LET’S FACE IT! Peace, Sustainability and Justice … on 26 Sept. 2015, 100 Thousand Poets (et al) for Change

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Editor’s Note: Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace, try to live gracefully) wrote this last year just before the 2014 event. (We’ve adapted it here with current links and dates.) It seemed a good piece to share with you today to welcome and encourage you to join with us this year on 26 September for 100TPC, which is not just for poets but includes artists, photographers, musicians and friends of the arts.  100TPC is about Peace, Sustainability and Justice.  We chose “poverty” for our theme this year and have devoted the entire September issue of “The BeZine” to that subject.

On the 26th, a blog post will go up on this site with instructions on how you can share your work and view that of others.  We look forward to your participation and to your works.  J.D.

As a core team member of The Bardo Group, I am invited, encouraged, challenged to participate in the The BeZine’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change event to be celebrated virtually at this blog. For more information about this event, and to be stirred and prodded in you own artistic lethargy, click here

I yearn to be a poet, an artist, a musician.  I often find a piece that seems so right, so seemingly effortless, so fitting that I think it can’t be hard to craft a work like that…it simply lays over its theme like a glove.  Not so.  Listening to music on my way to work yesterday, I heard a poet’s frustration: “I don’t know why I spend my time / Writing songs I can’t believe / With words that tear and strain to rhyme.” (Paul Simon: Kathy’s Song.)

I feel these core values of Peace, Sustainability and Justice coursing through my life, my thoughts, my work, my hopes, and I wonder how hard it would be to write a poem about it.  I talked to a young man half my age who has studied forensic justice and just interviewed for a position as a mentor, a parole partner, someone who will help perpetrators and victims get together and talk, face to face.  I thought it was a great idea, for both parties, for all parties.  Here’s my attempt to let that idea percolate:

Let’s Face It

Behind the veil, the dirty shroud, the black burka, the white Klan sheet,

the knit ski mask, the heavy gas mask, the transparent oxygen mask, the impenetrable death mask,

the dense fur, the redwood bark, the shiny scales, the matted feathers,

the protective shield, the official badge, the repeated slogan,

the coarse beard, the perfect make-up,

the injections, the implants,

the scars, the screen

There is a face, a viable being.

When eyes recognize

kin and skin, then peace begins.

Face to face is the starting place.

– Priscilla Galasso

©  2014, notes and poem, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Year 5 of 100,000 Poets & Friends for Change: 400 events scheduled.

IMG_1250I just realized that I haven’t published an update for some time.  All the news is good.

Michael Rothenberg, co-founder of 100,000 Poets, Artists, Photographers, Musicians and Friends for Change [100TPC] – change being all that is peaceful and sustainable – reported yesterday that there are over 400 events scheduled in various places around the world to celebrate the fifth year of 100TPC.

Michael’s message:

“Don’t forget September 26 is the 5th Anniversary of 100 Thousand Poets for Change! So far over 400 events are confirmed for that day. If you believe that poetry, music, and all of the arts are capable of making a more peaceful and sustainable world then 100 Thousand Poets for Change is for you! Contact me with your name, city, country and email if you would like to organize an event in your town to celebrate this important day. I will sign you up!”

Meanwhile, we have over seventy people united with us on our Facebook discussion page, The BeZine 100TPC, 2015.  You are encouraged to join with us. Leave me a message in the comments area below if you want to be included. The more the better … we welcome diverse participation.  This year we are addressing “poverty.”

For Discussion Here:

 

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), American Actress
Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), American Actress

I took this photo outside a church theater. It reminded me of Actress Audrey Hepburn’s service as a UNICEF ambassador. She traveled widely as she worked on behalf of the poor and the hungry. She said, “I don’t believe in collective guilt, but I do believe in collective responsibility.” Your thoughts????

The Plan:

The tentative plan: On the 15th of September we will publish The BeZine as usual.  The theme is poverty.  We are reviewing submissions now.  Send them to bardogroup@gmail.com and put “poverty” in the subject line.  Nothing over 1,000 words please and nothing that is unkind. Thank you!

On 26 September we will publish a blog post. Readers are invited to join with us by putting the links to their own relevant work in the comment section or to connect via Mr. Linky (directions will be provided).  We encourage you to read everyone’s work and to comment. We will then collect everything into one Page and publish that on The Bardo Group site.  Michael Rothenberg will include a PDF of the Page in 100TPC archives.

American-Israeli poet, writer and educator, Michael Dickel (War Surrounds Us) will take the lead for the September issue. Michael has hosted live 100TPC events in Israel for the past two years, has a third event scheduled for this October, and attended The First World Conference on the Future of 100TPC.  You can read his article on that event: Salerno, il mio amore.

The next issue of The BeZine is scheduled for 15 August 2015. The theme is music. The July 2015 issue is up for your reading pleasure. The theme is imagination and the critical spirit.  Link HERE.

100 TPC … poets, writers, artists, photographers, musicians and friends in solidarity for positive change … POVERTY

IMG_1250POVERTY: Discussion on Bequine Again/The Bardo Group Facebook page (let me know in the comments section if you want to be included there) has made it evident that some definition – some framework – might be needed. As we stand in solidarity and share our art, essays, poetry, music and photography on Facebook and our blogs on September 26th, I think I can safely say on behalf of the leadership at 100TPC (stated core value: peace and sustainability) and Bequine Again/The Bardo Group, publishers of The Be Zine (stated core value: nonviolence), that we are not primarily focused on spiritual malaise, ennui, or existential angst, the kind of indulgences that might characterize those of us who don’t live with bombs dropping and who so fortunately have three meals a day, clean and plentiful water, housing, health care and education. We are not primarily concerned with the psychological/spiritual insecurity that results in the need to over accumulate. These are real, important and relevant issues that do have a place in discussion. However …

… our key objective is to shed a light on the often invisible MATERIAL POVERTY that results in the death of 22,000 children each day (UNICEF) and in the nearly one billion people who entered the 21st century with no education, no reading skills. We are talking about the ever-widening distance between the haves and the have-nots even within the developed countries, with the increasing numbers of homeless, “food insecure,” and the marginalized and disaffected.

We want to shed some light on the decreasing number of the world’s richest countries v the growing number of the world’s poorest countries. In 1820 the number of poor countries to wealthy was three-to-one. In 1992 it was seventy-two to one (1999 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme – see also the Center for Economic and Policy Research). What do you think are the implications for all of us in that?

In short, our concerns are primarily centered on those issues that could be mitigated and perhaps resolved by deflecting investment in war to investment in people, by responsible consumerism, responsible corporate ethic and policy, and responsible national and global human development policy. We are of the same mind as Simone Weil (The Need for Roots, 1949)when she wrote that feeding the hungry is the most basic of human obligations and that “human progress” is defined by “ a transition to a state of human society in which people will not suffer from hunger.”

– Jamie Dedes