Posted in 100TPC, The BeZine

SUNNYSIDE UP: Meditation on “The BeZine” from the edge eternity!

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river …

i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings . . .

i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~
you’ll see me sliding happily down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.

– Jamie Dedes



I was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease twenty-one years ago. I was given two years to live. Thanks to loving family support and excellent state-of-the-art medical care, I’m still alive and kicking. As the disease continues its progression, however, my activities have become increasing constrained. Over the past two years I’ve slowed down dramatically. I am holding the Zine back from fulfilling its wide promise. I find it hard to keep up with obligations and to honor my own ambitions and the prodigious talents and boundless ideas of my colleagues. The long-standing lung issues have evolved into respiratory and heart failure. Other challenges to productivity have popped their disconcerting heads. These include pulmonary hypertension and a rare blood cancer, uncurable but manageable. There is, however, good news.

I’ve had years none of us expected I’d have, years to enjoy my family, my friends, lots of music, reading and writing. I got to see my world-class son married. I’ve been able to spend time getting to know my beautiful multi-talented daughter-in-law and to visit with my cousin Dan when he came home to the States after years of living abroad. Daniel (now Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp) and I grew up together. He is more like a brother to me than a cousin. Ultimately, I had the pleasure of forming an arts for peace community.

I began blogging in 2008 (The Poet by Day) and in 2011 I founded Into the Bardo with San Francisco Bay Area Poet Ann Emerson and Rob Rossel, a therapist and nature writer. Ann had a rare bone cancer and Rob faced cardiovascular problems. Our intention was to chronical living with dying. My friends preceded me into the bardo after just three years. I had to ponder what to do next.



The Original Zine Team Partners

This post is dedicated to them.

Ann Emerson, San Francisco Bay Area Poet
Therapist and Nature Writer, Rob Rossell


I decided to broaden the scope of the blog, to create a platform for the global expression of peaceable minds, diverse perspectives and cultural understanding. This was a conscious effort to create a virtual space where we could find the commonalities across borders and learn that our differences are so often benign, not threatening. I found talented high-minded folks and a team slowly emerged. We grew from three members to twelve and a subscription base of a few hundred to one that is over 20,000.

We expanded our outreach joining with Washington State Methodist Minister, the Rev. Terri Stewart, and Beguine Again, our sister site. We became a larger presence via Twitter (thanks to Terri Stewart), a Facebook Page (The Bardo Group Bequines), and two Facebook Groups: The BeZine 100TPC (that is, 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change) and The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page. The idea behind the former is to share good news, the “best practices” that are happening all over the world and can be inspiration for initiatives in other areas. The idea behind the arts and humanities page is to give people a place to share the wide range of arts we all engage with or practice and to underscore the fact that “The BeZine” is not just or even primarily a poetry site. We welcome and encourage all types of creative expression.

I have led this effort since 2011 as manager, editor, and recruiter, but it is now time for me to bequeath this grace-filled platform into the hands of the rest of The Zine Team. Some of the support we get from team-members is quiet. You may not be aware of these stalwart and mostly behind-the-scene visionaries. Hence here is a list of the Zine team members.

John Anstie
Naomi Baltuck
Anjum Wasim Dar
Michael Dickel (Now Managing Editor, 100TPC Master of Ceremonies)
Priscilla Gallaso (has moved on but not until after making significant contributions)
Ruth Jewel
Chrysty Darby Hendrick
Joseph Hesch
Charles W. Martin
Lana Phillips
Corina Ravenscraft
Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk, Zine Canoness, Beguine Again founder)
Kella Hanna Wayne
Michael Watson

WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MY NEXT SUGGESTED BIG EFFORT?: The BeZine Educational Blog-Radio Shows:

