I shouldn't be saying this but —
Typically the majority stand for it but —
They assumed we'd go on being quiet but —
They said that moral courage was at a minimum but —
They thought we'd go on stunned in the grey TV glow but —
They thought we were flies on the screen forever but —
Even we believed we had no wings, no grandeur but —
They thought our outrage was dead but —
There’s supposed to be limits on how long you can push it
push it push it but but but —
We thought we'd lost each other but —
They believed that silence was assent forever but —
It looked like it was going to be World War III but —
They said that faith was not a well, not a flow, not a channel but —
I was telling everybody don't count on me
I can't be relied upon but —
They're going to tell us we're not brave but —
They’re going to push the negative but —
They said there was no buttress but —
No resistance but —
No insistence but —
No victory but —
Give Us a Floor
Give us a floor we can drag a chair over
And leave a mark
A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing
We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like
A floor you can jump on
Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour
And no one cares
We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two
A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps
Fifty stomping bikers on choppers
And still be fine for yoga in the morning
It is important to have a floor you can fall on
A floor good for trying risky positions
Maybe one day we’ll want to invite
Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying
A floor equipped to bear them all
And still take a child’s lightest footfall
With never the creak of any small floor complaint
A floor to hold up the elephants
A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts
Held in thrall by mere matter
By love by stampede
We want a floor to bear seven generations
Each unfolded out of the other
All at once in a great hootenanny and holler
A floor to bear the greatest table ever made
For a feast where no one’s missing
We don’t want some poor flat excuse
We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor
We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted
A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry
And ready to fall
It’s time we had the floor
Give us the floor
Spread the word outward
From the centre
To the edges
Spread the word like the word
Was your wings
And you could fly
Spread the word
Like wind in all directions
Let the word be spread
Like a lover's legs
Like petals strewn upon a bed
Like the breath of life
On the land of the dead
Spread the word
Let nothing go unsaid
That must be said
Spread the word like breath
To the drowning
Like food to the unfed
Spread the word like medicine
To a child on a deathbed
Spread it like a wild fire
Of thought in some genius head
Spread the word to all and one
Refusing it to none
Like wealth like water
All over the earth
Let it never go unheard
Spread the word
Islam Means Surrender
There is a lot of Islam
Those who surrender to Jesus
Are Islamic - 'Islam' means surrender
If you yearn to give up your essence
Into nirvana - isn't that a huge surrender?
And Jews who seek to do the will of God
They surrender themselves to the teachings of the Torah
Even lovers who bow to one another's pure forms
Or those who give in the needs of the moment — surrender
Robert Priest Poet
A literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, a singer-songwriter, a widely quoted aphorist, a children’s poet and novelist, Robert Priest is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad. His words have been quoted in the Farmer’s Almanac, debated in the Ontario Legislature, sung on Sesame Street, posted in Toronto’s transit system, broadcast on MuchMusic, released on numerous CDs, quoted by politicians, and widely published in textbooks and anthologies.
Robert Priest is the author of fourteen books of poetry. His book, Reading the Bible Backwards, rose to number two on the Toronto Globe and Mail’s poetry charts. He is a previous winner of the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry award. He co-wrote the hit, Song Instead of a Kiss, for Alannah Myles, which is still played all around the world and went to number one for two weeks in Canada and six weeks in Québec. His aphorisms show up frequently in Colombo’s Canadian Quotations and The Farmer’s Almanac.
His latest book of poetry for children, The Wolf is Back received a Gold Moonbeam award in the US and his previous volume for children, Rosa Rose, was a book of honour in the Lion and the Unicorn award for poetry in the North American category at John Hopkins University. His fantasy series, Spell Crossed, was described by Open Book as a ‘Modern Classic’. He is also a singer-songwriter and children’s singer-songwriter of note with songs on Sesame Street. For two years he was the resident topical songwriter on the CBC radio program Is Anybody Home and has contributed topical songs to CBC’s Sunday Night News.
The BeZine will hold a virtual 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) Reading / Music / Art Event 26 September, 2020.
While we have been holding an online virtual 100TPC event for years, this year most other events likely will be online. The Time of Coronavirus has brought about this change. We at The BeZine are thinking about how to be more interactive. We will keep readers posted on the blog and social media.
Keep in touch to find out more. If you are not already following us, follow the blog for updates. (Follow link is in column on the right side of the page).
Meanwhile, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, co-founders of 100TPC, have sent out a message to poets (and other writers, artists, musicians, etc.). Read on to find out what will be happening globally.
—Michael Dickel andThe BeZine Community
more about global events From the 100 Thousand Poets for Change founders
Dear 100 Thousand Poets for Change Organizers,
We are fast approaching the global 100 Thousand Poets for Change day. September 26, 2020 is on the calendar!
2020 marks 10 years since the 100 Thousand Poets for Change movement began. It has been a breathtaking experience to work and create together in community building with you, and to witness a global community working for positive change.
We hope you will all participate and organize again this year to signify that
peace, justice and sustainability are things you and your community of poets, musicians, and artists care deeply about. We stand with you in reaffirming your commitment to this vision.
