Fall 2021

Volume 8                  Social Justice                  Issue 3

Introduction & Table of Contents

Contents V8N3

The  BeZine

Volume 8                  September 15, 2021                  Issue 3

Social Justice
and
Hunger

Cover art: Exchange 1900–2021
Digital Landscape from Photos (Winona, MN, USA, and Jerusalem, Israel)
©2021 Michael Dickel


Introduction

The theme for the fall issue of 2021 is Social Justice and Hunger. The divide between those who have too much and those who don’t have enough widens daily, linked to social justice, climate change, and war, hunger remains one of the largest causes of death globally. It has been with us for untold centuries—Biblical commandments include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for orphans. Many times, the causes my derive from beyond our activities.

However, most of the time, human activity causes hunger. And when hunger comes from other causes, human activity can help alleviate hunger. At the root of all economies, people need to be able to access food and protection from the elements. All of our systems leave too many people on the streets with inadequate clothing and shelter, and not enough to eat.

In these pages, we address this issue from a variety of perspectives, while calling for social justice for all.


May peace prevail on earth.

—Michael Dickel, Editor


  

Table of Contents


Poetry


Fiction


Music & Video


Essays



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Cover art: Exchange 1900–2021
Digital Landscape from Photos (Winona, MN, USA, and Jerusalem, Israel)
©2021 Michael Dickel

Art: Peace, Kat Patton ©2021

Poetry

Thousand and Millions | John Anstie

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

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

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

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

Heavenly Mothers ask us:
why digitise and monetise
and worship at the alter
of the great god, Thworg,
when we are imbued with
richness beyond measure?

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

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

Maybe, one day we’ll be more than
Seven Thousand Million Poets for Change!
No more sleepwalking through life
The time will come. Greatness beckons.
It’s in the wind, this beating heart,
a movement beyond the gaze of mortals …


©2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Homeless Ain’t Home | Gayle Bell

In our journeys, we have met people with amazing talents. Many have computer or skilled trades; but are unable to get employment.  Businesses are leery to hire them.  Because of cultural differences, or individuals who identify as GLBTQY are not always welcome or safe inside of intuitions.  Some have beloved pets they do not want to put away.  Some have difficulty finding work because of previous jail time.  One woman; former military has a degree in psychology; giving up the bottle has been challenging. 

Our church tries to help with obtaining ids, shelters, recovery houses, but because of the challenges of the individual, the cycle continues.  Our church feeds over 440 people a month.  We provide bagged food for them as well.  Our weekly brunch continues to have new faces at our door.  We implore our church members to make casseroles, beans, soup and other hot items for them. 

We distribute clothes from our thrift store. We rarely have hygiene items for them.  Even if we did, we cannot provide a place for them to clean up.  Our local grocery store will not allow them to use the restroom.  We are not able to open ours to them because of previous drug use, or sexual abuse in our church bathroom.

Betty was homeless on the streets of Portland and Dallas for 5 years. She was following her former partner whose alcohol abuse kept them out of shelters.  Portland had coffee houses and other places for the homeless to obtain a meal, provide recreations and showers so they did not have to be on the streets.  People who had food stamps could barter for other goods and services.  She advised there was a place every block that would serve 3 meals a day to the individuals.  Betty created a cookbook there; the proceeds went directly to the food pantry.  That is what we are trying to do with ours

My family and I moved to San Francisco to escape an abusive marriage.  Me and my 2 kids were lucky, there was Raphael House; they had a door you could close and call your own.  I was fighting crack and alcohol abuse.  With my kids love, I got clean and sober when we came back to Dallas. 
From Cookbook, Pending Publication benefiting St Matthews Food Pantry

©2021 Gayle Bell
All rights reserved

Ms. V | Gayle Bell

Hope can surprise you, it can survive the odds against it…
The soul is nothing more than love, limitless, endless…. —Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses
I offer her cho chos but she never accepts
even when I beg
She has a teacher’s enunciation
when she does talk

The street residents call her mom 
The church outreach workers tell me
 she’s been out here a long time

I slipped a bogo burger in her bag
when she went to the fast-food restroom to freshen up
She hugged me and wished me blessings
This, I said is my church tithe
I felt it was better placed

She favors my mamma
Transitioned these 4 years
before Mother’s Day

She is a coloring mix of Aztec and afro
always has a pixie smile 
Some inner joke perhaps about
those who think they have better
Some punch line 
who will inherit the earth

©2021 Gayle Bell
All rights reserved

R & J & the Loaves & Fishes | Gayle Bell

R yells to God and the angels
that revolve in his head
He’s on that rock
That hard place
J likes the bottle
they watch each other’s back