  • Team-member Naomi Baltuck is our resident storyteller and also works for LBGTQ understanding and rights. She’d be the perfect person to do a show and introduce other storytellers to our audience and perhaps provide guidance and encouragement for those whose ambitions include this art.
  • Team-member and the Zine’s Canoness, the Rev. Terri Stewart, initiated and runs a program for incarcerated youth. She could bring more information to us on these children and perhaps encourage the start-up of other efforts elsewhere in the U.S. and wherever in the world youth incarceration needs addressing.
  • Team-member John Anstie is a singer and poet. Music is important to him. He works with the Sheffield Music Hub as a volunteer. He’s a bass singer in Fox Valley Voices and Hallmark of Harmony. If he was amenable to the idea, I’d like to see him bring together a small panel of musicians and composers to discuss the place of music in our lives.
  • Corina Ravenscraft works in several areas that engage, but animal rights is certainly of key importance as is art as avocation. If willing, she’d do beautifully with a couple such shows. (By the way, Corina’s running the Zine banner art contest this year. Check it out. Info HERE. Cash awards.)
  • Michael Dickel, a poet, writer, artist and educator teaches English and poetry. I’d love to see him do a show on poetry writing, especially one providing youth guidance.
  • There are so many people for whom English is not a first language but who love writing in English. Anjum Wasim Dar is the perfect person to interview and discuss the rewards and challenges of such should she choose to do so. Many of the Zine’s contributing writers have this in common with her.
  • Who better than Mbizo Chirasha to draw together other writers and poets for a discussion of the new colonialism of Africa?
  • And who better to handle a panel discussion on surviving life with disabilities and chronic illness than Kella Hanna-Wayne?
  • Many of our contributors run organizations that are working for the good in their communities: clothing closets, food banks, soup kitchens, after-school programs, boys-and-girls club activities and on and on. So much good is being done.

And how about a Zine anthology? The sales might help with the maintenance of this site and its activities as well as promoting and acknowledging our talented contributors.

I’d have loved to be involved in helping to bring such work to the fore. What do you think? Share your thoughts and preferences in the comments section below. Enthusiasm is encouragement. Maybe the team will decide to move forward on these ideas. It’s up to them, of course. They probably have some other and better ideas themselves. One way or another, whatever The Zine Team decides to do, it will be magnificent. Guaranteed.

With love from the edge of eternity,
Jamie Dedes
The BeZine Founding Editor, Editor Emerita

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC

100TPC Save the Date for 10th Anniversary Global Event

100TPC History

In September 2011, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion saw their idea and month of work come to fruition—the first 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) worldwide poetry events, held on the last Saturday in September. Little could they imagine back then that it would continue and grow for the next ten years! This year will mark the Tenth Anniversary of 100 Thousand Poets for Change—a global movement still coordinated by Michael and Terri, but with a life of its own. Musicians, artists, and even Mimes have joined in.

The organization has over the years focused on three general areas globally: Peace, Sustainability, and Social Justice. Around the world, organizers and groups focus on these issues as they fit in local contexts plus other local issues that require attention to bring about positive change. In 2015, Michael and Terri worked with 100TPC organizers in Italy to put together the 100TPC World Conference in Salerno, Italy.

100TPC World Conference Banner
100TPC World Conference Banner

How it Works

Each year activists, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, mimes gather in events to promote positive change. The content is up to the local organizers and participants. Generally, there is a focus on the three global themes: peace, sustainability, and social justice. We at The BeZine work with these three themes in the context of spirituality (religious or non-religious).

The official date for 100TPC each year is the last Saturday in September. Some local organizers do events near to the official date rather than on it, most often to avoid conflicts. (For example, if a date falls on a religious holiday that would prevent people from attending.) However, there are now 100TPC events, fundraisers, online readings year round. And there will be several Zoom readings this summer organized around the world, during this Time of Coronavirus. 

Depending on local and global conditions of the pandemic, there may be many more online events this year than in the past. In the past few years, The BeZine has moved to quarterly issues that focus on the three global 100TPC areas and added, for our “local” context, an issue on spirituality (and activism). In this way, each of our quarterly issues has become a sort of 100TPC publication event!

The BeZine and 100TPC

Jamie Dedes, our founding editor and editor-in-chief emerita, has been involved with 100TPC since almost the beginning. I started with 100TPC in 2013, organizing an event year and each year since events in Jerusalem or with Karen Alkalay-Gut in Tel Aviv. I also participated in the 100TPC World Conference in Salerno, Italy in 2015. I joined The BeZine team that same year, and have co-hosted our virtual event since 2015. This year will be my sixth year organizing with The BeZine, and my seventh year with 100TPC.

The BeZine, in its Bardo Group incarnation, ran a series of blog posts, “Poets Against War, Poets for Peace,” in September 2013 (Bardo News: Poets Against War, Poets for Peace). By 2014, The Bardo Group held its first online virtual poetry event as part of 100TPC (READY, SET, GO … The backstory on 100,000 Poets for Change …. The BeZine has held an online event each year since. Originally aimed for the home-bound who wanted to participate, our 100TPC virtual event has grown into a worldwide, inclusive 100TPC event.

