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“As Democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.  On some great and glorious day, the plain folk of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”  H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 16, 1920


gone mad, gone mad
but for the flautist in shaman’s headdress and
the first violinist wearing a necklace of skulls,
praise the intuitive, the holy, the gentle chanting
of the faithful …

defy the bassoonist 
blowing brazen notes over Syria
and the cellists hidden in caves; succour the sad sweet
violins of Aleppo, Palestine, Kashmire crying salt tears
for their lost lands, pulses weakening, and there’s
that drummer who 
down-beats from North Korea

China harps on the fumes of its discontents,
the Ukraine is loud with crashing cymbals
and the snap pizzicato of Russian preying,
while the angel of Germany hosts a symphony,
or tries to, & here in America parties are discordant

[the price of order is dictatorship
the price of democracy is chaos]

politicians out of tune, sections out-of-sync,
oligarchs charge themselves with theatre management

poor acoustics preclude hearing the chorus …
. . . and all the world’s a stage,
the men and women are not mere players

© 2013, poem and illustration, All rights reserved

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

The configurations of cruelty have changed a bit since I wrote this poem in 2013 but the cruelty is still with us and often seems worse than ever. And, it certainly turns out that Mencken (quoted above) was prescient.

So how about you? How do YOU see today’s world? Tell us in a poem or poems.

Share your poem/s on theme in the comments section below or leave a link to it/them.

All poems on theme are published on the following Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, November 19 by 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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The BeZine is published quarterly: March, June, September and December on the fifteenth of the month.  We suggest that you read our Intro and Mission Statement and at least one back issue of The BeZine before submitting work for possible publication.

Please be mindful that our core team (The Bardo Group Beguines), guest contributors, and readers represent the world’s diversity. Nonviolence, respect and inclusion are core values.

All work must be submitted in English and properly edited for publication. Submissions in languages other than English are acceptable and encouraged but they do need to be accompanied by an English translation.

Please send submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com and put “submission” in the subject line.  If you were referred by one of our core team please put his or her name in the subject line along with “submission.” Please include a brief bio. If you have published the work submitted on your own website, blog, YouTube channel or other online venue you may send a link. Response time can be up to three months. Responses are generally sent out after deadline.

PLEASE NOTE: We apply the same standards with regard to content, quality, submission guidelines and reading policy that all high-caliber literary magazines do with the exception that we will consider work that is already published. The copyright, however, must be yours.


DEADLINE: The 10th of month prior to publication, however ~

The deadline for the December issue has been extended from November 10 to November 30. 

THEMES remaining for 2018:

DecemberA Life of the Spirit; subtheme – Gun violence/history/issues.


THEMES for 2019:

  • March: Waging the Peace
  • June: Toward a Sustainable Earth
  • September: Social Justice, 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change
  • December: A Life of the Spirit

NOTE: We encourage work that doesn’t just define or highlight a problem but offers solutions, especially when those solutions are already in place somewhere in the world and proving productive.


COPYRIGHT: You retain your copyright for work published in The BeZine. If you are doing multiple submissions, please let us know that you have submitted the work to other publications and advise us immediately if the work is accepted elsewhere. From our perspective this does not preclude publication in The BeZine but we need to know if another publisher has contracted for first-time or exclusive rights.

We regret that we are unable to offer payment or editorial feedback. While we don’t offer payment, we also don’t charge for submissions or subscriptions. The BeZine is a volunteer effort and a peace and justice mission.

All creative arts that lend themselves to online publication are acceptable for consideration: visual arts, literature and poetry, and music and film (video). Please, no more than one submission a quarter.  While many have the impression that we are primarily or exclusively a poetry publication, we are not restricted to poetry. Other forms of writing and art are welcome and encouraged. 

FICTION/NONFICTION/ESSAY: Should you have anything to submit for consideration that is over 1,000 words, please forward a one-paragraph summary description for our initial evaluation.

POETRY: Please don’t bomb us with work. Restrict your submissions to three at a time every three months.  Be selective. Send us your best. No odd layouts please.

