Elusive Peace

I turn on the morning news and my sense of well-being is smothered by the countless acts of violence that are reported daily…a harangue of horrendous behaviors has become the norm outnumbering acts of kindness by a landslide. Seventy year-old woman raped…15 year old girl jumped by a gang of boys and beaten…a five year old has disappeared and never been found.

Let’s not talk about war, violent conflicts where more than a thousand people have died in a year. “Rumors of war, and war” a reality…war in the Middle East…war in Africa…war in Europe…war in Asia.. Then there are deadly conflicts in the United States, China, and South America as well as the terroristic testing of missiles in North Korea. Will there ever be peace?

The news rains heavily in my heart, at times flooding my vision. Yet my spirit continually rises capturing that moment of harmony when the notes of life create a beauty that arises from ‘waging peace’ within my heart then sends messages of hope throughout my soul. I am one of those fortunate human beings born into a loving, nurturing family…a black family.

So I was emotionally secure in spite of racism and the many atrocities being committed against black people. I was emotionally secure in spite of the Cold War between Russia and the United States and all the ant-communist sentiment infiltrating every aspect of our lives. I was emotionally secure in spite of my mother having to raise my brother and I without a father figure.

I come from a family of teachers. Discussion of current events within the family circle was a norm for me growing up. Attending political rallies was a given. I remember the joy hearing Dr. King speak at the Oakland Auditorium in California as a child. I was restless listening to all the speakers but when Dr. King was introduced I was totally mesmerized by his sonorous melodious voice calling my child spirit to action.

I remember the joy as a teenager listening to Malcom X in 1961 at the local YMCA in Berkeley, CA. He had been banned from speaking at the University of California campus. I was truly captivated by his analytical dissection of the black man’s condition. He set my soul afire with a desire for a mindset change.

I remember with joy the Saturday morning picket lines ‘waging peace’ in front of Woolworth’s supporting the Sit-in movement started by students in Greensboro NC who were refused service at Woolworth’s lunch counter because they were black. I marched and sang across San Francisco demanding upfront jobs for the many invisible people living in the Bay Area. I marched into the Black is Beautiful self-awareness era developing my Afrocentric concepts and confidence.

The Vietnam War simultaneously loomed on the horizon. My brother and a few of my male friends were drafted and sent off to a war with no end. Some of the young men declared themselves conscientious objectors, others fled to Canada. The voices of protesters against the war grew stronger and stronger ‘waging peace’ at a war that had been going on for years.

Even when it ended there were no winners, no ticker tape parades for returning soldiers only PTSD with its ghoulish nightmares reaching from the war torn jungles of Vietnam down through the years constantly bombarding veterans with images of fallen comrades and the horrors of war. I thank God that my brother survived and that my friends survived as well and came home. History just repeats itself over and over again. Will we ever learn?

It’s amazing how many of us can still find joy in the midst of chaos and confusion despite the vicissitudes of life often times leaving us reeling. Yet our resilient spirits find gratification in births, birthday celebrations, education, graduations, weddings, jobs, retirement…and satisfaction in a life filled with storms yet well spent. Dates have relentlessly peeled off the calendar yet the condition of man remains the same.

The United States is a country at odds with itself and this internal turmoil has existed from its inception. Greed, racism, hatred, and war are never ending cycles in which good versus evil. Evil was and still is camouflaged by the cloak of Christianity which is the complete antithesis of the teachings of Jesus. The moral clock measuring tentative progress has been set back by the current administration enabling hate once more to demonstrate its draconian venom.

But the women have been ‘waging peace’ the last four years in January making their voices heard on high-waving the banner for justice for all, not only in Washington, DC, but with sympathy protests throughout this country, and in some places around the world…the beat of their feet marching through the streets…the beat of love, the beat of peace, the beat of tolerance, the beat of integrity, the beat of victory.

At 74 years young I am director of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry in Newark, NJ. We are a faith based organization addressing a basic need of people…food. It’s a travesty of fairness that in a country as wealthy as ours that there should be hungry people but unfortunately there are. We are ‘waging peace’ in our community by providing a place where people can come for a moment of solace in a nurturing environment, and receive delicious food, spiritual nourishment, and respite from the daily deluge of issues found in confronting the clutches poverty.