But this is not an ordinary year.
We are faced with a global crisis. Covid-19 has affected us all. Sickness, death, isolation, fear and depression have touched so many. We have been forced to isolate and socially distance, to live a different reality, and the possibility of organizing a community event has vanished in the usual way for the time being. We have been left to social media and Zoom sessions to maintain communication with our friends, family, and artists around the world. This new way of connecting has been difficult for many but we have powered on.
So how shall we proceed?
Since June of this year, 100 Thousand Poets for Change has scheduled 5 Zoom sessions, organized by 100TPC organizers from around the world. The response to the sessions has been wonderful. Hundreds of poets have connected on Zoom and met for the first time and many participants who were once strangers to one another have walked away from the readings feeling rebooted and refueled. Poets from around the world have read their work to one another and the synergy is inspirational and motivating. Covid-19 has forced a new kind of community development. 100TPC is responding in various positive ways and growing stronger.
What we are suggesting for the 10th anniversary of 100tpc is that local organizers work to prepare Zoom sessions all around the world. We are asking that you reconnect with your community through social media events and invite poets from your local community and from around the world to participate. The need for positive change is greater than ever and we must not let our spirits diminish in the task of speaking up for change.
If you decide to organize a virtual event please let me know and I will add your event to promotions and archives just as we have done for the past ten years. Zoom sessions can be recorded easily and added to the Stanford University effort to document this historic movement.
Please let me know in response to this email if you will be organizing a Zoom reading or any other kind of poetic action, and send me notice of event details. Reply in the subject line: Yes I want to organize! We will tell the world.
Important! You do not need to organize your event on September 26, you can organize any time that is convenient for you during the fall and winter months.
Most important. Know that you have friends around the world who care about you and share your creative vision. We are not alone. We will get through this.
Thank you again for your years of participation and support.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Love and Peace,
Michael and Terri 100 Thousand Poets for Change 100TPC.org
“Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.” His broken shapes and no words for them. It got all still as our train stopped. I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.” Linda Chown
The Big Burn-Out
In Deusto those burnt out train husks
ETA exploded black in a rage for justice
haunt the tracks like unheard whispers
hollowed out like old love gone offstage
There was an awe in my looking
almost a respect as I was
remembering the political anger
in which I was basted all my little life.
It was a mirror of those police,
big faceless men holding their lines.
This is no self pity but a gripping knowing
how big life living is. How solemn and fervent our times.
Those trains brought me to Hemingway’s
World War I minimalist opus “In Our Time.”
His broken shapes and no words for them.
It got all still as our train stopped.
I found myself bleakly staring at eternity unbound.
LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row. BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel
Toward the end of June this year I was introduced to Kella Hanna-Wayne’s (Yopp) work via a Facebook link shared by my colleague here at The BeZine, Contributing Editor Michael Dickel, which he in turn received from his daughter. I subsequently included info on Kella and her post HERE. That’s the way the world moves these days. Though technology and social networking are mixed blessings in some respects, they’re effective tools for people like Kella and I who have work to which we are committed but deal everyday with serious physical disabilities that constrain (in my case prohibit) activity outside the home.
The link of which I speak was to a post in which Kella provided some well-considered guidelines and resources for protesting the migrant travesties on the U.S. Southern Border. As I investigated Kella’s site, I was impressed with her thoroughness and clarity. I wrote to her about doing an interview on for our activist poets, writers, and friends. She agreed. Here it is. Read on. / Managing Editor, Jamie Dedes
JAMIE: Kella, you have taken on such a range of causes, all of them important, critical. Not everyone can do that. I hear people talk about “compassion burnout,” which is understandable but irritating. It’s a luxury oppressed people don’t have. I usually respond with “pick a cause. Pick one cause and focus on that.” What’s your advice?
KELLA: I think all of us, including activists, can agree that social justice is simply overwhelming. There are so many causes, there’s so much to learn about every cause, and to make things even more complicated, the needs of each cause are constantly progressing and changing. It’s a lot to keep up with.
But one of the fundamental ideas behind my blog is that there are a basic set of guidelines that you can follow that will help you understand any source of oppression. Instead of learning about male privilege, and then white privilege, and then financial privilege, why not learn how the concept of privilege works so that you can apply it to any new cause you learn about? There are so many challenges marginalized groups face that they have in common with one another: microaggressions, oppressive language, policing of their emotions/bodies, even difficulty accessing medical care. I think that if you learn the functionality of the oppressive systems that are at work and all the basic components of social justice, it enables you to support these groups of people much more effectively and thoroughly than if you were trying to learn one cause at a time from scratch.
I also think that even if you do choose to focus primarily on one cause, it’s important to be aware of the basics of the other ones because social justice issues are all inextricably connected to each other and ignoring the way intersectionality impacts the problems that we’re tackling tends to leave holes in our solutions.
JAMIE:What then are the steps activists can take to minimize burnout?