VIDEO: One video at a time.

PHOTOGRAPHS and ILLUSTRATIONS: If you include these with your poems, fictions and features, then you must include the source with url and licensing information. We do not accept work that is not properly – respectfully – identified and credited.

BOOK REVIEWS: Starting in 2019, we welcome book reviews but please query first.

READING SCHEDULE: While we read all year, we don’t respond until we have all submissions in for a specific issue; i.e., after the 10th of the month before publication.

THE BeZINE blog: We are interested in seasonal work, especially work that celebrates holy days, historic moments, national or regional festivals and so forth that are entertaining but also provide readers with information, insight and education. Regional, artistic and cultural history and science (especially as it applies to environment, environmental justice, and sustainable agriculture) are welcome. Art work, music videos, and drama (videos or short scripts) are enthusiastically encouraged as well as poetry and prose.

BEST PRACTICES: We have a strong interest in learning about peace, sustainability and social justice initiatives that are working no matter where in the world.  These are considered for both blog and Zine.

Send your work to bardogroup@gmail.com. Only work submitted to this email are considered for publication.

We look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you!

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and in the spirit of loving community,

Jamie Dedes,
Founding and Managing Editor
The BeZine

“Austerity is theft, the greatest transfer of wealth from poor to the rich since the enclosures.” Fuad Alakbarov, Exodus

“Remember when nurses, carers, teachers and students crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.”  Fuad Alakbarov, Exodus



A stellar response to the last Wednesday Writing prompt, Some Kind of Hell to Pay, November 7. Thank you to Gary W. Bowers, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Anjum Wasim Dar for sharing their thoughts and talents. Special thanks to Irma and Anjum for including illustrations and to Irma for sharing further thoughts. Well done eveyone and welcome to Ursula Jacob with her aware and deeply felt poem.

In addition to their words, I’ve included links to blogs or websites where available. I hope you’ll visit these poets and get to know their work better. It is likely you can catch up with others via Facebook.

Enjoy! … and do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.


Licking wounds ain’t penicillin, No
It ain’t dinner cause you feed me a line.
Don’t lower the bar, gift me keys to a car
I swear ya’ll tryin to keep a girl blind!

I have seen poverty
Handed down
Heirlooms

Abuse and affliction
But I tell you, little sister,
We must start a fire

Burn it down
Oppression
In the guise of assistance

Oh, I am talking revolution

Handed down
Inner fire, explosive impact
Knowledge of your worth

© 2018, Ursula Jacobs 

URSULA JACOBS has taught journaling for healing in shelters and jails.  When not busking as a cellist and providing resources to the indigent, Ursula, her husband, and cat Tilly, call the Piney Woods of Texas their home. She is an emerging poet that has been published by The BeZine and is working on a chapbook of poetry.

 

 


in order

in order for us to afford you
a chunk of you must go to war
a chunk will return
with some chunks gone and yearn
for the nonhellish sweettimes of yore

thus we make and deploy stocks of ordnance
and our colonels and sergeants show spine
for their new marching orders
defending the borders
and plumping that fine bottom line.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)


Once Slice of Bread

Uncle, why only one slice of white bread?

Something is happening, what is it I dread?

Oh dear, don’t worry, it will all be just fine.

Just do as you’re told and toe the line.

But Uncle I see others have food on their plate.

And yours, above all, looks deliciously great.

Look, I need more sustenance than you.

Do you realize all the work that I do?

Now go to bed and do as you’re told.

Nothing will come from you being bold.

Uncle, what do those letters say?

I need to read if I am to stay.

Who says you’re staying, impertinent imp!

School is expensive, we just have to scrimp.

But Uncle I am working hard, too.

I pay for my clothes and give my extra to you.

Of course you do, that’s the only way.

How else can we live if you don’t slave away?

Now go to bed. That is not a choice.

I’m starting to get really annoyed at your voice.

Uncle, it just doesn’t seem fair.

I put in my time. You know that I care.

But it seems that I am the only one

These austerity measures will make me undone

Well, if that happens, it’s your own fault!