Save the Date for this Year!

We will hold our annual online 100TPC at The BeZine again this year, on the “official” date for 100TPC: 26 September, 2020. So, save that date! In addition, we will be co-sponsoring All Africa Poetry Symposium in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change 10-Year Anniversary at 8 AM US East Coast, early afternoon in the Africa time zones. Read more here (including times in Africa). With this new mix of live-stream poetry, we hope to provide an exciting 100TPC virtual BeZine event. We plan to live-stream in The BeZine Facebook groups and on YouTube…stay tuned for more information.

Saturday, 26 September, 2020!


A Ten-Year Anniversary Anthology of Essays

This year, 100TPC has decided to embark on an anthology of essays to mark the ten-year history, covering organizing experiences, local iterations, impressions (of organizers, participants, audience members…), the Salerno conference, and the associated initiative Michael and Terri began a few years ago, Read a Poem to a Child.

Readers, contributors, and team-members of The BeZine may be interested in contributing to this effort, either from the perspective of The BeZine, or from their own experiences with 100TPC locally. Anyone with a perspective on 100TPC, please consider submitting.

See the call for submissions
Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, Event/s

All Africa Poetry Symposium in Celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change 10-Year Anniversary

Saturday, 26 September 2020 at:

  • 3 PM (Jerusalem, Kenya
  • 2 PM (Botswana, Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
  • 1 PM (Nigeria)
  • 12 Noon (Sierra Leone)
  • 8 AM (US-East Coast)

You are welcome to attend and we look forward to presenting an exciting, dynamic and vibrant Poetry Symposium, where Africa speaks of itself through poetry.

The 100 Thousand Poets for Change Movement was founded 10 years ago by Editors, Poets, and internationally acclaimed Artists Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion —in order to speak change, to speak truth—against racial injustice, wars, poverty, corruption, the demise of human rights and smothering of human freedoms. The movements speaks through literary arts activism and social change-activism arts.

The Poetry Fête is co-hosted by African Griots and The BeZine in coordination with 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Poets in this All Africa Poetry Celebration are from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. Co-host and Emcee, Mbizo Chirasha, has worked tirelessly with 100 Thousand Poets for Change since its inception a decade ago, through literary arts projects GirlChildCreativity Project and the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. Internationally renowned Jerusalem-based poet and The BeZine editor Michael Dickel will co-host the streaming events and attempt to wrangle the technology. This mega event will be streamed lived on several digital platforms.

Further details, including a registration link, will be forthcoming soon.
ALUTA CONTINUA

Mbizo CHIRASHA-Resident Coordinator

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Presidential Griot by Mbizo Chirasha

Courtesy of Kevin Nice, Unsplash

“Human rights don’t trickle down.” Heather Marsh, Binding Chaos: Mass collaboration on a global scale



Sometimes memories smell like a dictator’s fart
We once jived to our own shadows under the silver moon
and our shadows danced along with us, we rhymed to the
nightmares of hyenas and hallucinations of black owls.
Our desires sailed along with gowns of fog back and forth
at village dawns. Wood smoke smelt like fresh baked
bread.Time bewitched us, we ate William Shakespeare and
John Donne. We drank lemon jugs of Langston Hughes and
Maya Angelou. Soyinka’s lyrical whisky wrecked our
tender nerves. We bedded politics with boyish demeanor
and dreamt of the black cockerels and black Hitler’s

Sometimes time is stubborn like a sitting tyrant
Last night, commissars chanted a slogan and you
baked a dictator’s poetry sanguage. Zealots sang
Castro and Stalin and you brewed a socialist crank,
the president is a stinking capitalist. I never said
he is Satanist.Back to village nights, hyenas are
laughing still, black owls gossiping, silver moon
dancing still over rain beaten paths of our country dawns.

Sometimes time stinks like a dictator’s fart
Your lyrical satire sneaked imbeciles through
back doors. Your praise sonnets recycled suicidal
devils and polished revolutionary rejects, Back then,
smells of fresh dung and scent of fresh udder milk
were our morning brew and under the twilight the
moon once disappeared into the earthly womb, Judas,
the sun then took over and every dictator is an
Iscariot. I never said we are now vagabonds
Sometimes time smells like a dying autocrat

Mwedzi wagara ndira uyo tigo tigo ndira – the moon
was once sour milk silver white and fresh from the Gods’
mouth and sat on its presidential throne on the
zenith of bald headed hills and later with time
the moon was ripe to go mwedzi waora ndira tigo tigo ndira
Sometimes wind gusts whistled their tenor through elephant
grass pastures, we sang along the obedient flora . . .

