A Dream | Imen Benyoub

This ReCollection entry, as the three before it, represents one of the four quarterly themes, as seen in the first issue of The BeZine, October 31, 2014—Life of the Spirit. Our founding editor, Jamie Dedes, was also a photographer. Here we see one of her photos, published in that first issue of The BeZine.

photo 1-2
A jar of tears
Resting on the grass
Beside a stone grave
Covered with diaphanous scarves
Knitted from April sunlight
And pearly beads made of dew
I know she was here

At dawn
She opens up like a black tulip
And in my way to nowhere I see her
Her face is a white cloud
Kneeling in a silent moment of prayer

At twilight
She collects a rising star
And the silver crescent of the moon
And disappears like a column of smoke

Spirits chanting hymns of the night
Lanterns floating
In the silky darkness I follow
A thread of light left behind
To the heart of the woods

Oh guardian with eyes like dark jewels
I am inhabited by a cry
There is a longing in my soul
In the vastness of the night I become a saint
A white dove, a wild flower
Haunting like a memory, aching like a wound
Under your touch

Let me kiss your bare feet
Until the earth gives birth
I want to get lost in the lines of your palm
Baptize me with your tears, with your breath
Until I am light, until I am free
Until the earth and I are one

Poem ©2014 Imen Benyoub
Photo ©2014 Jamie Dedes
All rights reserved

Not Talking | John Anstie

Most issues of The BeZine now have a section called BeATTITUDES, for work that may not be directly related to the theme of that quarter, but in general fit the values and purposes of The BeZine (see our About page to learn more about these). This essay and poem from the first issue, by our current Prose and Music Editor, John Anstie, is a good example of a BeATTITUDE.

photo 2

At the age of one, going on two, telephone calls from my granddaughter, three or four years ago, for a while became a fairly regular as well as welcome and enchanting occurrence. One such call prompted me to write this response.

It addresses that stage in a toddler’s life when they seem to be striving to develop their language skills to communicate with their adult family, but cannot find the words. So I, would pick up the the phone when she called, find myself (like a typical stupid adult) doing too much talking, trying, as we do, to encourage her to say more. What comes back the other way, not surprisingly having been patronised by her grandpa, is mostly silence accompanied by (and this is the truly enchanting bit) mutterings, sing-song tones and breathing, which only fuel my imagination, which rapidly, but mostly unsuccessfully, tries to figure out what it is she is trying to say. The particular phone call to which “Not Talking” is the response was in fact received by our answer phone messaging system, hence I was able to record it for posterity.

Our desire to help them talk can, of course, be dimmed once their newfound ability to talk leads to incessant nattering, which drives us in search of refuge!

But they will always remain an enchantment on our lives and a potential for renewal of our own childhood hopes and dreams.

Not Talking

You called; it seemed from somewhere far away.
You called to say hello in your sweet way.
Not so much with news but how you're feeling;
our talk, not so much an open book as freewheeling.

You called to say your Dad was making tea;
that, whilst you wait, you'd make a call to me.
An inner smile grew as I listened on
to silences between the phrases of your song

that comes from somewhere in your life, so full
of carefree energy and zest, that you just pull
me with you and, yet, wherever it is you go
metaphysically, little do you know

how much it is you say to me, not talking
of all of your imaginings, while walking,
or perhaps you're standing, hearing me,
whilst you contemplate what is for tea.

Whatever it may be that you are thinking
I know you'd love to talk and, in a blinking,
you will, and I'll be thinking: are we blessed
or will we ask, politely, for you to rest?

Essay and Poem ©2010 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Anti-dystopoem | John Anstie

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 and offers lessons learned
by 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 the 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 will 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.

Note from 2020: Jamie Dedes, founder and editor in chief of the BeZine, formerly ‘Into The Bardo’, for over ten years, has 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 2012, it seems like an age ago! I have never regretted a moment and further, I 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.

