Spring 2021

Volume 8                  March 15, 2021                  Issue 1

Introduction & Table of Contents

Contents

The  BeZine

Volume 8                  March 15, 2021                  Issue 1

SustainABILITY

Cover art: Sadness of Water
Kat Patton

Colored Pencil, 11″ X 14″


Introduction

This month’s issue of The BeZine, on SustainABILITY, comes at a time when we struggle to sustain our health, our societies, and our planet against difficult and challenging times. Pandemic, political extremism, and the climate crisis collide in a “perfect storm” of disruption. Yet, with resilience and resolve, we struggle with the challenges, and at our human best, some of us do manage to work together respectfully to face them.

The writers, musicians, and artists in our Spring issue approach all of those challenges to sustaining ourselves day to day and more. They come from Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Kenya, Kosovo, Pakistan, Portugal, the UK, Zimbabwe, and the US. I am writing this at The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. The diversity of perspectives and approaches to the challenges we face and the path forward will provoke and inspire readers. Most of all, we hope that the artists and writers in The BeZine will help you, dear readers, to sustain your spirit, creativity, and dignity in some small way or other.

Some changes

With this first issue of our eighth volume (year), you may notice some changes. Most of the changes are tweaks here and there to the visible look of the pages. One very visible change is the Table of Contents below—this is a first step in a work in progress. Using a technical, behind-the-scenes tool of WordPress, the entries in our ToC are now automatically generated. As we learn to use the tool better, we will refine the formatting. 

Also new this issue, there is a button at the top of the ToC for browsing the whole issue. If you click on that, you will arrive at the “Cover.” As you scroll down, you will see this Intro and ToC again. However, keep on scrolling and you will be able to see all of the pages of the journal. Just keep scrolling to keep reading.

And, in case you want to come back to the ToC, you will find a button to do just that at the bottom of each content page—it is a small version of Kat Patton’s wonderful cover art. 

During this year we will continue to work on the look, feel, and design of The BeZine. In our way, this is how we are working to sustain the Zine, in the hopes that this will make a better experience for you, our readers.


  

Table of Contents

For Jamie…


BeATTITUDES


Poetry


Photo Essay


Fiction

…an Introduction



This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-3-33.png

The BeZine

Be Inspired…Be Creative…Be Peace…Be 

Spiritual Practice

Facebook

Twitter

Submissions


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Photo: Untitled IV, Jamie Dedes ©2020

For Jamie…

More Tributes for Jamie… — John Anstie

In this edition of the BeZine we have once again dedicated a section to tributes, elegies, eulogies and poems for Jamie Dedes, because the period between her passing in November and the publication of the December issue, was so short that we barely had a chance to breathe, take it all in and capture all the contributions from her many friends and fans.

One very notable friend and, it needs to be elaborated, a very important collaborator in the early days of Jamie’s mission, giving no uncertain weight to the establishment of ‘Into the Bardo’ and eventually the ‘BeZine’ was someone, who was otherwise know as the ‘CloakedMonk’. This is the Rev. Terri Jane Stewart. 

After the December edition the BeZine went to press, I caught up with Terri, who was in shock at the news of Jamie’s passing and feeling unable to offer anything except the following, very honest and heartfelt, response.  At this point it is worthy of mention that Terri’s daily work involves administering to the needs of people in the community, many of whom are already very challenged by life, but which last year will also have involved dealing with the tragic effects of the pandemic.  To end the year with the loss of a close personal friend will have been as much as any human being would ever hope to cope with.

Here is what Terri had to say to me in December… 

This year has been full of tremendous sorrow. I have been unable or unwilling, perhaps, truly to process what the loss of Jamie means to me personally. I have a special gift for ducking and weaving away from uncomfortable feelings until such a time as they smack me in the face. I think we all do that sometimes. 

Jamie and I met so many years ago as two kindred spirits in the internet space, trying to create more justice, more peace, more kindness and more understanding. I am proud of the legacy that Jamie built and that we were privileged enough to journey with her on this mission. I am sure that her spirit is with us in every movement towards justice and inclusion. I miss her greatly, even while knowing that she is still with us.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer a few small reflections.” 

Since these words just before Christmas, Terri has been kind enough to send me a much fuller account, which provides more history, insight and colour to her friendship and collaboration with Jamie and, as will be revealed, that Terri clearly played a major part in the eventual establishment of what we have come to know and love as ‘The BeZine’.

I would like to offer our thanks to Terri for taking the time to write for us. I have found it very helpful to read, in just the same way as attending Jamie’s memorial service before Christmas, organised for us by her son, Richard, his wife, Karen Fayeth and Jamie’s cousin and lifelong friend, Daniel Sormani, who cast much more light on Jamie’s life going way back to the start of her life’s journey in New York. 

Terri’s response in many ways provides an introduction to how it all began, but there are several more personal contributions to the many memories of Jamie Dedes, from those who did not get a chance to submit to the December issue or for those who have more that they would like to say about that personality, with whom we shared so much and to whom we owe so much …
here’s to G Jamie Dedes.

John Anstie
March 2021


©2021 John Anstie
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Friendship, Shared Values and Common Goals — Terri Stewart

I can’t even remember what year it was that Jamie and I connected via online poetry sharing parties. They were those challenges inviting you to post your own poem and then to go and visit the sites of others. It was a way of creating community and connection among a loosely knit group of people who appreciated the unique artistic efforts we each made [1].

Eventually, Jamie dreamed of the website Into the Bardo while I was steeped in “CloakedMonk.” CloakedMonk was my online persona as I navigated seminary and wasn’t really sure I wanted the powers that would approve my ordination to know the full depth of my thoughts. I considered myself a “monk in disguise.” Jamie invited me to join the effort of Into the Bardo as the Sunday Chaplain in 2013. I would make weekly posts about spirituality and spiritual practices.

Simultaneously, I expanded my online presence from simply CloakedMonk to BeguineAgain, a website with spiritual practices and writing based on the ancient model inherited from the Beguines communities of the Flanders area in Western Europe, whose origins are to be found in the early part of the second millennium, becoming established in the 13th-16th centuries. The Beguines were a community that was formed from adversity and were organized and run by the community—not the church, city, or nobility—and they supported each other as long as they were needed. 

As Jamie and I grew closer together, we dreamed of transforming Into the Bardo and BeguineAgain into a cohesive community that worked together. By 2016, Into the Bardo became the BeZine, and BeguineAgain expanded its practices to be more interfaith, ecumenical, and social-justice oriented. Well, to be honest, for both Jamie and I, it wasn’t a stretch to step into social justice! Connecting with 100 Thousand Poets for Change [2] firmly cemented our transition. 

Eventually, BeguineAgain lived out its purpose, just as the ancient Beguine communities lived out their purpose, and we stopped writing for it. However, the BeZine was firmly launched and grew to become a force for peace, with justice, in our world.

When Jamie passed, it was and still is, hard for me to imagine the BeZine without her. Sometimes, it is even hard to imagine my own efforts without her gaze on my words. But one thing I do know is that she wanted the BeZine to live beyond her and for it to continue being a force for peace with justice. She dreamed of collecting voices from around the world and actively working to bring poets into safe relationships when they are from threat-filled environments. She dreamed of actions that brought the poetic vision to life. She dreamed of a connected life that honored the bumblebee, the tree, and the human. Her dream is my dream. I hope that it can be our dream. 

