Posted in Art, homelessness, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

Spare Guardian


Aware that M.S. Evans paints and draws, as well as writing poetry, The BeZine invited her to submit artwork to accompany these poems when we accepted this blog post. We asked M.S. Evans for artwork to accompany and complement the words on the screen (we used to say “on the page”), not to “illustrate| the poems. The result is this blog post, which The BeZine presents here as separate yet interconnected works of art by M.S. Evans.

—Michael Dickel, Editor


Spare Guardian Floating


Spare Change

Spare Change
Sidewalk, slouched.
 
My eyes circle the rim of a crumpled
paper cup.
 
Puddles cooly stare up;
too sure of an answer. 
 
Strangers offer me
naked cigarettes;
slim-boned solidarity.
 
My softness wrapped
in copper wire,
 
I learned to smoke.

Floating Away
oil pastel

Guardian of Keepsakes

The weight of boxes ease; released,
forgotten, re-homed.
 
A guardian of  keepsakes,
I carry the irreplaceable,
sentimental.
 
Not naive enough to trust
my home will last
 
this time.

Bronx Botanical Garden
watercolor and ink

Kicked Out

They gave my room away
when I became pregnant
 
You’re welcome to pay for the basement;
uneven floodplain.
 
First trimester: missed period, tender,
insulted.

Backdoor
tercolor and ink

—Poetry and Art by M.S. Evans


Artist’s Notes

“Floating Away” is an oil pastel piece I did in the early 2000s, when my housing was very unstable. There is a lot of yearning in this piece: for stability, but generally for a future. 

“Bronx Botanical Garden” is a watercolor and ink piece from my time in NY, in the late ’90s. At that time I was doing a work-exchange for a room in the house of an elderly Yiddish poet and artist. 

“Backdoor” is a watercolor and ink piece from my current living situation in Butte, Montana. There are signs of decay, but also of continuity and intent. 



Poetry and Artwork ©2020 M.S. Evans
All rights reserved


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 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, 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.

Posted in poetry

Four Poems by Diana Raab

Elegant Air

I inhale breaths and ethers
………..    offered by this place,
 ……yet wonder where in this universe
………………………………..lies the rest of my needed oxygen.
…………………………………………I cannot help but wonder as I
………………………………………………….separate myself from its beauty.

You Remember

You remember my voice
even though I have

long ago peeled myself
from you, your shoulder,

on that crisp autumn day
while the pungent smell

of burning leaves
fell from our sky.

Your voice still resonates
even though

I am in that other world
because this one

have transitioned
no longer serves

nor wants to witness us—
a love that’s so deep.

Will you accompany me
to this final refuge?

Renewal Welcomed

I want to be saved from disease,
natural disasters and psychic pain
or whatever might slip
a frown upon my face
or on the face of my beloveds.

Save me from fires and mudslides
which only yesterday
ripped through our neighborhood,
and cancers which swim in my genetic pools,

or massive shooters
who want to end it all
and coyotes
who want to snatch our dogs away.

There are so many ways
to be saved and renewed,
so go ahead write a book about me,
and share secrets of your own renewal

in a sanctuary to call yours,
as I sulk in my darkness.

Buddha Skin

People whisper in my ears
to remind me of my Buddha skin—

enlightened wisdom to share
with friends and strangers,

through green eye glances
or words strung across blank pages,

but somehow I remain unable
to tap into the distance which separates you and me.

Are you able touch the chaotic chasm
which divides us from melted fusions

of different color skins or anything
which might possibly bring us together

in what many might call
the most mysterious of unions?

© 2020, Diana Rabb

DIANA RAAB, MFA, PhD (dianaraab.com), is a poet, memoirist, and blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of nine books. Her work has been published and anthologized in over 1000 publications. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, and Wisdom Daily and is a guest blogger for many others. She has four poetry collections, including Lust. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Book.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Two poems by Alana Saltz

Field Trip

For you, Ms. Frizzle, I would fold
my fingers around the curves of my stomach, dig
my nails into the flesh, rip
it open so you can go right in.

Take your big-eyed bus full of curious children
and explore my mysterious body.

Watch organs lighting up a little too bright.
Red blood cells drifting lonely
like they’ve lost their best friends.
Scattered inflammations and infections hiding
in muscle and tissue.

Explain to the children that these are things
that make me hurt
but not enough for anyone to see.

And when people don’t see something,
they don’t do anything.

Teach them that lesson.
It will always apply.

This poem first appeared in Philosophical Idiot and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

Halt

I’m enthralled as I watch an actor scribble symptoms
in notebooks and cry when the pain is too strong
and see doctors who seem to know a little too much
about what’s happening, but it’s okay.

I’ll keep watching.
I can’t be that picky.

I ignore all the cues that this will end
the same way as all the other TV
reflections of me, the fun house mirrors
that only show sickness as a distorted, shortened
one-way road.

There was no other ending.
He’s only got one place to go.

His actor family
weeps over his departure
at just the right time
in the series.