KELLA: No matter how narrow your focus, social justice issues are far bigger than any one person can solve. Because activism has to be a collective effort, I think it’s really important to recognize that completely fixing the problem is an impossible standard to hold yourself to. You are one piece in a much larger effort to create change. Even when you are focusing on what is within your personal power, you have to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish. If there are 20 different tasks that you could do as an activist and each one is individually within your ability to do, it’s likely doing all 20 of them is not. You have to choose what it is that you are going to do.
To make that choice, I recommend focusing on forms of activism that…
Are sustainable so that you can continue to do them over time
Are empowering to you so that you feel motivated to continue
Aren’t deeply upsetting or draining in such a way that the cost of the task is greater than the positive impact the action has
Feel right to you.
Which forms of activism meet those criteria is going to be different for everyone. For example, I believe that calling your representatives is an effective way to impact the future of our country but I find making phone calls incredibly anxiety-inducing and I have to spend a lot of energy to get myself to make one. That’s not a good use of my resources. On the other hand, writing comes easily to me, I find it rewarding, and it’s something that a lot of other people can’t contribute. I can accomplish way more by writing on behalf of activism than I could if I were using the same amount of resources to make phone calls. Whenever I feel the push to do more for a cause, I re-center on the importance of my writing and how much I’m offering in the work I already do.
A philosophy I carry around with me wherever I go is that everyone has something of value to offer. You have to find what your offering is.
JAMIE: Tell us about Yopp Academy.
KELLA: Yopp Academy is a section of my blog that focuses on educational material. It’s where I’m outlining that basic set of social justice guidelines I mentioned earlier.
To distinguish the amount of prior knowledge that’s needed to understand a given article, I used a college-style course numbering system, so articles are sorted into 100 level, 200 level, 300 level, etc. If you’re brand new to social justice, you start with the 100 level articles and work your way up. It really does function like a set of college courses in that articles of higher levels directly reference ideas from the level 100 articles, so the more of them you read together, the better your understanding will be of the subject as a whole.
The articles I have published currently only go up to level 300 because I’ve been putting my focus on establishing all the basic concepts before adding more advanced stuff. I’m currently working on a lesson plan of over 40 educational articles to serve as a foundation of knowledge which you can use regardless of your level of involvement with activism, which will include higher-level articles in the future.
JAMIE:Tell us about your Facebook debates.
KELLA: I’ve always had a lot of friends on facebook who are into social justice and some of them have such large friends list that anytime they posted something controversial, it would spark a discussion/debate. I started jumping into these discussions and offering my opinion and I got a reputation for being good at explaining basic social justice concepts to people who weren’t familiar with them and for clearly outlining the problems in someone else’s argument.
I used Facebook debates to practice my writing, increase my own understanding of social justice, it introduced me to a bunch of other amazing people that cared about the same things, and because managing my disability/mental illnesses made traditional activism prohibitive, it gave me a way to be involved in causes I cared about. Spending so much time arguing with people who I disagreed with also gave me a lot of insight into the places people were most likely to have holes in their understanding of our social systems which in turn has really informed the content and the structure of my blog. I often say the reason I started a blog in the first place was that I got tired of writing out the same explanations/arguments over and over again, and just wanted to write out the article once to link to every time I came across the same issue again.
I know I differ from a lot of people in that I believe debates on social media, even the “unproductive” ones, are an important branch of activism. Not only do they spread information to larger audiences of people (while only 10 people might be commenting, 1,000 could be reading the comments) but they serve as a means of socializing bigots to understand that their bigotry will be met with hassle and frustration rather than easy acceptance like they’re used to. I think that practice has a lot more power than people think it does.
JAMIE: So many people – like you and me – live with chronic, even catastrophic, illness. What can these illnesses teach us about social justice and advocacy?
KELLA: If you hold a conference for activism regarding chronic illness but you organize it in a similar way that you would any other business conference, your collection of speakers, organizers, and attendants are likely to be mostly healthy people rather than chronically ill people. If it’s energy-intensive to leave your house/travel, if you need frequent breaks or a special housing set up, if you have extensive food restrictions or you need to hire a carer to accompany you, it’s going to be very difficult, resource costly, and risky to go to a conference that healthy people can attend with ease. Even in attempting to center the chronically ill, if you organize from the perspective of a healthy person, you will leave chronically ill out of their own activism. That’s because the default systems that we have in place for most aspects of society make it very difficult for chronically ill people to participate let alone succeed.
Anytime you design a solution for the social issues chronically ill people face, you have to start by adapting your mindset and prioritizing accommodation of an experience that you’re not familiar with, or you’ll fail at your advocacy from the beginning.
And this idea is not at all exclusive to chronic illness. You see the same problem with white people organizing on behalf of people of color, cis people organizing for trans people, abled people organizing for disabled people, etc. You have to go in understanding that in order for your advocacy to be successful, you have to dismantle the relevant oppressive systems that are within your scope of power and create new systems, a new foundation before you attempt to build any kind of structure on top.
JAMIE: Your site is about eighteen months old as we work on this post. What are the goals for the next couple of years?
KELLA: I’m still very much working out what my ideal version of Yopp would be or what I want it to accomplish but so far, my concrete plans are:
Switch over to a new, more modern and accessible website
Finish writing the basic building blocks for Yopp Academy (all 40 of them!!)
