A Moral Failure; poems by Michael Dickel and Jamie Dedes written in the aftermath of shootings; protests and resources

 



“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his speech, A Proper Sense of Priorities, February 6, 1968, Washington, D.C.

When we speak or write about gun control, the fingers point to second amendment rights, to the suggestion that a complex problem may resolve with the application of one strategy, or to the NRA position and lobby. Democracy is messy, but safety and citizen rights are the concerns rational people hold in common.

No matter the side on which we stand, we are guilty of a moral failure. Gun control is not going to be the entire answer. It’s a beginning and as the U.K., Australia, Japan and Germany have proven it’s a huge and rewarding beginning. I think that most who advocate gun control understand that the issues of violence in America are complex. Not the least of other initiatives would be mental health interventions, mitigating poverty and youth unemployment, creating more educational opportunities and subsidizing arts programs, revisioning our materialistic values, fostering the reimagination of masculinity, and honoring our stated religious convictions. Many of us understand gun ownership as the gateway drug to violence and murder, a contradiction to those convictions. The U.S. is predominantly a country of the Abrahamic traditions and the law we share: “Thou shalt not kill.”

– Jamie Dedes


A Priest’s Lament

i

Starting from the outside,

the labyrinth’s path moves closer,

further, closer, as it takes a poet

deviously toward the center.

 

Mosaic patterns, partly broken

by frost, perpetually bloom there.

Gray, mossed-stones line the path—

they frame the wanderer’s flower.

 

ii

We wandered that desert

for forty years. All we had

for communication were

specially designed tents

 

built from detailed plans—

each folding floorboard

and floating nail exact—

a cellular plan from God.

 

iii

That lonely God longed for

our calls, the return of a gift

we could not understand.

We just turned on each other

 

instead. We hoarded words

into locked arks as though

we owned them or understood

what they meant. We didn’t.

 

iv

We meant to know more. Ever since,

with poor reception, a limited data plan,

we still pretend we can call God

whenever we want. We pray

 

for every child shot in school

as though words could unlock

such cruelty. We pray that we

will not long be held responsible.

 

v

I long for the days before

those instructions were given,

before we built the tabernacle,

before we transformed the tent

 

to stone on top of a mountain,

before we thought we knew

what God wanted us to do,

before we decided we were priests.

Poem of separation (kodesh)

 

(vi)

A wandering God longs for us

from outside a forty-year labyrinth,

folding time, returning space, locked

into receiving words that cannot be given.

 

We thought we knew.

 

(vii)

On the seventh day, God rested.

We have not seen or heard

Creation since. Our language

overwhelms the world.

 

We thought we knew.

 

© 2018, poem, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play), All rights reserved (Written during the 100,000 Poets for Change 2018 Lake Jackson Poetry Residency Program)

February 23, 2018 — 7:00 pm

Poetry Reading with Michael Dickel
A Sublimatus / HamiltonSeen Production
The River Trading Company Bookstore
Facebook Page | Facebook Event
559 Barton St. East
Hamilton, ON L8L 2Z2  Canada


Collateral Damage

bullets
……….perforated

and were laid to rest in her
sterile room on steel tables
lined-up like school children
awaiting lessons

Math

counting wounds, counting dead

Biology

which the death-dealing injury

innocent life forms wept

….trees
……..birds
…………earth
…………….sky

children

in the stillness between breaths
she boxed and stored her tears
making way for scalpel and saw

best

yes, best

to keep her heart locked-down

until . . . until

a whiskey

a bed

oblivion

©  2018, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved



POETS AND OTHERS STAND AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

At this writing, according to the Gun Violence Archive in 2018 there have been 6,975 incidents, 1,922 deaths, 3,330 injuries, 71 children killed or injured, 377 teens killed or injured, 32 mass shootings, 41 officers shot or killed, 312 subject or suspect killed, 235 home invasions, 192 defensive use of guns, and 229 unintentional shootings in the United States.

