THE BeZINE, Sept. 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 3, Theme: Social Justice

Sunspot—May Peace Prevail on Earth (3 languages)
Digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

Social Justice

The Zeitgeist of Resistance—a Historical River Flowing

Justice is a historical river flowing to us, around us, and through us, toward freedom. The river’s current, like our current Zeitgeist, is one of resistance. In times of extreme injustice(s), people rise. This issue of The BeZine dedicated to Social Justice brings you some of the history and much of our Zeitgeist of resistance.

You will read about the current White House occupant, the state of race and gender relations, economic disparity, oppression, and more that disturbs us in our time. However, coming to The BeZine from unrelated directions—some invited, some offered, some come across by seeming chance—history has sent reminders to us that we are not alone. Others have lived in times of extreme injustice(s). And people rose up to defy and resist injustice, in the name of freedom. This river of historical struggle for justice can help sustain us in our resistance to the flood of today’s injustice(s).

The ongoing history of resistance certainly underlies the choices of music in a new album by New York guitarist Marc Ribot—Songs of Resistance 1942–2018. Ribot brings together songs from the Italian resistance, the Civil Right Movement, and new songs protesting Donald Trump—reminding us that movements need songs, and that fascism has been defeated in the past. Yes, also that we are in its shadow once again, and we have yet to get our race relations straightened out. In this issue, you can read more about the record, officially released Friday (September 14, 2018), and hear a cut from that album, with Tom Waits vocalizing Bella Ciao, an anthem of the Italian partisans.

While Marc Ribot chronicles this recent stream of freedom songs, Tamar Tracy Moncur’s poem in this issue sings of the problems facing the U.S. (and the world, I hasten to add), but reminds us that “America Still Sings of Freedom,” its title and chorus. Two poets, Michael C. Odiah and Joseph Hesch, sing to us about slavery. Odiah marks the continued echoes and reverberations of slavery today. Hesch touches on those, but in light of the Civil War—asking us if we don’t risk seeing the sacrifice of life during that bloody conflict negated as we witness democracy evaporating around us and a rise of white nationalism. Linda E. Chown sings about the mid-Twentieth Century fight against fascism in a poem about Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, aka “La Pasionaria,” a Spanish Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War. In another poem by Chown, the speaker returns to Spain in 1988, after Franco’s death. Chown’s third poem in this issue shows McCarthyism, the tactics of which continually float up in the flood of our time.

Word War II comes up in this historical river, also, in two essays in our Be the Peace section. A British Officer from World War I had a spiritual experience, so the story goes, that led him to propose during the Second World War that people in the U.K. take a minute of silence for prayer or meditation to help end—and win—the war, but more broadly, for a lasting peace. His effort was quite successful, gaining the support of the King of England and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. You can read about the Silent Minute’s history in John Anstie’s recounting, and about a recent movement to bring it back for the resistance in Lynne Salomon Miceli’s account of her own efforts.

These historical streams come together for our issue in what I have been calling a historical river at a time when the present overwhelms us and floods our sensibilities. How can we resist? How can we find peace and social justice while preserving the environment in the face of an administration that seems bent on shredding all of those apart like a level-5 hurricane stalled out just offshore? How can we protect children torn from their parents, denied health care, and deprived of a reasonable future (theirs being stolen from them in the present)? These questions help to define the Zeitgeist. The historical river perhaps offers some answers in its rushing water.

Slaves survived, rose up (see the history of Haiti), and while they often got beaten down, eventually others joined in a movement that abolished slavery. Yes, we have a long way to go to heal from that terrible injustice and to resolve the racist legacy of colonialist slave-holding mentality institutionalized throughout the West, but people continue to rise to the challenge and struggle toward equality and justice. Yes, Black Lives Matter!

The partisans fought the fascists, lost many battles (and the Spanish Civil War), but also won—Hitler and Mussolini fell, defeated. Stalin may have continued, Western Imperialism may have shifted into Capitalist Imperialism, its center moving from Western empires to a military-industrial complex held up by the remnants of those empires—but the tide went against the fascists. Democracy—real democracy, not “open markets”—still has a chance.

And yes, we now stand with fascism rising again, using anti-immigrant, nationalistic rhetoric throughout the world to once more inflame conflict and division. Yet, people are calling it by name, and many are saying: “No.” Despite the bleakness of the picture, people are rising up—more than ever, louder than ever, on social media, and in protests on the streets.