Build up my Patreon supporter base– my first goal is $800 a month
Acquire enough sponsorships that I can publish up to 4 times a month
KELLA HANNA-WAYNE (Yopp) is a disabled, chronically/mentally ill freelance writer who is the editor, publisher, and main writer for Yopp, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights education, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression; and for GlutenFreeNom.Com, a resource for learning the basics of gluten-free cooking and baking. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, Multiamory, Architrave Press and is forthcoming in a chapter of the book Twice Exceptional (2e) Beyond Learning Disabilities: Gifted Persons with Physical Disabilities. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s an argentine tango dancing event, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Medium, and Instagram.
“And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).
“Each [hu]man’s step forward is a step forward for all of [hu]mankind.” the great white* brotherhood
* “white” here is not a reference to race but to the Aura of White Light that surrounds the anointed ones, those who have arisen from every race, creed and walk of life to lead others to enlightenment.
I “met” Terri Stewart online in 2011 when I visited her blog Beguine Again, which at that time was entitled Cloaked Monk. “Beguine” Again – after the Beguines, a lay semi-monastic Christian order of the 13th-16th centuries in Northern Europe. It was committed to – among other things – caring for the sick and the poor.
I was impressed with Terri’s commitment to spiritual ritual and her openness to the wisdom and beauty in religious traditions, including traditions other than her own. I valued her respect for diversity, both social and spiritual, so I eventually invited her to become the Sunday Chaplain for what was then a blog entitled Into the Bardo.
Since that time, we’ve evolved into a group (The Bardo Group) of clerics and poets, writers and other creatives representing varied traditions and cultures and sharing the core values of respect and nonviolence. We work in the interest of peace, sustainability and social justice. We publish The BeZine. Our thirteenth issue comes out on November 15th. The theme is At-risk Youth. Terri is taking the lead for that issue, making this the perfect time for readers and colleagues to get to know her better. Hence this interview … Enjoy!
Jamie: I have a sense that you were committed to social justice long before you decided to study theology and become a minister. Is that correct? What was the stimulus and what was the first project on which you worked?
Terri: When I first joined the church in 2001, I was looking for a connection to community. What I discovered was inequality in the church and an avoidance of social issues that drove wedges between people. It was like that uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner. Everybody is at the table, but only a few were allowed at the grown-up’s table. And! disagreements were glossed over for the sake of unity.
My biggest issue with the church was its lack of inclusion for LGBTQIAP individuals. In response to that, and as a mirror of the greater structure of the United Methodist Church (UMC) world-wide church, I founded the Church & Society committee. This was an attempt to get people talking and to be able to step into social issue learning and leadership. I soon found myself embroiled in controversy as two issues marched through Washington state. In 2004, there was a church trial in the town next to my home town that was an attempt to defrock a lesbian pastor. Also, just prior to the trial, I was involved in a march on the capitol in Olympia for marriage equality.
The upshot was that I was yelled at like I was a child! “Are you trying to destroy the church?”
As my first forays into social justice was basically full inclusion for LGBTQIAP individuals within the UMC church, I would count myself unsuccessful. The UMC church continues to have harmful language in its official rulebook (the ominously named Book of Discipline). I continue to advocate and am on the national board of Reconciling Ministries Network. Our goal has been full inclusion. I think we are beginning to realize that we need a second goal, that of creating safe space.
Also! At the same time this was all swirling around, I started volunteering with Kairos Prison Ministry in 2003. Kairos provides spiritual renewal retreats within the prison setting. Working with Kairos (Ancient Greek for “the right time” as opposed to chronos which is “watch time”) started me on a path towards understanding the full systems that impact the lives of those who are incarcerated.
Jamie: How and when did the focus transition to incarcerated youth? What is the most important thing you would like us to understand about the youth being served?
Terri: As I worked with Kairos, I started out working with incarcerated men. Then with incarcerated women. And then with women whose loved ones were incarcerated. I worked my way into leadership positions. Eventually, we thought, “What about youth whose loved ones are incarcerated?” So we wrote a program just for them.
At the same time, I was called into ordained ministry. I went to seminary. In my second year of seminary, I was required to do an internship. My internship was at the King County Youth Detention Center (KCJDC), Seattle, Washington. I basically never left.
The thing to know about the youth at KCJDC and at the state level institutions I serve, is that they are traumatized youth. The average ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score for incarcerated youth is 92 out of 100. Most of us would be in therapy with that high of a score! Instead, these youth are incarcerated. We could change that by having trauma informed teaching practices in communities where generational trauma has occurred or by having mental health centers with trauma treatment available. Destigmatizing therapy would be grand!
Jamie:Tell us about Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, how other ministers may get involved and what the public can do to help.
Terri: The Youth Chaplaincy Coalition developed out of my internship at KCJDC. We realized that there was a need to organize, train, and supervise religious volunteers so that the youth would get the best care possible.
While we started at KCJDC, we now are state-wide. I run a mentoring program called MAP that aids youth in developing transition plans for when they go home. Since the kids go home all over Washington, I need volunteers in every city!