His death is art.
My life goes unseen.

This poem first appeared in AlienPub and in Alana’s chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light

ALANA SALTZ (alanasaltz.com) is the editor-in-chief of Blanket Sea, an arts and literary magazine showcasing work by chronically ill, mentally ill, and disabled creators. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Five:2:One, YesPoetry, Moonchild Magazine, LadyLibertyLit, and more. She’s the author of the poetry chapbook, The Uncertainty of Light. You can visit her website at alanasaltz.com and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @alanasaltz.

Posted in disability/illness, Poems/Poetry

Four poems by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Song of the Mad

It wouldn’t be so bad
if I lost it in one place
at least I’d know where to find it!
But Noooo…
I have to lose it here!
I have to lose it there!
And just when I find it there
I‘ve lost it again here!!

People wonder why
I never answer my own door
I wonder if they can hear me
breathing from under my covers?

Sometimes I hear myself
calling from another room
Or it could be that other guy
who blames everything on me
Of course it’s never his fault
Nothing ever is!

You see
Nothing is enough for him!
First he impersonates me and steals my best lines
Now he covers his ears with mine
and complains that I don’t sing
with the right inflection!!

As if
he’s the only one
who has to listen to me at night !

Song of the Deaf

What can I say
that you haven’t already heard
before me?
I feel left out

Everyone else has two sides
but when I turn around to face the other way
I still point in the same direction!
Sometimes people talk behind my back
right in front of me!

Of course I must expect that
I try to anticipate everything
otherwise I fall behind
and I have nothing to fall back on!
That is why
my world is suspended in animation–
I use my hands to balance silence
the way stars hold up the sky

A cloud can fall back on the sky
but I must climb deeper
into God’s Ear!
Only…where does the sky begin?
I’d give anything you know
just to hear the color blue

Song of the Blind

It bothers me that my eyes are broken
and God will not fix them

Each morning I watch and listen for Him
and wonder through which doorway of my senses
He will choose to enter next

Each day He and I together
make and remake the bed–
make and remake the world

Mostly it is the same
And that is both my comfort and my fear

I have heard that once someone is truly loved
she is never the same
You cannot imagine how I long for change!
You cannot imagine how I long for certainty!
I can only imagine

I never quite know which
I will stumble into next:
Death that l o n g night
or
Life that l o n g day!

Dear Lord
I am without sight
I am not without vision
Please find me

Song of the Homeless

How long must I go on
pushing my life before me?
My feet are bare and swollen—
they do not know me anymore
And I haven’t yet enough hands
to keep me warm
nor make a pillow for my head

Maybe I’ll grow new fingers tomorrow
so they too can stick out
like a sore thumb

I suppose you think
I can find a better place to hide
than in the poverty of my skin

Do you think I like
carrying my heart around with me
in a basket?

You do not care
that I have forgotten the words
to the songs I am singing
And I am running out of songs

How could you know first-hand
that it is not my death I fear…
only that I should learn of it
second-hand

© 2020, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Josheph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence

Posted in disability/illness, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Two Poems by Antoni Ooto

Housebound

everything was so honest once
but more disappears

games in vacant lots
old haunts
all those loves

days tick down
the mirror considers what’s left

“I sit talking to myself
losing time.”

“I’m at the end of everything
barely existing.”

and my resolve?
that’s already hardening.

Minimal

How small can a life get?

Once with the strength of a Morgan
everything pulled uphill…
now, over time, resigns to cleverness of necessity.

Graceless age clutches my shirttail
dragging me everywhere.

I remember tricking my way.

In a book I read,
a bite of land was given toward the end
something—manageable to lose…

© 2020, Antoni Ooto

ANTONI OOTO has and still looks for answers which he shares at times with poetry. He finds pleasure in reading the works of many poets such as WS Merwin, Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Elizabeth Bishop, Margret Atwood, and the humor of James Tate.

“I read various poet’s first thing in the morning aloud.

My wife and I discuss the structure, rhythm and beauty of the lines.”

Reading poetry aloud (he feels) allows the voice to find a cadence that the reader might miss when seeing the words on a page.

Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer.  He came to writing late after many years as an abstract expressionist artist. He eventually found his voice in poetry.

His works appear in Front Porch Review, Amethyst Review, The Ginger Collect, Soft Cartel, Eldritch Lake, Pilcrow & Dagger, Young Ravens Literary Review, and many others.

Antoni works in upstate New York with his wife poet, storyteller Judy DeCroce.

Posted in General Interest

Three Poems by Barbara A. Meier

The Rattlesnake and the Hen

There is a garden ring of stumps
guarded by Sugar pine and Douglas fir,
majestic in the shedding of needles,
forming a carpet of spongy pine duff.
The scent of rich decay coalesces with the perfume
of pine bark baked in sun at 5000 feet.