Chamupupuri icho…oo
chamupupuri chaenda chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho…oo!

Our poverty marinated, yellow maize teeth grinned to
sudden glows of lightening, the earth gyrated under
the grip of thunder, then Gods wept and we drank
teardrops with a song mvura ngainaye tidye makavu,
mvura ngainaye tidye makavu ..

Pumpkins bred like rabbits, veldts strutted in
Christmas gowns. Wild bees and green bombers
sang protest and praise. I never said we are
children of drought relief.

Sometimes time grows old like a sitting tyrant,
Tonight the echo of your praise poetry irk the
anopheles stranded in tired city gutters to swig
the bitter blood of ghetto dwellers, gutter
citizens eking hard survival from hard earth
of a hard country , their rough hands marked
with scars of the August Armageddon, their sandy
hearts are rigged ballot boxes stuffed with corruption,
they waited and sang for so long . . .

Chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chaenda
chamupupuri icho…oo chamupupuri chadzoka
Chamupupuri icho..oo

Originally published on Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of the Zine team and  a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017). He is a Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York, 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund, Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Mbizo Chirasha, Pandemic/ COVID-19, Poems/Poetry

Iron Wind by Mbizo Chirasha

Medico Della Peste – “plague doctor’s” mask – Beak doctor mask; Traditional Venetian Carnavale masks, including the “plague doctor’s” mask, in the window of the Ca’ del Sol mask shop in the Sestiere di Castello. Courtesy of Tracy under CC BY 2.0

“If we survive, we may have to analyze our engagement with dark matters
that
 put life at risk. If we don’t, we are to blame for our end.
For now, let’s keep hygienic, keep to ourselves, bury our Dead, care for the
dying and think of how we have arrived at where we are.” Mbizo Chirasha



The world has known divisions for as long as history can remember. From
strength that overrides others to the weakness that attracts marauding gangs
of men of ambition and cunning. Adventure has led some into what they
termed “discoveries” of Rivers and their sources, of Mountains high and
majestic, and a people so different in their cultural environments, that to
the eye of a visitor, they appeared other-worldly.

The world has never run short of divisive tools and terms to keep one for
each. From the irony of heights and weights, to the delight’s and
indecency of dark humor based on foods and drinks and a people’s culture.
GOD and gods have their roles and stamps on a people’s interpretations,
raging from waging wars to convert and dominate, to whole sale massacres
because others beliefs were less acceptable to a deity followed by a
muscular power. In the name of many known Faiths, humankind has suffered
immensely and continues to suffer even under the full glare of a world that
is so connected, that nothing escapes the owl eyed social Media/internet
never sleeping eyes.

————

If it’s not belief it’s something else that pits one man to another. Color
has played the worst card in segregation of humanity. Regimes are known to
have come up with a cultic panacea of annihilating all who were less than
their proscribed hue, height, and eye color in a so-called super race.

Commerce has not particularly done well to hide it’s dismal take on the
lesser-endowed in terms of what the world considers GDP….Countries are
graded into first-, second-, and third- worlds. Countries comprise individual
human beings. Once categorized in numerical terms, they cease to have a
human quality and adopt a statistical stature.

Dehumanizing poverty by demonizing it and those suffering
the “pauper malady”. Terms like ”those who survive under
a dollar a day”. A people labelled by lack. Another labelled by luck.

————

Divisions.

Then came weaponry and sophistication. Guns and canned Carnage. Bombs
as heroism spoke to the Sky over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. More divisions
follow. Giants with cold threats lying under silos of frozen homes awaiting
disagreements. What a time of it the world had! But like all eras, this too
came to an end with trumpets of fragmentation scattering the deadly
embers of stored caches of annihilation finding its ways into eager
markets of rogue juvenile quarters ready to tussle for positions of
“global respect” through “fire power”.

Ideology made no sense. Religion was cowed. No one was immune to the future
that loomed on the human collective heads as each goon state thumped it’s
nukes chest.

————

How times change!

A new baby was born in the East. A baby with an attitude like a thief.
Escaping its parents unloving gloved hands, it flew first into the
neighborhood, dropping its ghastly feces on the heads of its makers’ kin.
Death. Sinister death. The wind took the birdling over the border, across
the oceans on the comforts of cruise ships. And luxury living became a
nightmare. Right now, quarantine is not for rabid dogs or lepers in their
colonies.