Most importantly, in the U.S., women and people of color are standing for election as progressives and winning elections. Incumbents who have not stood up to the current U.S. administration’s anti-democratic policies have fallen to new-comers / outsiders proudly projecting progressive values and proposing progressive policies in opposition to that administration. We don’t yet know where this will lead for the mid-terms, but the weather vanes seem to be pointed toward hope. Change can’t wait!

I hope, we at The BeZine hope, that the forces of social justice, peace, and (economic and environmental) sustainability will win and lead to freedom for all. And to get there, deb y felio reminds us that community action is the collective action of individuals. Each one of us must act, personally, for the community to function. Corina Ravenscraft opens the Be the Peace section on a similar theme, with some helpful hints for how to maintain our own peacefulness in these times.

The writers in this issue call out injustice, but they also offer us reasons to believe that we who believe in democracy and equality, who focus on humanity and our living planet, can prevail. The words we bring you with this issue come as songs along a river of resistance history, with concern for social justice, peace, and sustainability, tuned to melodies that harmonize with the song(s) of freedom.

—Michael Dickel, Contribuing Editor
Jerusalem, 14 September 2018


Features

A Village of One, deb y felio
The Match from Hell, Naomi Baltuck
Bella Ciao from Songs of Resistance 1942–2018, Marc Ribot and Tom Waits


poetry

Sepia — a poem, a controversy…, Karen Alkalay-Gut
Gibberish Jewel, Pat Berryhill
Coming Back: Franco not here no more, 1988, Linda E. Chown
McCarthy’s Girl, Linda E. Chown
What they said, Linda E. Chown
Lazy Bums Vanish from Lazy Town, DeWitt Clinton
Elegy, deb y felio
Killer Angels, Better Angles, Joseph Hesch
Clouds, Irma
Gestures, Irma
Intertwined, Irma
Unlearning, Irma
even the most civilized …, Charles W Martin
gambling on social justice . . ., Charles W Martin
systemic social justice, Charles W Martin
Universal Credit, Frank McMahan
America Still Sings of Freedom, Tamam Tracy Moncur
Black November, Michael Odiah
Life, Michael C. Odiah


Flash fiction

Off the Trail of Consumer Capitalism, Michael Dickel
The Great Education Escape, Michael Dickel
The Flicker of Better Angels, Joseph Hesch


BE THE PEACE
The Three Spheres of Peace Action

I’ve observed in the spiritual practice of various Indian traditions that “shanti”—the Sanskrit word for peace—is invoked three times in prayer and chant.

I learned from a friend that the first invocation is about making peace with ourselves. The thought is that we cannot make peace with and in the world without inner peace.

The second invocation is about making peace with – embracing – the human community, from our family, friends, neighbors and our smaller communities to the greater global family.

The third invocation is about making peace with nature.

Thus we have three spheres of peace action: personal, social, and the natural world.

For the personal, Corina Ravenscraft offers suggestions for balance, Miki Byrne gives insight into mental anguish, and Changming Yuan’s brilliant metaphysical gift to us presents the complex interplay of elements in the search for self and truth. Kerry Darbishire and Miki Byrne call our attention to forgiveness, letting go, and accepting the gift of love. Tricia Knoll and Joseph Hesch suggest healing, the former through love and the latter through art.

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi and Paul Fullmer beautifully and wisely address our pathway to peace in the context of the social sphere. John Anstie and Lynne Salomon Miceli propose shared silent moment as a means to unify in a profound way, especially with the Silent Minute, borrowed from WWII England.

Our connection to nature is featured in Wabi Sabi, and in Anne Myers’ The Other World.


Yes to Blue

The work on this issue has been thoroughly enjoyable and made the more so by Michael Dickel’s genius, commitment, and hard work. This issue would not be half as good without him. His dedication each year to taking the lead on the September issue and on our virtual 100,000 Poets for Change on the fourth Saturday of September is the more remarkable because these always coincide with Jewish holy days, a busy time for him.

For my part, our editorial collaborations are fun and a delightful change of pace from the solitary endeavors of writing and poetry. I am in California and Michael is in Israel, so the back-and-forth of things is probably not as fluid and detailed as it might be under other circumstances, but there is an editorial flow, a sorting, strategizing, tossing, absorbing, updating, and always struggling with tech challenges (I struggle, Michael saves). Jim Haba‘s poem, Yes to Blue, rather captures the feel of it all…

Yes to blue after trying
to separate green from yellow
and hoping that everything
will get simpler each time you bring an idea closer
to the light which is always
changing always being
born day after day
again and again
now

(© Jim Haba, a poet, artist and teacher. Some may know him for running the Dodge Poetry Festival. My thanks to Jim for getting back to me so quickly with permission to use “Yes to Blue,” which is from Thirty-one Poems.)