My dream is to teach people across the world how the MAP program works and how easy it is to walk with those affected by incarceration. There is also a training called “Healing Communities” that teaches communities how to use their gifts in aid of those affected by incarceration. If every church was a Healing Community and every city had trained mentors, we could transform the world! Well, we could at least change one child’s life. If you want to be involved or talk to me, you can email me at YCC-Chaplain@thechurchcouncil.org
My biggest need is financial support. I take a very small stipend and am responsible for all my own fundraising needs. I often make decisions this way, “Should I do my work today? Or should I do fundraising today?” Although I should view fundraising as work, I often give it a lower prioritization! So donations would be especially appreciated. I persuaded the Church Council of Greater Seattle to adopt the organization so we are a legit 501c3 and we have an accountant doing all the financial stuff! That is a great gift to me!
Donations can be sent to:
Youth Chaplaincy Coalition
PO Box 18467
Seattle, WA 98118
Be sure and put YCC or Youth Chaplaincy on the memo line.
Jamie:What made you decide to go into ministry? What is the most rewarding aspect of that commitment?
Terri: When I first experienced a call to ministry, I thought I was going bananas. My first reaction was, “Who me?” or “I must be over-tired!” The call I experienced felt like a direct communication from the Divine telling me to go deeper. As I went deeper into understanding the call of ministry, I discovered it was a call to ordained ministry.
The most rewarding part of the commitment to a sacramental ministry is when I see a person’s eyes light up with the understanding that they are, indeed, holy and good—a living sacrament.
Jamie:Tell us about “cloaked monk” and the place of ritual in our lives.
The Cloaked Monk developed out of a commitment to daily spiritual practices in ordinary life (the monk part) and that I was kind of disguised—like wearing a cloak!
I believe that ritual marks out sacramentality in our daily lives. Sacramentality is that connection to one another and to the Divine. It is a way of marking time that moves away from chronological time (Greek: chronos) and into marking the fullness of time (Greek: kairos). It also allows us to fully be present without living in the past or rushing into the future. This is especially important in our transient age of moving here and there faster and faster. Rituals grounded in generational practices connect us through time and space to another age. There is also the place for new rituals created that uplift new and modern experiences that our ancestors would never have imagined. They can be a celebration, a grounding, a remembering, or a lament.
The ancient Celts had thin places. They were places that the veil between the earth and beyond seem especially vulnerable to one another. Places where the things of heaven could pass to the earth and where things of the earth could pass to heaven. Stonehenge is one such place. Or labyrinths. Ritual, when it is meaningful, creates this thin place.
Jamie: Why should readers care about people and issues that don’t seem to touch their lives directly?
Terri: Unfortunately, it seems that issues of justice and mercy do not intersect with ordinary lives. Incarceration seems far away from us. Refugees in Syria seem far away. Violence in Palestine seems so very far away. But it all tangles together like my bag of knitting yarn. I am a very poor knitter. My yarns always get tangled and I don’t know what to do. And when it is in my bag, it will suck in all the other little things in there! Resources or things I might need become tangled up in the yarn. Those are resources that I need. They might be resources that others need.
In Washington, we spend about $9,600 per student to educate them. We spend about $45,000 per prisoner to incarcerate them. What we know is that by reading scores in the 4th grade, we can predict incarceration rates because we do not fully fund our schools. What if we were able to direct our resources into education? All students would benefit.
I imagine that it is like boats rising in a tide. A rising tide raises all boats. Yours, mine, everyone’s!
Heads-up everyone: For the fifth year on September 26, 2015, more than 100,000 Poets (and artists, musicians, and other creatives and activist) will meet in town squares, theaters, on beaches, in cafes and probably some backyards in solidarity for a peaceful and sustainable world.
At The Bardo Group/Bequine Again, we’re hosting a virtual event so that those who have no neighborhood events to go to or who are home bound can participate.
At this writing founder Michael Ronthenberg, poet and publisher, reports that 300 events are already registered. To see if there’s an event near you or to register an event in your neighborhood, go to the site.
The following is a message from the founders of 100TPC:
100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE [100TPC] MOVEMENT for PEACE & SUSTAINABILITY!
Do you want to join other poets, musicians, and artists around the world in a demonstration/celebration to promote peace and sustainability and to call for serious social, environmental and political change?
“What kind of CHANGE are we talking about?”
The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This changes how we see our local community and the global community. We have become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It is empowering . . .
… and there is trouble in the world. Wars, violation of human rights, ecocide, racism, genocide, gender inequality, homelessness, the lack of affordable medical care, police brutality, religious persecution, poverty, censorship, animal cruelty, and the list goes on and on.
Transformation towards peace and a more sustainable world are the major concerns and the global guiding principle for 100 TPC events. War is not sustainable. There is an increasing sense that we need to move forward and stop moving backwards. But we are trying not to be dogmatic. We hope that together we can develop our ideas of the “change/transformation” we are looking for as a global community , and that each local community group will decide their own specific area of focus for change for their particular event. All we ask is that local communities organize events about change within the guidelines of peace and sustainability.
