ever strong, you gently eased our grieving.
 
Dauntless, you waged fierce peace for us all.
Encouraged, blessed each effort we penned,
Delivered your maestro’s clarion call,
Even now, your love remains, without end.
Slip peacefully into the Bardo, Dear Friend…

©2020 C.L.R.
All rights reserved

victory is mine by Jamie Dedes

This one holds special significance for me. As a kind of cri de coeur (cri de guerre?), I think it spoke both to her battle with illness and her battles overall. 36 hours before she died, we were speaking with her doctor. Her doctor said two things that will stick with me forever. First, “she’s really tough, isn’t she?” And, second, “her lungs still sound clear.” Victory was hers.

—Richard Lingua

victory is mine, a poem

 you thrive on fear,
 but i slow you, stay you, sink my nails into you
 as i sink my nails into the moon
 knock if you must, but i have barred the door
 i have hung a magic amulet from the rafters
 my screams rise silent as a roar, black as a sun
 they rise from a living heart, pierce the numb sky
 my laugh is a cackle scratching your yellow eyes
 i grow tired but spring back again,
 a wilting rose newly watered
 night done and i’ve won battle over
 the puce and putrid that filled my lungs –
 i breathe, i breathe and tenderly i poem
 as if there would ever and always be another sun
 i am here to race and tear, to rail and gag
 still i laugh, still i love
 come you must at close of day, but
 your soul is prose and mine is poem,
 triumph belongs to the Eternal in me
 …..victory is mine 

©2016 Jamie Dedes
All rights reserved

Her Light Continues…

In early November, we lost one of the dearest members of The BeZine Team, our founder and editor, G. Jamie Dedes. Jamie was a huge inspiration to all of us; always a soft, gentle and encouraging voice who gave us the courage to write and the faith to succeed.

One of my favorite poems of hers is this one, where she speaks to us about spirit’s immortality. Despite the tears, I know she’s close. I can hear her enthusiastic, “Poem on!” and I know she will always be with us.

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river …

i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings . . .

i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~
you’ll see me sliding happy down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.

~ © 2016 G. Jamie Dedes



Below is my own, small tribute to this unforgettable woman who lifted us all.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is for-jamie-2.jpg
© 2020 Corina Ravenscraft All Rights Reserved

WANDERER by Jamie Dedes

Wanderer

mountains rise round, pregnant belly of earth
and the aspens dance with paper-barked madrone
screeching their yellows and reds, brindle and feral
like the snaked hairs of Medusa they threaten

looming over me as I lay miles away on a mesa
the bones of my ancestors, the heart of my child
the pelts of the brown minks my father sewed
the vultures circle, ravished by my demise.

I feed on the pinion and ride mountain lions
down slopes, into valleys, a wanderer, lost and lost
looking eastward, seeking John Chapman
he has something to say, or maybe it’s westward

John Muir, my ears are deaf, my eyes hear a song
emerging from black bear, a surfeit of salmon
burning sage, clearing America, the wild beasts
are defanged and declawed and I am hawk-eyed

Selected by Core Team contributor Corina Ravenscraft

© 2012 Jamie Dedes
All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ Axel Kuhlmann, Public Domian Pictures.net

The View from My Place by Jamie Dedes

I cannot find the words of this, one of my favourite of Jamie’s poems. It was originally posted on on her old web site ‘Musing by Moonlight’. I did however record it and with her permission, posted it on Soundcloud. I loved this poem because it speaks to me not only of all the things that Jamie enjoyed, but her ability to deal with her limitations and replace them with her acute powers of observation …

Poem copyright Jamie Dedes. Performance by Poetjanstie.

My Favorite Poem by Dear G Jamie Dedes

At a time when the world is in shock and grief, mourning in black and burying in white, this week’s prompt turns the heart and mind towards the profound joy prevalent in nature. Sympathy comfort and support leads to a state of serenity, and acceptance of the harsh realities. Just as the endless sky meets the ocean line, grief slowly drowns deep, and wave after wave touches the shore to confirm eternal love and hope of more coming joy.

As the striking poem moves on the reader finds it replete with vivid imagery from the contours of the berries to the universal curves of celestial creation and can surely visualize the countless constellations beyond the moon and the solar system. The imaginative mind will leave the mundane, perhaps may not rest, but taking joy along will fly high to seek the ultimate bliss.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” John Keats wrote and G Jamie Dedes was so full of love positivity profound inspiration and extreme joy which she shared with everyone.

