revisioning, a poem

“Every day brings a choice, to practice stress or to practice peace.” Joan Borysenko, the author of A Woman’s Book of Life 



a shadow walking
in the quake of my steps
a tattered pad and pen,
old hands taking notes,
random thoughts and
oddly paced prayers,
misspelling the past,
scribbling the future in
lines dim, ungrammatical,
lacking any cadence

in a waking moment,
i amend the notes, seize
the present, edit history,
writing complete sentences,
grammatically precise,
organically composed,
a latter-day revisioning

© 2018, Jamie Dedes


LAST CALL

For those who weren’t able to share their work in honor of 100,000 Poets and Others For Change – or even fave pieces on theme (Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice) by other authors – YOU still have time to do so but toMORROW is the last day. Instructions in the post explain how to share your poems or other art … check it out

Metaphysical Matters

The door resembled a strawberry,
a scraped bloody red nontheatrical access.
We paused, checked for cameras
recordings or real dogs barking nothing new.
My wife is a nurse and burdened,
determined to help if such a thing is classifiable.
Her client, Rosa, was happy to see us.
She smelled of lavender,
an air freshener stuck to her bathrobe.
My wife checked Rosa’s blood pressure.
Medications taken daily and duly checked off.
Rosa interpretatively made us a cup of tea,
half dancing her way to the kitchenette.
Her son would occasionally visit
to look in and sleep on the couch.
He wasn’t well himself and couldn’t help.
We ran a bath and Rosa was soon cleaner by a week.
Rosa didn’t know the day or the date,
but she could pronounce Ricardo Montalban
then enthusiastically rise to her feet.

© 2018, Colin James

COLIN JAMES has a book of poems, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives in Massachusetts………..direct link to SMP titles

Facing the Music

I had hoped to not find death again,
Until it was my turn.
Perhaps the music will one day
Fall on my deaf ears.
I had played that tune before,
When I danced to a different song.

Donut Dreams

I dreamed of donuts
And falling through the middle
Of a donut, floating in hot coffee
Into the twilight zone.
Light filters in and the darkness disappears
As I inhale the decadent smells of morning,
Breakfast awaits.

I Saw Death

I saw death,
It lay there, not moving.
There was no blinking.
Inwardly, I screamed.
I saw death with its paleness,
Long fingers,
Wire icicles-
Frozen in my memory.
Donut Food Fight Delight

On Friday nights,
Donuts fly, in my kitchen.
Boston Cream, jelly filled
And powdered donuts are lined up
On the table.
Our mouths are covered in powdered sugar.
Jelly sprinkles are everywhere.
Our faces are stuffed
With creamy goodness.

© 2018, Mary Bone

Poet Mary Bone

MARY BONE has been writing poetry since the age of twelve. She has had two books of poetry published and is working on a third book. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Oklahoma Today Magazine, Our Poetry Archive, Literary Yard, Spillwords, Poet’sGig, The Homestead Review, The New Ink Review, Whispers in the Wind, Poetry Pacific, The BeZine and numerous other places.

Autumn milkweed

When I die, bury my body
amid a pile of leaves,
then go home.
Plant clematis vines along fences,
fill the rest of your yard
with only native flowers
that will desire compost—
tend them lovingly,
as though you had cared for me.

—Michael Dickel
©2007


This poem is in the forthcoming collection of Michael Dickel’s poetry, Nothing Remembers.

Originally published online in: Abramelin: the Journal of Poetry and Magick. E.V. 2(1) Winter (2007).

Thanks to Tereza Joy Kramer for helpful comments and edits.

Raised Hands

Over oceans of ideas, cultures, countries
raised hands rise to support, supplant
the rulers whether democrats, dictators
oligarchs they face each other for a time
then time rolls on fading them into
sepia images rattling history.

They leave a thread of wounds and horror
littering the globe with tears, mourning hands
uplifted, pleading for justice, return of lands
even from long forgotten graves they rise:

but the hands unnoticed rise to comfort
from hearts torn in silent breasts
calling in deeds of kindness to the outcast
defying the power of the tyrant unopposed.

