Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, poem, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Linda Chown

A Time for God

This is the time for God,
for a roaring sonorous voice,
a biblical moment, indeed,
when we’re shouldering the slaughtered daily,
trying to assuage the fire of fear in and around us,
when leaders spring forth and speak
with the hallowed tone of the ancient tabernacle.
Ages old salt smells, a smear of blood
We’re ready for the divine, dying alive in our
concern. This big, larger than life moment
when life and death waver voluptuously around us.


Modern Life Is Being

masked faces in the cubist ball
that modern life is being,
that modern life is seeing
masked ones gloved and covered
floating mindless in Edgar Allan Poe’s hives,
his Masque of the Red Death breaking,
reality cracks & strange shapes rattle
much like Robert Louis Stevenson incubates
fabulous forms his boats steering far off course, heroes double vestiges of how they thought themselves to be what they were
Poe and RLS brilliant slantwise visionaries. Besides they spun torn lives on the edge,
blooming irregular tunes, masked and twisted.

© 2020, Linda Chown

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. Linda’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Out There

I need to air out my brain
I say
to the walls
that never reply

will they miss me?
will they even notice I am gone?
I clip on my helmet
and mount my bicycle
she is stiff
not an easy ride
but she has taught me so much

as my feet spin
slowly
the air hits my face
sharp, cold

tears well up in my eyes
as I cruise along deserted streets
crawling past a speckling of people
walking in pairs or alone
like myself
alone

I slip into a world
all my own
forgetting the crisis we are in
I marvel at the incredibly skilled rollerblader
in front of me

Criss crossing
spinning
and somehow missing the many lethal potholes
I feel as though I am getting my own private show

Stopping I hike up to my spot
on a rock
amongst the trees

I watch as the sun slips away
behind the buildings across the way

sipping on tea
I think
we will be ok
this will all be ok
what ok looks like
I do not know
whether I can be patient
is uncertain

the cold creeps in
and my toes begin to transform
into ice cubes
I listen a little longer
to the rustling leaves
and whispers of bird cries
then lift off
and carry on this adventure
we all call life.

© 2020, Tricia Enns

TRICIA ENNS’ work explores how our relationship with the social and material spheres of the world impact the well-being of us as individuals, of our communities, and of the environment. She uses craft, illustrations, performance, writing, movement, playful interventions, humour and more recently electronics in her practice.

Posted in The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

The BeZine, Vol. 7, Issue 3, June 2020, SustainABILITY

Ultimately, talking points preserve narratives seeking to keep the status quo or create a reality that aligns with the person’s ideology or personal needs.

Marshall Shepherd
3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020

We want to start this introduction to the SustainABILITY issue of The BeZine with a pause and breath.

Go ahead, breathe in deeply. This is both calming and symbolic of the interrelated crises of humanity at this time.

Three huge, potentially shattering issues loom large today, what commentator Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Director of the nonprofit Climate Interactive calls “three massive threats”:

Climate Change, COVID-19, Racism
a sustainABILITY pastiche


Climate Change

Climate change concerns the atmosphere and excessive carbon.

Breathe in again, deeply. Breathe out.

That exhalation, as you probably know, is CO2, carbon dioxide. We breathe the atmosphere.

And, as we pollute it, we poison our own breaths through industry, fossil fuels, factory farming, and other human activity. We poison the globe. And as climate change continues its charge ahead in leaps and bounds, it will be increasingly difficult for us to breathe, literally.

Climate Change hits much more than White areas in what Hop Hopkins (“Racism is Killing the Planet,” Sierra Club) calls the “Sacrifice Zones,” where White Supremacy’s “Disposable People” live. The 1% remain more secure and protected.

Have you tried to breathe when the temperatures go above body temperature (37C / 98.6F)? Imagine what it must be like for those locations that have had recent record-breaking temperatures of around 50C / 122F?

Where do you think waste is dumped? Where are polluting industries and power plants built? Who lives in areas that risk their health the most? Certainly not those with money, status, and power in societies.

How long can we continue this way? Are we able to find a path to sustain life on earth (human and otherwise)? That is the goal—sustainABILITY.


From Climate to Pandemic

What we should fear now is a perfect storm: a health, economic and mental health crisis. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

According to a 2015 study published in PNAS, a 30,000 year old virus was found in the permafrost of the Arctic, raising concern that rising temperatures could lead to the rise of deadly, archaic illnesses. —cited in Science Alert (Melting Glaciers Are Revealing Dead Bodies And Ancient Diseases, 23 March 2019).

The economic problems will compel those in power to take actions that before this crisis appeared to be radically leftist measures. Even conservatives are having to do things that run against their principles. —Slavoj Zizek (Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World, Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020)

Climate conditions are classified as top predictors of coronavirus illnesses (Dalziel et al., 2018) as wind speed, humidity, temperature and wind speed are critical in the transmission of infectious diseases (Yuan et al., 2006). Bull (1980) reported that pneumonia’s mortality rate is highly correlated with weather changes. —cited in Correlation between climate indicators and COVID-19 pandemic in New York, USA, (Science Direct 20 April 2020)

Higher temperatures and respiratory problems are also linked. One reason is because higher temperatures contribute to the build-up of harmful air pollutants. —U.S. CDC and American Public Health Association (Extreme Heat Can Affect our Health)


COVID-19

COVID-19 blocks our lungs. It literally stops us from breathing. Yes, also organ damage, including heart problems. But it stops our breath, in a world-wide pandemic. Like the global crisis of climate change will, eventually, stop our breath.