©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

She Leaps from the Cleavage of Time | Jamie Dedes

she’s present
returned to bite through the umbilical of tradition,
to flick her tongue
and cut loose the animus of our parents,
like a panther she roams the earth, she is Eve wild in the night,
freeing minds from hard shells
and hearts from the confines of their cages,
she's entwined in the woodlands of our psyches
and offers her silken locks to the sacred forests of our souls—
naked but for her righteousness,
she stands in primal light,
in the untrammeled river of dreams
the yin to balance yang
the cup of peace to uncross the swords of war—
through the eons she's been waiting for her time
her quiet numinosity hiding in the phenomenal world,
in the cyclical renewal of mother earth,
whispering to us as the silver intuition of grandmother moon
she, omen of peace birthed out of the dark,
she is the revisioning of the Divine,
non-judgement forms her backbone
her love is unconditional
even as tradition tries to block her return,
her power leaps from the cleavage of time
Original water color by Gretchen Del Rio
Original water color by Gretchen Del Rio ©2013

About this illustration—this lovely watercolor painting by Gretchen Del Rio, with its girl-tree, panther, and other spirit animals seemed the perfect illustration for my poem on the spiritual return of the feminine. The real back-story on the painting is just as interesting. Gretchen says, “I painted this for a 14 year old Navajo girl. It is for her protection and her power. She sees auras and is very disturbed by this. She is just amazing. Beauty beyond any words. You can see into the soul of the universe when you look at her eyes. She has no idea. I loved her the moment I saw her. My blessings for her well being are woven into the art.” Such a charming piece. I posted it full-size so that everyone can enjoy the detail. Bravo, Gretchen, and thank you. —J.D.

Poem ©2013 Jamie Dede
All rights reserved

Jamie Dedes…

…was a Lebanese-American poet and freelance writer. She was the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and later a co-managing editor with Michael Dickel. Jamie was the Poet Laureate of Womawords Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press, as well.

Words aren’t sufficient | Faruk Buzhala

Words aren’t sufficient to describe your pure soul

for my friend, Michael Rothenberg
It’s an honor to have known someone like you, but unfortunate to lose!

You left my friend,
beaten by many challenges
yet unbowed
with your big heart.
You strived to shelter 
all the poets you called brothers.

You encouraged and gave us hope
that the poets would change 
the world for the better.
As for other things, you’d say
Who cares about anything else!
I called you brother,
and you’d call me, my little brother.
I’d ask you about fame,
and you’d say, first me, 
and then if something is left,
I’ll bestow it on you.
You’d poke fun of me,
while comforting at the same time,
showing me how things function.

For the poets, you’d say
academics and professors think they know it all,
and only they know how to write,
but don’t recognize others.
Yet, to be a poet, one
doesn’t need a fancy degree,
but a soul with a poetic sense
that gives life to arrays.
Screenshot of Social Media post
We met in Salerno—
you were close, a kindred spirit
with everyone,
though it was the first time
you met some of us.
So I, with all of you poets,
without knowing you,
accept you here gathered.

You gathered us
and we became as family.

You and Terri,
Drita and I,
I’d explain the meaning of their names
in both languages, Albanian and English.

a person such as you is hard to find,
even harder to become.
Photos from Salerno, Italy
©2015 Michael Dickel
You gave us hope,
as well as support
to act and call out for
Peace, Justice and Sustainability!

You shared the loss
of your only son, Kosmos,
and the loss of your brother,
what tragedy.
You’d worry about your inheritance
as it would all extinguish with you,
as in “The Last Mohican,”
who fought for his essence.
And I’d tell you that
the eternal flame
never gets extinguished.
When we last spoke,
you told me of your cancer
and how worried you were about Terri,
who juggled to care in one room with your health
and the other, 
with therapy for her mother,
who was in a deathbed—
and for Terri, 
death was knocking on two doors all the while,
I overheard you say, take care of Ziggy.
It’s what you told Terri?

Ugh, I felt terrible
watching you from a laptop monitor,
unable to help you
other than comfort you with words.
Yet I was amazed by your strength, 
with which you’d wrap yourself,
not giving up.