“I want to organize in my area. How do we begin to organize?”
100 Thousand Poets for Change will help organize and find individuals in each area who would like to organize their local event.
If you are an organizer for your community you will consider a location for the event and begin to contact people in your area who want to participate in the event. Participation means contacting the media, posting the event on the web, in calendars, newspapers, etc., reading poems, doing a concert, performing in general, supplying cupcakes and beer (it’s up to you), demonstrating, putting up an information table, inviting guest speakers, musicians, etc., organizing an art exhibit, and documenting the event (this is important, too), and cleaning up, of course.
Organizers and participants will create their own local event as an expression of who they are locally. Do they want a a concert or a jam session, candlelight vigil or a circus, a march or a dance, poetry reading in a cafe or on the subway, do they want absolute silence, a group meditation on a main street; it’s up to the local organization.
However, groups should try to hold some part of the event, if not all of it, outdoors, in public view (not required). The point is to be seen and heard, not just stay behind closed walls. It is also important that the event be documented. Photos, audio, videos, poems, journals, paintings! Documentation is crucial. The rest of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change want to hear what you have to say about change and enjoy your creativity too! The documentation will be shared through a blog/website that I will set up, a blog/website where groups can share and announce event information, as well as post photos, videos, poetry, art, and thoughts. But an event doesn’t have to involve tons of people. It can be just you (the organizer) and your pet, on a street corner, with a sign. Just let me know what you are planning!
Every effort counts!
Each local organization determines what it wants to focus on, something broad like, peace, sustainability, justice, equality, or more specific causes like Health Care, or Freedom of Speech, or local environmental or social concerns that need attention in your particular area right now, etc. Organizations will then come up with a mission statement/manifesto that describes who they are and what they think and care about. Mission statements form arround the world have been collected and worked together into a grand statement of 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
STATUS ON MERGINGBeguine Again and our collective, The Bardo Group, continue with sharing of ideas and some modifications to site links already in progress. At this point the intention is to continue with daily posts. The official transition date is October 1st. On Saturday, October 4, Terri Stewart will post a more complete status report. Jamie Dedes will remain as a part of the core team and as poetry liaison.
We move forward with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change. However, we have streamlined the plan given the weight of work that is now upon us. We won’t be able to publish a book this year – a dream for next year maybe – but we’ll still have daily post/s and in the spirit of the occasion, we invite readers to link in their own relevent work to the posts via Mister Linky or in the comments sections starting September 27 and through October 3 inclusive. Shortly after the event close, we’ll collect links into a Page like the one we did for Poets Against War, 2013 Collection HERE.
The Bardo Group chosen area of concern for this year’s event is Peace and Justice.
The founders of 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change are enthusiastically rolling forward. Founders Michael Rothenberg, poet and editor of Big Bridge Press and zine, and Terri Carrion, poet, writer and associate editor and visual designer of Big Bridge Press and zine, have pages set up for all participating organizations. THE BARDO GROUP event page is HERE. We take this opportunity to thank Michael and Terri for their vision and their work.
Michael and Terri have written:
“The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It will be empowering.” MORE
PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH (HERE) The largest global demonstration for climate action in history is scheduled for September 21. In solidarity, Beguine Again will post spiritual practice relevant to the issues.
More than 100 organizations are taking part in an online recruitment drive to sign people up for the demonstration. In the first hours of the push, thousands of new sign-ups have already begun to flow in.
ThePeople’s Climate March is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The march takes place just two days before world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. Marchers are demanding leaders go beyond rhetoric and commit to bold action at the summit.
More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the People’s Climate March, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of buddhist monks.
In total, the groups represent roughly 100 million people worldwide.
The scale of organizing for the march now rivals that of a major electoral campaign, with thousands of volunteers, daily phone-banks and canvasses in NYC, and a major online operation to turn out marchers. Updates from the field include:
Trains and hundreds of buses will be bringing people from across the country for the march. Including a dedicated train from San Francisco to New York, a dedicated train from D.C. to New York, and buses from multiple points outside of New York.
More than 45 labor unions have signed onto the march, pledging to turn out members in New York City and from surrounding areas.
Connecticut alone has over 40 different groups confirmed to attend.
Renowned artist Shepard Fairey, whose Obama Hope poster has become world famous, has donated a poster design for the march.
At a warehouse in Brooklyn, artists are creating giant sculptures, floats, and banners for the march.
The global campaigning group Avaaz has secured 10% of the subway ads in NYC for the month before the march. The ads were chosen after a poster design contest that netted over 400 entries worldwide. Groups are planning a major student recruitment push for college campuses as classes resume in September.
In New Delhi, thousands will take over the streets on September 20 to demand a renewable energy revolution.
In Australia, organizers are expecting hundreds of individual events to take place across the country, including a major march in Melbourne.
In London environment organisations and faith groups are combining forces to create a historic march through the city to the steps of Parliament.
In Berlin three parallel marches will combine forces in a colourful festival.
Events are already being planned in Ghana, Kenya, DRC, Nigeria, and Guinea, along with a major march in Johannesburg.