Peace,

Rev. Terri Jane Stewart
(they/them/their)


Terri Stewart is a pastor in the United Methodist tradition and is the Steward of Connection at Circle Faith Future (CFF).  The vision of CFF is building hope in a fractured world.  Terri’s primary ways of connecting is with incarcerated youth and in building resilient communities.  Terri has an MDIV from Seattle University and is in progress towards a PhD in leadership studies. 


©2021 Terri Stewart
All rights reserved


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Ed. Notes: 


[1] This makes reference to the ‘dVerse – Poets Pub’ Open Link night. Back to text.


[2] 100 Thousand Poets for Change or 100TPC is an activist movement that was founded in March 2011 by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion to promote peace, social justice, and sustainability by actively organising creative events around the World. It focuses on an annual event at the end of September, which coincides with the September edition of the BeZine and a special BeZine Virtual 100TPC (see a short history written by Jamie Dedes here). Back to text.


A Tribute for G Jamie Dedes — Benedicta Boamah

Pain in pinnacles of the past
Faded outbursts of memories to hold
The queer tides of the knotted
Picks and turns; nailed but not twisted
Agile monuments of the past
The sighs of grief engraved for the purest

Sips of shooting pain
Thrown in ordeals of a nutshell
Horrific
Pain is what it says
It can never be kind



©️ January 2021 Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah
All rights reserved


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

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

Kenny Ausubel
Dear Jamie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Constantly with your thoughts inspiration and guidance.

A.

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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Jamie Dedes’ Special Skill and Vision — Anjum Wasim Dar

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

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

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

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

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

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

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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The Light Has Gone Out — Carolyn O’Connell

In Memory of G Jamie Dedes

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

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

Your dream will live on.

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

©2021 Carolyn O’Connell
All rights reserved


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Art: Peace, Kat Patton ©2020

BeATTITUDES

One Woman Leads to Another — Judy DeCroce

older, older,

this slow retreat of you
vanishing like one glove lost

while you are ending,
someone, somewhere,
is beginning

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

simple as an apron—
stronger than night

your feet may stumble
hers will run

older, older, older

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

©2021 Judy DeCroce
All rights reserved


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Mind / Body Epistemology — Dennis Formento

no idea what all I know

I have no idea
what all I know

buried inside that I’ve forgotten
what I’ve just said is true
because I feel it’s certain

difficulty in distinguishing personal perception
from objective reality, a reality 
always subject to power 

but do you bump into things
because you can’t tell where they are

so if truth begins with self-knowledge
evaluation of one’s own state of mind
manner of knowing
and ability to understand
bleeding into ethics

intend to do no harm

with one’s knowledge 
& seeking

knowing that much 
is to know myself
is the beginning

4-22-2019
7/29/2020

yuj         to yoke

	to yoke
to mind the source, the body

“I know my body, the body is the object”
	I the observer know the object
so I am not my body

I know my thoughts
I am not those thoughts
that rush through the halls of mindlessness
making riot in the Capitol

the guilt, the anger, repressed desire

I know my face, I am not this face
I am not this poem writing itself 
on the back of my hand
I am not my face and hands
I am not the observer, not the witness 
nor is there one 		mind
sealed in a small envelope

My god is constant self-interrogation
neuroses, my powerlessness and belief in this

time-consuming, life-consuming business
of filling our hands with stuff, keeping our faces busy
stuffing our mouths 
life consuming life
	being and becoming	



©2019–2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


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Gospel — Peter Mladinic

Schaeffer writes to Tasia:

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

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

Schaeffer’s Notion of Beauty

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

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

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

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

Still, even now, beauty 
is with us.

©2021 Peter Mladinic
All rights reserved


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The Blue Bird — Tenebrae Choir

This piece of music is quite magical.  I have sung this song in recent times in concert with the chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices. It is the best known of Charles Villiers Stanford’s two sets of eight partsongs.  Musically it is ethereal and a joy to sing.  The lyrics were written by novelist and poet, Mary Elizabeth Coleridge. She was the great-grandniece of the well known 18th century poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (“The Rime of The Ancient Mariner”) and daughter of Arthur Duke Coleridge with singer, Jenny Lind.  Her father was credited with the formation of the London Bach Choir.

With such a heritage, it is perhaps not surprising that she could write such spare, yet evocative lyrics …

The lake lay blue below the hill
O'er it, as I looked, there flew
Across the waters, cold and still
A bird whose wings were palest blue

The sky above was blue at last
The sky beneath me blue in blue
A moment, ere the bird had passed
It caught his image as he flew
Chamber Choir Tenebrae Performance of “The Blue Bird”

Music Charles Villers Stanford (1852-1924)
Lyrics Mary E Coleridge (1861-1907)
Performance Tenebrae Choir
Directed by Nigel Short


Article @2021 by John Anstie
All Rights Reserved


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Art: Flowers, Miroslava Panayotova ©2020

Poetry

The Pine Cone Project — John Anstie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… thank you Jessica.


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


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“Before the plague…” — Subhaga Crystal Bacon

Golden Thread

Before the plague, I was a string saver.
Whole drawers of different lengths 
and weights; twine, raffia nylon, 
cotton. Today, a magazine came
wrapped in brown paper and twisted 
thread of yellow and white. It was cross 
style, wrapped around the length 
and then, with an x, around the width, 
knotted on the front with a bow. 
The knot wouldn’t give. My fingers 
too blunt, and teeth, well, you know, 
be careful what you bite. I thought it might 
slip through itself, like that rabbit coming back
out of its hole, but it snapped, one small
piece, saved from the rest. Time 
will come when open things need to be closed, 
a bag, a box, this life.

Art: Untitled III, Jamie Dedes ©2020


Dark Time: Why Were Their Poets Silent?

after Brecht

We huddle around the table
like early Christians in caves.
The sacrament, the Word,
before which all was chaos.

When we leave, we carry light
no matter the time of day
to shatter the shadows cast
by monolithic ways upon us.

Alone, in our homes, rooms, 
chairs, we kindle new fire 
from old ideas. Our lines—
our muses—singe our fears.

Fierce Wind

for George Floyd

George, the air today is charged with light. 
I breathe and hear your words seeking breath. 
Because I can walk, can breathe, I push 
uphill the hard way, steep and close 
with rocks, tight as my throat, closed and angry 
with words I can’t find the voice to say. 

Instead I speak your name to silent stone
older than law or hate. I say your name 
to the fierce living wind, sing your name 
like birdsong in waving grass, give 
your name to the endless sky that holds 
this weeping world spinning in black, 
star filled space.

The Woods
Painting
Tom Higgins ©2020

©2021 Subhaga Crystal Bacon
All rights reserved


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Sustainability — Benedicta Boamah

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

Poem ©2021 Benedicta Boamah
All rights reserved


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Beginning Mask Home — Faruk Buzhala

Only with expiation and forgiveness of mutual sins,
Can we change ourselves, and maybe others, too.