When Menka messaged me,
to tell me that you were ill
and that doctors had told Terri
that you had three to four days left,
and only a few hours later a message from Lisa
Michael died last night around 11:00pm. 
He went peacefully.


Michael left us, a voice whispered in my head.

I was dumbfounded.
Tears poured from my eyes
for you my dear friend,
for you who had nothing else, but life in poetry…

Text ©2022 Faruk Buzhala
All rights reserved

Faruk Buzhala…

is a well-known poet from Ferizaj, Kosovo, writing in his mother-tongue, Albanian. He was born in 9 March 1968 in Pristina. He is the former manager and leader of “De Rada,” a literary association, from 2012 until 2018, and also the representative of Kosovo to the 100 TPC organization. In addition to poems, he also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, traveltales, etc. Faruk Buzhala is an organizer and manager of many events in Ferizaj. His poems have been translated to English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Chinese, and are published in anthologies.

Walter Blue | Dennis Formento

for Michael Rothenberg
All poets write about death…
—Bob Rosenthal
So I sit and listen and see you as if
you were really there—but you weren’t—
living in this invisible city, toying
with the idea of an invisible city
an international community 
                                    of poets

As if we were sitting on a bench
in a park where young people run free—
who can’t see the old men just sitting there
minds aglow, but their hands cold—
the invisible city exists alongside the real,
in the lap of the visible—just like
you and I looking at our hands
but not at each other—
                                    but we’re talking
Michael Rothenberg and Dennis Formento
June 2015, Salerno, Italy
Photo collage ©2022 Michael Dickel
I was just thinking of you— and now I hear
I’ll never see you again, I’ve been shielded once more
from death. Deaths I didn’t see—
the invisible deaths of my parents
my mother’s catatonic dementia
my father, alone but happy
deaths by aneurysm, auto crash
kidney disease, black lung pneumonia
murder, cancer. If it is true
that a successful poet who lives a long life
writes more and more about death
then you had your turn—
But no one has to be successful to die
and so I know I’m going
to write about death
whether I’m good at it or not. And seventy-one
is not very old to die, Michael, you had more
                                    to give

Farewell, Michael, struggling with anger
farewell, Michael, cooling arguments on-line
farewell, Michael, with your hand gripping my hand
farewell, Michael, was somebody there
to invite your soul to paradise or
another incarnation where
this life’s imperfections
can be knocked off your human shape 
and will your remains settle into earth and water 
                                    go to ground

Your soul— if there is 
such a thing as soul—
now enters the wind tunnel
to be taken on its way
Grief echoes in large houses
full of empty rooms 
in the house where Terri 
wakes up daily, now alone
speaking to no one until
                                    she’s ready

Which way was your head turned, Michael? 
Where were your hands?  What last words
did you hear?  Who spoke to you, & did you know
when you closed your eyes for the final time
who loved you?  I don’t think angels exist—
but in that final condition you didn’t go unsanctified.
Those were your hands—here are mine. 
Does a dying person remember being born?
Did you know you were sanctified?
Whatever this agnostic wish can be
for you—now—your suffering 
                                    is over.

©2022 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved

All poets write about death: Bob Rosenthal was poet Allen Ginsberg’s assistant at the time of his death, and reported this observation about Allen’s passing in the documentary, No More to Say and Nothing to Weep For, an Elegy for Allen Ginsberg, Optic Nerve productions, Colin Still, director, 2006 [link]. 

Dennis Formento…

…lives in Slidell, Louisiana, USA, near his native New Orleans. Books of poetry include Spirit Vessels and Looking for An Out Place (FootHills Publishing, 2018 and 2010.) Cineplex (Paper Press, 2014,) Edited Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism 1990-2001 and fronted the free-jazz/free-verse band, the Frank Zappatistas. St. Tammany Parish organizer of poetry events for 100,000 Poets for Change, a network of poets for peace, sustainability and justice world-wide.

Yokai | Waqas Khwaja

for Michael Rothenberg
Will someone rescue these demented lines
from the fever and fury of their loss?

The season on fire
the moon is out a-harvesting this fall
its tuft of hair unruly on its brow.