Justice battling hypocrisy and the loss of hope seeks to light the way through darkness and despair. A call for action ‘waging peace’ has been issued. Poets, writers let your words be music to the soul…let a collaboration of the arts march together raising banners of peace that will start to pierce hardened hearts. Let the atmosphere fill with tears then rain happiness into rivers overflowing with a new found gratitude.

Let the paint brushes splatter the sky with a brilliance of rainbow colors that sing of completion. Let the voices of humanity join together in a new song…the voices of unity shaking the foundation of being…heralding in a new beginning.

© 2020,  Tamam Tracy Moncur


TAMAM TRACY MONCUR was born in Oakland, California. She attended elementary school in Oakland and attended middle and high school in Berkeley. She loves to write and has been doing so from the time she was a teenager. She was a civil rights activist in San Francisco prior to relocating to the East Coast. She met her husband, renowned jazz musician Grachan Moncur III in New York City. They were burned-out and relocated to Newark, NJ, her husband’s home. Six children were part of this union, and while having children she attended both Essex county College, and Rutgers University receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree and two certifications, one in Music Education and the other in Elementary Education.  She taught for 25 years in the Newark Public School System.

Tamam in the past has worked with her husband arranging musical compositions and performing.  In her spare time, she has self-published several poetry booklets, co-produced a CD of music and poetry, and collaborated with her family to produce a play that her mother wrote. She also has written a journal sharing one year of her teaching experiences in Newark, NJ entitled Diary of an Inner-City Teacher, a project quite close to her heart.

She retired from teaching in 2010, simultaneously receiving a scholarship to attend the International School for Restorative Practices located in Bethlehem, PA. She received her Master of Science Degree in Restorative Practices in 2014. Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice can change mindsets and transform lives.

Tamam has served as a restorative practitioner within the school setting and community settings. She’s currently director of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry, a faith-based organization that serves the community by either serving hot delicious meals and or giving out food boxes provided by the local food-bank.  The environment is restorative and nurturing for people who are experiencing hardship because of trying times.and economic uncertainty.


 

A Palace of Bird Beaks

The Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon bearing opulent gifts, and hoping to see if he was as wise as the stories claimed.

“What can I offer in return?” asked Solomon. “Only ask, and it shall be yours.”

The queen had also heard that Solomon spoke the language of the birds, but didn’t believe it. Here was her chance to kill two birds with one stone.  “Build me a palace made entirely of bird beaks,” she said, “if you can.”

“Oh, I can, ” boasted Solomon.  “You shall have it.”

To her amazement, Solomon summoned the birds, from every corner of the earth.

 

They heeded his call…

 

….from the tiniest hummingbird…

 

…to the majestic eagle.

 

“We’re going to make our nation the envy of the world,” he told his gathered flock, to the cheering of the birds.

 “But I need your beaks to build a palace.”  And the birds bowed their heads and wept.

 

“Stop fussing,” said the king.  “Everyone dies sooner or later.  Believe me, I know more about that than anyone else in the world.”   The king scanned his gathered flock as they waited to die.  “Where is the hoopoe bird?  Why isn’t she here?  How dare she defy me?”

 

Breathlessly, the hoopoe swooped in to land at his feet. “Forgive my late arrival, Sire. I’ve come from the ends of the earth, and I’ve seen so much along the way. I’ve even learned three things you don’t know.”

(photo in public domain)

 

“Really?”  King Solomon frowned.  “A lot of people say I’m the smartest king that ever lived.  I know more than anyone, about pretty much everything in the world.  What could you possibly know that I don’t?  Tell me quickly, before I take your beak.”

The other birds trembled, fearful that Hoopoe would upset the king, for they knew that he didn’t like his genius questioned.

 

“Sire,” asked Hoopoe, “do you know who it is that was never born, nor will never die?”

“Of course, I do!  The Lord of the Universe…

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…the Creator, who made the sky above us…

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…the earth we stand on…

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…every blade of grass…

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…every creature that walks…

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…or swims…

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…or crawls.

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King Solomon hesitated.   “Or flies.

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Solomon looked at the birds…

 

…each one magnificent…

 

…each in its own way…

 

…..each one created by the Lord of the Universe…

…and who had also made Solomon, and blessed him with wealth, power, and responsibility.

“What’s the second thing?” asked Solomon irritably.