The beginning

Flock of roaming sheep,
lost, wasted in hunger of wolves
are left without a shepherd,
who laying under the shade of centenary wood, 
dreams of the beginning.
 
The sheep lost,
the shepherd wakes up
looking around toward the horizon! 

Notices that
He is left alone
after his doze 
on a summer day.

Mask Time

We wear masks to shut-up our mouths!
Our lips remain invisible under them,
Our teeth are not visible, too, 
Even the smile remains not a hidden secret,
The bad smell, too,
And the words we speak are not well articulated, with no regret.

We do wear the masks to prevent the virus from entering in us, 
And vice versa, not letting go out from ourselves.

We do wear a mask over our face-mask, 
The lipstick in women’s lips remains unseen,
Same with botox in their swelled lips,
Can’t feel even the breath.

We wear original mask to cover the fakeness in this pandemic time,
we follow the advice from the responsible institutions
How to care about ourselves and the other, 
Although, most of us do not follow it.

We do wear masks while we walk in the streets and
When we see a familiar face,
We take off the mask to greet them, as sign of respect!


Home

My home is
where I meet my silence,
My breath,
My soul, 
My fragility.
 
At home
I have my memories,
My thoughts, 
My life.
 
At home
I have my happiness,
I have myself, 
I have the hope,
I have the future. 
 
At home
I have my moments,
The time,
The space. 
 
At home
I have my warmth,
I have the fire,
I have the ash,
I have the light.

At home
I have my destiny,
My wishes,
My risks.
 
At home
I have my sky,
I have my sun,
I have my moon,
I have my stars.
 
At home, my home
I have the access,
I have the love,
I have the harmony,
I have eternity.
 
At home, my home.

©2021 Faruk Buzhala
All rights reserved


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Climate Crisis – Anjum Wasim Dar

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

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

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

©2021 Anjum Wasim Dar
All rights reserved


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“no visible mark” — Judy DeCroce

Teeny’s Barn

a smell of cows
stone walls in ruin

scattered wood
a contrary face—

that sliding roof
scrubbed by winter;

unneeded, unheeded,
difficult and drafty,

as reality closes in
refreshing the land,

Teeny’s barn
all but fallen, yet,

holding to stubbornness
in its determination

                   for Wilson (Teeny) Luce

The First Pilgrim

Shadows that leave no visible mark
wait as I ripple the air.

I’m becoming the art finding its way.

Hidden beneath March’s dead leaves;
a phantasm of possibilities.

My new feathery green
nudges a promising landscape,

there, on its way to something else.

©2021 Judy DeCroce
All rights reserved


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Extinction Event — Michael Dickel

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

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

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

©2021 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


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A Gathering of Stones — Michael Dickel

A Gathering of Stones

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

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

Poem ©2012–2021 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


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


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Three Hours — Januário Esteves

7th Hour

When the spirit rises more
More of the human defects are seen
And everywhere there is darkness,
Languid malice that provides

In so-called cinematic language
From the real the assembly transforms
The scenery in a fantastic atmosphere
In fact what passes the norm

Silenced songs of yesteryear
Blazing epiphanies dazzled
They are in dementia right now
The voracious song of the hurt souls

Afternoon shakes or gesture unable
In the clear waters that cry
Become a quick guy
The calendas that always were.



11th Hour

The unspeakable is about to be written
Out on the street that is destined for us
Whenever something wants to die
An Intestine Fever Falls In Us

They are psychosomatic lenses
That on the whole line make career
In extragalactic travels
Everything is good in the voice of a mourner

And we lunatically prefigure
The judgment of that which
For only what we have achieved
Makes us live in axiom

From the hypothetical declared
The logos is pronounced
Act like harassed fire
By the voice of resignation.


21st Hour

Shine the mind in diaspora
The constant quibbling
That opens Pandora's box
And makes her belligerent

In heavenly domains
Travel by creating planispheres
Between stars and portals
Leave the seed of mysteries

Myriad kaleidoscopes
Throb in the substrate
By the Pleiades
Seeking the Desiderate

In paranormal hallucinations
Of body and soul
Supernormal Experiences
Horizons without a soul?

©2012-2020 Januário Esteves
All rights reserved


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Crawfish / Haiku 2020 — Dennis Formento

The Crawfish

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

rolling clods of wet humus
into moist balls 

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

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

a cardinal mistake—

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

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

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

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

until late winter rain 
or a much too early spring

Haiku 2020

“may we all have better vision in 2020”

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

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


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


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



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



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


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


epigram

“it's either in this world
              or never”


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

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

©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


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


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a pale reflection of the moon — Dennis Formento

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poem ©2021 Dennis Formento
All rights reserved


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

Garden be Wild – Matt Gilbert

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

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

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

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

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


[With a tip of the hat to Wendy Cope]

Poem ©2021 Matt Gilbert
All rights reserved


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Volumetric Concave Evil — Gábor Gyukics

volumetric analysis

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




concave manhole

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

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

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

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

how to get rid of evil

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

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

©2021 Gábor Gyukics
All rights reserved


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Alien — Joseph Hesch

I speak their language fairly well 
and most of the time dress the role.
I’ve never felt like most of them,
but then, that never was my goal.

I wished to explore what we hid
‘neath our shining public surface.
The more I searched, the more I found
scenes like backstage at the circus.

Despite the noise and colored lights,
like the blinding blue pinspot’s glow,
inside we keep our mysteries,
as we struggle today to tomorrow.

I don’t want to find your secrets,
even if you’d still like to hear mine.
Told you some over the decades,
though I, too, coulda been lyin’.

Poetry’s my second language,
though this accent sets me apart.
Real poets won’t ever get me,
when even you never got my heart.

That’s why I keep trying each day
to reach out, your soul gently shaking.
I’m not looking for what you think,
souls are for giving, not taking.

©2021 Joseph Hesch
All rights reserved


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Well, Maybe Someday — Joseph Hesch

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

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

©2021 Joseph Hesch
All rights reserved


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Bridges — Jerusha Kananu

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roses
Painting
Miroslava Panayotova ©2020

Poem ©2021 Jerusha Kananu
All rights reserved


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The Cows Walk In — Carolyn O’Connell

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

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

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

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

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

                                                          —7/2/2021

Fancy Rooster at Sunrise
Colored Pencil
Kat Patton ©2020

Poem ©2021 Carolyn O’Connell
All rights reserved


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Three Poems — Antoni Ooto

The Steward

Like an actor running lines,
Wilson had stories. 

The first of us who left Vermont, he tells,
was the elder on foot who followed Indian trails
taking months to cross New York
then staked a claim, and walked back.

The first families
moved kin, livestock 
to this homestead,
right here, and worked it
for two hundred years.

Through winters, hardships,
storms and drought,
sickness and deaths,
we settled, farmed, built on…
and finally, a school.

Some gave up.
We did not.

Perhaps land accepts a steward.

Wilson at 93 remembers.


Waterfall/Sanctuary
Photograph
Fall Run Park, Shaler, Pennsylvania
©2021 Janette Schafer

Philosophy and Conviction

go out the window in warm weather;
the pain of misunderstanding,
the excuses, the predictions…

out

with the renewed force of spring,
strength surfaces,
and breathing in again,
we meet the recovering day

Apache Mare

Breathing clouds to the warming air,
in the faithful future of all her years;

proud and natural,
present as a boulder in the way of a path.