What reckoning awaits?

The past, a wrinkle
a ridge to stumble over
and enter the urn of the hollowed self.

Amigo, are you there?

Call him Michael.
Call him Mike.
He does not hear you anymore.

Beyond the harvest moon
a black-crowned night heron
shakes its wings and prepares to fly.

Can you hear the dwellers of these marshes?
Their odes to the subterfuge that is life?
Hermano, it is you I am trying to reach.

In a blaze of blue flames
the bird is on the wing
its breath glittering gold dust.

But it is dark here.
And the moon has not yet run out of its spite.

Go in peace
for your breath is now spores of light on the wind’s back 
floating across oceans and continents
seeded in the hearts of young and old alike.

One body only you have shed 
and, bird, taken another.

Heron’s take flight
Digital landscape from photographs ©2022 Michael Dickel

©2022 Waqas Khwaja
All rights reserved

Waqas Khwaja…

…has published four collections of poetry, Hold Your Breath, No One Waits for the Train, Mariam’s Lament, and Six Geese from a Tomb at Medum, and a literary travelogue, Writers and Landscapes, about his experiences as a fellow of the International Writers Program, University of Iowa, in addition to three edited anthologies of Pakistani literature, Cactus, Mornings in the Wilderness, and Short Stories from Pakistan. He served as translation editor (and contributor) for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, a Pakistan Academy of Letters project supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, showcasing translations of poems by 44 poets from Pakistan’s national and regional languages. He guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies and another, on Pakistani poetry, for Atlanta Review. Khwaja is the Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English at Agnes Scott College where he teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, The Gothic, Literature of Empire, Victorian novel, 19th century poetry, and Creative Writing.


One Hundred Thousand Griefs | Robert Priest

For Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion
A hundred thousand stars
break over the world
Someone so forever
has gone

A hundred thousand tears
A hundred thousand medical documents burning
A hundred thousand winds bearing away useless smoke
but that voice lives
It leaps the flames 
transcends the page
Robert Priest listening intently
100 Thousand Poets for Change
World Conference, Salerno
©2015 Michael Dickel
Bad medicine didn't stop it
this voice that drew us in
brought us face to face
language to language
He and his beloved
centering a wheel
with a hundred thousand spokes
We came from all around the globe to you
Many threads pulled into one cloth
a garment for change
but now having organized the bards  
you are called
to align the stars
leaving at our centre
a beloved space
sacred with absence

But earth will not be silent
one hundred thousand memories
will guard will amplify what you have left
The shouts that shook Salerno
will shout even louder now 
against the deadlock the gridlocks
of injustice

How dare death take you so soon
How dare grief 
colonize so many throats
wring so many hands

Those lungs that took in life
and bellowed out poetry
that turned air into love
how dare they fail you
feeding aquifer and ocean
with tears
that should have been hallelujahs

©2022 Robert Priest
All rights reserved

Robert Priest…

…is literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist. He is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.

Meyaledet (Midwife) | Julia Knobloch

I am your sister and your mother and the mother
of the children you fathered after you left me
I took you out of your parents’ house
taught you the desire to be free, the need to settle down
I come from a fragrant ocher city
cistern for poets, gate to the heavens
I live in open spaces, near river banks and estuaries
in mountains and in forests
The evening sun renders my skin bronze
I caress the waning shimmer, inhale the smell of fertile soil
humidity -- crescent of creation, essence of intimacy
Earth-bound is my piety
I worship best in nature
I knew shelter, I knew pleasure
I took care of flesh and blood
I skipped barefoot through summer rain
rose pear smell mingling with my pulse
I was courage, I was patience
wine and bread were always on my table
How strange it is, not to be seen
I bestow my lustrous berries
my rocking chairs, my seat in the family car
I am your sister and your mother and the mother of your children.
I carry universes, untold love.

©2022 Julia Knobloch
All rights reserved

Instant of Heaven
Photograph ©Daisy Tsvete

Julia Knobloch…

…is studying to be a rabbi as well as being a poet and literary event organizer. As part of her studies, she is living this year in Jerusalem.