The cluck and cackle of one Gallus Gallus Domesticus
punctuates the susurrus of the creek pooling around rocks.
She grubs for earthworms and crickets, under the duff mounds
and rotting stumps, unaware of the shaft of sunlight
through the feathery branches illuminating the coil
of the Crotalus Oregonas. His brownish blotches melding green,

rattling the needles with his castanets, startling the hen
to hysterical squawks and shrieking cackles.
Her Salvation comes in a shovel
held like a fiery sword in the hand
of Archangel Michael, thrusting down,
severing the head from a gyrating body in space.

In the silence of the hen, the gasp of the wind
high in the trees, comes the thud of dirt clods
hitting metal, the fall of the head into the hole, buried.
The body hung to dry on the cabin side.
and pine needles raked to cover the blood.
By the creek, the Gallus Gallus Domesticus,

scratches the dirt, wallowing a hollow,
tossing dust on her feathers bathing her body in dirt,
chuckling with happy noises, standing, shaking,
and flinging the earth, from her feathers, cleansed of parasites,
in the garden of stumps, surrounded by pine,
with the murmur of creek and heat of the sun.

Idols (Isaiah 46)

Depression is the idol in my mind:
a bird of prey, perched on my tablets
of destiny, tearing the cuneiform symbols
off the damp clay. The idols are asses
loaded with gypsum bas-reliefs
depicting every dragon memory
in the event panels of my life.

I am that beast of burden, an onager
laboring westward, bearing the gold
and silver of shame, anxiety, and bitterness
to a new land where I have been summoned.
Your words shatter my stories and melt my fears.

They comfort me when I don’t understand
your purpose and what is to come.
The former things of ancient times
are recorded in my DNA because
You are my God and there is no other.

Bahia del Espiritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit)
dedicated to the LWML

Ascribe to the Bay
the Brown Pelican, the Watchman
on the piling, the prophet, gate-
keeping the muddy waters of Mobile Bay.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Laughing Gull, Black-headed, smirking
like the laugh of Sara behind
orange lifeboats strung along the Fantasy.

Ascribe to the Bay
bullrushes, shaggy carpet, shielding
Moses, the bass and the blue hyacinth
in the lush estuary of the Tensaw Delta.

Ascribe to the Bay
the osprey, the fishing-hawk, sheltering
in its nest in the crucified tangle
of cables of an abandoned crane.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Jubilee, the swarm of crabs, shrimp, and eels,
shimmy up the shore, filling washtubs
with God’s Firstfruits.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Resurrection Fern, dead-looking,
supported by the Live Oak branch,
waiting for the baptismal grace of water.

Ascribe to the Bay
the women who came, dressed
in purple, carrying banners in praise
to the Lord, missionaries with small boxes.

Ascribe to God
the glory of His creation and His plans for our mites
and our availability. We are the rivers flowing, flushing
the Bay on the third day to be reborn again.

© 2010, Barbara A. Meier

BARBARA A. MEIER has spent the last four years living on the Southern Oregon Coast.  She retired from teaching this summer and hopes to find time to travel and write. Her first Micro Chapbook, “Wildfire LAL 6” came out this summer from Ghost City Press. She has been published in The Poeming Pigeon, TD; LR Catching Fire Anthology and The Fourth River.  https://basicallybarbmeier.wordpress.com/
Posted in Poems/Poetry

Four Poems by Juliette Lee

be sure to double check layout

Dhamma                                                                                                       

 

Ten determined days lend

wind to wings of spring,
hastening a warming.

 

Each silent breath bleeds
through bone until
crowned in caul, I slip

from sanctified grip, heed
the ancient howl of home,

discover heaven in my feet.

Dhamma – natural law of liberation

 

 

 

Hound Point

 

 

Paused. Ate wild blackberries.

Inhaled musk of leaves drooping with morning,
flattened rowan berries into soggy soil.

 

Arrived at the cliff top, fortified.

Faced growling swell and frothing waves

bursting onto the shore.

 

Poised, my body caught the current of the fight,

bristled then beamed. A lighthouse

in my own storm.

 

 

 

Gerbera Daisy

 

The gerbera’s dark eye

stares into my soul,

 

questions the distractions

pulling me off balance.

 

Black pinheads

cluster in the centre

 

girdled by an iris

of inner petals.

A serrated disc of orange

suspended,

 

like a spinning plate

that one day decided to stop.

 

A single stem of happiness.

I am enough.

 

 

Uncle Seamus

 

Uncle Seamus wore three-piece suits, kept a litre of vodka by his bed,

watched Death Wish on repeat and lived on the twenty-third floor
in the Gorbals.

 

He was a plasterer and most nights got plastered himself.

By fifty, he needed more than a cast to hold his broken body

after a lifetime of benders.

 

At my wedding reception, he leant in close and I watched

as his cigar burnt a hole in my veil.

‘Ah Julie hen, I can gie up the fags but no the drink.’

 

Christmas, I went to his grave with my dad.
‘I’ll no be joining you yet Seamus.’

I held him as he wept.

 

Seven months later, Uncle Seamus came to me in a dream:
suit trousers, blue striped shirt, no waistcoat, no jacket.

He was standing a short distance away, my dad beside him.