There will be more pandemics with continued Global Warming. There will be more disruption, economic loss, social unrest, and all of the things we have seen so far in this pandemic.

Will we avoid the next pandemic? Could a 30,000 year-old virus, or a 150 year-old virus revive to attack? If so, who will have our back? The government?

How will we be able to sustain human and other life on earth if we continue on this path? Will we build a sustainABLE future for our children, our grandchildren? Ourselves?

In the US, even the current CDC admits that COVID-19 has hit POC and Indigenous Peoples, especially African Americans, harder than White people. The 1% remain more secure and protected.


From Pandemic to Race

The effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging; however, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. —US CDC (COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups page last reviewed on by CDC June 4 2020)

Robert D. Bullard is a professor at Texas Southern University who has written for more than 30 years about the need to redress environmental racism. He welcomed the statements of support this week from the leaders of big environmental groups but he lamented that the vast amount of donor money still goes to white-led environmental groups.

“I’d like to see these groups start to embrace this whole concept of justice, fairness and equity,” he said. “Those statements need to be followed up with a concerted effort to address the underlying conditions that make for despair.”
—(Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

It’s essential to have anti-racism baked into the goals that even white-led organizations are pursuing because both political racism and environmental racism are drivers of our excess pollution and climate denialism. —Heather McGhee, senior fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group, and the author of a forthcoming book called The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)

Police violence is an aspect of a broader pattern of structural violence, which the climate crisis is a manifestation of. Healing structural violence is actually in the best interest of all human beings. —Sam Grant, executive director of MN350.org, the Minnesota affiliate of the international climate activist group 350.org (cited in Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism, NYTimes, June 2, 2020)


Anti-Racism

Racism has come to the fore with the anti-racist, anti-police-brutality protests and riots since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His quoted last words, echoing those of Eric Garner (murdered by police in New York City six years ago): “I can’t breathe.” Protest signs and chants have repeated this phrase thousands of times since last month.

George Floyd, a Black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20, was strangled by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Eric Garner, a Black man selling loose cigarettes, was strangled by police using a “choke hold.” The 1% remain totally secure and protected.

Structural, systemic racism is an integral part of our extraction economy, according to Hop Hopkins, writing for The Sierra Club. It keeps those in power in power by dividing us against each other—so that the 1% (or 3% or 5% or 10%) can keep in power and grow their wealth. It is built into not only the U.S, but Western Society.

Hopkins writes:

Devaluing Black and Indigenous people’s lives to build wealth for white communities isn’t new. White settlers began that project in the 15th century, when they arrived in North America. Most Native peoples of North America lived in regenerative relationships with the land; they were careful to take no more than the land could sustain. The settlers had another ethic: They sought to dominate and control. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)


From “Three Massive Threats” to SustainABILITY

One of the most baffling things throughout the coronavirus pandemic is that even with a life-threatening global pandemic, sides emerged. At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember thinking that this threat to humanity would unify us and strengthen public trust in science. Boy was I wrong. The economic realities of the pandemic, cries of “just the flu”, and protests against social distancing policies tell a different and complex story. —Marshall Shepherd (3 Common Things In Race, Coronavirus And Climate Change Debates, Forbes, June 12 2020)

I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. The answer is for all of us to figure out together.

All I know is that if climate change and environmental injustice are the result of a society that values some lives and not others, then none of us are safe from pollution until all of us are safe from pollution. Dirty air doesn’t stop at the county line, and carbon pollution doesn’t respect national borders. As long as we keep letting the polluters sacrifice Black and brown communities, we can’t protect our shared global climate. —Hop Hopkins (Sierra Club, Racism is Killing the Planet, June 8, 2020)

Today we face threemassive threats, and the only way to neutralize any one of them is to succeed at addressing all three at once.…

…we must as soon as possible – in our cities, states and nations – convene emergency task forces to tackle equity, the pandemic and climate change as an integrated whole.

These task forces will need expertise in climate, clean energy, equity, public health, epidemiology and people-centered economics. Each task force should include an additional kind of expertise: the life experience of those who are most impacted by inequity, climate change and COVID-19. Those who live with the impacts of multiple problems often have the most creative ideas about addressing them.

Time and money are in short supply. There isn’t enough of either to treat equity, climate change and the current pandemic as separate issues. A holistic, multisolving approach is an effective, cost-saving way to tackle the great challenges of our times. —Elizabeth Sawin (US News & World Report, Commentary, Why We Can’t Ignore the Link Between COVID-19, Climate Change and Inequity, April 1, 2020)


The June Theme of The BeZine: SustainABILITY

We can’t wait. The time to act is now.