MAR21

A World With Peace: A Place to Lament and Resist Gun Violence

100,000 Poets for Change Co-founder, Michael Rothenberg and The BeZine team member, Michael Dickel, have initiated a day for poets to gather wherever they are in the world to resist violence, especially gun violence, and raise awareness of the need for appropriate gun legislation in the United States and elsewhere. Beguine Again founder and another member of The BeZine core team, Terri Stewart, Guns Don’t Save People, Poets Do founder Evelyn Agusto and I support the effort and encourage you to organize events. To publicise your events post your event on the 100,000 Poets for Change Facebook Communication Page and on The BeZine 100TPC Facebook Discussion Page. I’ll do my best to catch all and post them to The Poet by Day Facebook Page and The Bardo Group Beguines (publisher of The BeZine) Facebook Page. Post to  Evelyn’s Facebook Page as well.  March 21 is also World Poetry Day.


NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT

Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.

Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.

Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.

We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence. We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020.

Join us in saying #ENOUGH!

Add your event to the map or find one near you here: https://www.actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/enough-national-school-walkout


THE RESISTANCE POETRY WALL

A reminder about this. I just noticed no one’s posted since October 2017.  Go for it. Have your say.

100tpc20122

The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL “We want your poems! Share this information.”

A MESSAGE FROM 100TPC cofounders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion.

“The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL has been opened in response to the call by many for an open place to post poetry about the recent USA elections. Poets from around the world are invited to post. Feel free to share this link. Post your poems in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Your poem will appear on the WALL in approximately 1 hour.”

En Español:
“Se ha abierto el MURO DE POESÍA EN RESISTENCIA como respuesta al reclamo de muchos por un espacio abierto donde publicar poesía relacionada con las recientes elecciones en los Estados Unidos. Se invita a poetas de todo el mundo a publicar aquí. Por favor compartan esta liga. Entren a la página y peguen sus poemas en la caja de comentario (‘comment’), al calce. Su poema apareceré en el MURO en aproximadamente 1 hora.”

“The poetry and art posted on the WALL are not limited to the USA elections. There are many issues that concern us all and we welcome your contribution.”


I AM NOT A SILENT POET

UK POET, REUBEN WOOLLEY hosts a zine, I Am Not a Silent Poet, and a Facebook Discussion Page. You may post to the later and submit to the zine.  There are already some anti-gun violence/pro-legislation pieces shared. Check them out.

“I am not a silent poet welcomes quality poems of protest. We have been seeing such increasing evidence of abuse recently that we felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms: colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of health services, the rape culture, FGM, our girls in Nigeria are just some of the examples that come to mind at the moment. It is not a site for rants.

“Please send all contributions for consideration to: reubenwoolley52@gmail.com. I would prefer attachments (especially for poems with unusual formatting and graphic material. You can add a brief biographical note and/or link to your website or blog.” Reuben Woolley



ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests, Events and Other Information and Special News About Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence



CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Opportunity Knocks

ACUMEN, Poetry Prose Reviews is published three times a year and editors seek poetry and feature articles. Submission by email or by postal service.  Details HERE.

BOABAB PRESS is currently considering Creative Non-Fiction, Short-Story, Novel, and Comic manuscripts. Comic manuscripts will not be considered without artwork. Poetry will re-open March 7th, 2018. Details HERE.

THE BROKEN CITY is currently accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, comics, illustrations, photography, music/book reviews for its 2018 edition. Previously published work is acceptable. No prose exceeding 3,000 words. No submission fee. No payment. Deadline: June 1, 2018. Details HERE.

CONTRARY MAGAZINE, the journal of unpopular discontent is published on the South Side of Chicago and welcomes submissions of original fiction, poetry and commentary from writers anywhere in the world. No submission fee. $20 payment. Details HERE.