In Paris, local groups will create the “Paris Marche pour le Climat,” with parades, marches, and bicycle rides planned across the bridges of the Seinne.
Reports are also coming in of large mobilizations planned in: Kathmandu, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai and Istanbul.
Organizers are confident that the sheer scale and diversity of the People’s Climate March events, from the headline demonstration in New York City to the simultaneous events worldwide, will show politicians that there is a massive, energized movement demanding immediate action to address the climate crisis.
In New York City, the message will be difficult to ignore: marchers have come to an agreement with the NYPD for the march to flow directly through the middle of Manhattan. The march will begin at Columbus Circle at 11:30am on Sunday, proceed over on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square.
The march and the Climate Summit in New York mark the beginning of a busy 18 months of crucial international negotiations. Climate negotiators will head to Lima, Peru, in December 2014 to make progress towards a global climate deal. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will meet back in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the global post-2015 development agenda. Three months later, the world will gather in Paris to try and sign a new international climate treaty.
BLOGGERS AND WEBSITE OWNERS don’t forget that September 10 is Internet Slowdown. This is all about NetNutrality. Our site host, WordPress, is participating.
Published on Mar 18, 2013
Welcome to the Wilderness Society!! Our valued staff and members share their stories about the Wilderness Society and their reasons for protecting the Australian environment and wilderness.
“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), leader of Indian Nationalism and promoter of nonviolent civil disobedience
Buddhist Global Relief came into being in June 2008, born of the conviction that Buddhists should play a more active role in helping our unseen brothers and sisters around the world emerge from the crushing weight of poverty and social neglect. Inspired by the Buddha’s great compassion, we chose chronic hunger and malnutrition as our special focus. Our programs are intended to help people escape this brutal trap by promoting more sustainable methods of food production and more equitable systems of food distribution. We also sponsor the education of poor children, especially girls, and right livelihood opportunities for poor women, enabling them to earn more to feed their families.
In only three years, we’ve already launched over twenty-five projects in Asia, Africa, Haiti, and the U.S. The most recent include:
regular nutritious meals for hungry children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
wells to provide water for poor families in Cambodia
training in employable skills for indigent girls in Sri Lanka
educational assistance for slum children in Nagpur, India
training farmers from Malawi in ecologically sustainable agriculture
a community garden and orchard to produce nutritious organic vegetables and herbs in Mqatsheni, South Africa
a greenhouse to grow produce for the poor in the Maryland-Pennsylvania region of the U.S.
Today BGR is playing a major role in representing Buddhism on the stage of global giving. Last year, we were even invited to participate in conferences on collaboration in poverty alleviation at the White House and the National Cathedral. These led to several partnerships with Oxfam America on projects in Cambodia and Vietnam. Recently Tricyleand Buddhadharma, two major American Buddhist journals, featured articles about BGR (please see Tricycle’sFeeding the world’s hungry and Buddhadharma’sBuddhist Global Relief articles). We want this Buddhist presence to flourish, visibly representing the compassionate spirit of the Dharma in ways made urgent by the terrible persistence of poverty and malnutrition.
We’re doing our utmost to turn back this tide, but we can’t achieve our goals without help from friends who share our ideals and resonate with our values, good-hearted people like you. Your donations are the key to everything we do: to combating hunger and malnutrition, to educating poor children, to helping those who cannot help themselves. And because we’re an all-volunteer organization, we use the funds we receive prudently, with care and discretion, to ensure that over 90% of every dollar goes directly to finance projects.
As we come to the end of 2011 — the time for selfless giving — please bring forth a heart of generosity for the world’s poor and hungry people, who need a helping hand in order to rise up and stand on their feet. Please give generously. When you give, you become a part of our mission, a partner in our endeavor to express compassion in action. Bear in mind that to give is to receive, to experience the joy of offering others the chance to live with dignity and hope.
May all blessings be with you and your family,
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Founder and Chairperson
Buddhist Global Relief is a 501(c) (3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations. You can either donate online at the BGR website or send a check to:
Buddhist Global Relief
PO Box 1611
Sparta, New Jersey 07871 USA
If your company has a Matching Gift Program, please enclose the necessary forms as well.
“From time immemorial, poetry has built better bridges between people than those with bricks and stones. And these bridges do not get old or obsolete … ” [Change Is Born in the Womb of Poetry] MujeebJaihoon
POET ACTIVISTS IN SOLIDARITY
After much resistance, I finally joined Facebook under my name HERE and created a page for Into the Bardo HERE. Facebook is yet another something that can consume too much time, but it’s also a gold mine of information and introductions to talented, responsible folks from around the world. Through poet-Friend connections I recently received an invitation to participate in:
100 THOUSAND POETS OF THE WORLD (100 Thousand Poets for Change) – This puts me in mind of Sam Hamill‘s Poets Against the War, when hundreds of poets marched and read outside the White House in protest against the war in Iraq. That was a well-defined effort. In this case the first question that comes to mind is “What kind of change?”