We may want to say, “God save us.” But we have free will, so it is up to us to move forward and make the change, so that we are ABLE to sustain the earth.

Then, perhaps 100% of humans (and other life) would be more secure and protected.

—Michael Dickel, Co-Managing Editor

Much thanks to Michael Dickel for stunning and exhaustive editorial collaboration and technical innovations on this issue, to the whole of the Zine team for stalwart efforts and supports, to our readers and supporters who share our peaceable values, and to Margaret Shaw for the wonderful header-art gracing this edition of the Zine.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,

—Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and Co-Managing Editor

Given the scope and magnitude of this sudden crisis [the COVID-19 pandemic], and the long shadow it will cast, can the world afford to pay attention to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda at this time? Our firm belief is that we simply cannot afford to do otherwise.

McKinsey & Co., April 7, 2020
Addressing climate change in a post-pandemic world

Table of Contents

Poetry

“Earth care, as it turns out, is really about self-care and other-care. What we design today impacts how we live tomorrow. For better or for worse, it impacts far into upcoming generations.”
L.L. Barkat
Earth to Poetry: A 30-Days, 30-Poems Earth, Self, and Other Care Challenge

Dreaming—Poems, Mike Stone
Three Haikus, Irma Do
Cento, Eric Nicholson
A Walk in the Park, Eric Nicholson
Let Freedom Ring, An Anti-Deterministic Poem, Linda Chowen
Do We Need To?, Munia Khan
The Veggie Lady, Adrian Slonakar
One Sky, One Earth, Ambily Omanakuttan
Tread Softly, Irene Emanuel
Tomorrow’s Question, John R. Ehrenfeeld
creatures today, Connor Orrico
Nature We Failed, Wayne Russell
Three Poems, Shoko Cosmas
A Series of Haikus, Chris Northrop
rootes in solide erthe & 2 other poems, Dennis Formento
Côte-Nord, Candice O’Grady
Daylighting, Candice O’Grady
Migration, Candice O’Grady

Essays

“All the human and animal manure which the world wastes, if returned to the land, instead of being thrown into the sea, would suffice to nourish the world.”
                     —Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

World’s End or World Without End, Corina Ravenscraft
Clothing Production for a Sustainable Earth, John Anstie

Folktale

“The main thing, Ruby said, was not to get ahead of yourself. Go at a rhythm that could be sustained on and on. Do just as much as you could do and still be able to get up and do again tomorrow. No more, and no less.”
                     —Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

In Your Hands, Margaret Read MacDonald

Fiction

“The environmental movement of the 21st century created a new path to sustainability for cities, the path of wilderness.”
                     —Archimedes Muzenda,
                     Dystopia: How The Tyranny of Specialists Destroy African Cities

Accepting Adversity, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
The Virus of Reason and Fear, A Fable, Anjum Wasim Dar
On a Palm Leaf, Allen Ashley
Soul Searching, Riley Simmons

Art / Photography

“In the end, the term ‘circularity’ may just be one way to make us aware that we need a more encompassing, integrated and restorative sustainability path that includes people as much as technology and nature.”
                                                   —Michiel Schwarz
                     
A Sustainist Lexicon

Imagined Futures, Images, Noelle Richard
Habitat Loss, Eric Nicholson

“..despite myriad differences in beliefs and value systems, people have the capacity to acknowledge that the one constant across the board is the Earth. Her health is our health. Her life is our life.”
                     —Heidi Barr, Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth

News

Austrailia’s Failure to Protect Great Barrier Reef Prompts Demand for UN Action

Video

WE ARE NATURE, Considerations on the Antropocene

Sierra Club Op-Ed

Sierra Club Op-Ed: Racism is Killing the Planet

We need to stop thinking through a capitalist prism. I don’t agree with those who claim that now is no time for politics, that we should just mobilize to survive these dangers. No! Now is a great time for politics, because the world in its current form is disappearing. Scientists will just tell us, ‘If you want to play it safe, keep this level of quarantine,’ or whatever. But we have a political decision to make, and we are offered different options.

Slavoj Zizek
Haaretz interview, 04 June 2020
Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World


The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be 

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Mission StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.



 

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Mortality, Poems/Poetry

The Ebb Tides of Eternity by Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Kaitlan Balsam, Unsplash

“A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose



Eternity flows deftly through these pandemic* days
enfolding in her stream the many with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality

Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among
our relations and friends
……….a love that blossoms still, as fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles

We thrash and crawl and climb
………puzzling over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts are cupped in one another’s hands,
……….talking drums, they communicate across
……….time and space

Our measured moments grave lines
……….in real and phantom fears,

……….they fly, they hover, storm clouds above us

In words of jade, our softest speech is elegiac
Our tears merge into raging rivers
Our smiles mask our grief and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild and reckless

We see one another in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless faces
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

* pandemic days: COVID-19, environmental degradation, hunger and starvation, poverty and lack of healthcare, nuclear proliferation. Will we succumb or evolve to conquer?  Either way, nothing can take away the love we’ve given and received or  the life we’ve had.