© 2018, Carolyn O’Connell

CAROLYN O’CONNELL lives in Ham, Richmond, Surrey in South London and started to write poetry after working in the Civil Service and the RNIB. She is a member of the Ormond Poetry Group and also a member of her local W.I. She works with Richmond Libraries to promote poetry and has lead workshops, hosted at The Tea Box in Richmond and been a Guest Read at Rhythm & Muse. Having worked on the poetry pRO project her poems have been translated into Romanian and broadcast on Romania radio via the Translation Café of the University of Bucharest.Her work has been published in America. Publications: Envoi, Interpreter’s House. Poetry Space, Snare’s Nest, I am Not a Silent Poet. Her collection “Timelines,” is published by Indigo Dreams (2014, ISBN 978-1-9093575-3-2) Carolyn lives in Richmond, Surrey, on the outskirts of London. Collection Timelines was published by Indigo Dreams www.indigodreams/co.UK/bookshop in 2014. ISBN 978-1-9093575-3-2)   She works with local groups and libraries. Further information and website http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/carolynoconnellpage.shtml

levels

once upon a chapter
i was

rubbing your parched lips with sand
while date-trees shadowed your masochism.
you kept asking for water
with a raucous voice,

and camels ignored us.

you died in my arms then,
smearing my cheek with your last breath
and naming me Maya

and i sieved my sand over you
to hide your corpse from vultures.

the next mouldy morning
you grew through me
branching

into basic elements
you split me
seeking my water

ignoring the camels.

you planted a date
between my teeth
and closed my eyes
and taught me
that, which i already knew.

i died
winged by your breath then
and anointing you “unnamed”.

the date rooted in my mouth
and turned me into an oasis.
your oasis.

no camels – just water and date-trees.

and us.
undying.

© 2016, Liliana Negoi

from “The hidden well”

We are pleased to announce that The Bardo Group Beguines core team member, Liliana Negoi, was recently acknowledged for her outstanding poetry.

LILIANA NEGOI  (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru)  is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well.  The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the Lilliana herself on her SoundCloud site HERE.

Liliana is also the author of a novel, Solo-Chess, available for free reading HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, are published in various literary magazines.

The Sun-god at Mount Horeb

Sun-god
sitting still on Mount Horeb
amidst the stark clouds,
sweeping towards the swept
open space between trees
and pawing at white and dark fleshy flesh.

Sun-god
your pale, smirky lemon face
like the grapefruit in Ago-Iwoye Market
scribbles dirt patches on my face
and made my throat to swill water
enough to fill up a tank-container.

Oh sun-god!
I plead,
do not douse us all
from this buzzy day
only ‘dap’ softly softly
into the balmy, cosy night.

© 2018, Martins Tomisin, All rights reserved

Note: Martins is one of several young writers featured in the next issue of The BeZine to be published on March 15th.

My name is Martins Tomisin Olusola. I’m currently studying at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State where I have earned awards and recognition. Some of my poems have been published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. I love painting colourful rainbows-of-thoughts on paper. I vehemently believe that, “life without poetry is like a soup without condiments; without it, life will be flavourless, distasteful and unrhythmic.”

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.

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

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
Blessed Be, Lara Trace Hentz
Homeless, Sue Dreamwalker
Ramble Tramble, Joseph Hesch

MEMOIR

Meeting Poverty, Renee Espriu

SHORT SHORT STORY

And Crown Thy Good, Joseph Hesch

POETRY

As if …, John Anstie

Carolina Oriole, Evelyn Augusto

Ecomium, bogpan

Crow Share, Paul Brookes
Means Tester, Paul Brookes
A Hunger, Paul Brookes
The Good Employer’s Manifesto, Paul Brookes

Bitter limp fruit, Rob Cullen
Life in complicated times, Rob Cullen

Empty Pocket, R.S. Chappell
War Over Hunger, R.S. Chappell

proud at unjustified margins, Jamie Dedes
an accounting, Jamie Dedes

A Thread of Hope, Denise Fletcher

Dustbowl, Mark Heathcote
Humanitarian help worker, Mark Heathcote

Togetherness, Irene Immanuel

a slave’s mentality, Charles W. Martin

#ice&mud, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Nautilus, Michele Riedel

Life, Michael Odiah

EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED,
ALL WORKS IN “THE BeZINE” ©2017 BY THE AUTHOR / CREATOR


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Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted every Sunday in Sunday Announcements on The Poet by Day.