—Anjum Wasim Dar


Photo by G Jamie Dedes
©2019

Contours of Joy

 Rest…
  
 In that place where endless sky meets ocean wave
 Where plump blue berry meets thin green leaf,
 Where clarity gifts a kaleidoscope of joy.
  
 . . . . . Breathe and breathe and never mind
  
 The house begging for repair, the tree wanting a trim.
 Never mind the floors awaiting the broom
 The accounts begging for their balance…
  
 . . . . . . Observe the contours joy… 

 From the quiet mind and the stilled pen,
 Joy! dancing on sunbeams and resting
 On the limb of a moon-lit tree…

Poem and Photograph ©2019 Jamie Dedes
All rights reserved

Finding G Jamie Dedes

I look over the moon I look over the stars 
I hide behind the eclipse I search for you on mars
I sail across oceans paddling  furiously,
racing with the sharks,
my arms become sore, my fingers painful,
my heart sorrowful, as I let go,
hold hope with love, in the fragrance of your eyes,
in your silence I hear  your voice,
your duty is your choice, your world afar,
then I see you, a light spirit  flying, along,
the bright silver heaven’s star.

© 2020 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved

Grace


For the lovely lady who was so encouraging to me when I began writing a little poetry blog…

Painting: “A Walk in The Woods’ Copyright Brian Shirra. All rights reserved.
Grace some have held the gloved hand of grace,
Looked briefly at their own reflected self,
Closed their eyes to begin their eternal dream
Of what might have been, or is still to come.

Those gloves are discarded, as they must be,
But the fingers within felt the needs of others.
One pulse racing, the other dwindling down
A last, lingering empathetic embrace.
 
One day those gloved hands will hold a child
In winter, on a slope, sledging near their home.
The hand, like the heart, needs to feel joy once more as sorrow
Recedes to a memory of being the last one there. 

©2020 Brian Shirra
All rights reserved

So What Do You Do?

Somewhere, that’s about what it seems, at least
For now, maybe.  It’s a bit like someone saying
What do you do?  To be honest with you, and
I’m not always as honest as I’d like, I’m still
Wondering about that, the what do you do
Thing.  It’s always something, wouldn’t you
Say?  There’s never been a not doing, but
Lately, that seems indeed pleasurable over
Piles of laundry and late bills.  Is that what 
It all comes down to, doing something,
Somewhere, sometime, somehow?  Would
You ask a Palaeolithic hunter the same?
He and/or she is just hungry and all the
Dinner animals are either skittery or way
Too big to bring down.  Every day has a 
Certain melody, sometimes operatic, but
Often, just a sweet song someone hums
Now and then, though lately, more blues
That makes both of us just want to lie
Down and die.  But, thank heavens, we
Don’t as we want to keep listening, even
A little, just to see what tomorrow might
Bring.  Isn’t everyone wondering about 
Tomorrow?  Or hoping for tomorrow?
Some have already dropped dead from
Not knowing about what to do next, but
For others, maybe you, we’re already 
Dreaming way ahead of where we already
Are.  It’s also very possible none of us
Really know what we’re doing, or what
We’ve done, or haven’t done, or don’t
Even know what we should have done.
But like a miracle everyone here keeps 
On doing as that’s why we’re here, just
To do something.  Of course that’s right,
And even if you’re not doing, your old
Brain on life support is still scanning 
The universe for what’s in front of us, 
Wondering, of course, how soon we’ll
Not even have those electrical hot wires
As the way this works out is we don’t
Get to do this very long, even though 
Everyone thinks this certainly could go
On, like forever, and then, forever is 
Already over, and there you are either 
In a tiny box of bones and ashes, or worse,
Just lying like that down below not doing 
Anything again, ever, anymore, anywhere.

©2020 DeWitt Clinton
All rights reserved

Anti-dystopoem

This originally ran in the September issue. We run it again, in memory of Jamie. —Ed.

United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we rise. Alone, we hear only the call
from sirens of an alternative kind of destiny,
where attention seeking soldiers of fortune,
their collegial architects and faceless shadows
construct a new order, birthing the unfamiliar,
wrapped in a matrix of the convincingly familiar.