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Pandemic/ COVID-19, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Before Corona by Mike Stone

Once, a long time ago,
Before Corona,
People sat together
Talking in soft voices
That only they could hear
Heads almost touching.

People held hands
While walking along
A riverbank
At sunset.
Sometimes people
Held each other so close
They could feel each other’s bodies
Underneath their clothes.
Sometimes they kissed
Tasting each other’s mouths.
Sometimes
They pleasured each other.

And sometimes
There were the accidental touches
On crowded trains or buses or planes
That you each savored privately
Arms brushing against arms,
Hand touching hand
While passing a cup of coffee
To someone,
A head heavy with sleep
Leaning against you
Long hair spilling across your shoulder.

These were the times before Corona
That we lived for,
That we couldn’t imagine
Having to do without,
That we thought would go on forever.

April 22, 2020

©2020 Mike Stone
from “The Hoopoe’s Call”

Before and After
Time of Coronavirus
Digital Landscape from Photographs
Photographs ©2007
Michael and Aviva Dekel
Artwork ©2020
Michael Dickel

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Pandemic Haikus Collection by Anjum Wasim Dar

covid haiku

 

red killer virus

unseen contagious, small

stay clean, far, or  fall.

 

Social distancing

washing hands fast becoming

new law of all lands.

 

Corona dharna

houses safe, don’t wire us,no

lathi-charge*, just soap.

 

who locked me in first

now corona virus has

taken my revenge.

 

value the window

all the world is in it now

zoom in side, zoom out.

*lathi-charge: (India) The police tactic of charging a crowd with lathis or batons in order to disperse it.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Beyond Yearning to Hope

Courtesy of Nick Fewings, Unsplash

“This virus is teaching us that from now on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights are not far left issues, but issues of right versus wrong, life versus death.” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, American Protestant minister and political activist. Rev. Barber is the author of several recommended books. His Amazon page is HERE.



The dreams can drive you crazy sometimes
The ones that envision a just world, one
Where equity is the backbone of endurance
A vineyard of bliss, so to speak, a garden of joy
Relative to the greed times of unworthy living
In a penthouse with a golden toilet, while
Others sleep on cardboard outside, urinating
In the streets, begging for lunch and walking
Barefoot in the snow, betrayed from day one
By the false ideal of rugged independence,
Of monied might is alright, of resource hording
By the richest and unconscionable trafficking of
Children for the unhinged pleasures of the elite
Oh my God, how did this happen? and who
Might have thought that the munitions factory
Of a deadly virus would bring us nose to nose?
How COVID-19 recognizes no bank account or
Prestigious position, just drops its noxious tidbits
Indiscrimanently, into lungs of princes, prime ministers
Those sleeping rough on city streets, its travels
Enhanced by an uneven distribution of access
To water, healthcare, space, living wages,
Paid time off, the rudiments of a civilized life
Girded by compassionate societies, lessons
Learned, we await implementation, and
Dare we move beyond yearning to hope

Originally published by Brave Voices and as The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt 

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

This poem and post are dedicated to the much admired Rev. William Barber and to Bernie Sanders. 

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

Heroic Words by Adrian Slonaker

“How are you?”
Here’s a hackneyed platitude
sidelined like sticky bottles of
condiments at the edges of
booths in greasy spoons – way back in February,
when they were
open,
throwaway words in the time of
meet-ups and Tinder, when
free physicality flowed
like turbid streams
coursing from their sources.
Yet during the drought,
the bromide won’t abandon its
fair-weather friends
as our touches and taps
and caresses and kisses are
evicted by locks and walls and
worry and six feet-
or two meters –
of mandated
icy space.
“How are you?”
A phrase as familiar
as crammed cafés
or yell-laden yellow schoolbuses
or sweaty discotheques,
a sanity-sustaining
semantic squeeze,
a question of concern,
of care,
of connection
softens the strange
hole of isolation.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

ADRIAN SLONAKER crisscrosses North America as a language professional, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Adrian is fond of opals, owls and fire noodlesAdrian’s work has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ez.P.Zine, Page & Spine and others.

Posted in COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

A Litany in Time of Plague (1593) by Thomas Nashe

Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss!
This world uncertain is:
Fond are life’s lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys.
None from his darts can fly;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade;
All things to end are made;
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die—
Lord, have mercy on us!

– Thomas Nashe

Earthquake and Devastation by Michael Dickel

The poem Earthquake and Devastation as graphic art, with a photo of flowers in the background.
Poem, photo, and art
©Michael Dickel

Earthquake and devastation

Shaken earth weeps
floods of ice in all lands,
attempts to cleanse itself.

We diseased cells have
metastasized, eaten
its forbidden flesh,
perforated its bones.

What it cannot shake
off it sweeps away
with wind and rain,
or burns off in fires.

Glaciers wear down
what remains. Everything
known is now extinct.

Only new forms will emerge,
scathed and transformed
by death, cancerous greed,
into fallen-Phoenix grace.

©Michael Dickel

An earlier version of this poem appeared in The BeZine, Summer 2018. It is part of a selected and new poems collection with the working title, Necropolis. It is presented here as a metaphor for the pandemic.