You’re not strong enough, clearly not worth your salt.

It’s because of you that we need these measures today

Always wanting to help others who have lost their way.

But Uncle, that was the right thing to do!

Shouldn’t we share with those who have few?

We have so much, but you’re saying we don’t.

Yet you still seem to be able to buy all you want.

Those are things that are my due.

I deserve more things than you.

Look at me! Why can’t you agree?

All you want are things for free.

And that’s why these cuts are your burden to bear.

Being in the middle, you should be aware.

Now go to bed, let these issues unfold.

Just be glad only a few things need sold.

Oh Uncle, why did you sell your soul?

For personal wealth, was that your goal?

I came to you with stars in my eyes.

I thought you were strong and honest and wise.

Together, we could have done so well!

But now I fear we will both go to hell.

Uncle Sam you ask so much of me.

I have so much less, yet you ask for more austerity.

What about healthcare, a decent wage and fair representation?

Or respect for my genders or religious affiliation?

On my back, you’ve created this fantasy,

And now you still just want to grab my pussy?

I’ve had enough. I won’t go to bed.

I deserve much more than one slice of bread.

This was a difficult poem to write for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday prompt of “austerity measures”. She writes “The phrase “austerity measure” isn’t used as much now as it was when I wrote this poem, but that injustice by other name or unnamed is still an injustice and it’s one that is happening all over the world.”

I had never heard that term before reading Jamie’s poem. I had always associated austerity with something that saints did, something positive, like sacrificing or doing without for the greater good. The term “austerity measures” is actually a financial term to denote an action by government to decrease its debt by increasing taxes while cutting spending on wages and programs (usually for the poor). So it’s something government imposes on its populace with those who are most in need, shouldering the burden of these measures. I will add that the financial definition does note that the tax cuts should be for the wealthy, however, I have a “feeling” that those cuts would depend on who is in government.

Families also implement austerity measures. I know my family did – growing up and being immigrants here, however, I know my parents took the brunt of those measures and did without, so that us children would not need to know that we were financially struggling. Of course, as kids, we still knew that other people had more than we did, but it wasn’t a hardship, just what our family did to live within our means.

Money has so many different meanings for different people. Our attitudes towards money, saving/spending are shaped by our upbringing and experiences. I wonder if austerity measures would be less of an injustice if it wasn’t imposed, if we all agreed to tighten our belts a little for the good of all. Whether a family, a company or a country – could there be compassion in financial matters?

©️ 2018, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I Do a Few Other Things Too)


The Bottomless Well

The rush of racing society,
The red, bloody riots,
The protesting children,
And teetering wars,
On an eternal
Merry-Go-Round.

On the stretching streets,
Lonely, curious, needy,
Men, Women and Babies,
The need for survival.
See the inquiring eyes
Plucked out.

Oh Run! Grasping
the veil of ignorance,
The hurt is stinging,
and
Stomachs are Pits of Hell!
Hide Society’s shame,
In Histories
bottomless well…

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie

Time Will Tell

You say you don’t
want war,
Yet happenstance
could take you there,
Like a whispered phrase
passed from one to another,
becomes a monster in the end.
Time will tell if perchance
we fall again
into another hell……..
With fear to guide them
instead of Peace….

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie

The Answer I Fear

Who are you
that seeks supremacy
by discarding your soul,
and condemning
men, women and children
in aid of your success.
Is it your fear?
Your fear of threat,
That leads you to chance?
And your sons and daughters
to starvation and death?
The Answer I fear is YES………..