FAT NEVERLAND by Luke Prater … and a call for help

LUKE PRATER‘s poetry is ever fascinating to me. He will tackle – as he has here – the same subject in more than one poetic form. Dedication, keen intellect and a singular irreverance are the hallmarks of this thirty-five year old English poet who took a degree in English lit with creative writing and performance and subsequently went to SOAS, London to study ethnomusicology at the master’s level. At twenty-seven he took up poetry, which he says saved his life – a thing it has done for many of us. More recently Luke added “iPhoneography” to his formidable list of accomplishments, shooting pictures and “editing the hell out of them.” Jamie Dedes

“They say a picture paints a thousand words; I’d argue the opposite.” Luke Prater

 

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – villanelle

Factory-farm ‘em on rainforest land,
jab ‘em with jittery antibiotics, in
serving a hoodwinked world’s worst burger-stand.

Nutrient nadir damn should have you banned,
even when just drunken teens in your night-kitchen
sucking down scared meat from rainforest land.

Wretched obese bloat and roll at your hand;
farmers on statutory antidepressants been
plying, supplying world’s worst burger-stand.

Consciences slip through ringed fingers like sand.
Wallets are plump; I’m still wondering why? (you grin)
greenlighting greenfelling greenforest land.

Golden the arches, but ain’t worth a grand;
Ronald’s grave future sees past catching up with him –
homeless – McCuster’s last fastburger-stand.

Clown let the kids party Fat Neverland,
Tinkerbell grounded by chow she’s demolishing.
Cattle confused grazing rainforest land,
passed off as food at world’s worst burger-stand.

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – Pushkin Sonnet

The cattle farmed where once was leafage,
force-fed with drugs unfit for us,
supplying world’s worst burger beefage
by farmers in disguised disgust.

Nutrition nadir should be outlawed,
to spare the trees the rasping chainsaw;
to spare the cattle cheap mince fate;
to close the flooding fast-food gate.

In wilful ignorance we swallow,
in sucking down scared meat with Coke.
Obese, they bloat in oily soak,

in lack of self-esteem they wallow.
Let kids carouse Fat Neverland,
at Ronald’s clowning, cloying hand.

Fat Neverland (I’m Loathin’ It) – free verse

Factory-farmed on rainforest land;
force-fed with antibiotics to serve a
hoodwinked world’s worst burger-stand.

A nutrient nadir that should have
them banned, even when just drunken
teens in their night-kitchen, sucking
down scared meat with cardboard and Coke.

Wretched obese bloat oily soak, in
triple chins of self-loathing they wallow;
farmers swallow disgust and
statutory antidepressants
supplying mass substandard beef.

Consciences slip through
ringed fingers like sand.

Wallets are plump

greenlighting
……..greenfelling
…………..greenforest land.

Golden the arches, but ain’t worth a thing;
Ronald’s grave future sees
past catching up with him –
homeless –
……………….McCuster’s last fastburger-stand.

Clown let the kids carouse Fat Neverland,
now Tinkerbell’s grounded
by chow she’s demolishing.

Cattle confused, passed off as food
at world’s worst burger-stand.

Villanelle – A1-b-A2 | a-b-A1 | a-b-A2 | a-b-A1 | a-b-A2 | a-b-A1-A2

Pushkin Sonnet (Onegin Stanza) – AbAb CCdd Eff Egg

 

© 2012, Luke Prater, All rights reserved


LUKE PRATER is a seriously talented English poet and musician. Many of you may be familiar with his work. (And I believe his dad was a fairly well know and highly regarded musician in England.) Luke founded Facial Expression Poetry and Critique and WordSalad blog, both of which are gone now. He shared the piece above with readers several years ago. I present it as an example of his work for those of you who haven’t read him.  He’s a very worthy man. If you are able to help a bit I hope you’ll consider doing so. / Jamie Dedes
Image may contain: 3 people, outdoor and text

Luke Prater Facebook

**We’re two thirds of the way there!**

I’ve been seriously unwell for a very, very long time. Fourteen years, in fact. Some of you know this, others don’t. For Facebook friends, and old friends I haven’t seen since school or my early/mid twenties, the truth is I have often made it seem like nothing is wrong. Which is possible on the internet, and with the crutch of a lot of medication. It almost feels like I’ve been living a lie for years, (when not completely absent), because I just wanted to snatch a few minutes of normal. To pretend everything’s okay. The point I’ve reached is this: I cannot continue — the years slipping away, existing rather than living, the continual pain, dis-ease and discomfort. Therefore my family (including sisters Susie Ro Prater and Joy Prater) are fundraising so I can go for treatment at a private clinic in Germany that specialises in chronic and degenerative diseases using stem-cell therapy and other protocols. We’re two thirds of the way there! Here is the link to the fundraising campaign –

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.

l.NbSuLbZWIcnyodRP

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.