MICHAEL DICKEL, co-managing editor of The BeZine, has writing and art in print and online in many venues. His poetry has won the international Reuben Rose Poetry Award  and been translated into several languages. His latest collection of poetry Nothing Remembers, came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press, and received 3rd place for poetry in the Feathered Quill Book Awards–2020. A poetry chap book, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017; The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, a flash fiction collection, came out in 2016. Previous books: War Surrounds Us (2014), Midwest / Mid-East (2012), and The World Behind It, Chaos… (2009). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and -24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. With producer / director David Fisher, he received a U.S.A. National Endowment of Humanities documentary-film development grant. He currently is a lecturer at David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Dunce by Barbara UngAr

I love our new quiet life.
We sit like naughty children
in our corners forced to learn
what we should already know—
that we are one.
.
© 2020, Barbara UngAr
.

Barbara UngAr ’s (barbaraungar.net) fifth book, Save Our Ship, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019; it is currently a finalist for the IBPA’s Ben Franklin award.  A limited-edition chapbook, EDGE (named for the EDGE list of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species), is forthcoming in April 2020 from Ethel Press. Her prior books include Immortal Medusa, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015; Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize and a silver Independent Publishers award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she lives in Saratoga Springs.

 

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

So Enticing, So Delectible, So Now by DeWitt Clinton

Just think about it please, and don’t worry a bit
As no one lasts that long anyways, but here’s the
Scoop, I am still here, and so glad to know you
Are still here, but then, what can we make of
All those who now are not here, and somehow
I’d like to be acquainted with all of you who have
Up and left us, in spite of all the care and love of
Everyone who hoped to save you, and all you
Who probably inhaled the wrong wisp of air
That promised an early death to you and all
Those close to you, and this is what we all
Wonder about, as we try to go about wondering
How in the heck did any of us every plan for
Something as wicked and invasive as something
Like this, and nobody, nobody ever wants this
To keep dropping people, some of whom are
As close to us as a wife, or a loved one, or our
Dear grandparents who we love so much but
Are now gasping for air, and wondering who
Just now breathed this deadly gasp of air
Which now has infected almost all of us who
Seem to not have any idea that we’re
On the way out, even though most of us
Had hoped for a lovely evening with all
Of us, gathered around a plate of such
Delectables what we all so wanted to
Taste and savor and toast to our beautiful
Loved ones, who we simply cannot imagine
Not being here tomorrow, as we’re now
At the crematorium, wondering why Julie
And Maurice are now measuring just how
High the temperature is to send all of us who
Know how flesh will slowly sear to invisibility
Into what’s left of ash and bone, and possibly
We’ll be there too, in just a few days, as
Nobody really knows who’s coughed and
Sprayed so many unknown travelers that
Sooner or later, as in, pretty soon, you and
Perhaps even me, well, we’re all going to
End up as ash and bone, and nobody will
Ever remember any of this in even a few
Years, but isn’t this what everybody predicted,
That sooner or later, all of us would inhale
Someone else, and then we’d be the un-
Fortunate one who stopped breathing
In only a few minutes, and no one no one
Knew exactly what had just happened
Even though no one no one really expected
Something like this, for even the neighbors
Asked, are you okay, and of course, no one could
Even wonder that no one no one was okay as all
Of us, or most of us, will leave the earth for ever
And no one no one wanted any of this to happen
Except for a small harmless creature as so few
Knew anything about was harvested for its flesh,
And then, quite surprisingly, we all just died
Just like that, sometimes in a matter of just
A few minutes, and how, how could that
Be something we thought was so cute, so
Charming, so delectable, so enticing, so now?

© 2020, DeWitt Clinton

DeWITT CLINTON is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, and lives in Shorewood. Recent poems of his have appeared in The Last Call: The Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits Poetry, Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous Press, Meta/ Phor(e) /PlayThe Arabesques Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, The New Reader Review, The Bezine, The Poet by Day, Poetry HallMuddy River Poetry Review, and Across the Margin. He has two poetry collections from New Rivers Press, a recent collection of poems, At the End of the War, (Kelsay Books, 2018), and another is in production from Is A Rose Press, a collection of poetic adaptations of Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, Poems/Poetry

The World as a Terror Field and other poems by Linda Chown

The World as a Terror Field

World as a Terror-Field
Think of those sunflower petals
Flying away so yellow in a golden light
Think of the anarchists’ red shirts
Pungent in Guadalajara, overt and blood-drenched,
Think of you this sunny morning receiving a spam email
Threatening to contaminate your whole house with Coronavirus.
There is no safe place anymore to dream of La La Land.
We can be reached anywhere and pulled and tugged,
Unhinged even from the safety of our soul.

I think of Virginia Woolf having coffee, her mind,
Measuring the world of decades, stirring the sugar in her coffee.
It’s as though her mind-place reached around the world.
At a glance, with her word nest intact.
Now, we are within walls polished so transparent,
Our souls close like an x-ray’s light, all seen into.