“Sire, do you know what kind of water rises not from the earth nor falls from the sky?”

“Of course, I do!  It’s a tear that falls from the eye, born of sorrow.”

Solomon looked at the birds, their heads bowed, tears flowing, as they waited for him to chop off their beaks.  Might he have acted rashly in agreeing to build a palace of bird beaks?  But the Queen of Sheba, the whole world was watching, and he thought, “A promise is a promise.”

“One last question, Sire,” said the hoopoe.  “Do you know what is so delicate that it can put food into the mouth of a baby, yet is strong enough to bore holes into the hardest wood?”

“Of course, I do.  It’s a bird beak,” said the king.

(Photo by Amanda Lightfoot)

 

“Yes,” he repeated, “a bird beak, of course.”

 

Solomon looked upon the great gathering of birds, whose lives and children were as precious to them as his own were to him…

 

In his arrogance, he’d promised to build a useless palace to fulfill a selfish whim, and to make his own subjects pay for it, without considering the cost in blood and tears.  And he knew what he must do.

 

“Hoopoe, you’ve demonstrated courage for daring to resist this injustice.  I shall not demonstrate my power by destroying the defenseless.  You have helped me understand that my true power is in resisting my own cruel impulses.”

King Solomon turned to the Queen of Sheba.  “A truly wise and worthy leader must never be so proud that he can’t admit his mistakes, or do what he must to right a wrong.  There will be no palace of bird beaks, now or ever.”

The queen smiled and nodded.  “I came here to take the measure of a man, and I believe I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.”

 

Except where noted, all words and images ©2020 Naomi Baltuck

NAOMI BALTUCK (Writing Between the Lines)~ is the Zine’s Resident Storyteller.  She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE.

Naomi conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com.

Naomi says, “When not actually writing, I am researching the world with my long-suffering husband and our two kids, or outside editing my garden. My novel, The Keeper of the Crystal Spring (Viking Penguin), can be read in English, German, Spanish, and Italian. My storytelling anthology, Apples From Heaven, garnered four national awards, including the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice. I am currently working on a contemporary women’s novel.”

Strange Fire

Trumpy(un)Liberty
The words are the 2017 (POTUS inauguration) version of a 2012 poem.
The image appeared with the words below it in Meta/ Phor(e) /Play as: “An (anti-)Inauguration Poem.”

©2020 Michael Dickel
Multi-media and Audio ©2020; Poem ©2012–2017; Digital Landscape (image) ©2017.
Earlier versions of the poem, audio, and  mulit-media appeared on The BeZine in 2018 with three other multi-media poems here.


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


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.


1919 ~ A Story of Peacetime

As Alice put another cold compress on Frankie’s forehead, I had my hand on her shoulder and felt it heaving up and down.

“Don’t cry, Alice,” I said. But when I looked in her eyes, they were dry. What I felt was not sobbing. She’d been suppressing her coughs, so she wouldn’t wake Frankie.

“It’s okay, honey. I’ll take over now,” I said.

“Thank you, Frank,“ Alice said, pressing her burning cheek to mine. As she left the room, I heard her cough…hard.

For a year, I’d seen buddies die in front of me, nearly ripped in half by German Maxim machine guns, wrong place/wrong time in an artillery barrage, and now a cold that killed in only a few days. I’d seen it France. I was told by some of the boys soldiers were dropping like flies at Fort Riley in Kansas. We slid more than twenty over the side of the Liberty ship bringing us home to the States. They told me it had hit New York City, too.

I was beginning to feel guilty about how some folks were saying we Doughboys brought the sickness back to America, this Spanish Influenza. I didn’t need that kind of help. War can make a guy feel guilty all on his own.

Frankie murmured something and started coughing, a weak, choking sound, so I propped him up a little more. But I knew even that wouldn’t help much.

I’d gone to France because I was drafted, not to make the world safe for democracy.

I fought there to take care of my buddies, but you can’t take care of someone vaporized by an 88mm shell dropped on his head.

I stayed alive to get home to Alice and Frankie, to see my boy grow up. To feel the warmth of my wife again. Tonight I felt feverish heat.

I heard the bed springs ring in the next room, then heard Alice cough again. And again. And again.