Website / Blog Linked

Vision of Hope | Nicole Triscari

Envision— a word packed full of hope 
And purpose. A race. An attesting to
The profound moments that start with a 
Smile— while getting to know you through 
Other school-related means, meaning 
How we know one another before is history 
The door for mystery stands with thick 
Hinges on these broken lands
Pain cries out and tension is thick in 
Cities, where bricks are used to 
School the Black, Brown and White bodies. 
Intentions may be good — wasn’t 
Meant to hurt nobody! 
Sharpened pencils are the least of these 
Kids’ worries when guns are packed 
With lead. 
Full of pride, you started with
A crown — a frown I could not make 
Growing up in the capital of your state 
Of mind. 
The crown fell some years ago, 
Disappointed to see the fractures of 
Race, could create an earthquake. 
Make no mistake from the city in which 
We are born from—
Built from Native Americans 
These hills which 
Runners take breaks
Someone else was supposed to clean you up! 
Make you a dreamland for all who came 
Instead of creating fear 
Where people have nothing to be but nice. 
No one knows how to just be; restless bodies 
Create an enemy of trust 
Come, Lord Jesus!
This is my war cry 
Taking that with my passions 
Lust for change is tame 
There is hope in the reframing and a 
Friendship gained. 

©2022 Nicole Triscari
All rights reserved

A New Pennine Way
©2022 Gerry Shepherd

Nicole Triscari…

…is a blogger, mother of one (and one on the way!), and teacher. She is currently a stay-at-home mom, who is passionate about poetry, education, and creating a home that welcomes people.


Regrets | Holly Day


I feel I have failed my children
Because they’ve never been on safari
I’ve never taken them to the ocean
They’ve barely left this state. I comfort myself

With thoughts of children crying in airplanes
Getting seasick, carsick, memories
Of how poorly I traveled when I was a child. 
I’m saving them from having these memories themselves. 

Years from now, they’ll hate me
For not introducing them to elephants
Or whales, or seals in their natural habitat
Never get to see herds of giraffes or horses or antelopes
Loping across far-off arid plains.

©2022 Holly Day
All rights reserved

Holly Day…

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

Pandemic Learning | Linda Chown

Pandemic Learning

Dylan Thomas wrote "Death Shall Have No Dominion"
And we are learning how near it is, how uncertain life is now.
We need to stipple our moment,
Make every second resound with deepest glory,
tell that story double time.
Perhaps the fear will bring us nearer to writing a new story
To love each other obsessively and newly
With the desire of new hearts,  
undominated souls.

©2022 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

Linda Chown…

…is a poet professor musician who now lives in Michigan although her past is coastal: Spain and California. Author of four books of poems and currently finishing her next book, Sunfishing, Linda is a life-long activist, sun lover and dreamer. A hopeless romantic, sometimes inequities everywhere drive her to despair and to writing action.

Remember Me and Return | Isadora De La Vega

Darkness Together
digital landscape from photographs
Michael Dickel ©2022

Remember Me and Return

Darkness covers me like a blanket
Shadows surround my thoughts
My arms wrap tightly around me
Deserted, no one home

You keep me isolated 
My only friend, just you
Smiles ne’er intrude our space
With you, I’m safe and whole

The thorns of my emotions
Keep rising from deep inside
Always in your shadows
Always in your arms

I cannot see the rose
Only thorns of pain
Madness all around me
It keeps me huddled tight

Tomorrow won’t be different
It will always be the same
Fear keeps me shaking
My spirit is tattered, worn

Darkness gives me comfort
Forever, all alone
My prayer is you’ll 
Remember me and return home

©2022 Isadora De La Vega
All rights reserved

Isadora De La Vega…

…biography goes here, with ellipses in front. Link to known social media accounts, website, and / or blog. Delete the words if no links. Edit the Find the The BeZine button link to include the names where it says FirstName and LastName. If there are more than two names, add a plus-sign (+) and additional names, in order. Add Social Media links if we have (do not need to, but can delete the social media block if none). Replace art to the left with a photo. (Use the NO photo block if there isn’t one, not this block).