B talks to the unseen 
eloquent when he touches Earth
Clothes torn dusty funk smelling
doesn’t want your help
no thank you
No medicine, no white coats

Ms. V mother to the streets
Soft spoken and clean
Wont stay in a shelter
wont stay in any where
Compassionate hearts have tried
She’ll sometimes click and cuss you out
hug you tight the next day

BR is a hustler to his soul
born from too little and way to late
Once knew soft arms and a home
that’s the way that is

My partner was tough enough
on the streets of Portland 
Following dreams and a piece of tail

M & R got that boulder on their back
he makes her walk the streets
S was running from spirits
pissed herself sometimes laying under a tree

Sometimes we roam the park
Give out cans of franks and beans crackers
anything we have in our pantry

Her and I
Go to church and feed them
casseroles beans whatever people bring
100 plus hungry mouths
come through my line
I smile say God Bless You Be Safe

I am supposed to say something
wise or meaningful
How the streets keep some
let some go
But I don’t have it to give

©2021 Gayle Bell
All rights reserved

All my life inside politics— | Linda Chown

Other girls remember baking cookies—
I remember Joseph Stalin dying
and the holocaust with McCarthy.
My Raggedy Ann doll had charcoal
eyes hot with a black cold light
All my years I've tried to choose
a way out but my heart
is two-fold:I'm with the people
and with the fires in my first by myself sight

©2021 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

In This, Dying | Linda Chown

In This, Dying 
And we wake to a slue of death
Every day now come the morning. 
Someone’s blood gets blown dead 
And i can’t stop seeing those tribes, 
Long woven beards and fields of opium 
Waving and thickening in Afghan sun 
Charlie Watts a panacea of balance
And substance, he was a golden child gone.
Don Everly widening in the time of his dying.
Such a classical hillbilly he was. Susie wake up.
It’s that we’ve shot our loads. In deliberate. 
In our wicked lust to have more of more 

©2021 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

Hold onto it Now | Linda Chown

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be 
       Are full of trees and changing leaves,
                 Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Soft bird,  as though we’ve only just begun,
The way our arms reach upwards as though
Hanging in a William Blake painting 
In which closeness is everything
The spiritual become all physical
A radiant yellow cloud of pulsing light 
In spite of all the bad light around
This beauty only makes a luscious sound
Soft bird,  you and I continue to soar 
Onward and upwards forever more. 

©2021 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

Inauguration 2021 | Linda Chown

This natural national revolution 
has taken my breath away 
and given me my heart back
in a democratic moment
when sharing is the name of the game
all these different people becoming one 
in the winter Washington sun
where we’ll make new rules new ways
to give more that many an authentic say.

©2021 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

little girl and the sailing moon | Linda Chown

How wonderful it is that 
nobody need wait a single moment
 before starting to improve the world.

   Anne Frank

It is like how to explain the paucity of beauty 
On a hillside, how to hold silence stiller
Clumps of marjoram, Greek symbol of happiness, make a plenty.
Forthwith in this troubled land where the President of France 
Was face cuffed, where thousands of sick boys
Play murderous games and sing aloud to blood.
How to hold silence stiller to make a plenty,
When I was then her she held life in this staring.
In the city she saw the moon sail and marjoram 
Grew while she stood trying to understand Anne Frank
Who was too a little girl staring like she was and going 
To feel her roots and her eyes pulverized all dying
We must hold silence riper and green the marjoram.

©2021 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

to heal the world | Michael Dickel

I don’t much like reading any more
as I’ve read more than enough
explanations accusations rationalizations
incarnations of old disputations
empty words for empty stomachs
nothing to sink teeth into for many
while exorbitant feasts for a few
yes, I’m even tired of these words
writing reading listening while
wild fires forage famines feast
diseases prevail over
results of my every action
reactions to human infestation

		    rushing toward entropy

	crisis the turning
	teshuva the return to

		healing requires movement

			(re)direction turning inertia
				toward tikkun olam

teshuva — to return, usually used in the sense of returning to (the Jewish) faith, from Hosea 14:2–3: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. Take words with yourselves and return to the Lord. Say, "You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us good, and let us render bulls our lips.”
———
tikkun olam — the healing (or repair) of the world (or creation), according to Kabbalah, this is our purpose as humans.