IMG_8407

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. 

Julia_Pfeiffer_Burns_State_Park

– 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

Thousands and Millions, a poem by John Anstie

This is our (The BeZine) new poster for 100TPC 2018. It was designed by Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

One hundred thousand
Poets for change,
so many voices and
carefully chosen words,
at times decay into a void
of the anechoic chamber.

Earthly Fathers praying
for the Establishment,
that sets our stage,
and casts our values
in concrete, steel,
plastic … and carbon.

Leaders of the World,
whose balance sheets and
logical, numerate intellect
measure only a notion
of success. What is that?
Temper your ambition.

For aren’t we just that,
a wealth of rich and
creative intelligence,
maybe the only hope
for our universe
to understand itself?

Heavenly Mothers ask us
why digitise and monetise
and worship at the alter
of the great god, Thworg,
when we are in the face of
richness beyond measure.

Escape to the stars, if you will,
but answers will be found not
in the vanity of space-time travel,
but here, with this unaided vision
they lie in the green and blue,
right before your disbelieving eyes.

Permit your heart to rule
even if only one day a week, when
the visceral, and the common sense
will sit above logic and intellect, and
that subliminal noise in our head
will slowly rise to the conscious.

Maybe, one day we’ll be
Seven Thousand Million
Poets for Change!
Our time will come. Atonement beckons.
It’s in the wind, this beating heart,
a movement beyond the gaze of mortals …

© 2017 John Anstie, All rights reserved.  You can visit John at My Poetry Library.

This is John’s tribute to the 100,000 Poets for Change – 100TPC 2017 – movement, which had its annual celebration on 30th September.

SILENCING OF THE LAMBS, a poem by British poet and Renaissance man, John Anstie

 

img_2357

Silencing The Lambs

Lo a thin veneer
divides the good from the bad
you know what you are

ruling precedent
with blind consensus will yield
a dumbing of the sheep

and who was it said
only the meek inherit
this is not the time

this is not the time
for humility and lambs
must stand up and grow

maybe there was life
once upon a distant time
when we were wise

when we were wise
before the window led to
pleonexia

yield to avarice
and the common cause ends in
weakened hearts and souls

weakened hearts and souls
lost in things and will be found
only as we die

only as we die
can we find truth and renew
a desire for life

a desire for life
but not material things
will need great courage

we’ll need great courage
whilst tyranny is seeking
obedient lambs

by silencing the lambs
sociopathy will win
and life will perish

… but will life perish?
Maybe, maybe not. Dare we
sit and wait and see?

– John Anstie

© 2017, poem and portrait, John Anstie, All rights reserved

John Anstie
John Anstie

JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British singer, musician, poet and contributing writer to The BeZine. John self-describes as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”.

John has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway’ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

product_thumbnail-3-phpRecent publications are anthologies resulting from online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group (Petrichor Rising*). The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears in The d’Verse Anthology:Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

*The proceeds from Petrichor Rising go to UNICEF. The back story on this book and its poets is featured in Pretricor Rising and how the Twitterverse Birthed friendships that in Turn Birthed a Poetry Collection.

Some Kind of Hell to Pay

Breadline
Breadline

the unconscionable dance in the canyons of power,
lined with megalithic buildings, the edifice complex
of the spin-meister’s lie, that the demigods can do
anything – anything – walking this asphalt valley

a parade, flailing lemmings trussed and trusting their
die-cut dreams to the pitiless whim of the military/
industrial/medical alliance, whose war-cries are of
greed and arrogance, believing they’ll live forever,
today’s sovereignty, tomorrow’s guarantee. But it’s

all delusion – cultures die and the hope-crushing
architects of cuts and austerity measures are like
the rich man in the Lazarus story, there’ll be
some kind of backlash, some kind of hell to pay …

© Jamie Dedes

“Rich Lazarus! richer in those gems, thy tears,
Than Dives in the robes he wears:
He scorns them now, but oh they’ll suit full well
With the purple he must wear in hell”
Richard Crenshaw (c.1613-1649), English cleric, teacher, metaphysical poet, Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, Delights of the Muses (1646)

© photo credit,1930 breadine sculpture at the FDR memorial courtesy of Peter Griffin, Public Domain Pictures.net

1967 (17 years old) , My First Published Poem “Make of Me a Tree”

Dan and I as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I. He stands 6'5' and I stand 5'2
My cousin Dan and me as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I am. He stands 6’5′ and I stand around 5’2″ – give or take a bit depending on my shoes.