The first order of change is for poets, writers, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering. Excerpt from the press release of March 2011 announcing the the first 100 Poets for Change global event that was held on September 24, 2011. The next global event is scheduled for September 29, 2012.
100 Thousand Poets for Change is a unified effort among activist poets, artists, photographers, and musicians working toward a sustainable world through simultaneous events held across the globe, basically consciousness raising and peaceful protest. This September under the umbrella of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, 700 events were held in 550 cities representing 95 participating countries united to promote environmental, social, and political change. That’s pretty amazing and down-right gratifying. 100 Thousand Poets for Change is not getting the press that the Occupy movement is getting, but it is striking by virtue of its size, support, and sustainability.
Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in an article on About.com said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.” All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.
Throughout the year, there are also small local events. Even as you read here today, the Sharjah International Book Fair is in progress will run through November 27. 100 Thousand Poets for Change was invited to participate and is actively doing so.
If this effort sounds like something that interests you as a poet and/or citizen of the world, check out the website HERE.
POETS AGAINST THE WAR started in 2003 by Sam Hamill is now defunct, but all the poems have been placed in a university archive. I was honored to find that two of mine are included. Sadly the web domain has been assumed by others for advertising. However, there is a bound collection of some of the original poems, Sam Hamill, Poets Against the War.
“[Poetry begins] that process by which we insure the future because we know so much more than we understand. We must first examine our feelings for questions, because all the rest has been programmed. We have been taught how to understand, and in terms that will insure not creativity, but the status quo. If we are looking for something which is new and something which is vital, we must look first into the chaos within ourselves. That will help us in the directions that we need to go–that’s why our poetry is so essential, is so vital. Now whether poetry has the responsibility to effect social change . . . it doesn’t really matter. As we get in touch with the things that we feel are intolerable, in our lives, they become more and more intolerable. If we just once dealt with how much we hate most of what we do, there would be no holding us back from changing it. This is true with any kind of movement. This is the way in which the philosopher/Queen, the poet-warrior leads.” Audra Lorde in an interview Karla Hammond, American Poetry Review, March-April 1980
When we marched,
Through slimy mud past riot-shielded cops in Alexander
(This is the ghetto.)
While children peered wild-eyed from dark windows,
For some of us these were re-runs of earlier apartheid-burdened days.
But, then, it was defiant resolution that drove our hearts and braced our feet.
Now, sadness at betrayal sat sadly on our hearts.
Our shouted slogans hung heavy over us in grimy air.
We winced at familiar oft-repeated lies
There are people for whom poetry exists almost exclusively as an aid to social change, to political discourse– not as some sort of didacticism – but as a discussion, a wake up call, a way of approaching some truth, finding some meaning, encouraging resolution. I’m not one of them. I am as likely to write about the beautiful flowers that have just popped on my orchid – at last – or something my mom said fifty years ago as I am to write a poem on a social issue. But it does happen and quite often: a horrific war photo, a news report of an injustice, a homeless person outside the grocery, a friend in pain that I can trace to some social issues, and the words start to flow. There’s the urge to respond, to do something – the urge to activism.
As I make my way around the blogosphere, I delight to see how many poets blog for causes – “worthy” causes as my mom would say – and I know that “worthy” is in the eye of the reader. War is big. For those poet-bloggers who are pacifists, this medium offers one means of passive resistance. Perhaps passivism is the strongest form of resistance and poetry the conscience of the collective soul.
In the 70s, the American author, poet, and musician, Gil Scott Heron, wrote The Revolution Shall Not Be Televised (video below). It comes to mind now. For those who remember, this might seem odd. It’s a Nixon-era piece, but we’re still struggling with the trivialities Heron is so beautifully strident about. And the revolution couldn’t be televised. It would be too big for one thing. Though Heron was addressing issues for blacks, I would submit that while we have different histories, we’re all struggling to stay afloat on the same broken-down raft.
In Dennis Brutus’ poem above, he points to the world we now live in. Having survived Robben Island with Nelson Mandella, he was freed only to find that while apartheid ended in South Africa it had become world-pervasive. The issue now he discovered was no longer race but economics: the few haves vs. the masses of have-nots. And those who have just a bit – enough to feel safe and perhaps a bit smug – are just a hairbreadth away from have-not.
I can’t help but think that the revolution so many of us seek is rooted in transforming values. Hence, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. As such, perhaps it is too gradual and pervasive to be televised. Perhaps it is evident in our blogosphere and the heart-born prose and poems of simple folk like you and me with nary a pundit or politician among us. Perhaps it’s a bottom-up thing, more likely to be blogged than broadcast, rising from homespun poetry – outsider literary art – sometimes rudimentary and awkward, but always quiet and true and slow like a secret whispered from one person to the next. It is perhaps something stewing even as we write, read, and encourage one another. Perhaps there is some bone and muscle in what we do. Individually we have miniscule “audiences.” Collectively we speak to enormous and geographically diverse populations.
I think I hear army boots a-marching, marching across networks everywhere. Or perhaps poetic fancy has caught my spirit today and all is dream …I hope not. Blog on …
So let some impact from my words echo resonance lend impulse to the bright looming dawn