You feel so helpless at a time like this, no matter who you are or what you’ve experienced in life. How do you prepare for this? How do you prepare for dying by the hundreds and thousands? Or one at a time.

Frankie tried coughing again and he sounded like he was drowning and I could barely take it anymore. Such suffering for a kid. He opened his eyes and looked at me that same way. And that day broke through the thin crust I’d try to grow over the memory.

I saw that German kid in the middle of that shell hole again. It was full of water that had this yellow-green scum on top of it – the residue of their mustard gas.

Me and my buddy Charlie Oakley had him covered with our Springfields and motioned for him to come out. But he wouldn’t. He just kept yelling – no, screaming – “Hilf mir, bitte.”

Then the boy, he wasn’t more than seventeen, I’d guess, he kind of fell over and his face went into the water. And he looked like he had shrunk by about a foot. He fell again and between the stagnant water in the shell hole and that Mustard residue, he started choking, drowning really.

Charlie said, “Shit, the kid’s stuck in there. Bottom of the hole must be all mud. I’ll fetch him.”

“Let him go, Charlie. He’s just another Kraut,” I said and spit into the water.

But Charlie was a preacher’s kid from North Carolina and it was obvious since all the way back in training at Fort Slocum that his mama raised him a real Christian gentleman.

Charlie slogged around to the far side of the crater and slid about halfway down. You could see how he was trying to figure out how he could reach the kid.

“Hey, Frank, come over here. Hold my hand and I think I can grab this kid’s collar,” he said.

The mud in France is a living thing, you know, a monster that’ll suck your boots right off your feet and then eat your toes for dessert. As I clopped-plopped over to Charlie, the mud in that shell hole must have had enough of the German kid and it decided to try an American.

Charlie’s feet slid out from under him and, like on a sliding board, he flew out over the edge and fell flat on his back in that poison water and sticky mud. I ran over as fast as I could, but I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t see the German kid anymore, either.

“Charlie!” I screamed. I mean I screamed. Then I saw his head bob back above the water. But that was all I saw.

“Frank! Help me! I don’t want to die like this. Help me, buddy.” Then he went under again.

He came back up, but all I could hear was this gurgling in his throat. His eyes were wild then they settled down. Just his face was above the water now. He stared at me like a yellow-green picture of Jesus in Gethsemane. Kind of pleading. And I knew what he wanted me to do.

I remembered what Jesus said that night. I looked into Charlie’s eyes and said, “Father, remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

Charlie sort of nodded and I raised my rifle and squeezed off the most difficult shot I ever took, even though my target was only seven feet away. Charlie disappeared, but the image of his face didn’t. Never will.

Frankie stirred again, shaking me out of this memory. I saw the whole thing in but a second or two. This time Frankie’s breath came like a fingernail swiped on a washboard. It sounded so much like guys who’d caught just enough gas to singe their throat and lungs, but not kill them. Not until they got to the hospital in Étaples. Then they’d get sick, dying there a day or two later. Fever. Lungs giving out.

Like Frankie’s did that night. Honest, they did. Alice lasted two more days. I’d been home three weeks and I can’t help but wonder. Did the influenza kill them or did the war?

Last night, I had that nightmare again where Frankie and Alice are neck-deep in the water and mud of that shell hole and pleading with me to save them. I raise my rifle, but just as i bring my rifle to my shoulder, I woke up. I eventually fell back asleep.

But then, a new dream. I hear the scream of that 88mm shell and it’s falling on top of me instead. I wake up and I realize it’s been me screaming. Again. But that 88mm falling on me?

Oh, how I wish.

© 2020, Joe Hesch

JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words)  is a member of the Zine core team, a writer and poet from Albany, New York. His work appears or is forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including Cossack Review, Frontier Tales Magazine, Pine Hills Review, the 2017 Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Anthology, as well as the anthologies Petrichor Rising and For the Love of Christmas. His poetry collections, “Penumbra: The Space Between” and “One Hundred Beats a Minute” are available on Amazon.com. He’s currently working on his first collection of stories, all based on his fascination with the American frontier, whether it’s upstate New York in the 17th and 18th Centuries or the Nebraska plains and Arizona deserts of the 19th. You can visit him at his blog A Thing for Words.  He can be found on Twitter at @JAHesch and his Amazon page is Joseph Hesch, Poet and Writer.

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.

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.


 

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.