There’s a terror of no intimacy, leaking passwords and invasive viruses.
Megabytes of someone else’s knowing
When all we need is what we know
Curse those who disparage the robin
Plucking away, the stalwart bluejay.
Curse those who say we don’t matter
Anyway, any way.


Rebels everywhere

This talk of corpses likely to be,
These flat charts with hollow corporate names
Remind me of the 50s when people popped into mushroom clouds.
Those consonant-heavy names Malenkov, Andropov, Chernenko
and Stalin loomed large in unseeing brutality.

This was a time for the feminine way,
a time for pockets of air and lavender,
That way to reach between things, to slither love
like Dickinson finding new feet for poems
to say what wasn’t said, for Emily Bronte to
take love out of bounds.

While HUAC measured people as
stones and lashed at pinkos
I voraciously read of rebels everywhere,
Those who spoke for something
I found latent
In my sick little-girl heart.


Death into this spring

Spring finds us speechless
to say, to say how terror is,
how death turns our head.
We’ve been used to letting life go by without us.
I breathe hard for life with addled lungs.
After all, we are life, all there is of it.
Now in the heart of growth,
death is climbing hard
toward us all over.
Now, we have to stand out in the balance
and ring our life for living,
jump and plunge
over the edge into what comes next.
Quick the blue iris is coming
And the red peonies
And all your wonderful life.

© 2020, Linda Chown


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.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three Poems on the Pandemic by Faruk Buzhala

The following poems are in Albanian. Each is followed by an English translation.



JETA

Trazimet shpirtërore më rrahin
siç rrahin valët brigjet
siç rrahin erërat detin e trazuar.

Nuk e kuptoj
porsi foshnja shikon botën rreth tij
plot dritë ngjyra e nuanca.

Ashtu siç lëvizin hijet
në dritën e qiririt
mendimet më luhaten.

Fëmija në djep përkundet
duke ushtruar balancimin
që i duhet më pastaj në jetë.

Rrugën e kam të trasuar
me shenjat udhërrëfyese
të vendosura anëve nga babai im.

Ç’më duhet më shumë të di
janë gjymtyrët e trupit tim
ku shenjat e fatit tim lexohen.

LIFE

The spiritual torment beats me
as waves beat the shores
as winds beat the troubled sea.

I don’t understand, confused
as an infant looking at the world around
full of light, colors, and hues.

Like shadows
of a flickering candle,
my thoughts sway.

As a mother rocks a baby
in the cradle, to rehearse balance
needed later in life.

The road is clear
with signs placed along the side
by my father.

What I need to know more,
other than my body limbs,
where are signs of my fate deciphered?



Pika dhe kuptimi i saj

Mision i njeriut në këtë jetë është të gjejë lumturinë e tij
Që i jep kuptim përpjekjeve dhe sakrificave për të njohur
Kuptimin e kuptimit thelbësor të asaj
që në mendje është mister, i bartur ndër breza!

Vallë e kuptove o njeri
Se ç’deshi të t’thotë urtaku
Që jetën e çoi si eremit
I tretur në shkretëtirën e zemrës së tij.

Breza e breza kalojnë
Dhe treten në pluhurin e kohës
E ti o njeri
Do mbetesh gjithmonë
Një pikë e pikësuar nga tjetri!

The dot and its meaning

The mission humans in this life is to find happiness
that gives meaning to struggless and sacrifice,
to know the essential conception ,
the mystery of the mind, passed down through the generations!

Have you understood, o humanity?
What the wise one wants to say?
The one who, like a hermit, spent his life
Wasting in the desert of his heart?

Generations and generations pass
And dissolve in the dust of time
And you, o humanity,
You will always remain,
One dot punctuated by the other!



Laj duart!

Kur mendon se ke gënjyer
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke shpifur
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke intriguar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke mashtruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke abuzuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqinterpretuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke keqpërdoruar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke tradhëtuar
Laj duart
Kur mendon se ke lënduar
Laj duart!
P.S.
Edhe Ponc Pilati pati larë duart duke thënë:
Ishalla s’më bjen Korona Virusi!

Wash your hands!

When you think you’ve lied
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve slandered
Wash your hands
When you think you’re intrigued
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve cheated
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve abused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misinterpreted
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve misused
Wash your hands
When you think you’ve betrayed
Wash your hands
When you think you hurt
Wash your hands!

P.S.
Even Pontius Pilate washed his hands saying:
“Hopefully the coronavirus doesn’t bug me!”


All poems and translations © 2020, Faruk Buzhala



FARUK BUZHALA is a well-known poet from Ferizaj, Kosovo . He was born in 9 March 1968 in Pristina. He is the former manager and leader of “De Rada,” a literary association, from 2012 until 2018, and also the representative of Kosovo to the 100 TPC organization. In addition to poems, he also writes short stories, essays, literary reviews, traveltales, etc. Faruk Buzhala is an organizer and manager of many events in Ferizaj. His poems have been translated to English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Chinese, and are published in anthologies in the USA, Italy, Mexico, Albania, China, etc.