Chestnut flank pressed against a rising sun
this light, this field—all her own

there is no other place
                                   no other world.

Poems ©2021 Antoni Ooto
All rights reserved


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Falling Church Caution — Susanna Rich

The Trees are Falling

I see a branch of the watchful tree (Jer. 1:11-12).

Cyclones, starving polar bears, rising seas;
winter lightning, flooded deserts, bleaching corals—
nature sends a pandemic to clear the smoggy skies.
And the trees are falling, because they must.

New Haven green: The Lincoln Oak heaves up
a human skull, jaws agape among exposed roots.
Elms kamikaze onto the Bronco, the Matrix—
the Jag glutted with Exxon, Sunoco, Shell.

The trees are doing what they can: 
fan-leafed gingkoes faint onto garages; 
poplars yee-hah onto Sertas, 
axe Maytags, scrape Vizios off walls.

That kettle-drumming is the fall of spruce trees
scoring streets into musical staffs—
loosening wires to coil and recoil into clefs, 
to pizzicato like rattlers.

Colonnades of cypress explode gas lines
and bonzo into resulting fires.
Maples, like massive pick-up sticks, 
rubble trains, logjam rivers, karate bridges.
 
Of course, yews slam into their own shadows.
Of course, dogwoods release the August sky
to make massive snowballs of themselves,
while willows amputate their own limbs.

Let the beeches curl their trunks around benches, 
Harleys, hydrants, and wrought iron fences.
Appease the teaks reclaiming themselves from chairs;
the pines from paneling; the cedars from pencils.

Oh, Berkeley, the laurels are hearing each other 
in forests—the telephone poles are in caucus.
And the sycamore in charge has angled itself, 
like a cannon, atop a Dodge Avenger

whose front left Firestone is stalled 
on a felled Seventh Day billboard,
on words I thought that I shall never see:
...pare for the Unexpected.


Silver Birches
Painting
Gaynor Kane ©2020

Singing in an Empty Church

Single electric candle lights
on clear lancet window sills.
No wash of headlights from departing

4X4s and sedans. No pastor. No pianist. 
No faithful since pandemic.
I park my Prius by the blocked trailhead, 

poke in the code to unlock the side door,
press the baby grand’s B-flat key
for my Phantom of the Opera song.

I, who accompanied my divorced mother
to Sunday mass, her lace-and-beribboned 
ornament; I, praised for how still I kept

while she solo-ed; I, Glee Club nuns’
choice alto, because I stayed on pitch
backing sopranos in their soaring;

I, who made harmony of family harm, 
hurtled hurts, promenade down the nave,
spread my arms wide to the pews;

breathe full my belly and chest and face 
to sing Christine D.’s longing, pierce
through my new high G on the word strength;

the struts and beams of this old vaulted ceiling,
my back-up altos, tenors, baritones, echoing 
Wishing I could hear your voice, again.

“Singing in an Empty Church” first appeared in Verse-Virtual, February, 2021


Abundance of Caution

Gallon cans of mixed greens from Georgia;
crates of Vidalia onions from Texas;
Gouda and Beemster-Van Gogh from Amsterdam;
N-95s, face screens, and latex gloves from China—
it’s Christmas every day. 

Boxes of gluten free pizza dough,
cases of sardines and Bush’s baked beans, 
36 individual servings of Skinny popcorn
appear in the open garage.

Elizabeth, our postwoman, noticed
we date our mail and packages—
and now does that for us, 
and brings our garbage cans up the driveway.
UPS George honks the horn, 
so we know to get into the house.

We do not breathe where others have breathed.
We wait the three hours aerosols linger,
we wait five hours, to be honest, 
then tap the garage remote.

Deliveries season for seven days, 
before we slice open the box seams, 
dig through Styrofoam peanuts,
un-bubblewrap, unziplock—bleach-wipe contents
to wait on the dryer for another day—
or two, or three. 

I don’t walk the lane anymore—
a car with open windows might have passed by.
I walk the periphery of our three acres.
Then ten feet in—neighbors putter in driveways,
walk dogs, call out greetings.
I mentally measure how many six-feet away—
twelve, fifteen, eighteen—even twenty-four, too close.

Now I only walk near the house,
tapping on the walls for balance, 
the circle tightening.  
When I hear Elizabeth’s rickety truck,
I run inside and wash my hands.
I wash my hands.

Poems ©2021 Susanna Rich
All rights reserved


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“our greedy consumption” — Samantha Terrell

Advocacy

What happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit 
Unknowingly from battles fought by others, must learn to cope
Without 
The hope

Of realizing change? Then, 
The ones whom martyrdom didn’t spare,
Will no longer be enslaved by the victims 
Who took for granted their wares

And the rest will be left 
Questioning their fates.
But those who sought their downfall, while victorious, 
Will find the only game they won was hate.

Unknown Portrait Series
Painting
Miroslava Panayotova
©2021

Of Alchemy and Irony

Is there still time to make something
From the impending dread?
When every combination
Produces yet another
Form of lead,

Slowing progress with 
Its predictable weight,
While the true value of currency is forced to sit and stagnate – 
Knowing it can work for good, knowing it’s been misunderstood – 
Hoping for systemic change, before it’s finally too late.

Who We Are

We are the terrorists,
Who condone the murders of
Innocent children on their school buses, or
Lock them away from parents and loved ones,
Giving them a foil-blanket 
Substitute for comfort.

We are the unreasonable,
Who close off
Our safe harbors—
The same ones our ancestors
Were offered—
From others.

We are the presumptuous,
Supposing the world 
Will keep giving to us
Without repercussions
For our actions, while we 
Continue our greedy consumption.

This is what it means
To be American,
In the land who shot the man 
Who said, “We shall overcome!”
So, if this is who we are,
Who, then, shall we become?

©2021 Samantha Terrell
All rights reserved


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Photo: Sunny Inside, Fabrice Poussin ©2020

Photo Essay

SustainABILITY in Turbulent Times — Corina Ravenscraft

The theme for this quarter’s issue of The BeZine is “SustainABILITY in turbulent times”. Everyday life is challenging right now all over the world; things are especially chaotic because of the pandemic, with political unrest and natural disasters only adding to the “turbulence” that is affecting communities and ecosystems around the globe. But the important part of that phrase at the top is the last part of the first word: “ABILITY”. We ALL have the “ability” to do something sustainable, whether it’s for ourselves, our communities or the planet, even if it’s something small.

“Sustainability in Turbulence” © 2021 Corina Ravenscraft all rights reserved

Figure Out How To Sustain Yourself

You won’t be any good to anyone else if you cannot figure out how to sustain yourself. This has been an especially important lesson for so many during the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19. We’re having to learn how to keep going, despite being isolated or cut off from places, activities, and often people that we love. We each have had to come up with things to “sustain” us through this pandemic…sustain us physically, mentally, emotionally. Some of us have done better than others, but it’s something we all have to face and figure out.