THE COSSACK REVIEW “accepts electronic submissions of new work all year. We respond within 60 days, usually much sooner. Work submitted will be considered for upcoming print and online issues.”  It has a rolling deadline. The review includes fiction, nonfiction, translation and poetry (3-6 poems in a single submission.) Details HERE.

RINKY DINK PRESS, micropoetry for the people: “poems delivered in a 2.75 x 4.25 format … so bigger than a credit card, but smaller than a postcard” that contains six pages.   The press is a “rotating collective of advanced creative writing students and established poets from the Phoenix area dedicated to promoting lyrical yet concise micropoetry, compact little messages with a punch.”   DETAILS HERE.   

SOUTH/85 is a semi-annual online literary journal of the Converse College Low-Residency MFA Program is accepting submission for consideration through May 1. This journal publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and art by new, emerging, and well-established writers and artists. The editors say “we are especially interested in pieces that demonstrate a strong voice and/or a sense of place.” Details HERE.

THE NORMAL SCHOOL, a bi-annual online and print literary journal featuring nonfiction, fiction, poetry, criticism, journalism, author interviews, and multi-media texts. The editors like energetic and quirky and “work by historically under-represented and marginalized voices.”  The Normal School accepts submissions of creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry for consideration from through April 16 for the next edition. $3 submission fee. Details HERE.

THE NOTTINGHAM REVIEW, an international short-story and flash fiction literary journal that has been online since fall of 2015 and will publish its first print edition this year. Fiction from 100-3,000. Nothing previously published. No submission fee unless you want an “expedited” (7-day response). Details HERE.

THE OFI PRESS MAGAZINE, International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City is open for submissions of previously unpublished  poetry, short stories, as well as non-fiction, interviews and reviews from diverse writers but are also interested in work from Latin American and Mexican writers. No submission fees. No payment. Details HERE.

THREE DROPS FROM A CALDRON, poetry and fiction ~ myths, folklore, legends and fairy tales will open for submissions of poetry (1-6 poems) and fiction (up to 1,000 words) on 30th March 2018. Will consider reprints. No submission fees. Payment a possibility. Details HERE.


CONTESTS

Opportunity Knocks

CREATIVE NONFICTION, True Stories, well told.  The theme is Intoxication and the editors say: “Seeking altered states might be one of the oldest human hobbies—for better and for worse—and we’re looking for stories that capture the widest possible range of experiences and voices. Whether you (or someone else) were tipsy or wasted, soooooooo drunk or just a little high—on life, or love, or power, or something else—we want to hear your story about being under the influence.” Must be previously unpublished. Cash award $1,000 for best essay and $500 for runner-up. $20 reading fee. Mail in submissions must be postmarked February 26. You can also submit online by 11:59 p.m. DETAILS HERE.

NARRATIVE Winter 2018 Story Contest  for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Cash awards: $2,500 for first prize, $1,000 for second prize, $500 for third prize, and $100 each for the ten finalists. Submission fee: $26 per entry. No previously published work. Deadline: March 31, 2018. Details HERE.


EVENTS

  • WORLD POETRY DAY,  Tuesday, March 21, 2018 celebrates and supports poets and poetry around the world.  It is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Details HERE.
  • StANZA 2017  (Scotland) is scheduled for 7-11 March, 2018. The themes are The Heights of Poetry and On the Road.  Details HERE.
  • POETRY NOW is a weekly four-minute radio series featuring poets who offer an acoustically rich and reflective look into a single poem. Produced in partnership by the Poetry Foundation and WFMT. Link HERE.


POETS AND OTHERS STAND AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

At this writing, according to the Gun Violence Archive in 2018 there have been 6,975 incidents, 1,922 deaths, 3,330 injuries, 71 children killed or injured, 377 teens killed or injured, 32 mass shootings, 41 officers shot or killed, 312 subject or suspect killed, 235 home invasions, 192 defensive use of guns, and 229 unintentional shootings in the United States.