It’s what no longer divides that divides us. What irony! We are faced by an
enemy of our own intellect taken over concious. Our own intelligence
exceeding common sense. Our own genius gone insane.
In it all, regardless of mitigation measures, one thing speaks a human
language. It’s no longer about class, color or creed. it’s not even about
ideology or theology. It’s about being careful to survive the monster we
have made. And the world suddenly speaks “humanese”.

How I wish we didn’t have to face such an ugly and tragic catastrophe to
bring us to the realization of the folly of excessive greed in pursuit of
glory and power over others.

————

If we survive, we may have to analyze our engagement with dark matters
that put life at risk. If we don’t, we are to blame for our end.
For now, let’s keep hygienic, keep to ourselves, bury our Dead, care for the
dying, and think of how we have arrived at where we are.

While at it, let’s pray. For regardless of our form of worship, days of
worship, mode of worship. and the dress code in worship, we all pray to a
Higher Power. That Power may yet hear our prayers and lend a hand.

YOU SEE, praying is personal and communal, if you will. Worship places are
closing fast, if not faster than bars and delis. Offices are closing fast,
if not faster than schools.

Only true saints are at work. Those medics and their assistants and the
guys who must fill the supermarket shelves with your basics.
If you ask me, the very deity we seek in those buildings, is inside us and
those selfless humans who take chances with their lives to take charge of
ours. They are the ones melting down the iron wind of a viral onslaught
on humanity right now.

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Originally published in Jamie Dedes’ The Poet by Day Webzine  in response to Michael Dickel’s Wednesday Writing Prompt

Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of the Zine team and  a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017). He is a Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York, 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund, Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, International Poetry Month April 2020, justice, Mbizo Chirasha, TheBeZine

Womawords Literary Press Cohosts “The BeZine” International Poetry Month, which begins tomorrow


Courtesy of Dayne Topkin, Unsplash

Womawords Literary Press, the heart-child of Mbizo Chirasha, is cohost of The BeZine‘s 2020 International Poetry Month celebration, a daily series of poems that begins here on the Zine blog tomorrow.

Womawords is a complex of efforts initiated by Zimbabwean poet activist in exile, Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet).  I was curious—and thought others might be as well—about the inspiration for this ambitious and worthy effort that is devoted to giving women and girls a platform in which to speak out about their concerns and experiences and to share their wisdom.

The Womawords Project comprises: Womawords Literary Press, Liberating Voices Journal, the Girl Child Creativity Project (now evolved into Womawords), and Daughters of the Earth Project International Contest (not for poetry only).

—Jamie Dedes, Founding and Co-Manging Editor
The BeZine

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: Why and when did you start Womawords?

MBIZO: The heart of a women is like an  ocean, thus she must be proffered a free platform to express concerns, to speak rights, to voice against wrongs, to sing experiences and more. The world-over we are blessed with an influx of women and the girl-child gifted not only physical stature but mental beauty, endowed with wisdom to sub create and shape humanity. Womawords was birthed in April 2019 as a complimentary initiative during my eye-opening and life-changing tenure with the International Human Rights Art Festival.

JAMIE: Please tell us about the origin of the name.

MBIZO: The name pays tribute to the power and influence literary arts culture, words and poetry. The Womawords Project is a positive transformation from my initial project, Girl Child Creativity Project, which was Zimbabwean based, and transitioned it into an international literary-arts culture digital space exhibiting women’s voices and literature. Women are powerful trench soldiers; they experience a bundle of traumas from child birthing, rape, menstrual health issues, domestic violence, stigma, and discrimination. A whole lot of hardships, but also women are molders of humanity. I have always known of mother-tongue not father-tongue, hence Womawordsa metaphor that gives women from around the globe a space to express themselves through poetry, resistance literature, and resilience  arts.

JAMIE: What are the current activities Womawords is sponsoring?

MBIZO: The 2020 main project is the Daughters of the Earth Project, an international writer’s contest. The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women to raise their voice, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction, and essays. And there are a myriad of issues, unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced by women globally. WOMEN must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions and to tell their experiences through this Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project. For more details follow on the submissions portal on Womawords.