I was definitely the product you’d expect from the odd and awkward situation in which I grew up and surely I showed little talent, no free thinking and no genius or particular promise. The poem is not good – some youth write profoundly beautiful and wise poetry and young people today are far more savvy than I ever was  –  but it does illustrate that after fifty years or so writing will improve. We writers often have our doubts, but we are an unrelenting bunch. We write, write, write. We enrich, reform and reframe as if every word of ours will spark more Light in the collective unconscious, which I rather think they do.

Make of Me a Tree

I am young, Lord,
but my heart is true,
Make of me a tree

Make me strong and supple
That when tempests blow,
I shall stand unyielding.

Let me be humble in the
Praise of Your Majesty
And testify to Your greatness.

When rains besiege
Let me be shelter
To those who have not found Your Son,

For

Yes! I am young
but my heart is true:
Make of me a tree.

Amen.

– Jamie Dedes

That’s my cousin Dan in the photograph, six years younger than me, so about 8 in this photo to my 13,. Dan was inspired by the poem to paint a lovely “portrait” of a tree. These days it’s Father Dan – Rev. Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp. – a theologian and professor at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dan always showed real promise. Like my son, Richard, and Dan’s brother, Christopher, even as a toddler he was smart and funny.  So many of you appreciated Dan’s piece What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?  Come March, Dan will be back in the United States. We will get to visit for the first time in forty years.

And, yes! I did want to become a nun. I was told there would be family background checks and I feared rightly that there were things in my parent’s history that would embarrass my mom. I became a now-and-again wife, a mother, a writer, a poet. No regrets. The life mission is essentially the same though the vehicle of service differs and the actions are grounded in ethics not creed, which is not to imply that the two are necessarily exclusive.

RELATED:

DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.
DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.

The Blessed Mother: She reminds me of who I am and who I should be, Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp., The BeZine, July 2016

Note: The photograph of the two of us together was taken at a fundraiser our mothers were helping with for the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. This remains a worthy effort and worth your time if you happen to live in that area and are looking for a place at which to volunteer or are in a position to make a donation.

©  photographs (Daniel Sormani Family Album) and text and poem (Gigi “Jamie” Dedes), All rights reserved

By the Authority Vested 

Who grants
authority
Vested in thee?
Taking
what cannot be
given back,
if mistakenly,
found
standing on
tremorous
moral ground,
unarmed, dead bodies
strewn around.
Granted power,
the right.
Constitutional,
Legal,
protection
from public
oversight.
We become
desensitized
society, inured is
traumatized
by so much violence,
it’s hard to
keep facts straight.
Another one?
Botched executions
by the state.
International conflicts
conflate.
Genocide
at alarming rate.
Global expansion
allowing for
export
of our
chief
cash
crop.

M. Zane McClellan

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved

Editorial Note: Today we introduce a new member of our core team, M. Zane McClellan. He grew up in New York where he attended Adelphi University and was the first African-American to play lacrosse and serve as the Freshman Class President. He studied Psychology before joining the Marine Corps. McClellan recently initiated an international collaborative poem called, Poets for Peace, and is working on his debut novel, a fantasy. To read more of M. Zane McClellan’s poetry, please see, The Poetry Channel. J.D.

Unfolding

unfolding
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com. Public domain, license cc0

Something about the weight of it.
It settles so well in my hands,
appealing to my sense of touch.
The warmth of the cover,
crisp edges sliding across my thumb
as I fan.
The soft scraping sound of the sheets,
like a tree branch brushing against the window,
playing hide and seek with the moon
casting shadows on my equilibrium
as they are cast across the room.
As I am enchanted
by the bending of the spine,
the unfolding of wings as a butterfly.
That which was cocooned
in another’s chrysalis mind
transformed
to take flight in the
infinite sky,
this imagination of mine.