A weeping iconic mater outwardly gestures
her loving hands with warnings from a handmaid
and her tale of forced labour and social media
generating artificial facts of incontestable
statistical intelligence, promising to remove
uncertainty from uncertain lives, to offer
security in a profoundly insecure way.

Yet, still small voices of independent thought,
unafraid of consequence, reality, insecurity or pain,
continue to echo the inspiration of she, who reasons
encouragingly and compassionately against
the harbingers of our future decline, against
the pornography of privilege and wealth,
against the deniers of equitable, sustainable life.

These voices endure, like those refreshing waters
of a spring that flows from deep inside humanity.

Underneath the radar of the darker web of lies,
they carve in stone the undeniable truth of history.

At the time I wrote this last August, Jamie Dedes, founder and editor in chief of The BeZine, formerly ‘Into The Bardo’, for over ten years, had already stepped down from the roll because of failing health and, in her words, feeling too exhausted from the effort required to maintain the project. Instead she has characteristically shown her faith in the team she has built up, encouraged, nurtured and, above all, imbued with her own enthusiasm for The BeZine‘s mission of promoting Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice, through the medium of the written word and all-coming art forms.

She invited me to get involved in 2013, it seems like an age ago! She said that she found the ‘About’ page in ‘My Poetry Library‘ was the most most impressive she’d ever seen! Come what may, I have never regretted a moment and further often wonder where my motivation would have come from, to write and achieve more than I would have given myself credit to achieve. This is my humble attempt to show my appreciation for her influence on me, alongside other stalwarts like Michael Dickel, who has agreed to take the tiller as Editor in Chief, and the other ten or so members of the core team, who have kept the faith. Not to mention countless guest contributors, all of whom have entered the spirit of a very, very worthy cause. This is as much a tribute to you as it is to Jamie. I salute you all.

I find it both encouraging and, in a strange way, heart warming to know that I actually ran this poem passed Jamie before publishing it in the September edition, because I didn’t want to embarrass her. She was never keen to promote herself in any way, but she did give it a nod of approval.


© 2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

For Jamie—a poem

J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prélude
Yo-Yo Ma, Six Evolutions
——
Recommended as accompaniment to the poem:
Listen to 30 seconds of the music, then read the poem. Let the music guide you. Pause when the words pause. Pause between stanzas. Listen. And at the end, listen to the rest of this amazing cello playing as the words soak into you.

For Jamie

 Thunder, wind and rain last night scattered leaves
 and small branches along the roads, covering cars
 with a blanket of fallen lives. Water that washed
 over the four quarters of Jerusalem—down the faces
 of The Western Wall, Al Aqsa Mosque, The Church
 of the Holy Sepulchre, and into the karst holding these
 buildings—today ropes into rivers threading to The Salt Sea. 

 The currents bubble up in sweet springs along the way.
 En Gedi has quenched thirst for thousands of years,
 watered dates and olives amid weathered stone.
 The sweet water also slips further along,
 ending up riding on top of the mineral-laden
 Yam HaMelech, springing up again fresh
 pure-spirited, greening desert shores.

 You taught us that a life, too, could trace
 such a path across belief and suffering, sink
 into rock-roots, form braids with others, and
 emerge as life-giving water in a parched world. 

Notes for the poem below

Images: Clockwise from upper left: Jamie Dedes, The BeZine files ©Jamie Dedes; Shulamit Spring, En Gedi area, ©2008 Michael Dickel; Hand in Springs, En Gedi area, ©2008 Michael Dickel; Jerusalem’s four quarters, from What makes Jerusalem so holy?, © BBC 2014

Notes for the poem

The four quarters of Jerusalem — The Armenian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Quarters

The Western Wall — the exposed section of wall that enclosed The Temple Mount, Jerusalem

Al Aqsa Mosque — one of the holiest Islamic sites, on top of The Temple Mount

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre — a sprawling complex of a cathedral that encompasses sites associated with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; the management / administration of the complex is divided between several different Christian denominations, the main ones (according to Wikipedia): Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox

The Salt Sea — a literal translation of ים המלח (Yam HaMelech), the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see Yam HaMelech)