Other projects include:

  • Women of Residence Profile Features: The Press is anchored by FEATURES of Prolific Poets, Writers, Socialites, and Artistic Luminaries.
  • Liberating Voices: This is a quarterly collection of voices and is guided by a specific theme for every publication.

JAMIE: What are the long-term goals?

MBIZO: Womawords Literary Press is a formula of positive change and transformation in the area of exhibiting women’s artistic voices and resistance literature by the girl child.  In the next five years we are growing into a reputable book and literary arts publishing republic.

Going forward within 2020 we continue to restructure by placing and appointing representatives in more than twenty countries around the globe. These are women—writers, poets, activist, and artists—using their words to bring forth transformative change, using their poetry to expose societal tumors, wielding their artistic weapons to slash perpetrators of barbarism, using their resistance literatures to shine a light on the madness.

In March  2021, we are hosting a Womawords International Symposium with editorial associates, contributing writers, women artists, and women arts cultural activists who will convene to  share and exchange experiences through symposium presentations, poetry performances, and story readings .

ALUTA CONTINUA!!!*

*Editor’s Note: “The struggle continues.” It’s a rallying cry for freedom.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor.

In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too. Open to suggestion. Connect with me (jamiededes@gmail.com) if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Posted in 100TPC, Bardo News, Calls for submissions, Event/s, Facebook Discussion Page, General Interest, news/events, Poets/Writers, The Bardo Group Beguines, The BeZine

Announcing our three new Zine team members and other news …

The Bardo Group Beguines, publisher of The BeZine, is pleased to welcome Mbizo Chirasha, Anjum Wasim Dar, and Kella Hanna-Wayne to our team.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.



ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.



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.


The BeZine thebezine.com
bardogroup@gmail.com
This is a digital publication founded by The Bardo Group Beguines, a virtual arts collective.

The Zine is published regularly each quarter and each Zine is themed:

March – Waging Peace;
June -Environmental Sustainability/Environmental Justice;
September – Social Justice; and
December – Life of the Spirit.
The BeZine communications and submissions go to bardogroup@gmail.com

The call for Zine submissions generally opens for 4-to-6 weeks before publication and closes on the 10th of the month in which the Zine is to be published. The Call for Submissions to the March 15 issue – themed Waging Peace – is currently open and will close on March 10. Submissions for the Zine blog may be sent at any time.

Our 2020 100TPC logo designed by team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

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In September we also do 100,000 Poets (and others ) for Change. This is a global event (see 100TPC.org) and at The BeZine we do a virtual event in which everyone may participate from anywhere in the world. A virtual event also facilitates and encourages participation by the homebound. Contributing Editor, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play – Words, Images, & More) hosts. 100TPC is held on the fourth Saturday in September.  We hold the event open for 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Occasionally, we have a theme for the month on the Zine blog. February 2020 is illness and disability. This may include mental illness. This event is co-hosted by YOPP!, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights eduction, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression, which was founded and is managed by Kella Hanna-Wayne, one of our new Zine team members.

We are not yet firm on doing April as poetry month but that will probably happen. It is likely that in August 2020 – like August 2019 – the blog will focus on Climate Action.

The Bezine also offers two Facebook Discussion Groups:

The BeZine 100TPC IS NOT a place to share poetry or announce publication. Through this group we’re especially interested in filling an information gap by collecting links to pieces on practical initiatives – ideas for taking action – from anywhere in the world, “best practices” so to speak that foster peace, sustainability and social justice, especially those that might be easily picked up and implemented elsewhere. This has been an uphill battle but the dream that people will regularly start using it for that thrives.

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The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page (not just for poetry) is a place to share all your arts activities and accomplishments, not just poetry, in the hope of inspiring one another and encouraging collaborations among the arts and within our community. Through this group you are invited to announce publications, showings, events et al. You are encouraged to share your videos: music, poetry readings, photography, art, film and so forth.

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The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort and we are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge submission or subscription fees.