 

Uncle Seamus turned, asked if I understood.

I nodded,

buried my dad six weeks later.

© 2020, Juliette Lee

JULIETTE LEE is a former chemical engineer with a decade of experience at senior management level with chemicals giant ICI. Her international career spanned process design, production management, sales and marketing, corporate communications and business management. It was worlds away from her working-class background in the council tenements of Glasgow. And, however successful her life looked from the outside, everything was about to change. On 20th February 1999, she experienced a profound awakening. This paradigm shift in consciousness gave her new eyes to see where she no longer belonged and the courage to surrender to the long and difficult path of personal transformation and re-orientation of her life. Juliette moved into the world of coaching in 2002, trained with The Coaches Institute, and became an NLP, MBTI® and energy practitioner as well as an award-winning speaker for the leading chief executive organisation, Vistage. Ironically, her former training in applied physics has proved invaluable in the field of personal alchemy. Dedicated to her own development, Juliette regularly uses dreams, creative writing, meditation, shamanic practices and yoga as tools for personal transformation. She has written a daily journal for almost twenty years and has been a practitioner of vipassana meditation since 2012, attending a 10-day silent retreat each year. Having based most of her professional life in the industrial north of England, Juliette returned to her native Scotland in 2013 and now lives by the sea near Edinburgh, where she writes and rides horses whenever she can.

 

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Three poems by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

The Visitation

Tall kissed-out pale fronds of potted ferns
Adorn the entry, their cool shadows dim
Switching the parlor — — death’s last living room — —
Where time hesitates and dark furnishings
Project inarguable dignity.

Bookended by brass casket handles, lids
Too heavy to be raised again must sense
My presence, those defiant eyes I closed,
Who parsed my childish alibis, whose last
Wink nicked the priest, who forced death to hold still
Till her eyes sent light leaping into mine.

Embodiment

My sister lives forever in six drawers
Where Mom maintains her clothing, worn, outgrown.

Preserved in cameras, she’s chambered,
Sealed shut like darkroom prints, unmoving face
Still undeveloped as her unspent youth.

Moored on his island of bad memories,
Her boyfriend, claiming self-defense, wears stripes.

Nighttime she’s back, soft stabled in seizures
Of stars or hovering in ghost orb’s mist.

A pinch of lonely air lifts blankets, hugs
Half of my bedding.  No heat radiates.

The younger person I still am inside
Peers out.  Instead of ghost dents on the sheets,
I see her shuffling the deck, smell smoke
From phantom joints, red lipsticked, decayed dreams
Beyond my line of sight, time’s taut trapeze.

I yearn to grab her wrist, yank heart and soul
From cold oblivion, yell, “Breathe again!”

Hope hops on life support, prepared to drag
Her from the brink and storm the underworld.

Geometry’s shades fade — — by dawn’s dispersed.

The Uninvited Guest

With measured strokes, I brushed defiant hair,
Cascading waves that cancer left untouched.
You’d had enough of hospitals, that lack
Of privacy, imagining your home
Serene, secure, free from intrusive pests.

It would shock you to learn we’re not alone.

At dawn, the presence by the sills crispens,
Emerges as the drapes inhale into
A phantom shape.  Infernal company,
Omniscient brakeman, timer in cold hands,
Poised, waiting, exhalations nearly through.

Lost in the territory of morphine,
Deciding to eject your breathing tubes,
You tossed away the life-saving device.

Asleep, I’m unaware — — till ghost commands
Arouse me full awake.  There’s no choice but
To go rescue you, reconnect the air.

Long shadows darken the stairs, that peek-a-boo
Behind the hooded cloak.  I startle you,
Attaching oxygen’s feed properly,
Removing you tonight from danger’s ledge.

A grimace rises from the bedding’s edge

© 2019, LindaAnn LoSchiavo

LindaAnn LoSchiavo, a Native New Yorker, is a dramatist, writer, and a poet who writes formal verse.
Her poetry chapbooks Conflicted Excitement (Red Wolf Editions, 2018) and Concupiscent Consumption (Red Ferret Press, 2020) along with her collaborative book on prejudice (Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy) are her latest titles.

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Two poems by Mary Bone

Spirit of Life

The spirit moves us with creativity,
Inspiration and peace.
Our art is a gift
We give others.
Our songs can echo through
The canyons of time.
Life leads us in many directions.
Peace and love sustains our hearts
With a calmness
As we share with others
On our journey.

Hearts Pour Out Blessings

The wind moves through trees
Blowing off leaves in many directions.
Dead leaves can form into mulch
For gardens and other plants that are growing,
To help us thrive.
The Holy Spirit guides us with a bright light
Through dark tunnels and turbulent times.
Our hearts are caring vessels.
We pour out our blessings to others,
As we continue on in life.

© 2020, Mary Bone

MARY BONE’s poetry has been published at The BeZine, Best Poetry Website, The Literary Librarian, Vita Brevis Literature, The Oklahoma Today Magazine, Ink Pantry, Minute Magazine, Spillwords, Literary Yard, River Poets Journal, Duane’s Poetree Blogspot, Poetry Pacific, The Homestead Review, and Artifact Nouveau.