© 2018, Jen E. Goldie


. no comfort .

squirm with fear and emotion, at what is written.

freeze at the next sentence, it has nothing to

do with you.

laugh yet is it with nervousness?

these are new remarks, a new way to learn.

a group of friends here, it is the new laws

that cause discomfort.

the type of coffee is reduced,

all in lower case.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..irony..

oddly rhymes with posterity

austerity

the irony

how can they make such rigid stuff
from soft wools

take the thing then
harden it.

they say it will last a lifetime

hold its own

tradition

in the cold frozen

the code will not work,

nor will the counting with interruptions

austerity rhymes

with irony

not posterity

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Alas! Lost Is the Identity

Urdu and English

 

 افسوس  کسے  رہی  پہچان‪barmecide supper‬‏ کیلئے تصویری نتیجہ

جہاں سے بے خطر  آتش نمرود  میں کود پڑے عشق 
افسوس کیسے  رہی  پہچان  اس  عقل ے لبے  بام  کی

نقش  کییے چھوٹے سے پردے  پر سبھی ،دل سے
نہیں ،کیمرے  سے کی عزت اس عزت افزا  مقام کی

جب رشوت  سے ہی  ہر کام پورا  ہو جانے  لگے تو
آرام ہی کر لو  کیا ضرورت  ہے  سچے  کام  کی

الله کا وعدہ رزق  و روزی  زندگی و موت  سبھی
پھر بے حساب  خواہش  کیوں کی  رزق  حرام  کی

بے مقصد  تعلیم سے  کہیں  بہتر  خدمت  خلق کرنا ہے
خوش رہو  سادگی  اپناؤ  بد نامی نہ کرو نیک گمنام   کی

بےحسی  ظلم  و تکبر  لالچ و فریب  کا  راج  ہے
غربت میں اموات  طفلے کثیر امیری میں فکربس طعام کی 

امن  امن اور بس امن چاہے  دنیا  میں جنگ و جدل نہین
کیوں  انسانیت کے دلوں  کو  دکھی کرے خبر قتل عام کیی

سنجیدگی  سادگی خود انکاری  کا راستہ اپناؤ اور چلے  چلو 
کسی سے نہ انصافی  نہ ہو ،کرتے رہو  فکر اپنے انجام کی 

  مسلو نہ کوئی گلاب  نہ روندو پیروں تلے اک کیڑا بھی
یہ  نازک سی  جانیں  تمہارے لیے جہنم نہ بن جایں کہیں 

اک حسین  دھوکہ  ہے  یہ ساری  کائنات  انجم جاگتے رہو
پنجرہ  ے  خاکی  میں  دعا  ے خیر  ہوتی رهے،گردشے ایام کی 

unflinchingly  faith plunged in Nimrod’s fire, alas
no one remembers the fringe of discerning wisdom

all  sacred images captured on the mini screen,not
from the heart, but from the camera clicked  respect

when bribery gets all work done , why not rest
and relax , is there a need for  truthful honest work ?

God has promised food and  sustenance, life and death
then why do human beings desire  forbidden wealth ?

serving humanity is better than  aimless education
be joyful in simplicity  disrepute not unknown ones

apathy  cruelty pride greed deception reign supreme
in poverty children perish, in richness nothing but food

peace peace and peace should prevail,not war and strife
why the hearts of humanity be hurt by mass killing of life

follow the path of solemnity self denial and simplicity
no injustice for any soul,  just beware the consequences

do not crush an insect nor pluck a beautiful scented rose
in beauty and minuteness hell may visit unseen, asking for pay’

enlightened be anjum, counter delusive Barmecide’s feasts
with constant spiritual prayers for safety from the unforeseen

© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


ABOUT

Testimonials
Disclosure
Facebook
Twitter

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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American Novelist and Short Story Writer, Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987)

“I would go home in the evening and write short stories and mail them to magazine editors in New York. The stories, no matter how many times I rewrote them, were always returned, usually without comment, with unfailing promptness. I received so many rejection slips, and such an interesting variety, that I passed them neatly into a stamp collector’s album.  The only consolation I ever got out of them for many years was in visualizing how big a celebration bonfire I could make with them when I had my first short story accepted and published in a magazine.” Erskine Caldwell*, “Call it Experience,” in The Creative Writer


Many many years ago – circa 1964 – I read The Creative Writer (quoted above), which is out of print now. You can find old copies, not that you necessarily need to. Much is outdated. At the time, I found it helpful and inspirational. The book, a collection of instructional and inspirational essays, was published by Writer’s Digest, the publishers of the magazine by that name.  This was my go-to place to hob-nob with writers and publishers, a publication I read through high school and even into my son’s grammar school years. He told me not too long ago that as a child he found it rather magical that it showed up no matter where we moved.