En Gedi — the name of an oasis area (now a kibbutz and national park) in the cliffs above The Salt Sea, which has supported human habitation for thousands of years and been a stop-over for travelers for longer. Four springs provide water: En Gedi, En David, En Shulamit, and En Arugot

Yam HaMelech — the transliteration of the Hebrew ים המלח, literally, The Salt Sea, the Hebrew name for what in English is called The Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea); though springing from unrelated roots, the Hebrew מלח (melech — salt) and מלך (melach—king / ruler) sound similar; the word מַלְאָך (melakh, meaning messenger and translated as angel in Biblical texts), also sounds similar to מלח (melech — salt), but shares the root of מלך (melach—king / ruler); Yam HaMelech is associated with the land of Sodom, and there is a salt formation called “Lot’s Wife” in the region

©2020 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved

A Natural Continuum

You will not be forgotten
in a lush forest of life’s lessons,
or on a solitary path into the gloaming.

We feel your presence and hear
a voice leading from your poems. 

Now, in blindness,
what more will you give?

Does hope still hold?
What brings joy?

Your name lives…
in words, in trees

“the only hope is to be the daylight.” ~ W.S. Merwin

© 2020 Antoni Ooto

Antoni Ooto is an internationally published poet and flash fiction writer.
Well-known for his abstract expressionist art, Antoni now adds his voice to poetry.
Reading and studying the works of many poets has opened another means of self-expression. His recent poems have been published in Amethyst Review, The BeZine, The Poet Magazine, The Active Muse, The Wild Word, and a number of journals and anthologies. He lives and works in upstate New York with his wife, poet and storyteller, Judy DeCroce (whose work appears elsewhere in this issue).


©2020 Antoni Ooto
All rights reserved

The Secret of Life

The riptide pulled and weighed us down,
swimming in our shoals.
It bent us in our will to win,
oh weary, sorry souls.
 Oh tiresome, terrifying days
when scholars moved to preach
that all of Christendom was ours,
but always out of reach.
 Oh weary, sorry souls, I cried
for all of us, who're driven,
wherein unconscious mind, so tuned,
lays bare the ego given.
 Always, it seems, beyond our reach,
genetics never fail
to teach us how we must survive,
not how to trim the sail.
 Ego's given winds may blow,
but odysseys must end.
For quests beyond our human bounds,
Inferno may portend.
 Just when this sea of troubles weighed
too much on mortal coil,
the magic of encircling arms
became the perfect foil.
 So I reset the sails for home,
embracing Vesta's heart;
discovered Marais' secret strength:
in concert, ne’er apart.
 © 2013 John Anstie
All rights reserved.
 [Author's Note on this poem is here.]

©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Breathing

inspiration / expiration

 silent blue night
 just before light
 eases tension
 by whispers—
 that moment
 I hear you breathe—
 in-drawn breath spirals,
 a gentle swish,
 brushes on cymbals
 soft shush, shush,
 shush 

©2020 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved

Corona Dogs and How Noble—poems by Karen Alkalay-Gut

Corona Dogs

Now everybody’s got a dog
so they can have an excuse
to get some air.
You can tell which ones were adopted
after Corona appeared
because they really don’t know
the neighborhood
and they sniff around the street
like startled strangers.
They don’t even know
where other dogs live.
They start at the sound
of a local hound
barking, poking its nose
through the gate
of some guarded villa.
We came to the rescue center
too late. All the cages
were empty, and we left
knowing that when this passes
there will be more choices
than ever before.
For now, an alley cat has adopted us,
walks our 30 yard limit
whatever path we follow
knowing there will be lunch
when we get home.
And when it is over,
and the old ladies come out
to feed them again she’ll leave us. And then we’ll get a dog.


How Much More Noble

How much more human
We have become
Now that we can no longer touch
How much more clear
The air we breathe
Now that we can no longer tour
How dear are those we love
When they are far away
And how much more sad to be alone
How much more
We have to learn
How much more we have to live

©2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut
All rights reserved

יהיה טוב It will be alright Photograph ©2020 Michael Dickel Sidewalk art ©2020 Moshe and Naomi Dekel
יהיה טוב
It will be alright
Photograph ©2020 Michael Dickel
Sidewalk art ©2020 Moshe and Naomi Dekel

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


 

Homeless Without

—Anjum Wasim Dar

with you I had a home
full of love and hope
so far away yet close
to the heart and soul
without you, I am homeless
heavy, thoughtless, hopeless,
but deeply grateful, for you
gave me time
in pain and suffering, you lifted
me up in your weakness,
you gave me a home of words
which I always dreamed of,
we lived laughed enjoyed in our
private virtual world, never to meet
yet we met by day , by night
without you, I am homeless.