©2021 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved

Cost Differential | John Maurer

The price of everything 
goes up when you're unemployed
It's not a slight shift in a continuance 
of shifting incomes and outcomes

It's a weighted hook
sinking endlessly 
into a bottomless 
unexplored part of the ocean

Unimportance is a concept 
for the man who 
hasn't conversed with his consequences
in the crepuscular hours

I'm at a point 
where I can't 
even afford 
sleep for dinner

Time is of the essence 
and sleeping allows 
its capture 
to escape

I have a pillow but can't figure out how to use it
I unscrewed the armrests from my desk chair 
because my arms shouldn't rest
Motion is existence, work is the reward

I'd rather be starving
as a poet than rich as anything else
I care too much about the process
I have entirely stopped caring about its yield

©2021 John Maurer
All rights reserved

Pathetic and Pointless | John Maurer

The universe was the first Rube Goldberg machine
The first overly complicated boondoggle of a way to get nothing at all done
What would be the purpose of having a purpose if you did have one?
Would you still think it's comforting once you realized you couldn't fulfill your fate?

I'm not depressed, I'm fundamentally unhappy, and there's a difference
I'm not incapable of appreciation; I just can see that there isn't a thing to appreciate
Even god committed suicide, my parents sent me to a school to teach me only that
You aren't bad at math, it just doesn't add up; don't blame the equation, it's the variables

In order for the universe to love you, it had to hate all of your ancestors
Not to say they were much better than you, but they probably were
They may have eaten dirt, but at least they did it honestly
While you eat off of the tasting menu and still have bulimia while almost everyone starves

©2021 John Maurer
All rights reserved

Well Kept Secret | John Maurer

You can die of consumption the same as starvation
The equinox is not without solstice in the same way
Too far in any direction is too far, that is clear 
Yet turning around testifies to a waste of time
This is a fallacy; an error does not make a solution moot
The noctambulist wishes it did

I will rest when I have no questions left
So when my tongue gets cut out
This is Hammurabi’s code
For how many have I sliced with my own serrated voice
This is truly the meaning of Socratic
Following laws you don’t believe in
For reasons you can’t or at very least won’t reveal

©2021 John Maurer
All rights reserved

Consumer Temple | F.I. Goldhaber

Welcome to the warehouse, temple 
of consumer excess. Fill your carts 
with ten-pound boxes of sugar 
cereal, hundred-pound bags of flour. 
Batteries by the dozens; soap 
in ten-gallon jugs too big to lift. 

Enough food fills the shelves to feed 
a small country, but it parades out 
the doors for the SUVs to 
swallow while shoppers waddle through the 
exit sucking in pizza, ice 
cream, and hot dogs too big for their buns.

First published in 2008 in Pairs of Poems and on protestpoems.org

©2008 F. I. Goldhaber
All rights reserved

The Hypocrite’s Creed | F.I. Goldhaber

All life is sacred and begins at conception, but we must
	deny life-saving medical care to the poor;
	deprive needy children of food, shelter, clothing;
	beat, bomb, shoot, hang to death men, women, children. 

Deeply held religious beliefs require tax exemptions, and
	forbid paying for women's reproductive health;
	deny funds for science education/research;
	allow financing of civilian-killing drones.

Children are a gift from god, a reward from him, but we must
	rip children from their mother's breasts, their father's arms;
	warehouse them in tent cities despite extreme heat;
	cage, torment, and traumatize them while they're alone.

Religious freedom must always be protected, but we must
	ignore Muslims', Jews', Sikhs', Pagans', Hindus' rights;
	reject religions that conflict with our beliefs;
	obligate others to observe our holy days.

The bible is god's word, taken literally, but we must
	claim verses we disagree with are old fashioned;
	invent prohibitions never mentioned in text;
	judge harshly those who follow actual scripture.

States retain sovereignty and powers not assigned, but
	must not be allowed to legalize cannabis;
	can't protect the Internet from telecom greed;
	can't pass sanctuary laws to protect migrants.

We must save sex workers from human trafficking, but we must
	eliminate safe ways for them to find clients;
	force them onto the street, vulnerable to pimps;
	allow police to rape, rob, arrest, murder them.

The homeless crisis is a city emergency, but we must
	criminalize public camping, sitting, sleeping;
	protest attempts to open neighborhood shelters;
	fight rent control and minimum-wage increases.

Congress must cut taxes and frivolous spending, but must
	slash payments only for the rich, adding trillions to the debt;
	spend more on defense than seven countries combined;
	take food away from babies, seniors to compensate.

The hoax pandemic became an emergency that requires
	huge corporate bailouts, no strings attached;
	loans to small businesses, with myriad conditions;
	pittance pay outs that won't cover rent to minimum-wage slaves.

All life is sacred and begins at conception, but we must
	only make testing available to the rich and celebrated;
	sacrifice seniors and children to save the stock market;
	prevent "prioritizing human life over economic stability".


©2021 F.I. Goldhaber
All rights reserved