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My other go-to magazine was The Writer. These magazines didn’t so much teach me how to write as offer me some knowledge of the business of writing, which has changed much since then, a story perhaps for another day. The articles I read  instilled a sense of perspective, rational expectations (do NOT read lowered expectations), and a stronger determination. I discovered that sending my writing out into the world is like applying for a job. I do my homework and refine my technique and that improves the odds. Nonetheless, it’s still a numbers game and I may never know why I get a rejection slip. I don’t always know why I get an acceptance letter (or email) either.

Reading what others had to say about the business of studying markets, writing query letters and submitting work helped me to understand that I had to keep on keeping on. This was a good thing. My first poem was published when I was seventeen and that created some rather unrealistic expectations. I thought I was such a hot-shot that my seventeenth year was also the year I submitted a short story to Mademoiselle magazine (closed 2001) for its annual fiction contest. The contest was for college students. I was still in high school. I lied and put Brooklyn College on the entry form. Joyce Carol Oats won.

All this is to say I am reminded of my history because now and again I get emails from discouraged writers and I’m finally – FINALLY – getting around to reading Victor Villaseñor’s Macho!  Apropos this post, I found his dedication interesting: “To my parents …. after ten years of writing and 260 rejections – my first one! …” 

Also interesting is his author’s note to the 1997 paperback edition:

Mexican-American Writer, Victor Villaseñor (b. 1940)

“In re-reading Macho! I found out that I am not the same person who wrote that book twenty years ago. I thought of rewriting parts of it – feeling almost ashamed of some sections. But then I got to thinking, hell, the 60s were the 60s and that’s who I was then, so I’m not going to change it. It’s rough and sometimes it sings as badly off-key as Bob Dylan – he was no Joan Baez, believe me – but what it says is still important.”

In my small way, I know what he means by the roughness and dissonance. I’ve been shredding years of my newspaper column clips. After reading a couple, I couldn’t stand it. Not only did I dislike much of the writing but I disagreed with the opinions I’d expressed. One problem with writing is that floundering is so visible. I shudder to think who among family, friends and colleagues might have read that material. It does take a certain amount of chutzpah.


Yes! I know what you think. Writing is an art. It’s also a job. Every job has its downside. With writing it’s rejection slips, growing personally and artistically in public, and that aspect of the business that requires some sales savvy, something most of us would rather not pursue. These, however, are part of the package.  


*After some 360 rejections, Erskine Caldwell went on to critical acclaim and controversy for Tobacco Road (1931) and God’s Little Acre (1933), both made into movies. Twenty-five of his novels, 150 of his short stories, twelve nonfiction collections, two autobiographies and two YA books were published. He edited American Folkways, a series of books about various regions in the U.S. Apparently, he got over rejection slips, chalked them up to “experience” and moved on.


My celebration bonfire: Not a bonfire at all, just shredding and shedding of old clips I’d rather not see anymore and feeling grateful for the lessons learned, the opportunities enjoyed, the writing life and my fellow poets and writers who enrich my time on earth with their own art and insights.


c David Mitchell from his Amazon Page

“I got a rejection letter from an editor at HarperCollins, who included a report from his professional reader. This report shredded my first-born novel, laughed at my phrasing, twirled my lacy pretensions around and gobbed into the seething mosh pit of my stolen clichés. As I read the report, the world became very quiet and stopped rotating. What poisoned me was the fact that the report’s criticisms were all absolutely true. The sound of my landlady digging in the garden got the world moving again. I slipped the letter into the trash…knowing I’d remember every word.” English novelist, David Mitchell, author of seven novels, two of which were shortlisted for the Man Booker

© 2018, Jamie Dedes; photocredits, Erskine Caldwell (1975), public domain and Victor Villaseñor courtesy of Jeffrey Beall under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.


ABOUT

Testimonials
Disclosure
Facebook
Twitter

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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