Posted in Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Pity the Nation: Voices of the Poet Prophets, Gibran and Ferlinghetti

Photograph © Jamie Dedes

All day yesterday visitors were flying to the original 2017 posting of these poems at The Poet by Day. It’s not hard to guess what is driving interest in them. Here the poems are again for all to read and ponder along with a word from Bernie:  “Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one,” Sanders declared Thursday . . . He . . . framed it as a moment of moral gravity akin to the run-up to the Iraq War, not least because so much of the present conflict with Iran stems from the fateful intervention that began in 2003.” MORE Huffington Post



Lebanese-American poet, Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) public domain illustration

Pity The Nation
Khalil Gibran, 1933, “The Garden of the Prophet”

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.


American poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919), photo credit voxtheory under CC BY-SA 2.0 license


“PITY THE NATION”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (After Khalil Gibran) 2007

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except  to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

© Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

Link HERE for more of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetry

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
““““““
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 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Freely Accessible Sound-Cloud Playlist for 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Week Initiative, courtesy Michael Dickel and Randy Thomas

READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

Sep 23 at 12 PM – Sep 28 at 11 PM EDT

August 26, 2019: THANKS to Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) for putting together this post for us on behalf of The BeZine  and for his interview of Randy Thomas. This post was originally done for last year’s event, but the SoundCloud playlist is still up and has grown a bit. I’m posting it today to remind you of this charming resource. / Jamie Dedes



A SoundCloud playlist!

August 2018: Thanks to 100 Thousand Poets for Change co-founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, and especially to our 100TPC friend, Voice-Over legend Randy Thomas, we have the honor of presenting a compilation of children’s poems read by master Voice Artists and created for the 100TPC community in support of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Read A Poem To A Child initiative. / Michael Dickel


Randy Thomas and the other voice actors / voice over artists in the playlist (further down) volunteered their talent and time to Read a Poem to a Child!

Thomas started her career as a radio personality and DJ in New York, LA, Detroit, and Miami. She’s announced for the Oscars, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Entertainment Tonight, The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, The Kennedy Center Honors, and much more. You likely have heard her announce:

“You’re watching Entertainment Tonight!”

or

“Live from Hollywood, it’s the Academy Awards!”

Voice Announcer Randy Thomas
Source


The BeZine asked Randy Thomas a couple of questions about how this came to be:

The BeZineWhat inspired you to organize these wonderful readings by VO artists for Read a Poem for a Child?

Randy ThomasI am always intrigued when invited to use my voice in a positive way that gives back to the community. My dear friend Michael Rothenberg, a world-renown poet told me about his effort to share a poem with a child during one specific week. He found interest from all over the world. It’s wonderful.

The BeZine: You have inspired a number of voice artists to contribute their voices—how did that happen?

Randy ThomasThe Facebook community of voice actors and friends that I have seemed to rally behind this idea. We all have our own audio booths to record quality audio in, and they are all being so generous with their time and Voice sharing these poems. I am proud to have played a small part in this beautiful effort.

You can hear the amazing results below, in the embedded SoundCloud playlist.


Please feel free to play these recordings
for children around the world!

These may be played right here from this post or go HERE.



Thank you Randy Thomas
and brilliant VO artists
for sharing your talent for the children!



All audio ©2018 by the individual Voice Artists.
Poetry copyright belongs to the poet
or other current copyright holder.

Post text ©2018 TheBeZine.com and 100TPC.org
Link-sharing of the SoundCloud playlist is allowed.
Link-sharing or credited re-blogging of this post is allowed.
Readings in the playlist are provided for free personal use,
not for commercial purposes or paid events.
The audio may not be recorded or redistributed in any form
other than a link to SoundCloud without permission of the voice artist(s).

Posted in Poems/Poetry

Margarita Serafimova, Six Poems

On the crest of your voice,
the great hawk hovers for twelve seconds,
and enters the next world.


My mortality this morning was a white dove on my shoulder,
singing to the colour of the waves, singing, singing, its eyes turquoise.
Fleeting life, smooth filigree waves.


When I understood that I had a deathless soul,
and that it did not need me to keep on,
your voice was cresting, cresting, never breaking.


Singing are the jackals.
The other side is here.


The rocks, the ship ropes and the anchors
have found each other, and have become sirens,
and are singing a song about departure in arrival.


Morning
at the water fountain,
how the birds are singing!


MARGARITA SERAFIMOVA (Facebook Page) was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: Animals and Other Gods (2016) and Demons and World (2017). Her work is forthcoming in Agenda, Trafika Europe, Waxwing, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Poetic Diversity, TAYO, Transnational, Pocket Change, SurVision, Poetry Super Highway, and appears in London Grip New Poetry, The Journal, A-Minor, Minor Literatures, Noble/ Gas, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Obra/ Artifact, Writing Disorder, The Punch Magazine, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Window Quarterly/ Patient Sounds, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word, Plum Tree Tavern, Oddball Magazine, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Sea Foam Mag, Aaduna, MOON, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart Review, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain Review, The Voices Project, Cent, Heavy Athletics, Outsider Poetry, Outlaw Poetry.