So now, with love and gratitude for our indefatigable Michael Dickel, for all our wise contributors, our readers, and our dedicated core team, The Bardo Group Bequines…

In the spirit of peace, love (respect), and community, and
on behalf of The Bardo Group Bequines,

Jamie Dedes

The BeZine, Founding and Managing Editor


Personal

Find Your Balance to “Be the Peace”, Corina Ravenscraft
Dataism, Changming Yuan
Sunday People, Kerry Darbishire
Fear and the Mind, Miki Byrne
Sore Spots, Miki Byrne
Yours If You Will Take It, Miki Byrne
Potting Up the Peppermint, Tricia Knoll
Blessed Sacrament, Joseph Hesch


Social

What Does It Mean to Love Everyone?, Bkikkhu Bodhi
Being the Peace in Community, Paul Fullmer
The Silent Minute—a Brief History, John Anstie
Bringing Back the Silent Minute, Lynne Salomon Miceli


the natural world

Wabi Sabi, Jamie Dedes
The Other World, Anne Myles


CONNECT WITH US

The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be (the subscription feature is below and to your left.)

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

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Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

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.

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“911” and “Risen Heroes”, poems by Oklahoma Poet Sharon Frye

The north face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175 courtesy of Robert under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” President Barack Obama



I’ve never been able to write a poem about 9/11. I have a number started and starting is as far as I get. I was in California at the time, but New York is my home state, one of the great loves of my life, as is my country.

I was getting ready for work when I heard the news on TV.  I stopped to watch. I remember the world stood still. I remember the slow surreal vison of a plane crashing into the North Tower. I’d watched the Towers being built when I worked on Water Street, just down the block. I’d also worked at One Wall Street, not too far away, and used to eat my lunches in the graveyard at Trinity Church, also close by. If my second husband were alive, he’d say that area around the Twin Towers was my old hunting ground. And it was and I loved the history there. I couldn’t imagine it shattered. “Put on the news. We’re being attacked … ” I said to my son when I got him on the phone.

Sharon wrote her poem as an immediate response to the tragedy and it honors emergency responders. It reflects honest emotion. I’m pleased she allowed me to share it here with you.

 

911

They started the day with
a stretch and a yawn, Coffee was downed, long
before dawn. Bacon and eggs, with a side
of light banter
Served straight up with
firehouse candor.

Out to check trucks, inspect
every pumper, A
nd test all the gear from
bumper to bumper.
Amidst conversations and
playful jibes
Came the call, then fast-
paced strides.

Quickly manned trucks hit the
street,
Not knowing, but trusting,
what fate they’d meet.
They rolled from the station, a
little before nine,
Soon to grasp horror that
would change all time.

On the horizon, stood
our towers of trade
An inferno of hell and
people afraid, Running for life and
crying to God
Billowing Black Death,
where life had trod.

And in go these warriors
of such a brave clan
To rescue and aid every
woman and man-
But sadly for many it will be
their last call,
They’ll die with all honor of
giving their all.

It wasn’t for money or glory or
fame,
It wasn’t for vanity, so you’d
remember their name.
“It’s just what we do,” they’d
modestly say,
So remember tonight when
you kneel down to pray…
God bless these brave souls,
so gentle, so tough
Lord take them to heaven,
they’ve given enough!

© 2001, Sharon Frye

When I asked Sharon if I could share this with you, she said, “oh Jamie of course you have my permission. I wrote the poem right after the event happened. My husband was a firefighter and his Department embraced it and the fire chief of Oklahoma City, Jon Hanson, took it on the truck to New York and gave out copies along the way. My dear friend Jon has passed away and so I am very emotional not only about the event, but the journey of the poem also. I was asked to read it at the dedication of the firetruck and was not prepared for all the local news stations plus CNN to be there filming. That’s probably more than you wanted to know but I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the history… “

*****

Sharon tells us, “I had also Risen Heroes, which I was commissioned to write for a memorial to First Responders. It was supposed to go on a bronze statue by sculptor Dean Thompson. But bureaucracy got involved and the funding fell through.”

Risen Heroes

Everything fell that sunny day
when morning pulsed bright blue,
Towers toppled, planes plunged
and so did countless tears.

When death blows reigned from sky,
ash fell like feathers, settled
into heaps of banks and drifts.
You, who were summoned, rose.

You rose, clad in hero colors.
You wore the police officer’s silver badge,
firefighter’s sun-striped bunkout gear,
and the EMT’s Blue Star of Life.