He has published five books : “Qeshje Jokeriane” (Jokerian Smile) 1998 , “Shtëpia pa rrugë” (House without road) 2009 , “Njeriu me katër hije” (Man with four shadows) 2012, “Shkëlqim verbërues” (Blinding brilliance) 2015, and “Një gur mangut” (A stone less) 2018.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Seeking Greener Pastures in Symptoms That Fever Me by Nnadi Samuel

in my dark moments, i am a wild night eating a blind bat whose belly button is untidy.
my silence a broken hourglass, i plot every breath & mouth into it—to create plastic suspense,
to know how echoes die in an empty room crammed with silence.

i sneeze my childhood into rubber toys,
a girl’s anime, broken arms, a detached thigh.
i make to assemble them,
but it humpty-dumpties into a fresh past.

i carry my absence like the sky’s white stretch marks,
& the moon holds my resemblance in the dark.
the clouds here do not stay woke if it’s not an indian boy dying,
this is where i alarm myself in red.

nature files my fingernails into an arc where a whitlow quarantines me,
looking for the symptoms that fever me.
the fingers are the most populated things our body ever nurtured so much,
that we sometimes forget to observe it census.

fate delays my visa in a world seeking greener pastures too.
life reshuffles my luggage,
& a century prays me into a quick recovery.

© 2020, Nnadi Samuel

NNADI SAMUEL is a twenty-year-old graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Artifact, Inverse Journal, Awakening Review, The Collidescope, Jams & Sand and other online and digital journals. He was shortlisted in the annual Poet’s Choice writing and was the second prize winner of the EOPP 2019 contest. If he is not writing, you find him burning meals in search of his muse.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

S/Heroes, a poem by Nancy Ndeke

Like swat teams, they sleep on the ready,
Never asking why or how,
Hearts worn on the giving hands,
The most unlikely of places you find them giving ,
The most precarious of spaces you find their hands extended,
Working beyond the call of duty and convenience,
Putting one tired foot ahead of another spasming in numbness,
Men and women life has got dependent on,
Even as few among us ‘ only look to the self,’
Time of the double digit year that rose with a cold and runs with the heat,
Unsung saints have crashed from the weight of humanity’s needs,
Undocumented stretches of giving and then some more,
Going the extra mile on fumes and the indomitable spirit of humanity,
Men and women beyond professional duties riding the waves of disastrous contacts to save a life,
Human angels filling the emptiness of commercial shelves with basics upon a cold night,
Medics walking on slippery quarrantine quarters to offer hope to a lone sufferer,
What of that ambulance man who last slept last week?
And the nurse whoses duty goes beyond administration of bandages into listening and a reassuring voice?
What of the old man who goes shopping on your behalf because you can’t?
The bedridden mum of three calling to cheer you up as your nose runs red,
What of that ‘highway man’ without a home and now down with flu,
His best shot would have been a blue look but for that lady berieved recently,
Times and seasons have a rhythm and a tune all it’s it’s own,
For the hurricane of worry that COVID 19 has thrust amidst humanity,
One thing has come up for sure,
Man is capable of being a human being for sure,
Discarding old habits and biases to stand and be counted,
To help within means and beyond those most in need,
And as the world sighs deeply with the burden of sick and dying,
Heros rise every day to perform tasks that make all proud,
It’s to such deeds and acts of kindly giving,
That tells earth is habitat of man,
A hard-work of a loving deity,
Once lost but now found,
At a time when such heroism is indeed needed.
Names may be forgotten but not the acts,
Time will pass and this monster conquered,
But let the lessons forever stay,
That with love, nothing is too hard to gain,
And that we are strongest,
When we are a brother’s keeper.
S/HEROS everywhere,
May you never lack a supporting hand while you live.
Yours, too, shall be tended by the seeds you tend today.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

This was originally published on The Poet by Day in response to a Wednesday Writing Prompt

NANCY NDEKE is the Associate Editor of Liberated Voices,  a Poet of international acclaim, and a reputable literary arts consultant. Her writings and her poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology. World Federation of Poets in Mexico. Ndeke is a Resident Contributor of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal since mid-2018. African Contributor to the DIFFERENT TRUTHS, a publication that sensitizes the world on the plight of Autism edited by Aridham Roy. SAVE AFRCA ANTHOLOGY, edited by Prof. Dave Gretch of Canada and reviewed by Joseph Spence Jr., has featured her poetry and a paper on issues afflicting Africa and Africans. Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

In Which I Fear the Coronavirus Is All My Fault by Barbara UngAr

I started out gently enough, with a Green reader,
but it was out of date. The Norton Anthology
of Nature Writing didn’t suit. I tried Half-Earth,
then The Sixth Extinction, mentioning that semester
The Uninhabitable Earth was way too scary—
so of course they wanted to read that. We began,

It is worse, much worse than you think,

and were only a few weeks in, up to the chapters
in “Elements of Chaos” called “Plagues
of Warming” and “Economic Collapse”
when the stock market crashed and pandemic
shut down our school, sent them packing
and all of us panicking online, where I posted,

How often does your course work get this real?