Posted in Spiritual

The Sacredness of December: “Look to the Light” (Hanukkah), “The Magnificat” (Advent and Christmas) & Mevlûd-i Peygamberi (the Birth of the Prophet)

My soul magnifies the Lord ...


Look to the light, the light in the window,
The simple lit candles that shimmer and shine.
The message is clear as simple lit candles,
The passion for freedom is yours and is mine.
– Rabbi Dan Grossman

 December is a month rich in the holy days of the Abrahamic traditions. Jews celebrate Hanukkah, a commemoration of the Jewish reclamation of The Temple of Jerusalem in 164 B.C.E. Christians celebrate Advent – a period of waiting for the birth of Christ – followed by His birth, Christmas.  Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet in November or December depending on the lunar calendar. We do not need faith to appreciate the beautiful poems, music and artwork inspired by our religions, Abrahamic or others.


Look to the Light

Menorah
Menorah

In 164 B.C.E., the Syrians who ruled Israel took away the Jews’ right to practice their religion. Led by Judah Maccabee the Jews rebelled and succeeded in reclaiming their sovereignty and they rededicated The Temple of Jerusalem. The history of the celebration of Hanukkah has had some interesting turns in more recent times.

There’s a story of a young Polish soldier in then General George Washington’s army who held a solitary Hanukkah celebration on a cold night in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  The soldier gently placed his family’s menorah in the snow and lighted the first of eight candles for the first night of Hanukkah. The man was perhaps a bit homesick and missing his family. He must have thought about how much they’d suffered over time from religious persecution. There were tears in his eyes when General Washington found him. Washington wondered what the young man was doing and why he was crying. The soldier told his general the story of Maccabee and the other Jews. It is said that Washington was heartened by the telling and moved on to battle and victory. The menorah is on now on display at the Smithsonian Museum.

Yet another story surfaces in 1993 Billings, Montana where a family was lighting their menorah one night. As is custom, they placed the lighted menorah in the front window of their home where it was stoned by anti-Semites, as were the homes of other Jewish families that same evening. The town newspaper printed dozens of menorahs.  Rev. Keith Torney, a minister of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, distributed them to all the Christians and the paper menorahs were placed in windows all over Billings as a sign of solidarity and of respect for the freedom to practice religion as one’s conscience dictates.

Look to the Light is a commemorative poem written by Rabbi Daniel Grossman and set to music by Meira Warshauer. Enjoy!  … but if you are viewing this from an email subscription, you’ll have to link through to the web/zine to view and hear it.


The Magnificat

The Ode of Theotokos (Song of the God Bearer)

It is only in the Gospel of Luke that we read of Mary’s recitation of this poem that harkens back to Jewish prophecy and is constructed in the traditional verse style of the times with mirroring and synonymous parallelism.

From the Book of Common Prayer

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holden his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.


The Prophet’s Nativity

A book explaining the meaning of the term Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi
A book explaining the meaning of the phrase Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi

One poem that celebrates Mawlid, the birth of the Prophet, is exceptionally sweet. It was written by the Turkish Süleyman Çelebi (also known as Süleyman Of Bursa) who died in 1429. You’ll note that in addition to honoring the Prophet Mohammad,  it honors three mothers: Asiya the mother of Moses, Mary the mother of Jesus and Amina the mother of the Prophet.

Mevlûd-i Peygamberi, Hymn of the Prophet’s Nativity

Some have said that of these charming three
One was Asiya of moonlike face,
One was Lady Mary without doubt,
And the third a houri beautiful.

Then these moonfaced three drew gently near
And they greeted me with kindness here;
Then they sat around me, and they gave
The good tidings of Muhammad’s birth;
Said to me: “A son like this your son
Has not come since God has made this world,
And the Mighty One did never grant
Such a lovely son as will be yours.

You have found great happiness,
O dear, 
For from you that virtuous one is born!
He that comes is King of Knowledge high,
Is the mine of gnosis and tawhid*
For the love of him the sky revolves,
Men and jinn are longing for his face.

This night is the night that he, so pure
Will suffuse the worlds with radiant light!
This night, earth becomes a Paradise,
This night God shows mercy to the world.
This night those with heart are filled with joy,
This night gives the lovers a new life.

Mercy for the worlds is Mustafa,
Sinners’ intercessors: Mustafa!