©2020 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved

Tonight it could be you

—John Anstie
Always in the way, in line of sight, a breed apart
littering the streets like inconvenient broken bags 
of warn out clothes and rain-soaked cardboard.
It’s all right to ignore them; they brought it on
                                                                        … themselves

Our way is best. Respect earned the hard way. 
Why can’t they see the virtue of a Protestant ethic?
These foreigners, incomers, low caste, outcast, black
brown, yellow, red, native, all comers and, yes
                                                                                 … white

entitled upstarts get fat and lazy; love bossing the blind
like the noble Shire who, blinkered, cannot see the whip
like slaves, to earn their keep, their salt, their corn or 
cotton
know their place, like goldfish in an unfurnished bowl
                                                                              … uneducated!

Wondering why they seem to know nothing; have 
nothing?
A disadvantaged cerebral cortex, almost unconscious
of their need for help that rarely comes in time, save 
a coin, for a cup of makeshift anaesthesia, a sort of
                                                                                  … solution.

Aren’t we all strangers. Each of us an insular spec on 
this precious Earth, a mote in the eye of the universe,
plagued by starvation, strife, poverty, climate and tears
corruption, indifference, immunity to hardship
                                                                                  … greed

Do you see eye to eye on every issue with your friends?
agree with your neighbours on the way to keep house?
Do they agree with you, will they ever, will you ever?
How then can broken, ragged human life be so
                                                                             … different?

But they do! They do work hard to stay alive. Deprived 
of something, maybe a failed family, diminishing vision 
of a life fulfilled, but lost somewhere along the way. 
There
but for a mutation of genes, environment and fortune
                                                                              … forbidden.

The title was inspired by the lyrics of Paul Simon’s song ‘Homeless’, a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the Graceland album in 1986. The alternative refrain to “homeless, homeless …” half way through the song is “Strong wind destroy our home, many dead, tonight it could be you.”



Poem ©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Snow Dog

Snow Dog Nelly (Photo: Barbara J Anstie)

—John Anstie

The depth of it exceptional, and all
at once she lies and sits and stands below.
She smiles, then in her mind she skips, her paws
tread deeply in the soft white powdered snow.

An icy East wind hails from far away,
intemperate continental clime it brings,
that covers food so blackbirds cannot find
sufficient energy to brace their wings.

Out there, beyond the hill, the homeless lie,
reciting tunelessly an unheard poem,
they fight an urge to yield to hopelessness,
and longing for a crackling log-fired home.

We look in warmth, contentment unalloyed,
at children with their snow dog, overjoyed.

©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved


Breath of Fresh Air

—Robert Schoelkopf

            I can't breathe!

But my lungs are filled with air
Those first words are of a man
Whose life was taken without care.

They say this is the land of the free, you can be what you wanna be *asterisk
Unless it affects America’s bottom line or politically. They don’t wanna see people lead and be chiefs, they just want people to be non believers and see chaos in the streets. Famous words to DIVIDE and CONQUER but we the people all have a voice, they’ll try and segregate your words like I have a Dream but your Dream can not be the same as mine. You want people to stand for the flag while the flag does not stand for the people, but all lives matter! That sounds like a response of a person who does not understand two simple words EQUALITY and CHANGE, this is America where free thought cost the same as a campaign. It’s some what crazy that we were created EQUAL but that doesn’t mean a damn thing. Again I say I can’t breath and your response? Welcome to America the land of opportunity *asterisk but only white privilege allowed. We allow the KKK to preach free thought, but get bent out of shape when Kapernick took a knee. Guess that goes to show the blind eye really can’t see. So again I say I CAN’T BREATHE! Those words were my last free thought.

It wasn’t free!