How do you know what sustains you? I’m not talking about the basics, like food and shelter, although there are plenty of people who don’t even have those things right now, so their path to personal sustainability is a million times harder. But if you have food and shelter and even a job, what keeps you going? What drives you to awaken each morning and tackle the day ahead? I suggest that you stop, take a moment, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply for a count of ten and ask yourself, “What makes me happy? What brings me joy?”. Really search for and find whatever it is that brings you joy, whether it’s a hobby like painting, knitting, wood-working, gardening, or simply taking ten or twenty minutes each day to get some exercise outdoors or relax with your favorite music and meditate. And if you can’t come up with anything? Now is the perfect time to find and try something new. You have the ability to discover what truly makes you happy and can keep you going, what will sustain you through these hard times and beyond.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meditation-by-h.koppdelaney.jpg
“Meditation” by h.koppdelaney licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Find Ways To Sustain Your Community

As an individual part of your community, you have the ability to make it better. You can help others around you, and by doing so, make where you live a more inviting and sustainable place. Perhaps you can start small, and make a commitment to check on your elderly neighbor every day, to make sure that they can keep going. Maybe you have the ability for something on a larger scale, like getting together with a few people in your neighborhood and starting a sustainable, community vegetable garden that will provide for several families?

Perhaps you have an artistic ability that can be used to paint murals on ugly cement walls in the neighborhood to brighten the space, and you can even invite others to help (socially distanced, of course). If you’re an animal lover, maybe you can help the strays in your area, by TNR-ing and feeding a cat colony, or commit to not using chemicals on your lawn so that the birds, bees and butterflies have a non-toxic place to feed. When people ask you what you’re doing, invite them to participate! Maybe you can prepare and distribute meals or care-packages for the homeless in your area? There are so many ways to help keep the community going, to sustain that sense of “belonging” that has been sorely missing in these days of isolation and loneliness. The challenge is looking for ways to help improve the community with your unique abilities.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pilsen-smart-communities-murals-by-danxoneil.jpg
“Pilsen Smart Communities Murals” by danxoneil licensed under CC BY 2.0

Help Sustain The Planet

This is probably what most people consider the toughest challenge when it comes to sustainability, but it doesn’t have to be. We each have the power, the ability, to make choices that have ripple effects. We can choose to be more sustainable in our lifestyles and follow one or all of the “Five R’s of Sustainability“.

Beyond those five steps, you can research the companies from which you buy things. Here is one list of the top 100 Most Sustainable Companies of 2020. Use the power of your wallet as a consumer and reward companies that are trying to be “green”, “eco-friendly“, or who are committed to helping the planet instead of trashing it. Would you consider using a shampoo that came in a biodegradable bar (like a bar of soap) instead of in a plastic, non-recyclable bottle? How about NOT buying snacks which use an unsustainable source of Palm Oil – instead, find snacks that are committed to only sustainable sources.

“Sustainability poster – Ripples” by kevin dooley licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yes, it takes time to do the research and you have to actually care about it in the first place. But you have the ability to decide to be a part of the human race who either helps the planet or hurts it. In truth, we are all probably a mix of both. As for me, I would rather work towards an Earth where there are still large, green spaces with lots of plants, animals and trees, where the rivers, lakes and oceans aren’t a toxic, plastic and garbage-filled soup and where the air and water are free of so much pollution. How about you?


©2021 Corina Ravenscraft
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Art: Flying Faerie, Kat Patton ©2020

Fiction

Letter to God — Mbizo Chirasha

Somewhere beside Zvagona hills, near Zvamapere ‘kopje of hyenas’, adjacent to the foothills of Dayataya mountain lies bones and spirits of my great grandfathers and their descendants. I loved this land. Every rain season, Zvagona hills were village brides fitted in green dresses and floral doek’s over their heads. Their lush skin shimmered blue from a distance in the hazy of December sun. Usually, autumn arrived with god’s gifts of multi- colored costumes of blooming flowers, their petals nodding erotically to the hesitant sun, the sun winked back secretly to the smiling flowers. Bees and cicadas haunting them like delinquent boys to village damsel’s. This time, the earth becomes a beautiful princess scented with natural perfume and clad in floral gowns of pink, yellow, white, peach and ox blood red.

June is a vicious dog, it brought howling winds and winter’s canines grazed deep into our lives. The earth is undressed into utter nudity. Elephant grass saluted to the passing wind like grandfathers surrendering life. Our hills spotted jailbird’s bald shave as they nodded to the winter’s sirens: whirlwind and dust ripples. Forests stood shell shocked in their torn overalls. Flowers are tightlipped, their cousins rot into extinction waiting for rain when the earth is born again. The cold bruised sun is a patch on the undergarments of grey horizons. This time, the moon is a hesitant bride. It is winter and nights are ink black and unfriendly. Hyenas wail in pain of winter’s bite, regular face- booking of monkeys is on hold. Cicadas are silent like birds. Sometimes hills wept to each other under the veil of mist and the shivering moon lulled our somber souls into sleep until the next morning. When morning comes, the baldheaded hills are ready for a fight, standing proud in anticipation of sunshine or rain, alas the biting winds persisted and the hills are resilient too and similar to the undying spirits of peasants eking out life from tracks of hard red earth on the fringes of Zvagona hills. At night hills were draped in robes of white mist and towards dawn, they fit onto skirts of grey and top gear of blue. We were told ancestors walked alongside the mist at nights and in mornings they would go into deep sleep. The mystery of Zvagona hills, hills of home. During that season, we stacked loads of firewood for warmth, cooking meals and brewing traditional beer. We lived off the forests.

When Gods are angry, the earth is clad in rags like an imbecile. It wears a black torn monkey hat over itself like a pick pocketter. The air is taunt with foul smell of decaying lives. Baboon’s sermons are placed in God’s wardrobe. Our creased faces told sorry tales of poverty and hunger gnawing the pits of our bellies.

When the red glow of heat persisted like in hell. Silence and barrenness are weaved together onto red earth. While rivers become white washed skeletons of dry sand. Elders spoke in tongues to the wind, we lost their words in the pleats of their elderly language. After some days they traverse to the end of the earth to supplicate Zame, the spirit of rain. Njelele, Zame’s disciple would direct them to Nyami Nyami, the goddess of water. They are told to wash their feet and dance to Gods. They were punished for replacing forests with concrete jungles. Birds and spirits of the land were now vagabonds. They are told the earth is simmering in abomination and Gods are angry and choked with carbon laced fumes. They are warned of the coming of devil’s triplets: hunger, heat waves and cyclones. They paid their ornaments, applauded the gods and returned to their hovels underneath the fringes of Zvagona hills.

Later, when heavens get overexcited. Gods washed our sins with tears of their joy, rains washed and blessed our land. The earth is born again and is dressed to kill in its usual green gowns and floral doek’s. We danced to the clap of thunder and camera flashes of lightening winked at us. Our poverty marinated, yellow maize teeth grinned to sudden glows of lightening. Sometimes lightening jolts sank our tender hearts into our rib -boxes. Zvagona hills also gyrated under the grip of thunder. We danced still for the blessing of rain and rebirth. Our planting fields were patches of alluvial earth between the hems of the hills and the banks of Mamvuramachena “river of white waters”. Sooner pumpkins bred like rabbits, veldts wore a silver cap of water and new dark green military combat of sprouting elephant grass. Smells of fresh dung and the scent of fresh udder milk were our morning brew. The new grass fattened our cows, their oily skins shimmered under God’s obedient sun.