– Süleyman Of Bursa 

* monotheism

Compiled by Jamie Dedes; Photocredits: (1) © Jamie Dedes,The first illustration was created using a public domain photograph of The Magnificat (Le magnificat) by James Tissot; (2)Hanukkah Lamp, Lemberg (Lviv, Ukraine), 1867–72 from the collection of The Jewish Museum of New York under CC BY-SA 3.0; (3) Photograph of a book explaining the meaning of the phrase Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi by Saudmujadid under CC BY-SA 4.0

Posted in The BeZine Table of Contents, TheBeZine

THE BeZINE, Vol. 4, Issue 2: Hunger, Poverty and The Working Class as Slave Labor

November 15, 2017


In the four-year history of The BeZine, this is the most significant edition. All of our concerns – peace, environmental sustainability, human rights, freedom of expression – depend on a more equal distribution of wealth, on making sure no one goes hungry and on breaking-down barriers to employment, healthcare, education and racial and gender equity.

This pyramid (courtesy of Wikipedia) reveals that:

  • half of the world’s wealth belongs to the top 1%,
  • top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world’s total wealth,
  • top 30% of adults hold 97% of the total wealth.

We’re all cognizant of that profile, but if you feel you’re sitting pretty and you’re not at risk, you’re employed, educated and middle class after all, you’d be well-advised to reconsider. The middle class is now – and has been for some time – dramatically challenged to find work, to acquire jobs that are fairly paid, offer stability and reasonable hours, and in the U.S., enable them to send their children to college.

The implications of a concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, the oligarchs and mega-corporations, are horrendous. Not the least is the undermining of democracy. Those who vote for and support the oligarchs because they think that’s where their security lies are victims of propaganda and bound for disappointment. The shadow of catastrophe (not too strong a word) that hangs over us is not due to the poor or the “other” who doesn’t look like us, worship the same God, or speak the same language, but to the 1%.  Huxley was disconcertingly prescient.


This month our core team and guest contributors create a picture that beckons and behoves us to abandon stereotypes and propaganda about the poor, to recognize slave labor in its most absolute terms (human trafficking and prison labor) and more subtly in the conditions faced by workers at almost all levels of the corporate pyramid. We are called to ethically source the products we buy, to study our history, to bravely speak out against injustice and stupidity and, by implication, to shine a light on best-practices, those programs, services and unofficial efforts in your city/town, region or country that are helping and that can easily be implemented anywhere in the world. (You can share these with everyone via our Facebook discussion group.)

Beginning with Juli’s impassioned editorial, The Exponential Demise of Our Well-being, and moving to our BeAttitudes: John Anstie’s powerful Dictators and Desperadoes … Delegation and Democracy; Corina Ravenscraft’s and Trace Lara Hentz’ thoughtful invitations to awareness; Phillip T. Stephens on prison injustice; Sue Dreamwalker’s encouragement to see the homeless as fully human (and she connects us with homeless poets and artists in England); and Joe Hesch’s honest exploration of self, we are called to responsibly participate in history.

We present a memoir from Renee Espriu and a short story from Joe Hesch this month. These are followed by yet another stellar poetry collection from poets around the world, including work by core-team members: Charles W. Martin and John Anstie.

New to our pages, a warm welcome to: Juli [Juxtaposed], Sue Dreamwalker, Michael Odiah, Evelyn Augusto, Michele Riedele, Irene Emmanuel and bogpan. We welcome work from among our previous and regular contributors: Paul Brookes, Trace Lara Hentz, Renee Espriu, Sonja Benskin Mescher, Denise Fletcher, Phillip T. Stephens, R.S. Chappell, Rob Cullen and Mark Heathcote.

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


HUNGER, POVERTY and THE WORKING CLASS AS SLAVE LABOR

How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:

Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


EDITORIAL

The Exponential Demise of Our Wellbeing, Juli [Juxtaposed]

BeATTITUDES

Dictators and Desperadoes … Delegation and Democracy, John Anstie
Change Your View and Your View Changes, Corina Ravenscraft
‘Til the Jails Are Empty, Phillip T. Stephens
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Posted in Poems/Poetry

Far from Eyes Broken

San Francisco Bay Area poet, Ann Emerson, was one of the first two people I invited to join in the collaboration we now call The BeZine. It was originally named Into the Bardo, in reference to the Buddhist state of existence between death and rebirth; so named because of life-compromising illnesses.

Ann was a gifted poet, but she didn’t find that out until after she was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. She discovered her voice in a hospital poetry class. Ultimately she studied with Ellen Bass in Santa Cruz, California. 

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After diagnosis, Ann survived for an almost consistently tortured six years. Physical pain. Trauma. Fear. Chemo. Poverty. She had signs posted around her house that said, “Live!”

While Ann spent a lot of time in the hospital, her home was a cabin in the Redwoods of La Honda, a stone’s throw from the log cabin where Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters so famously partied in 1964. She lived with her cats. Originally there were six and they were all blind. No one would take them in, so Ann did.

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Ann was just a thesis away from her Ph.D. A few weeks before she died, four of Ann’s poems were published in American Poetry Review

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Two days before Ann died, she married the gentleman who was her sweetheart of thirty years. Ann’s wedding was held in her hospital room. Those of us in the attendance were required by the hospital to wear yellow gowns over our street clothes. The bride wore yellow too. The flowers and the ring were from the hospital gift shop. The founder and leader of our support group for people with catastrophic illness, a Buddhist chaplin, performed the ceremony. One of us took wedding photographs using a cell phone.  I created a virtual wedding album.The wedding was in its way lovely, but it was achingly sad.