You walked with strong arms around
the splintered, washed debris from
mouths and eyes, when all the while
your burned-out eyes could not fathom.

Your hands grasped the frail and frightened.
With unruffled grace you led, then
back to black billowed hallways,
where Death seized your last breath.

Everything fell that sunny day,
Buildings tumbled, heartbeats silenced-
stilled by the plots of burial demons.
But you… you rose,
unconquered by evil bones…

Through God-sifted stars, you rose.

© 2001, Sharon Frye


SharonSharon Gariepy Frye – a.k.a. Sharon Frye -is a photographer as well as a poet with two chapbooks published,Last Chance for Rain (White Knights Press, 2014) and a newer collection, Red Dashboard (Elizabeth Dillon, 51T8-CyhKSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_2016)

  

RELATED:


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and 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 PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

Paul Brookes honores me today with an interview. His entire series of interviews is worth your time. Check them out. Thank you, Paul!

The Wombwell Rainbow

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Capture001

Jamie Dedes

describes herself as “Poet and writer, I was once columnist and 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…

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” . the gift 2 . ” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Life is subversive.” Ernesto Cardenal, Zero Hour And Other Documentary Poems



The longing for and appreciation of the gifts of nature, the gifts unsullied by marketers are expressed beautifully in these responses to the last prompt Wednesday Writing Prompt, No Account of Trifles, September 1.

Featured this week: Paul Brookes, Irma, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Carol Mikoda,

I hope you’ll visit participating poets and get to know them. It’s important for us to support and encourage one another in our art and in our solidarity around concerns for the social and ethical issues we care about, even if we disagree. Respectful discussion is a healthy thing. I’ve linked in blogs for each poet and for your convenience. If the poet doesn’t have a blog, it’s likely you can catch up with her/him on Facebook.

Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running a series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Five in the series are already completed and posted. Worth your time. I believe Paul has ten planned altogether and I’m honored to be among those that are upcoming.  So visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

Join with us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.  All are welcome – encouraged – to join in: novice, emerging or pro. It’s about exercising our imagination and our writing muscle, showcasing our efforts and getting to know other poets. This is a safe discerning place to share.


An Open

hand this petal an invite
to the best party
where laughter is plenty

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

A Little Girl

Places her found autumn oak leaf
In all its yellow and red on my conveyor belt.

I consider my potential responses:

Sorry love you can’t buy that here.

Sorry love it has no barcode, so won’t go through.

That’s a free gift from nature, love.

At the finish I advise

Sorry you can’t put that through, love

and she removes the leaf from the belt.

At the finish it is all child’s play
in the adult buy and sell.

From Paul’s collection Please Take Change, forthcoming from cyberwit.net.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Paul’s Amazon Page U.S.

Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.

When World Is

1.

an eye
you look into white surf clouds
roll over blue gust
white surf clouds roll over blue
gusted bright reed brands rise.

2.

Leaves fall to their end
cold darkens every step
naked limbs outstretch
untidy trees slough leaf clothes
so others forced to clean mess.

3.

Squirrels skitter up,
hold bounty for a nibble
stop, look and listen
as sky looks at itself holds
mirror up close for blemish

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

Let Me Pass Through

city walls
that bind all your threads together,

walk through this wood,
let your cityself take same walk, see
buildings as lone trees,
homeless hostel
is an oak, butchers
a willow that bends
down over the stream
where jammed traffic swims.

A dead bird breathes
animated by flies
is a man in the corner who sings
the blues to passers.

That fall of a leaf
tickertape homecoming parade.

Your pavement footfall
echoes in my forest.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)


Shade

Building or tall tree

Nature’s coolness shared with me

A welcome reprieve

© 2018, Irma (I Do Run – And I do a few other things too …)


.gift.

it was raining.

heavy.

the green house chair is comfy blue.

the book was read, while spiders

wove

their webs.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. the gift 2 .

i was given a gift . not wrapped

just given. before the winter

festival, before the anniversaries.

the gift was given

gladly received.

if i believed in all that i guess i would give thanks, yet give thanks anyway.

one has escaped.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


seasonal disorder

profoundly subtle cricket silence
that is not really
silence might not even
be only crickets but
powerful trigger of nightmares
deeply delicate evolution of leaves
first red maples edging
marshes eventually stunning yellow
of tall singular poplars
keenly subdued morning light
reaching resistantly sleepy eyes
intensely indistinct chill spice
of damp morning air

© 2018, Carol Mikoda (At The Yellow Table, We Are Stardust: Change is what it’s all About)


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and 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 PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.