MAR21

A World With Peace: A Place to Lament and Resist Gun Violence

100,000 Poets for Change Co-founder, Michael Rothenberg and The BeZine team member, Michael Dickel, have initiated a day for poets to gather wherever they are in the world to resist violence, especially gun violence, and raise awareness of the need for appropriate gun legislation in the United States and elsewhere. Beguine Again founder and another member of The BeZine core team, Terri Stewart, Guns Don’t Save People, Poets Do founder Evelyn Agusto and I support the effort and encourage you to organize events. To publicise your events post your event on the 100,000 Poets for Change Facebook Communication Page and on The BeZine 100TPC Facebook Discussion Page. I’ll do my best to catch all and post them to The Poet by Day Facebook Page and The Bardo Group Beguines (publisher of The BeZine) Facebook Page. Post to  Evelyn’s Facebook Page as well.  March 21 is also World  Poetry Day.


NATIONAL SCHOOL WALKOUT

Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.

Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.

Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.

We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence. We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020.

Join us in saying #ENOUGH!

Add your event to the map or find one near you here: https://www.actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/enough-national-school-walkout


I AM NOT A SILENT POET

UK POET, REUBEN WOOLLEY hosts a zine, I Am Not a Silent Poet, and a Facebook Discussion Page. You may post to the later and submit to the zine.  There are already some anti-gun violence/pro-legislation pieces shared. Check them out.

“I am not a silent poet welcomes quality poems of protest. We have been seeing such increasing evidence of abuse recently that we felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms: colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of health services, the rape culture, FGM, our girls in Nigeria are just some of the examples that come to mind at the moment. It is not a site for rants.

“Please send all contributions for consideration to: reubenwoolley52@gmail.com. I would prefer attachments (especially for poems with unusual formatting and graphic material. You can add a brief biographical note and/or link to your website or blog.” Reuben Woolley



Accessible anytime from anywhere in the world:

  • The Poet by Day always available online with poems, poets and writers, news and information.
  • The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, online every week (except for vacation) and all are invited to take part no matter the stage of career (emerging or established) or status (amateur or professional). Poems related to the challenge of the week (always theme based not form based) will be published here on the following Tuesday.
  • The Poet by Day, Sunday Announcements. Every week (except for vacation) opportunity knocks for poets and writers.
  • THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be – always online HERE.  
  • Beguine Again, daily inspiration and spiritual practice  – always online HERE.  Beguine Again is the sister site to The BeZine.

THE RESISTANCE POETRY WALL

A reminder about this. I just noticed no one’s posted since October 2017.  Go for it. Have your say.

100tpc20122

The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL “We want your poems! Share this information.”

A MESSAGE FROM 100TPC cofounders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion.

“The RESISTANCE POETRY WALL has been opened in response to the call by many for an open place to post poetry about the recent USA elections. Poets from around the world are invited to post. Feel free to share this link. Post your poems in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Your poem will appear on the WALL in approximately 1 hour.”

En Español:
“Se ha abierto el MURO DE POESÍA EN RESISTENCIA como respuesta al reclamo de muchos por un espacio abierto donde publicar poesía relacionada con las recientes elecciones en los Estados Unidos. Se invita a poetas de todo el mundo a publicar aquí. Por favor compartan esta liga. Entren a la página y peguen sus poemas en la caja de comentario (‘comment’), al calce. Su poema apareceré en el MURO en aproximadamente 1 hora.”

“The poetry and art posted on the WALL are not limited to the USA elections. There are many issues that concern us all and we welcome your contribution.”


YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to jamiededes@gmail.com (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything. Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.

TO CONTACT ME WITH ANNOUNCEMENTS AND OTHER INFORMATION FOR THE POET BY DAY: thepoetbyday@gmail.com

TO CONTACT ME REGARDING SUBMISSIONS FOR THE BeZINE: bardogroup@gmail.com

PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two.