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When Ann died, we sat with her for some time because Buddhists don’t believe the soul leaves the body right away. Ann’s Buddhist teacher – someone she held in high regard – came and lead us in meditation and blessing.

Here – are three of her poems – posted today in her memory. In closing, I added A Hunger for Bone, the poem I wrote the day her ashes were released to the sea near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. My poem in no way comes up to the gold standard Ann set, but it tells the story. 

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– Jamie Dedes


Elegy for Cat Five

Fuck the Glory that is Poetry,
fuck the smell of God in my hair,

The world is the color of driftwood,
this ordinary Wednesday in June.

Let’s have a moratorium on poems
about my shitty news from Stanford

and how I can’t tell heat from cold.
My blood dirty as brown sand in a museum,

and my cat, well, he has news too.
Death woman, skeleton cat,

I turned 57 yesterday when
the veterinarian said No.

I am taking us both to the ocean
for as long as we need:

red sand staining white fur.
I am smelling my cat’s iodine breath,

I am putting my hand in the wound
in my side. Dry brine stinking up

the air, seawater choking the
cawing gull in his throat.

And my face, he’d better
not fucking forget.

One more day leaving me
for a little peace of mind.

.
A Modern Poem (draft 1)

.
I am walking again through an American night,
past police stations with barred gates, windows
glazed warm with doughnuts, patrol cars in the lot.
I stand outdoors seeking coffee: someplace where
eyes will not wander through me when I sit in a red
booth filled with books as women fearing Altzeimer’s
hoard cats. I stay up until dawn, waiting for panic
to subside, to find the meaning in all things
in a city which says I am nothing.

..
I wake in my American forest, from a dream
of being shot: when one lives in a forest one cannot expect
the humane society always arriving in time. I walk through
the cabin and on down the path: moonlight blurs the redwoods,
wind blurs water. I feel like a girl safe in a picture book.
Indoors the television screen shines blue as topaz.
I am walking again through the forest aglow with
snowy owls and see-through salamanders.
Far from eyes broken like windows, and people
thinking they are nobodies, reading the paper
about life being rebuilt by night so that
no one notices it tumbling by day.

 

The Wrong Side of History

Fifty years ago, a house of
pale cinderblock. Sixty miles

north of here, Richmond
California, the poor

mending holes with colored thread.
I live in a house of

unnatural law, I am painting
landscapes in black: horses

and floating carpets of leaves.
When I am ten my father fills my mouth

with dirt for saying I want to die:
a ripped sheet twisted over my eyes,

my ankles hobbled in bed;
I summon the kingdom of horses

where lullabies murmur
brittle-legged ponies to sleep.

When I am twelve the city catches fire:
ruined faces of mares stretch for pages,

and when the tar roof seeps into
my room, I still do not run away.

Say nothing about the comfort of solitude,
stars crowded like sensations under the skin.

Say nothing about the morning blow of light,
the herd coughing on last night’s oily weed

– Ann Emerson


A Hunger for Bone

we scattered your relics, yours and your cats,
chared bone to be rocked by waves,
to be rocked into yourself, the rhythm
enchanting you with cool soothing spume
merging your poetry with the ether,
rending our hearts with desolation,
shattering the ocean floor with your dreams
lost in lapping lazuli tides, dependable ~
relief perhaps after pain-swollen years of
suckle on the shards of a capricious grace

those last weeks …
your restless sleeps disrupted by
medical monitors, their metallic pings
not unlike meditation bells calling to you,
bringing you to presence and contemplation,
while bags hung like prayer-flags on a zephyr
fusing blood, salt, water
into collapsing veins, bleeding-out
under skin, purple and puce-stained,
air heavy and rank; we came not with chant,
but on the breath of love, we tumbled in
one-by-one to stand by you

to stand by you
when death arrived
and it arrived in sound, not in stealth,
broadcasting its jaundiced entrance
i am here, death bellowed on morphine
in slow drip, i am here death shouted,
offering tape to secure tubing, handing
you a standard-issue gown, oversized –
in washed-out blue, for your last journey
under the cold pale of fluorescent light

far from the evergreen of your redwood forest,
eager and greedy, death snatched
your jazzy PJs, your bling and pedicures,
your journals and pens, your computer and
cats, death tried your dignity and identity –
not quickly, no … in a tedious hospital bed,
extending torment, its rough tongue salting
your wounds, death’s hungering, a hunger
for bones, your frail white bones – but you
in your last exercise of will, thwarted death,
bequeathing your bones to the living sea

– Jamie Dedes

© 2011, Ann’s poems, her photo and that of her cat, Ann Emerson estate; © A Hunger for Bone and the yellow flower photograph,  Jamie Dedes; photograph of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur courtesy of wordydave under CC BY SA 3.0