– M. Zane McClellan

Copyright © 2016,  All rights reserved

Editorial Note: Today we introduce a new member of our core team, M. Zane McClellan. He grew up in New York where he attended Adelphi University and was the first African-American to play lacrosse and serve as the Freshman Class President. He studied Psychology before joining the Marine Corps. McClellan recently initiated an international collaborative poem called, Poets for Peace, and is working on his debut novel, a fantasy. To read more of M. Zane McClellan’s poetry, please see, The Poetry Channel. J.D.

‘Twas All Hallows’ Eve

Thanks to my friend M. for the terrace decor.
Thanks to my friend M. for the terrace decor.

after Clement Clarke Moore‘sTwas the Night Before Christmas …

‘Twas All Hallows’ Eve, and all through the house
Every creature was stirring, even our pet mouse
Oh the pumpkins were carved with very great care
In the hope that trick-or-treaters soon would be there
The children were agitated, not one in her bed
As visions of sweet treats danced in their heads
Dad and I in our costumes and me with my cap
Had settled by the door listening for the first rap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
We sprang to our feet to check on the matter
We threw open our door to offer sweet stash
While witches flew by, all glitter and flash
And the moon on the rise and the dark ground below
Gave lustre and bluster to ghosts on the go
And then what to our startled eyes should appear,
But a miniature ballerina among goblins, one bear
Now, Alice! Now Ernie! Now Jimmy! Now Chris!
Come little Tony, big Brandy and Trish
To the top of the stairs, don’t any one fall …
Now dash away dash away dash away all

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines

Happy Halloween to all who celebrate!

And that’s it for our contribution to Halloween this year! Wishing you many sweets and no cavities. 

©2010, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

the smell of wood, the scorch of fire … and a writing prompt to help you prepare for 100TPC

stumpsthis rough-barked sequoia stump, sitting in majesty
in its coastal home, victim of wildfire, burned down
to its gnarly roots, its nicks, holes and char, eons
of scars, life seemingly cut off, goddess snake alive
inside the concentric circles, the smell of wood and
scorch of fire, at the verge of our infinity, in its truth ~

pristine

rugged

pulsing

haunted by the geometry of limbs, the calculus of green,
the algebraic eloquence of a world within a world  ~

So present.

So essential.

So primal.

it sings to itself in the marrow of our bones

– Jamie Dedes

WRITING PROMPT

In preparation for The BeZine 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016

Theme: Environment/Environmental Injustice

This poem was originally written in 2014 for Wilderness Week. There were then and are now a number of fires raging in the western United States. Wildfires are a natural occurrence but since the 1980s they’ve been increasing due to human-caused climate change. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists . . .

Wildfires in the western United States have been . . . occurring nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area, and lasting almost five times as long (comparisons are between 1970-1986 and 1986-2003) ….. many of the areas that have seen these increases—such as Yosemite National Park and the Northern Rockies—are protected from or relatively unaffected by human land-use and behaviors. This suggests that climate change is a major factor driving the increase in wildfires.” MORE

We tend to look at these fires in terms of the expense incurred fighting them and the cost of lives, homes, habitat, wild life and so forth. However, there’s one consideration we may tend to forget: Nature teaches us, comforts us, feeds us and is the ebb and flow of our spiritual and physical lives. The loss – the environmental injustice – is profound on more than a material level. This is what the smell of wood, the scorch of fire seeks to illustrate. “Nature” is who we are. Nature is us.

Write a poem or creative nonfiction piece on what the natural environment means to you and perhaps the sense of loss you feel as you note plants, animals, insects and wilderness that you’ve seen damaged or destroyed by climate, industry, overpopulation and whatever else has effected the area in which you live.

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reservedPhoto credit ~Bay Nature.org: “The Bay Nature Institute, based in Berkeley, California, is dedicated to educating the people of the San Francisco Bay Area about, and celebrating the beauty of, the surrounding natural world. We do so with the aim of inspiring residents to explore and preserve the diverse and unique natural heritage of the region, and of nurturing productive relationships among the many organizations and individuals working towards these same goals.” Read more HERE.

You are invited to join The Bardo Group Beguines at The BeZine blog on Saturday, September 24 for 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change.  Below is a list of more features to provide you with information. We hope you’ll join us.

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