Website / Blog

Psalm 6 | Millicent Borges Accardi

I am worn out from groaning.
People: mother, father, baby, child, 
toddler, student, woman, man.
The grandmother who yells
In Russian at the young soldier
To tuck sunflowers in his front pocket
Because when he dies his body will sort
Out into new blooms on the land
Of Ukraine, that the yellow suns
Will redeem themselves, breaking
Through shrapnel and Molotov
Cocktail remnants, and disappear,
like cloth, the children’s cancer ward 
bombed out, at its corner seams. 
the teenager named Kira,
Waiting with her conure parrot for three
Days in line to get into Poland
Those underground like the sunflower
Seeds, hiding from the night afraid
And implosions of fear they cannot 
Show to their children as they clutch
Lego backpacks to chests and look 
At the blue for signs of sky and yellow 
For the wheat fields. We are kind, 
we are peaceful. We will feed you hot tea, 
the Kyiv men say, we will help you to get home.
Nightmare slumber, boyhood, February,
Winter, imagining, omen, flying sleep.

One Fish, Two Fish
Geli Print, ©2022 Julia Bentley- Mcdonald
Used by permission

©2022 Millicent Borges Accardi
All rights reserved

Millicent Borges Accardi…

…is a Portuguese-American writer, author of four poetry collections, most recently Through a Grainy Landscape (New Meridian Arts 2021). Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright, CantoMundo, California Arts Council, Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Covid grant), Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana (Portugal), and the Barbara Deming Foundation, “Money for Women.” She lives in Southern California, in the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon.


The Poem in which I Run Out of Names | Adesina Ajala

Tonight bears in its wings the dirge of a thing clattering 
the world in its teeth.

Shrapnel & bombs ricochet that way & this way, shelling
cities into rubble.

& people scamper for safety, force themselves into the mouth 
of another country because their birthplace has become 

a lapping fire. Reminds me of Afghans thronging the bodies 
of planes in Kabul after Taliban takeover. Whenever war news 

grip me before the TV screen, I reach for the brink of silence. 
Tonight, I'm at the brink of silence. Tonight, I hear soft moans
©2022 Engin-Akyurt
in Kyiv. This night, sighs run deep in Kharkiv. A Ukrainian 
woman hurls her baby into arms, running for the borders, 

afraid to look at the things bombs have eaten halfway, 
afraid of turning into a pillar of ruin. Tonight, my lines 
reek of bloods, my hand is too heavy to continue this poem.
Come & see bloods stroke the skin of ego. Come & see bloods

oil the wheels of politics. Come, come & see blood murals on the walls 
of Kherson. Every night, after switching between Aljeezera & BBC 

like a pendulum, I borrow new names to numb my pains. Now, I'm 
running out of names. I think of the journeys the people of Ukraine 

are unwilling to make. I think of the split gap between beauty & ruins. 
Each night, after the war correspondent's voice weans off my ears, 

I run my palm over my skin & collect into a soulful soliloquy 
of bloodied flesh & things smouldering. Tonight, a breaking news
about this war lingers over my TV screen. & the reporter says it 
with a certain weight in her voice as if she were drowning. I watch
a woman sated with the burden for home says to a Russian 
soldier, Take these seeds so sunflowers grow when you die
here. I clasp my palms in prayers, clogged words rippling down 
my throat: Peace for Ukraine, for Russia, for everyone running.

©2022 Adesina Ajala
All rights reserved

Adesina Ajala…

…a Nigerian writer, poet & medical doctor, is currently in the 2022 Cohort of the Global Arts in Medicine Fellowship. His poem, “A dirge of Broken Things” wins the 2020/2021 Poetic Wednesdays Initiative Contest. He also win the Ayamba LitCast Essay Contest with his piece, “Daffodils and the Promise of Rebirth” in 2021. His works appear in Afritondo, Mbari, Nantygreens, The Red Letter Journal, The Nigeria Review and elsewhere.