©2020 Robert Schoelkopf
All rights reserved


OMG

—Callista Mark

I retract all requests: no need  
to breathe it into my ear: look in your red coat pocket, check
the car cup-holder. If I think of you
embodied (obviously you are not), your
beneficent murmur embraces so much world, your
godly gesture wide and full of comfort, your
outstretched hand wise and warm across
forest, desert, veld; Oh
God, my busy fingers are nimble enough
to search through pockets, parking slips and Costco bills, while
refugee children, at the Syrian border kick
a shabby ball, their fingers too blue for the handling
of it, some already traced with misery and huddled on cold
ground beneath the hapless arms of women there.
From habit, I may
thank you anyway, God, but don’t
on my account send
forth your spirit to the bodies of a team of mine while
somewhere north of Iroquois Falls, a recluse starves and
dies, shrouded in threadbare shawls, her woodpile gone, her cabin colder
than outdoors, her nearest neighbour ignorant of her name. No, they can
win it for themselves — that goes for every team, ignore
those other fans, will you, and look instead
where girls and women slip so easily away, craving
an embrace to hold them fast and safe
in villages which are their homes,
set there in blood-grudge long ago and yanked,
from time to time, away, to punish them
for not being just like us. Since we don’t
seem able, suppose you look their way.
Suppose you take a godly peek at children, OMG,
made soldiers, killers, families ripped away, humanity
macheted from their souls.
Forget the lottery tickets, the interview, the tournament, God.
I’ll find my own keys. Are you
listening? Thank you. Please.

©2020 Callista Mark
All rights reserved


Callista Markotich has had a lifelong career in Education as Teacher, Principal and Superintendent of Education. She lives and writes in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her recent poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, Riddlefence, The Nashwaak Review, Saddlebag Dispatches and Room, where it has received a 2019 poetry award. 


Anticipation

—Judy DeCroce

advancing
toward a canvas of light

something is twisting
pure
worming its way
waking

breaching the crust still small
pale
pulling past the usual stops

growing a change

©2020 Judy DeCroce
All rights reserved


Judy DeCroce, is an American poet/flash fiction writer, educator, and avid reader who began writing flash fiction and poetry in 2006—many of which have been published by Plato’s Cave online, Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, Tigershark Publishing, and The BeZine. Her works have been featured in US, UK, and India.


Self-Analysis by a Moth

—Anjum Wasim Dar

drag
Yet undescribed member of the Order of Lepidoptera of the Paraphyletic group, one of the 160,000 alive on this planet.
Think not of me as a tender butterfly,
though I am a painted lady, breeding
in Royal State. Beware! I am deadly,
my habitat disturbed, not comforting.
I hide and rest by day, not for fear of the
butterfly. I believe in peaceful coexistence,
having a long witch’s nose, not casting spells,
keratin I love, in cashmere, wool, angora, fur.
Yes I often hit the wall. I am confused by light,
but when I fly by it, I frighten the flame. I love
to play the game. I bite, chew from side to side,
hiding in basements, cool fabric folds, inside.
Nature created me to warn mankind of the
temporal world. Whatever lies unused, I eat
and destroy, so the world ends. And I, too, die.
Or else, so delicate, how long can I fly?
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves
break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven,
away from moths and all decay.

(Italics qouted from Matthew 6:19-20 KJV)


©2020 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved

Two Poems — Kat Bodrie

I Just Want to Know Their Names

bodies
Bodies
bodies
 
So many bodies
rotting bodies
Hundreds of bodies

dumped in drainage canals
in plastic bags

buried in fields
patios
yards of homes

dissolved in acid or lye

19 corpses hung from ropes
hacked to pieces

authorities ran out of space
neighbors complained about the smell
killings skyrocketed

cartel lost control
battling that splinter

group
violence
fractured

key
decision-making

Hope

Note: This poem uses text from “In Mexico, a cartel is taking over: Jalisco New Generation” by Mark Stevenson, AP, March 18, 2020.


Meanwhile in China

draconian
assault[s]

1.

wildlife species such as bamboo rats
may have been    hosts
for the    coronavirus
__

a breeder of bamboo rats
a delicacy when grilled
has    not earned a penny
since January
__

In June
he dug a deep pit
and buried [hundreds] alive

“I invested all I had
into this business”

2.