Suddenly, I was afraid, like when I had to quit
teaching Satan in Literature because weird shit
began to happen, like when Marlowe’s Doctor
Faustus was first performed, and the audience saw
an extra person onstage and, fearing the words
spoken by the actor playing Faust had conjured

Lucifer himself, the theatre emptied in terror.

© 2020, Barbara UngAr

Barbara UngAr’s (barbaraungar.net) fifth book, Save Our Ship, won the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019; it is currently a finalist for the IBPA’s Ben Franklin award.  A limited-edition chapbook, EDGE (named for the EDGE list of Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species), is forthcoming in April 2020 from Ethel Press. Her prior books include Immortal Medusa, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015; Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize and a silver Independent Publishers award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she lives in Saratoga Springs

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

A Doctor Watching Sunset with His Patient in Wuhan—Wang Ping

©2020 Wang Ping

PING WANG published 12 books of poetry, prose, and translation had many multi-media solo exhibits. She’s recipient of NEA, Bush, Lannan and McKnight Fellowships. She’s the founder/director of the Kinship of Rivers project. She teaches Creative Writing as a Professor of English, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Three poems for the Time of Corona by Mike Stone

Walking Daisy in the Time of Corona

I don my surgical mask and plastic gloves,
Snap Daisy’s halter and leash together,
And we walk bravely outside
To take care of Daisy’s needs.
Outside felt like the times the missiles rained down on us
But there are no sirens for incoming viruses.
In the streets some people wore masks, too,
Others didn’t, but no one stared at me.
I meditate on Daisy, while walking her
I’m also walking her cancer cells.
They’ve spread throughout her body
So that my love can’t tell the difference
Between her living cells and the dying ones.
Yesterday I read about a dog with Corona that died.
Daisy’d have a lot to worry about if she were human
But she just sniffs the flowers
Like this is the only moment in the whole universe
And she’s immortal for all of it,
And I think to myself
Who’s the wise one?


Love in the Time of Corona

Yea, though I sit in the shadow of Corona
Watching the talking heads spew new rules
From a flickering screen two meters away
Thou shalt not congregate in groups more than ten
And thou shalt not hug or kiss anybody else.
Then I got to thinking about the people
I’ve hugged and kissed over the years
And thought I’d better make a list before I forgot
But then I thought of you, all of a sudden,
The thrill of you that rippled through my body
The shiver of warmth and coolness,
The seconds that spilled through my fingers
Though I tried to save them from oblivion,
How they rolled away like balls of mercury
Disappearing between the floorboards of a dark room.
I put the list down, still blank, on the desk,
And the darkness reached into the room
Through the window, replacing the afternoon light.


A Heavy Fog Descended

In a country that I shall not name
A heavy fog descended everywhere,
From the sandy shores of the wide sea
To the meandering river,
From the mountains to the deserts,
The fog smothered everything
With a damp white blindness,
The tall buildings of the cities
And the low houses and fields nearby,
The tall trees and fallen logs of the forests,
The beasts and the people,
Young and old, powerful and weak,
Rich and poor, and the strange and familiar,
The fog covered one and all
So that they couldn’t see each other
And could barely see their hands reaching out
Or their feet where they walked.
People bumped into each other.
Some said excuse me while
Others became angry and cursed,
Some tripped over logs or walked off cliffs.
There were leaders who told the people
They would be ok if they just followed their voices
But the leaders led their people around in circles
And lost many of them to the logs or the cliffs.
There was one leader, however, who understood
That all people were needed to save all people
And he explained this to everyone he met.
Each person who understood tied himself to the others
So that if one person fell, he’d be stood up by the rest
Until he could walk beside the others
And nobody fell off a cliff.
They still walked around in circles
But at least they were safe.
Besides, even our world circles our star
And our star circles our galaxy.
After a while, the heavy fog lifted
And moved out to sea
Evaporating into the feathery clouds.
The people untied their ropes
But continued to stay together
Because that was what people were for.

© 2020, MIke Stone

MIKE STONE (Uncollected Works) was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. He lived in San Diego and Chicago. Mike played clarinet and saxophone in his high school marching band, dance band, and concert band. He also composed music. He started out with a Fine Arts major but then graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army (stationed in Germany) and the Israeli Defense Forces. Mike has traveled throughout Europe and to several Arab countries. Mike has been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU. He has published four books of poetry (The Uncollected Works, Yet another Book of Poetry, Bemused, and Call of the Whippoorwill), a book of essays, and four science fiction novels (The Tin Man, The Rats and the Saps, Whirlpool, and Out of Time). Mike is currently working on his fifth book of poetry (The Hoopoe’s Call) and a fifth science fiction novel (H4N5-2080). He supported his writing habit by working as a computer programmer, specializing in information security. Mike speaks English and Hebrew, as well as a smattering of Spanish, German, Russian, and a bit of Arabic. He also speaks several computer languages fluently. Now he is retired. Mike moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and seven precious grandchildren.

Check out his blog. You can read his latest poetry, short stories, and essays, while they are works in progress. Mike also has an Amazon author’s page HERE.