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and
In the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor

Posted in Peace & Justice, poem, Poems/Poetry

Wandering, a poem for Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean Poet in Exile

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth



The wandering waters, dripping
Into rising seas and land now lonely
For his human foot, which finding
No room at the inn, wanders
Like the waters, violated like a fish
On the deck of a boat, gasping
Soul bludgeoned, human skulls
And fish entrails, politicos and
Pundits examine like I Ching coins,
Accidents of birth, plight of place
A remote sliver of moon surveils
From the starless sky, unmoved

Dedicated to my friend, Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean Poet in Exhile. Please connect with me if you are able or know someone / some family able to host him in Germany. Thank you!  bardogroup@gmail.com

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

Photo credit: Crescent moon courtesy of beth woodrum under CC BY 2.0 license

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

The Road to Zvegona, a poem by Poet-in-Exhile Mbizo Chirasha; Update on Mbizo’s situation

See a procession of young mothers chattering their way
From water fountains in grenade torn sandals
And blood laced bras
Decade of Bullets, Mbizo Chirasha



Is fading the memory of its son,
Who for words must ride the night
Fleeing ears that hear thunder on a babies purity guggle,
Zvegona, my homestead,
Ancestors are watching
Elders on a scheming mission
Trading lies with more lies
The road to Zvegona
Your Sideroads sigh
Your song is silent
Only hiccups of mothers greet the sun
Yearning for the return of the bearded child
Who lives on the strings of truth
Truth refused a seat at the council of baboons on the lagoons
Goons settling scores on the assumptions that a boy has a price,
Well, the boy true has a price
But not one you can pay with looted coins
The boy has shaved his hair not his brains
The boy has slipped his boots on and truth has raised its flag
And the spirits of truth sing his Achilles heels on,
So Zvegona, the village of the lucky poet,
Grow thistles and thorns
Feed cattle and goats
The boy has shaved his beard
Ready for a walk back, to shave the land of all pretentious shenanigans
Uprooting the weeds and weevils
Repair the kraal too,
Where roosters shall announce light unto the land,
Currently bent double under the gargantuan weight of lying tongues.
Zvegona, you are my yesterday
Zvegona, you are my tomorrow in whatever form, shape or …….

© 2019, Mbizo Chirasha

UPDATE ON MBIZO

Mbizo is still in hiding with irregular access to water, food, computer and Wifi. Nonetheless, he continues working at his mission including  NOTICE FREEDOM VOICES PRIZE  and BRAVE VOICES POETRY JOURNAL and Womawords Literary Press.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The first New Look Brave Voices Poetry Journal will be out by the 15th of December 2019. It is a Christmas gift. Our deadline for articles [and poetry] is the 10th of December 2019. We look  forward to contributions and features with a length of 1500 words. You can send these in the body of mail with photos as attachments. Please include your publishable photos and a fifteen line bio to bravevoicespoetry@gmail.com

Yours creatively ,
Mbizo Chirasha- Brave Voices Poetry Journal Curator

We’ve received letters of support to go in Mbizo’s applications for grants and safe harbor, but the Go-Fund-Me effort is still not to goal, which would provide for the immediate need for pantry staples, computer, and so forth. Without predictable computer access, Mbizo has not yet been able to do his interview with the Canadian radio show, though the offer still stands.

International Human Rights Festival, the entity that sponsored Mbizo’s Go-Fund-Me, has attracted $480 and raised the goal to $750.  They have cut him some partial funding for now.  Meanwhile, folks, I suggest that if enough of us donated the price of one morning latte, we’d make the goal.  What do you say? A whole bunch of tidbits would combine for a whole lot of success. You can make your donation anonymously HERE.

If you are able and interested in helping in any way, you can contact Mbizo directly at: girlchildcreativity@gmail.com

– Jamie Dedes

“We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA.” Mbizo Chirasha

RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.
Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

Of ReGimes, ReRuns, and My Birth, Poems by Mbizo Chirasha

A demonstration in London against Robert Mugabe. Protests are discouraged by Zimbabwean police in Zimbabwe. / Photo courtesy of woWings under  CC BY-SA 2.5  license.



– Mbizo Chirasha

I was born in this month – the month of bitterness, violence and numbness. In this month the Soweto died in a reckless killing by the apartheid regime. What a fuss , horrible. Yes we live to forgive – with memories haunting peasant iron-hoe skulls. We celebrate the DAY OF AFRICAN CHILD.

In the year of the blood ballot, in my country, a country once the honey hive and the breadbasket of the African continent, blood flooded villages, death rained our valleys, tears dripped the aged and wrinkled of the war tired poor patriots – CODE named the Re-RUN- JUNE 27 2008. Those who were perceived as reckless voters had their not-voting-good hands chopped off. Grief engulfed the land whose belly is pregnant with uranium, gold, diamond, emerald, and copper. The masses are hungry, tired of abuse and corruption. Tired of the MADNESS!