The Chinese government
plunged
more than
330,000 IUDs    in
Uighur residents

all women of childbearing age
__

Side effects can include
headaches
dizziness
nonstop menstrual bleeding

irremovable without special instruments
__

still leaking breast milk
strap[ped] her to an iron chair

electric vacuum
sucked her fetus
__

The IUD
sunk into her flesh

a bitter reminder of
that fear

Note: This poem uses text from “China cuts Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, sterilization” by AP staff, AP, June 29, 2020, and “Pandemic causes China to ban breeding of bamboo rats and other wild animals” by Emily Feng and Amy Cheng, NPR, June 28, 2020.


©2020 Kat Bodrie
All rights reserved


Kat Bodrie’s prose and poetry have appeared in Waymark: Voices of the Valley, West Texas Literary Review, Rat’s Ass Review, and other publications. She lives in North Carolina. Learn more.


Hundreds and Thousands

—John Anstie

One hundred thousand
Poets for change,
so many voices and
carefully chosen words, seem
to be decaying into the void
of the anechoic chamber.

Earthly Fathers praying
for the Establishment,
that sets the stage
and casts its values
in concrete, steel,
plastic…and carbon.

Leaders of the World,
whose balance sheets and
rational, numerate intellect
measure only a notion
of success. What is that?
What is success?

For aren't we just that,
a wealth of rich and
creative intelligence
that is the only hope
for our universe
to understand itself?

Heavenly Mothers ask us
why digitise and monetise
and worship at the alter
of the great god, Thworg,
when we are in the face of
richness beyond measure.

Escape to the stars, if you must,
but answers will be found, not
in the vanity of space-time travel,
but here, with unaided vision
they lie in the green and blue,
right before your disbelieving eyes.

Permit your heart to rule
even if only one day a week, when
the visceral, and the common sense
can overrule logic and intellect, and
that subliminal noise in our head
will slowly awaken the conscience.

Maybe, one day we'll be
Seven Thousand Million
Poets for Change!
Our time will come. Greatness beckons.
It's in the wind, this beating heart,
a movement beyond the gaze of mortals…

©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved


Anti-dystopoem

United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we rise. Alone, we hear only the call
from sirens of an alternative kind of destiny,
where attention seeking soldiers of fortune,
their collegial architects and faceless shadows
construct a new order, birthing the unfamiliar,
wrapped in a matrix of the convincingly familiar.

A weeping iconic mater outwardly gestures
her loving hands with warnings from a handmaid
and her tale of forced labour and social media
generating artificial facts of incontestable
statistical intelligence, promising to remove
uncertainty from uncertain lives, to offer
security in a profoundly insecure way.

Yet, still small voices of independent thought,
unafraid of consequence, reality, insecurity or pain,
continue to echo the inspiration of she, who reasons
encouragingly and compassionately against
the harbingers of our future decline, against
the pornography of privilege and wealth,
against the deniers of equitable, sustainable life.

These voices endure, like those refreshing waters
of a spring that flows from deep inside humanity.

Underneath the radar of the darker web of lies,
they carve in stone the undeniable truth of history.


© 2020 John Anstie
 All rights reserved

At the time I wrote this in August, Jamie Dedes, founder and editor in chief of The BeZine, formerly ‘Into The Bardo’, for over ten years, had already stepped down from the roll because of failing health and, in her words, feeling too exhausted from the effort required to maintain the project. Instead she characteristically showed her faith in the team she built up around her. She encouraged, nurtured and, above all, imbued us with her own enthusiasm for the BeZine‘s mission of promoting Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice, through the medium of the written word and all-coming art forms.

She invited me to get involved in 2013, it seems like an age ago! She said that she found the ‘About’ page in ‘My Poetry Library‘ was the most most impressive she’d ever seen!. Come what may, I have never regretted a moment and further often wonder where my motivation would have come from, to write and achieve more than I would have given myself credit to achieve. This is my humble attempt to show my appreciation for her influence on me, alongside other stalwarts like Michael Dickel, who, as an experienced editor and writer, agreed to take the tiller as Editor in Chief, and the other ten or so members of the core team, who have kept the faith. Not to mention countless guest contributors, all of whom have entered the spirit of a very, very worthy cause. This is as much a tribute to you as it is to Jamie. I salute you all.

I find it both encouraging and, in a strange way, heart warming to know that I actually ran this poem passed Jamie before publishing it in the September edition, because I didn’t want to embarrass her. She was never keen to promote herself in any way, but she did give it a nod of approval.


© 2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

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.
.

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.