Poems on Peace | Bruce Black

Who gives the order

Who gives the order to fire 
and who aims the gun
and who is the target
and whose life is stolen
and who weeps with regret for what is lost
and who will raise a flag of truce to stop the insanity
and who will be the first to utter the word: peace?

Sunflowers for the people of Ukraine
©2022 Marlene McNew

Where did peace go?

Was it frightened by the sound
of rockets falling?

Did it run away
to hide in the nearest
bomb shelter?

Is it huddled with the
children in the dark
space under the rubble?

Is it hiding from war,
from anger and rage,
unwilling to risk
returning until
the fighting stops?

Is it caught in this endless
tug-of-war, each side claiming
ancient injustices, bruises, rebuffs?

Is it burrowing deeper into
the safe room or shelter
to avoid the conflict?

Or is it missing in action, 
protecting a body 
concealed in the

Or carried
on a stretcher 
into what’s left of a

Or maybe it’s weeping
over each life lost, 
unable to keep count— 
Arab, Israeli—each life
lost a precious life, 

©2022 Bruce Black
All rights reserved

Bruce Black…

is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Vermont College. His poems and personal narratives have appeared in Soul-Lit, Poetry Super Highway, Atherton Review, Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Poetica, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL.

Waging Peace | Benedicta Boamah

An assimilated dart,
Unsustained long-standing insurgencies,
the sequelae of ambience & peculiarity in holds of dynamism,
Seeping & entrenched; an unrest of sustenance,
Stability has a rare affluence on significant truces left in the dark, 
Peace can only stay when there's a joint act of benevolence.
The air that surrounds an apneic state of no riots,
Breathless & proportionate the heaps of unsettled upheavals.
Revolts of unfairness in a time of undeserving merciless acts,
Divulged & presented in a predominant maneuver,
It hits like a collective pulse of pain,
It hits with an error of silence, 
It hits with tentative overlooked & unconcerned shuns,
©2022 Anne Nygard
It hits with a creeping creed of pain,
It hits like the past,
Yields with no dividends,
The packs of life.
A time to wage peace from obscurities,
an ousted onset of the past.

©2022 Benedicta Boamah
All rights reserved

Benedicta Boamah…

…is a skilled nursing officer in  emergency cardiovascular care which is provided for short term contracts in various prestigious organisations. Benedicta writes poetry during her leisure periods. I was born in Bloemfontein, Free State, though a Ghanaian, and completed my degree program as a professional nurse in Garden City University College in Kumasi, Ghana.I’m the fourth and last child and as it stands my parents are retired lecturers. Currently, I have a personal blog on WordPress and a partner organisation that deals in emergency courses and live webinars. I have an inner passion to write daily from the heart in making a difference as a poet in an outstanding literary world.

BB Vintage (WordPress Blog)

Translating the Ukraine, Letters from a Young Cousin in Odessa | Debbi Brody

Daughter of a broken arm,
legs drove the wheels,
shot down at the speed
of a black jeep.

The evening moved to make things 
square. Details in bags and rustling bills.

Our nation is ready 
to give his last shirt.

Vladimir’s cathedral and walking
on subway cars with dull drawling.

A guy cleaned paws off my shoulder,
walked to the exit of transition, 
he graduated with grief in half,
three classes.

But all this being said, the flowers.
Photograph ©2022 Natalia Twardy
from Pexels

Poem ©2022 Debbi Brody
All rights reserved

Debbi Brody…

…is an avid attendee and leader of poetry workshops. She has been published in numerous national and regional journals, magazines and anthologies of note. She judges poetry contests around the nation. Debbi’s strong voice ranges from narrative to lyric, short to lengthy, grief filled to joyous, inner to outer landscapes and politics. The deep influences of the surrealist, modernist and beat poets sing through her collections of clear, tough, tender and fantastical poems. She is the author of three chapbooks as well as two full length poetry collections. In Everything, Birds, is her second full length collection published by Village Books Press, (OKC, OK 2015)and was awarded an inaugural Margaret Randall Book Prize in Poetry. Her newest chapbook is Walking the Arroyo (2020-Cyberwit Books).