I was born in a sweet – bitter month – June. My mother remembers that the night of my coming to this earth. It was raining. It was after a brutal pungwe, after vanamukoma varova vatengesi namatanda, vanamukoma vamboimba. After a dinner of village goat meat, lashes and songs. What a PARADOX!. Bullets shelled that night resonating with claps of thunder. As war rained, winter rained rained. A Life was born – a booming voice, charcoal black veil, a tight fist clutching talents, hopes, dreams, words. WORDS!

I feel to recollect some of the poems i shared some years ago.



POEMS

DEAR COMMISSAR.

Dear commissar
my poetry is
political baboons puffing wind of vendetta
splashes of sweet flowing buttock valleys of pay less city labourers
rough crackling red clay of sanctions smashing poverty corrupted face of my village
presidential t shirt tearing across bellies of street hustlers
mute bitter laughter of political forests after the falling of political lemon trees

Dear commissar
my poetry is
foot signatures of struggle mothers and green horns
bewitched by one party state cocaine
new slogan hustlers boozing promises after herbal tea of change rhetoric
street nostrils dripping stink and garbage
tears chiseling rocky breasts of mothers who lost wombs
in the charcoal of recount

Dear commissar
my poetry is
rhythm of peasant drums dancing the new gimmick
unknowingly
political jugglers eating voter drumsticks after another ballot loot.

ZIMBABWE
harare tonight you sleep a full sleep, may be
after a sunset of a nationalist and democrat table talk
cactus and roses blooming together
your sunshine eaten by rough talk and hate verbs
pavements designed by banana peels and potholes extended from
robot less highways
that beggar still linger around the freedom corner/julius nyerere avenue
the blind woman grioting around liberation street/herbert chitepo

Bulawayo your sacredness is bound
by bones of mzilikhazi and breath of lobengula
place of killing , dissidents and innocents
died when bullet wind swept your nights
tell me how many times you coughed blood
a place of kings , Ntabazinduna

Kwekwe
your intestines pregnant with gold ,copper , iron and more
heart of the nation
where soils heave with wealth
crocodiles depleted your dignity
leopards stole the color of your rhythm
flex your muscles and claim your heartbeat

Masvingo Ezimbabwe
great zimbabwe,pride robbed
changamire and mutapa turning their in magic stones
inflation eroded your pride
corruption rode your back
blood corroded your dignity
cry for a ceremonial cleansing
land of sacred , land of rituals
land of silence

Mutare
mist of inyanga sneeze glee and laughter in your back
while chimani mani cough out threats and thoughts
lungs of marange choking with diamonds
corrupted fields
defamed wealth
here in the land of the east , i see
the scarred face of the sun
chopped breasts of the moon
villagers tired of toyi toyi
patriots damned by hunger
peasants freezing in propaganda
revolutions eating kindergartens
butcheries of human flesh
winter elections erected poverty.

Gweru
i see uniform less children trudging through
winter corridors, barefooted
you are colder than joburg,though emotions
boiled during elections
cockroaches breeding other cockroaches in
once midlands hotel
emptiness , hunger ,cold and thoughts
city of progress , rewrite your progress

Rushinga
death threatened even the dead and their shadows
when struggle returned back to war
on the road again fighting enemies of the state their sons
perfume of human flesh roasting in charcoal of violence
March was cruel than april
this season was a parody of nazi hitler

Kariba
i like how zambezi vomit fish
crocodiles eating rot and sun
hippos dancing the moonshine
zambia whispering copper in your ears
you are regaining your light.
zimbabwe
let fabrics of madness bleach in acid of reason.

FREEDOM DISCORD

children will not go down with the sinking sun
sacrificed on altars of ambition
crucified buy forces of expediency
tear graffiti scrawling
on debris of their slums of poverty and hovels of crime
we are children born out of the hot sun of Sahara and burning sands of Kalahari

we belong to the semen and condom drunk streets of home
womb of our past explode with souls of martyrs and bones of freedomites choked by ropes of stigmatization
we are morphine -fuelled and marijuana
doped youngsters whose praise
and freedom is robbed by slogan fraudsters

we are dogs breakfasting
from cucumbers and feasting condoms for supper
children of pandemic genocided villages
slaves of sugar and blood
never fondled the breasts of freedom
licked the tears of our mothers
have no dignity to celebrate
we are souls blighted in sufferings
bring us nanobitas of democracy
not shigellas of autocracy.

© 2019, poems and photos, Mbizo Chirasha
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RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.