Often information is just thatinformation – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

Poems from an Omnivore; Chicago poet, Cynthia Gallaher



Green Tea’s Ceremony Within

it’s the Asian paradox,
modern, stressed Japanese
seeking refuge in old ways.

some gather in boardrooms
and sip, what millennia ago
was brewed from a handful of leaves

blown by accident
into the emperor’s
hot water kettle.

the way of tea has had its way,
amidst Coca-Cola signs, raging trucks
and the clatter of multi-million

heels hitting concrete instead
of stockinged feet shuffling
inside a garden-side teahouse.

a tea ceremony of the heart takes a deep bow
through each cup imbibed in downtown Tokyo,
to express principles of

harmony, respect, purity, tranquility,
as well as nourish with phytonutrients,
protect with antioxidants, oxidize fat.

another late night under bright lights,
but the tongue tastes tea on hillside forest
on a rainy afternoon, its own chartreuse umbrella.

later, in the mad crush of subway passengers,
the tea drinker’s still virtually seated on a tatami,
to admire a seasonal scroll, listen to the fire,

smell incense mixed with aromas
of freshly whisked matcha, live life
in spite of one’s wabi-sabi urban self.

© 2018, Cynthia Gallaher, All rights reserved


Cool Beans

shade-grown coffee

shields me from the sun

 

even giant coffee beans

won’t stunt my growth

 

its daily grind protects me

from my regular foibles

 

enriching me

in aroma, antioxidants,

 

benchmarking my weight goal to match

a sack of its unroasted beans – 60 kilos.

 

there’s something sweet in coffee’s bitterness,

a bright morning in its darkness.

 

this Ethiopian bean splits

a double-sided headiness

 

and offer ultimate sips

toward intelligence, concentration,

 

and as for conversation, it’s sister to gardenia’s

star-like blossoms forming a snowy belt

 

between tropics of Cancer and Capricorn,

in fruition,

 

caffeinated sky watchers

stay awake past midnight

 

to see constellations

even to sunrise

 

that place in time

where a fresh pot is surely waiting.

© 2018, Cynthia Gallaher, All rights reserved


Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and playwright, is author of three poetry collections and two chapbooks. Most recently, she made a 10-city book tour with her nonfiction guide & memoir Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poetwhich won a National Indie Excellence Award. The Chicago Public Library lists her among its “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets.”

She said: “Among other themes and genres, I write food poetry, with my most recent effort being Omnivore Odes: Poems About Food, Herbs and Spices, a chapbook published by Finishing Line Press. The book was the result of studying, researching and working with a variety of spices, herbs, fruits, vegetables and sustainable animal foods.

“My latest effort, a manuscript in the works, Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices will not include any of the poems from the chapbook but all new poems, including the two that appear on The Poet By Day, namely Cool Beans and Green Tea’s Ceremony Within.

“Regarding my philosophy surrounding my food (and drink!) poetry, I look to foods not only as life-giving nourishment and medicine, but also as a form of perennial cultural expression that remains a source of bonding throughout global communities. I select poem topics with a sense of what can heal as well as nourish, what we can celebrate, how we can bring ritual to every season as well as usher a feeling of gratitude for what we have granted us as stewards of the earth.”


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

the isness of small things, a poem



garden speaks through its flowers,
a dharma talk on cosmic truth, its syntax
is the rush of joy in different hues
written on the harmony of loam,
on sturdy leaves and gray rock,
…..an elemental symphony

webbed raiment as transient as foam, a
feral scent flirting with a lilting breeze,
sleepy stepping-stones along the path
and then the budding, the blooming, the
falling into decay, undisturbed by worldly
cares, a lively nirvana of prickly branches

and cherry trees, the wildish thorned
rose and the innocent daisy, palm fronds
and color spectrums, no burdens, just the
isness of small beings embracing the earth,
dancing in the sun, sleeping with the moon

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY