“As we get older, it matters less where you are and more who you’re with.” Crystal Woods et al, Write like no one is reading (a collection of life quotes by independent writers)
The gods of winter arrive windy, whooshing
and cackling to chastise autumn’s ripe reds,
casting nights darker than indigo, spinning
a whorl of days, steel-blue and hoary . . . . . .Like life sometimes
Rest is welcome after the frenzy of canning,
freezing fruit for deep-dish pies and the days
pass like the color of joy with shocks of silver ……….Not unlike my hair
One blink, gone the winter gods for those of spring
and my seventieth year …………I’ll be here
I’m in the middle of moving, so I’ve put off the next writing prompt to Wednesday, February 5. All are welcome to come out in play: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. It’s all about exercising that writing muscle and meeting other poets.
“At the heart of globalization is a new kind of intolerance in the West towards other cultures, traditions and values, less brutal than in the era of colonialism, but more comprehensive and totalitarian.” Martin Jacques, British journalist, editor, academic, political commentator and author
Zimbabwean poet activist, Mbizo Chirasha, hosted this prompt on January 22, which called our attention to neocolonialism or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World* arenas: Africa, Asia, Latin America. Admittedly this was a difficult challenge, especially for those who don’t live in a Third World country or if Third World issues aren’t something closely followed. Hence, we didn’t consistently make the target but we do have a thoughtful pointed collection to share today that emphasizes issues of poverty, violence, inequality, land-grab, and human rights abuses. This is gifted to us by Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Taman Tracy Moncur, and Pali Raj. Much appreciation to these writers for rising to the occasion with intelligence, courage, and passion.
* I recognize that some might say “Developing Countries” would be the more appropriate terminology, However, I would suggest that where destabilizing by First World countries is the order of the day, “developing” is difficult, if not impossible.
Because I am working on moving to another apartment, I won’t be posting a writing prompt tomorrow. The next Wednesday Writing Prompt will publish on February 5.
A Piece of The Sacred Planet
A piece of sacred soil
whose land is it ,
why so many claim it ?
land of purple saffron gold,
land of golden apples bold,
land bought again and again
land controlled, land sold,
conquered, ruled taken by force
maharajas, badshah, rulers
for what crime natives told to
abandon ship’ can land ever sink?
who is to think?
August is a cruel month
leaves wither as souls fly,
the only flowers are on
warm cloth embroidered with
blood, cries muffled, eyes dry,
beauty reflected in aquatic surfaces
camouflaged evil toads in inner deeps,
land of pure peace, poets and dreams
land of silence, in sounds of screams’
world has forgotten to cry,
law is a uniform,rule is a gun,
power is the force under the sun
all bodies are war,blood spills are fun
and we children too were on the run
we hand no toys no food nor bun
then all fell, one by one-
a crime a time a right unknown
a helpless innocence grown
the king can do no wrong
people can never be strong
pansies died in the flower beds
governors live in far away towns
all is owned all belongs to the crown.
I see the soldiers they look like me
their garb is like mine, how then
are they my enemy?
I am not to think I am not to speak
why I had to leave my land
why I laugh and cry, sit and stand
I wish I could understand…
I wish I could Understand…
“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar
“Do You Want Fries With That?”
Your wild red hair,
Pale skin and
Painted lips belied
Despite Scientists showing
The Traditional Ways were better,
Our greased guts and
A-salt-Ed hearts craved the
Of broken McPromises and
Our health for Your wealth.
Not funny Clown.
Poverty Rocks Hard
The ratta tat tat of guns in the night…a fight…a fight to the death…in search of illusive respect. The convictions of the streets supersede all cognition…all rationality…all logic…it’s dog eat dog, tit for tat, disrespect me I’ll disrespect you right back. No space or place for politeness…kindness portrays weakness… that’s just the way it is. What’s there to do but live hard in the face of endless denial; laugh hard during the constant struggle; party hard to revitalize and make dry bones come to life.
Poverty rocks hard!
The music blasts…feet dance fast…hearts beat as blood rushes through the veins transporting surreal images of feigned happiness…another puff…that’s the stuff to die for…another puff…calms nerves…another puff supports muscles that inadvertently crave in evolving waves of dependency…another puff to the point of no return to any pretense of normalcy.
Poverty rocks hard!
The high is fleeting looking down into the neck of an empty bottle, ranting…raving…fixating on who took the last of the elixir…the fixer. Rage that has been smothered by day to day survival spies out a rival…a beef erupts spewing volcanic emotions and repressed anger into the atmosphere mushrooming into a toxic waste laced with venom… a gun is fired that eradicates all semblance of euphony and implodes into a rubble of broken dreams as a stream of blood oozes from the collapsed corpse.
Poverty rocks hard!
Sirens wail in the night. Violence devours innocence…sorrow then masticates the essence of life and regurgitates hopelessness. Shame becomes ingrained into the psyche…anger lashes out slapping kindness into a condition of degeneration… masochism becomes entrapped in isolation …love and fury become enmeshed in confusion crippling empathy impeding the expansion and the maturation of the human spirit.
Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncur exposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.
Poverty, Hunger, and Sanitation
Oh, I throw myself upon
Once where was war
Now tearing our nations apart
May be, thus, they are taking control
(May be it’s neocolonism) but
What has happened to the whole world?
Poverty, Hunger, and Sanitation
Oh, I throw myself upon
The November sky without a star Droops low over the midnight street; On the pale pavement, cautiously A leaf moves. – Jun Fujita
Groundbreaking poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita is the focus of a new exhibition presented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation. A multi-media experience comprising poetry, photographs, personal correspondence and archival artifacts, Jun Fujita: American Visionary explores the life and career of one of Chicago’s master chroniclers.
As the first Japanese American photojournalist, Fujita captured many of the most infamous moments in Chicago history, including the Eastland Disaster, the 1919 race riots and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. As an English-language poet writing in the Japanese tanka tradition, his poems appeared regularly in Poetry magazine, published in Chicago since 1912.
“Jun Fujita was a visionary ahead of his time, both in his visual and written art forms, as well as his contemporary 45-year partnership with Florence Carr,” said Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director and exhibition cocurator. “We’re honored to partner with the Newberry to further expand and unfold the layers of his life and Chicago legacy through this exhibition.”
As anti-Japanese xenophobia crested during World War II, Fujita faced hostility, prejudice, and persecution. The U.S. government declared him an “enemy alien,” and his assets were frozen. Yet despite this adversity, Fujita achieved unprecedented success in his profession and offered an alternative model of what it means to be “American.”
“Jun Fujita put forth a vision for what’s possible, particularly love, acceptance, and sanctuary in a place bent on exclusion,” adds Fred Sasaki, Poetry art director and exhibition curator.
A static mood, in the morning woods
Wet and clear –
In a majestic pattern, leaves are spellbound
By a fawn, ears perked.
JUN FUJITA was born Junnosuke Fujita on 13 December 1888 in Nishimura, a village near Hiroshima, Japan. When he was older, Fujita moved from Japan to Canada, where he worked odd jobs to save enough money to move to the United States of America, which he considered to be a “land of opportunity.” He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School, a four-year predominantly African-American public school whose notable alumni include Nat “King” Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Archibald Carey, Jr. Following his high school graduation, he studied mathematics at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology, with plans to become an engineer. To help pay his way through college, Fujita took a job as the first and only photojournalist at the Chicago Evening Post, which later became the Chicago Daily News. MORE [Wikipedia]
Read more of Jun Fujita’s poetry HERE at Poetry Foundation. His collection is available through Amazon but is unfortunately prohibitively priced. It is not available through the Gutenberg Project or Internet Archive. Poems and journal articles about Fujita’s photography are accessible at JSTOR HERE.
Jun Fujita: American Visionary runs from January 24 through March 31 at the Newberry. The exhibition is free and open to all.
Throughout the exhibition, a series of related public programs will further explore its major themes. These programs include:
This post is compiled courtesy of the Poetry Foundation, Wikipedia, and Amazon. The poems are courtesy of Poetry Foundation in concert with JSTOR.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.
About the Newberry Library
At the Newberry Library, visitors and researchers explore centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. The library’s collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is accessible to all in Newberry reading rooms, program spaces, exhibition galleries, and online digital resources. Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition.
“Journalism is clearly not a crime. This case is an administrative matter, a visa problem, not a criminal one,” Harsono said. [Andreas Harsono, Indonesian research at Human Rights Watch]HERE.
The detention of a U.S. journalist in Indonesia may have been linked to his news outlet’s reporting critical of the government. Environmental reporter Philip Jacobson was detained and provisionally released this week, purportedly due to a visa issue. PEN America advises Indonesian officials to resolve the case promptly and drop any criminal charges.
“While we are relieved that Philip has been temporarily released, we remain concerned that he is being targeted for his work in an attempt to send a warning signal to those journalists and news outlets who undertake investigative reporting on sensitive topics in Indonesia,” said Karin Karlekar, director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America. “Even if there is evidence of a visa-related violation, it should be handled as an administrative rather than a criminal matter and be resolved as quickly as possible, and we call on the authorities to allow both Indonesian and foreign journalists to work freely and without fear of retaliation.”
Jacobson, a U.S. citizen who works as an editor and strategist at Mongabay, a multilingual environmental news website, was in Indonesia on a business visa. On December 17, the day Jacobson was scheduled to leave the city Palangkaraya, immigration officers came to the guesthouse where he was staying and instructed him to remain in the city while they conducted an investigation into an alleged violation of his visa. They also confiscated Jacobson’s passport.
On January 21, authorities took him into custody and held him in a detention center for three days. On Friday, he was released into “city detention.” Law enforcement officials said he violated the terms of his visa and could face a prison sentence of up to five years. The day before he was approached by officials, he had attended a hearing between local lawmakers and an indigenous rights group but was not reporting on the event. His employer Mongabay has recently published articles that criticize Indonesia’s handling of conflict with indigenous communities over land rights, deforestation of Indonesian rainforests, and corruption.
This post is courtesy of PEN America, Reuters, and Wikipedia
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.