Our mothers traversed from hill to hill harvesting mushroom, nhedzi, zvihombiro, nzeveyambuya nezhouchuru ‘names of different kind of mushrooms’. Wild mushroom is an African delicacy, a delicacy that raised us from mucus drooling kindergartens into goat bearded grown-ups. Wild fruits of maroro, nhengeni and nhunguru were showered to us by the excited Gods. Bushes became our second homes. We dried fruits and mushroom for the future with the aid of our loving grandmothers. We salivated to the rich fart of roasting meat and baking bread emitted from kitchen huts. Grass beautifies the earth as food beautifies lives. We enjoyed to see our goats getting fat. Bush honey was abundant. We fought successful battles with ferocious red bees for the mouthwatering delicacy, dendende sweet red honey. We accompanied the red honey hunt with a song

Sunga musoro wedendende
Sunga wakanaka dendedende
Sunga musoro wededende,  
Sunga wakanaka dendende
Sunga wakanaka dendende
Sunga wakanaka dendende

 The rhythm had returned.

 When cockerels announced the new days, eastern hills were beautifully capped with the glow of orange hats from the sparkling sunrays. Baboons cuddled each other in the wake of dawn romance. Rock rabbits jived to the acoustics of cicada tunes and to the discord of village sounds. Mother monkeys rebuked their babies from over eating. Down the stream, fish and toads bathed in smoking falls of fresh water. They are home again. Shezu ‘honey bird’ spoiled the festival by singing a warning hymn, maybe for another drought to come or death of a reputable person. Nights are stitched with thread of hyena’s laughter’s and the syntactic hymns of owls.

Our elders sang in contented choruses, nhaka inhara meaning ‘the year is blessed with rains’.

We sang to the silver white moon that was fresh from God’s mouth as it sat on its throne, over the fontanels of Zvagona hills, Mwedzi wagara ndira uyo tigo tigo ndira –and later with time the moon was ripe to go we bade her farewell mwedzi waora ndira tigo tigo ndira.

Now many years had passed since I left for the city, two decades away from years of dance and abundance. The land is now a wretched vagabond. I am sitting underneath the ragged skirts of mystery hills, pondering if my great ancestor’s bones and spirits are still lying here. I see the luxury of rotating seasons is long lost in the abrupt silence of this land. The tenor of birdsongs and baritones of baboons on the mountain zenith is no more. Birds and baboons are long gone, maybe to blessed climes. The joyous scream of hyenas and jackals at dawns was cut short. The joy of reeds dancing to the soprano of mighty streams was remote silenced. A deadly silence.

The sun’s heat is menacing as if tongs of red hot charcoal are floating in the air. The heavens are rude and clear blue. Waves of heat turned the earth into a baking oven. Fields are chunks of dried and burnt bread. Trees are strips of roasted biltong. Cyclones passed through and carried away my ancestor’s bones to faraway seas. Skeletal dunes of sand replaced our mighty Mamvuramachena ‘river of white waters’

Hills are bald headed and wearing a herpes zoster belt around their bellies. They are sweating under the grip of heat caused eczema. I suppose we are cursed. Nyami nyami once warned of hunger, cyclones and heat waves, the menacing triplets.

 Behold my earth is naked.

Dear beloved God are we cursed?


Watching
JJ Stick
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©2021 Mbizo Chirasha
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Pilgrims of Zame — Mbizo Chirasha

Hybrid African-Spiritual-Cultural Narrative

A harsh heave of shrine incense combined with the stink of ancient snuff and herbal concoctions choked our lungs. The smell was new and strange. The evening was pleated with defiant black shadows and mismatched silhouettes of small hills. Everything was stitched together by instructive spiritual incantations and strange guttural bellows. Angels warmed drums on live embers. Mediums roared in synchronized incantations—

Heyi hii hoo
Heyi hii hoo
Heyi hii hoo

They unstoppably shook their heads and trembled their shoulders from one trance into another. Dust swirls aroused from their dances carried our blessings. The mist that shrouded the grey hills carried the anointing of the land. They guzzled the millet brew in their order of seniority. Worshippers had brought large pots of millet beer from our villages. The ceremonial beer was brewed and brought to the shrine gallery by pre-pubescent and post-menopausal women. That was to ensure that the shrine’s sacredness is maintained.

Matonjeni hills were shrouded in silence and draped in long gowns of grey mist at dawn. During evenings, hills were hugged by apostolic like plain white robes of mist again. Zame is known of bone chilling spits of drizzle year in and year out. We arrived before shadows fully quilted the earth. We didn’t bring modern utensils and blankets into the hills. We walked with our barefoot. Men sat on leopard skin mats and women sat on sheepskin.

Drapes of mist grew the hills into a shrine of black shadows. The moon set like a silver arc over the rim of the mystic Malindidzimu “the seat of gods”. It was gorgeous. It winked to us behind a veil of fluffy, white and smoky drizzling clouds. Soft rains caressed our day long sun-drained skins.

Malindidzimu is the zenith of Zame, the place where gods sit to watch the earth underneath them. When night is ripe the silver moon winks to the gods to take rest. Mermaids are said to wash gods’s feet in Mavulamachena, the gorge of white waters situated at the fontanel of Malindidzimu. The waters are ever silver moon white. The mist rises from Mavulamachena “white waters” to dress the sacred mountains with white skirts and grey doeks towards dawn. When the world is trapped in the web of sleep, gods are said to float along with mist draping’s to meet with their earthly ambassadors. The mystery of Matonjeni, shrine of gods.

 The Matonjeni gallery sits somewhere on a mountain range that runs from east to west. The shrine entrances wind up and down among overhung granite boulders into the gallery. We washed our feet upon entering the shrine to do away with dust and bad omen. Every visitor was blessed with portion of ancient snuff before entering the shrine. The scent of snuff was strange. I sneezed and drooled like a wild pig. That was the same with my fellow congregants. The snuff was strong. After the ritual, eunuchs and nuns led us into the shrine. The shrine is an art gallery with a unique spiritual presence. Gallery walls were beautifully decorated with red and black clay earth extracted from the nearby termite mounds, the lush and green combat that dressed the anthills added ambiance to this astounding earthly but spiritual wonderment. A plethora of ornaments that included animal horns, bone-made trinkets, grass-made beads and ancient-spears made up the Matonjeni gallery collection. The exhibition was diligently curated. The gallery walls were stripped with white, red, black clay patterns. After our maiden tour, we then supplicated to God with a thunderous chorus of applause and heart-rending, mountain-cave echoing, ululations. We thanked gods and spirits for guiding us from evil during our long day journey to the holy land.

