Spring 2021

Volume 8                  March 15, 2021                  Issue 1

Introduction & Table of Contents


The  BeZine

Volume 8                  March 15, 2021                  Issue 1


Cover art: Sadness of Water
Kat Patton

Colored Pencil, 11″ X 14″


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…



Photo Essay


…an Introduction

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The BeZine

Be Inspired…Be Creative…Be Peace…Be 

Spiritual Practice




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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. 


Rev. Terri Jane Stewart

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
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.


©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


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


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


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
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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