The Hallowed eunuch of the shrine, Nyamasviswa with his band of Matonjeni disciples welcomed us with that verve of spiritual merriment. The dignifying gesture uplifted our sun burnt, day long trip tired souls. We brought large pots frothing with millet beer. It was abundant, plenty more than what other clansmen had brought. The traditional millet brew smelt like freshly baked bread. Mediums salivated with that greedily gusto, waiting impatiently to feast from the mouth—watering pots frothing the ancient delicacy. It was intelligently brewed by earth scratching, peasantry lifestyle hardened hands, thus combined with the verve of ancestral wisdom passed from one matriarchal epoch to more and more other matriarchal generations. The welcoming merriment was remote-paused by a blood-splashing hymn, divinely echoed from a swarm of beautiful nuns as it passionately coiled into our groping hearts. We got spiritually connected to the land that carried the bones, breath and promise of our fathers. The wild dove-hen crowing like alto voices pleated our static black silhouettes, the tinkering tenor of throbbing drums, discordant snores of sleeping waters and the vibe of human mass together onto the hems of mystic hills—

Dzinomwa kuna runde
Mhondoro dzinomwa a a
Dzinomwa kunaSave
Mhondoro Dzinomwa…a…a a a
Dzinomwa kuna rundee
Mhondoro dzinomwa AAA

The shrine suddenly slid into an abrupt frenzy of traditional dance-songs and a poetic trance of ancestral praise. The scantily dressed nuns danced until their slim frames soaked in sweat. Their rotund figures were clad in different regalia made of goatskin, leopard and lion skins and other beautifying paraphernalia. They received their costumes in accordance with their levels of seniority and nature of duties. These maidservants were all beautiful but well trained to charge their duties with due diligence and requisite zeal. It was like they were born from one big womb, we found it difficult to distinguish them, and they looked alike as black-eyed peas and they carried themselves with that high calibre of moral consciousness and hyperbolised dignity. Their body frames were a real fulfilment of god’s unmatched creativity. Their breasts were taunt and straight like porcupine quills ready to spike, as they quivered like turgid, fresh ripe mangoes ready to fall from their mother tree. Our untamed hearts skipped to suffocate us, the amazing beauty that blinded both brave hunters and seasoned dancers among other revellers. Male congregants had to tame their manhood because the temptations were extreme, beyond human reasoning and above sexual-emotional control. We uncontrollably salivated at the rawness of that unspoilt human dignity. The wonder-angels were all virgins, they had under gone a traditional initiation including sacrificial oaths to be maid servants of the holy land. That, they would never become wives, mothers or indulge into any intercourse of sexual nature until the time of their demise. They carried their chores with profound zeal and well calculated precision. Their service varied according to age, clan of origin, talent, teachings, practice and seniority.

The appearance of Dungwiza, the rainmaking medium interrupted the current mood. His elephantine frame was draped in an unusual all black apparel. The baritone gifted man boasted of his gigantic frame and ever darting eyes that never blinked to anything. A sign of bravery. He waved and yawned thrice, the drumming, the chanting and dancing stopped abruptly. The night was still young. Dungwiza was the leader of main rituals including rainmaking occasions at Matonjeni. The gallery slid into an abrupt silence like at graveyard. Dungwiza made a rushed stride towards the epicenter of the shrine. Maidservants ululated like cooing doves praise and worshipping the last rays of setting sun.

Dungwiza blew three full finger pinches of ancient snuff and then wiped black snort with the back of his aged and weather-toughened hands. The rustling sound of stubborn winds was drowned by the beat of his poetic incantations—

Imwi mhondoro dzenyika
Varidzi vepasi nemuronga wenyu
Ndauya kuzosuma pwere dzenyu
Nyika yapinda munzamusha
Musha waparara nehosha
Musha wovava segavaka
Pasi ronhuwhwa segutukutu
Vana vayaura, pasi raoma roda veta
Vana vofa nenyota vodzungaira
Dzorai moyo, musasunga moyo
Nyika yoda donhodzo vana vagute
Vanayaura, vafamba mitunhu kuzochema kwamuri
Mukai muone misodzi yavo netarisiro.
Vana vasingachemi vanofira mumbereko

The spirited supplications were punctuated by yawns, bellows and sneezing from shrine disciples and other mediums. Plumes of burning incense and whiffs of black snuff conquered the shrine the scent was both suffocating and beautiful. The rainmaking prayer was capped by an electric echo of ululations from the band of Matonjeni nuns. The shrine was lit with spiritual blaze and human rhythm. Dungwiza tossed his Muhacha rod upwards. He ordered drummers to beat the Shangana neShumba drum. Drums were cracked and their throb vibrated the land. The tense rhythm beat, unmatched. Behold the land was holy.

Suddenly, spats of drizzle grew fat, heavens opened their floodgates, and heavy rain soaked the earth. Drums tinkered still. The night was now aging and was clad in a dark grey gown preparing to surrender Matonjeni shrine to the angels of dawn. Dawn proudly winked its twilight for the elephants to rise from slumber and take an early morning bath, Nguva dzamashambanzou. Mediums sneezed from one trance to another. We chanted still, we sang still and danced still. The rhythm of our dance and song traversed to the lands faraway and reached onto the holy ears of gods.

The eastern hills wore an orange monkey hat and ochre—red blood robe, wiping off mist from the rain—thickened eyelids of our hills. We were served with food, goat meat stew alongside stiff millet porridge sadza remapfunde. We washed down the delicacies with calabashes filled with traditional mhunga brew both alcoholic (mhamba) and non-alcoholic (maheu) beverages. We ate until our bellies stretched; we couldn’t afford a fart or a belch. It was difficult. Dungwiza jumped from his sitting position and an unexpected lightening jolt sparked the semi-dark gallery. It was followed by another unusual lightening wink and a thunderclap. The gallery trembled as if the caves were falling apart. The rainmaker ordered us to be silent and to be stationery.

The gods of this land have heard our concerns; our tears have wetted the mats of heaven. The gods are confirming their and concern and their presence, Dungwiza boasted with his big eyes fixed onto the gallery entrance.

A solitary baboon barked from a distance, a ferocious roar of a lioness ensued, it shook the granite boulders of the shrine and then a strong jolt of lightening blazed again like tongs of fire. There was a deathly silence. We could only hear calculated farts, faint whispers, sighs of awe and feeble breaths from a battalion of congregants packed like sardines against gallery walls. The shrine was seized by the discord of fear.

A frail, thin and uncombed young woman limped lackadaisically into the quiet gallery. Dungwiza, Nyamasviswa, shrine desciples and nuns rose in salutation to the unexpected guest amid fish eagle like—cackling ululations, praise incantations and bellows. A song was pod-cracked from amongst the disciples

It was again a familiar song but many of us were still in utter shock—

Tovela, mudzimu dzoka
Ha heyihe mudzimu dzoka
Aee yiye Mudzimu dzoka
Vana Vanogwara mudzimu dzoka
Kwaziwai Tovela

It was a song to welcome the spirits of the land.

The frail woman spirit shook her head unstoppably, belched and sneezed incessantly. Her fumbling’s were stitched together by continuous handclapping and song from the shrine disciples. She hung her dreadlocked head languidly twice or thrice and then fumbled for an apparel to cover her beautiful bosom. She sneezed hetsu hits hetsu uncontrollably. She roared again like a lioness chasing after a prey. It was an ear-shattering roar. A ferocious roar.

She began to speak in a frightening baritone-laced voice. She spoke deep kalanga tongues—

Ndini Tovela
Mutumwa wedenga nepasi
Ndatumwa naMurenga
Muridzi wapasi nedenga
Chazezesa,
Matama enyu asvika munzeve dzedenga
Ndauya nemisodzi yedenga
Muchamwa mvura, mucharima, muchaguta
Murenga vanotenda nezvipo zvamauya nazvo.

The frail woman spirit was Tovela, the supreme messenger of gods. She was ordained to become supreme when she was still a fetus in her mother’s womb. She is the princess of Matonjeni of the patriarch of Murenga. She had brought the message of rain, healing of the land and good life for pilgrims. Tovela Kalanga was the remaining lioness of the land. Her service was dipped in sanctity, honesty, dignity and spirituality. A pot of frothing millet beer was offered to her as a gift, she guzzled the beer and blew a wide smile into the awed but obedient congregation. A sign of merriment. We chuckled with the relief that our supplications were received.

Drinking, dance and song persisted. Delinquent disciples imbibed until they crawled like skunks. The sun-rose with its old-aged forehead creased with paradox of the rainbow and metaphors of rain. Its rays winked to the fait nightly shadows with a calculated rhythm, tearing apart grey and white gowns of mist off our hills. Fingers of dawn caressed the snore-congested gorges and mist-clad mountains of home. Mourning doves with their melodious hymns deleted owls all-night poetry slam. The nightly rainmaking ritual and Matonjeni vibe were quickly scribbled onto the godly wind slates.

Tovela and Dungwiza disappeared alongside the grey and white veil of the clearing mist. Song and dance continued. Rains persisted. This is the Mystery of Zame, the holy land of rain, ancestral spirits and gods.


©2021 Mbizo Chirasha
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The View from Here — Howie Good

I’m dusting the indoor plants when the doorbell rings. It’s you, and you’re bleeding from an ear. “What happened to your ear?” I ask. You touch it. Your fingers come away with blood. “Steely Dan on the headphones,” you say. I don’t move, don’t even nod. Now that an estimated 150 species go extinct every day, I try not to rush through my days. And if, as sometimes happens, it feels like everything is speeding up, I’ll lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling or out the window, my view a small thing but my own.

©2021 Howie Good
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The Dance — Joseph Hesch

In the conversation we never had, you didn’t say, “Life’s subjective. One person’s joy could trigger another’s despair. Like someone else’s woe could bring another cheer.”

“We’ve lived each,” I would’ve said. “You, often, the latter,” my eyes would blink in code.

But we weren’t really talking about Life (like I said, we weren’t really talking at all), unless you consider just getting out of bed Life. Really about living, opening those eyes, taking that big inhale, letting it go, sometimes with words strung thereto, just to get to the next gulp of existence.

“You know, there was a time I didn’t care if my last exhalation, whether preceded by a sob or a snore, was indeed my last. Go to sleep. Wake not. I wouldn’t have considered that failure. THAT might’ve brought someone solace.” I could’ve revealed.

“That’s what I’m saying,” you didn’t say.

“I wish you would’ve talked to me about it,” I wish I’d said.

“There was no point. I wanted to talk to very few people and you weren’t one of them.”

Ergo, the non-conversation we weren’t having.

“Would you like to come talk now?” I might say.

“No. I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“Yeah (or is it ‘No’), we’ve each made that clear,” I might whisper.

“What didn’t you say?” You’d probably ask.

There was so, so much.

“I’m not going anywhere with you, either,” I’d say.

It’d always been a one-step-toward-and-one-back thing with us, symbiotically going nowhere, needy dance partners with no sense of rhythm.


©2021 Joseph Hesch
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Photo: Untitled III, Miroslava Panayotova ©2020

…an Invitation

A Sustainable Future…? — John Anstie

The title of this piece may apparently represent one-fourth of what we are about; of what the BeZine is about…of what I feel we should all be about, but it also represents a whole lot more.

It is a whole lot more than simply doing what we love here at the BeZine: writing essays, poetry, fiction; producing wonderful art, painting, photography, music, singing; and hoping to invoke some much needed joy in our lives. It is more than all of this. The title of this is, perhaps deliberately, a provocative question.

The provocation is about collaboration, sharing the commitment and the synergy that can result from harnessing the power of human beings working together for a common cause…and if you wonder what that cause may be, wonder no more. I think every last human on this great and plentiful mother Earth, does know what that cause is: the sustaining of life…all life on Earth, which is the only place in the universe that the vast majority of us have for the long and foreseeable future. Life on Mars, in that time scale, is merely a dream, a fantasy, a vanity—either in the past or the future.

We need to accept reality, get our hands on the tiller and grasp the reins, start lobbying local, regional, national and international leaders to drive us into a sustainable and renewable future, not a future that leads only to short term wealth for the few and destruction of the planet’s ability to support us all. Rather, a future that we’ll get to, albeit by a road less travelled. 

THE BeZine PROMISES

We organically source all of our creative material. We strive
for the lowest carbon footprint and to be Kind to your mind, Kind to the environment, and
Kind to the World.
Let us know if you have something you’d like to offer.

😊

Our founder and chief editor for over ten years, Jamie Dedes, spent a great deal of her time trawling the internet for like-minded writers, artists and creative minds from many diverse backgrounds. She cast her parabolic net on both sides of the boat, in all parts of the World and, when she found someone, she would read their work, their history, spend time getting a feel for their ‘raison d’être.’

If she expected anything in return, she never pushed her agenda or placed a burden of responsibility on anyone. If they volunteered to help, to take on some editing tasks, do some outreach work, organise an event for the annual ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change,’ she accepted and congratulated with genuine gratitude.

Nor did she expect others to promote her work. She shunned many attempts to do so. I know, I tried. However, without ever having to ask, she somehow managed to garner commitment from those she gathered around her. 

Now, she’s gone and left us with with one heck of a legacy; we have something to live up to, an example to follow. It’ll not be easy, but it is a mission we simply have to pursue. Why? Perhaps because we feel we’d be letting Jamie down; perhaps because she was right. There is a need for the people of this World to pull together, cooperate, collaborate and make change happen—for all future generations of life on Earth.

We truly need to continue and try our best to emulate that spirit, that ethos…and to be active.

The result of Jamie’s vision has been synergistic. We will continue to try and make sure that the product will be greater than the sum of its parts.  But we cannot stand still.  We cannot do this alone.  We cannot stop growing the knowledge of this project, finding people to help.

It matters not your experience, but if you have been motivated by the shear illuminating vision of any of the many organisations around the World, whose missions are similar to those of The BeZine…then you can play a part in continuing to find ways to promote Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice. 

I hope you, readers, are already motivated and concerned by what’s happening in our world, but you may feel there’s nothing you can do. Please be encouraged by the fact that there are many very other good and articulate souls around the World who are playing their part and, regardless of any self doubt, you can be a part of this. It all adds up and synergy will result.

Whatever you do…

Be inspired…Be creative…Be peace…Be

…and we hope that when you do, you will share with us by submitting your creative works, essays / articles about what you are doing and lessons learned. Tell us about what people are doing individually and together around you, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

©2021 John Anstie
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