Haibun For Race Dysphoria, by Clara B. Jones

Wow! Well done. For those who might not know or remember Rachel Dolezal is an American author, multimedia artist, former college instructor, and former NAACP chapter president known for claiming to be a black woman while being of European ancestry and having no verifiable African ancestry.

the curly mind linguistically innovative poetry - weird & risky

for Kara Walker

Jamal has been diagnosed with a severe form of Race Dysphoria, producing anxiety, even psychotic episodes, by desires to identify as a racial type other than the one assigned at birth. Since he was six, Jamal has felt like a white person, never eating collard greens or fried flounder sandwiches. His mother called him a “picky eater” though she sometimes worried it might be more than that. Jamal’s father was convinced he was gay since he showed no interest in sports except fencing which he watched on PBS® every Friday at nine. When his brother, Tyrone, played rap music, Jamal hid under blankets in a fetal position which his counselor said was a sure symptom of Oedipal conflict and regression to a pre-sexual stage. [Race Dysphoria* was appended to DSM-IV by a near-unanimous vote at the Spring A.P.A. convention in 2018. Members disagreed about how the…

View original post 319 more words

2019 U.S. Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence: Steven Bellin-Oka

Poet Steven Bellin-Oka © Kenichi Oka

“My own work deals with cultural memory and how traumatic national events such as the Civil War are remembered, misremembered, reimagined, and reinterpreted by Americans living in later historical periods. As William Faulkner puts it in his novel Absalom, Absalom, ‘maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished.’ In other words, the past is never just the past—it co-exists with the present and shapes it, like double exposure on a piece of film.” Steven Bellin-Oka

The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), the Poetry Foundation, the National Parks Service, and the Gettysburg Foundation announce Steve Bellin-Oka as the 2019 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence. Poets in Parks is a partnership expressly designed and curated to raise the profile of poetry as a vibrant and modern public art. Bellin-Oka is the second Poets in Parks resident. He will spend one month in residency at Gettysburg National Military Park with a $1,000 stipend.

Entrance to the Gettysburg National Park courtesy of Sallicio under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

“The beauty and variety of United States national parks provide fertile ground for growing dialogue around poetry, shared history, and art as a public service,” said Stephen Young, program director at the Poetry Foundation. “We’re excited to have Mr. Bellin-Oka continue these conversations as the new Poets in Parks resident. The relationship between the past in present in his work is well-suited to Gettysburg, where history is both commemorated and alive.”

Gettysburg and Beyond

The National Park Service’s cultural mandate to recognize and foster a democratic and participatory dialogue through the arts has never been more important. The current national debate about the representation and memorial of Civil War history provides an opportunity for education and discussion.

Bellin-Oka’s poems written during the residency will expand those conversations. He will begin his month-long residency at Gettysburg National Military Park in September, writing, leading workshops, and sharing his poetry in a public reading on October 11, 2019. After his residency, he will travel to Washington, D.C. and to the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in May, 2020 on a poetry tour with the first Poets in Parks resident, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa, a first generation Chicana born and raised in San Gabriel, California

A Poet Connected to the Past

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Bellin-Oka grew up surrounded by Civil War battlefields; he takes the not-so-ghostly presences of history seriously, and intends to explore them during his time at Gettysburg.

He plans to write poems that imagine Abraham Lincoln preparing to give The Gettysburg Address, the experiences of soldiers on both sides, and new works in response to Civil War poems of the battlefield.

Bellin-Oka earned his MFA from the University of Virginia and his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is a 2019 Tulsa Artists Fellow, awarded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. His debut collection, Instructions for Seeing a Ghost, won the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, and will be published by the University of North Texas Press in 2020.


Poems online by 2019 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Residence, Steven Bellin-Oka:

Poems online by 2017 Poets in Parks Artist-in-Resience, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa: 

This post complied courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, The National Parks Foundation, Wikipedia, and Steven Bellin-Oka’s and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejoa’s websites.


The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our 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.

You can follow The Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook and Twitter.


The National Parks Arts Foundation is a nonprofit organization offering artist-in-residence programs, museum in-loan programs, and workshops nationwide at a number of national parks. To apply to open programs, visit HERE. .

The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic, educational organization operating in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and to educate the public about their significance.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poemsLevure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)
* The Damask Rose Garden, In a Woman’s Voice

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove,I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.

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


fred . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Ornamental cabbage with a splat of paint from outside – believe it or not – Old Navy.

“Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open in such a field,
growing there like yachts,
slowly steering their petals
without nurses or clocks.”
Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems

These are all well-considered, well-formulated responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Mrs. Goldberg, June 12.  From Gary’s homage to Fred Astaire through Sonja’s .gargage., this is a stimulating read.

Thanks to Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Jen Goldie, Shiela Jacob, and Sonja Benskin Mesher for sharing their work and ideas with us today.

Enjoy! this collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged to participate.


what ho daddy longlegs
buzzing down to rio
kinesthetic mastermind
champagne-frothing brio

doodling with a hatrack
swinging rita hayworth
tyranting ungingerly
twenty-hour-day’s worth

softshoe tap and ballroom
jazzy or balletic
conman charmer fashion plate
sculpting an aesthetic

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers (One with Clay, Image and Text)

As some of you know, Gary is multi-talented, combing visual art with poetry or prose narrative.  He is also a potter. A sample of his work is pictured here. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business card. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.

My Mam Is

nothing if, not thorough.
Victorian reminder on a wall
full of telling aphorisms:

What will the neighbours say?
Our home shows us how
we treat ourselves.
Buff away grey clouds,

bring out the blue, make every
wood bell, crocus, daffodil
open their flowers today,
place a spruced up nest

for every chaffinch, green
and goldfinch, blackbird, dove.
Open all windows to “freshen”.
Clean outside and in,

see yourself without smears.
Tidy the memory home.
If you can see a job needs doing,
then do it. Why leave till tomorrow,

something that needs doing today?
Empty every drawer,
cupboard, wardrobe, surface,
scrub them clean, let spiders scurry off.

Launder, dry on the line winter’s
sombre deep cottons and woollens,
neatly fold away, in freshly
lavendered drawers.

It shows you respect yourself.
Rinse every item
of crockery, cutlery,
some unused for years.

Return them to scoured drawers.
Burnish copper ornaments,
delicately brush capodimonte

figures, feather dust top of doors,
skirting boards, deweb high corners,
Shine gas fire with Brasso. Polish
tables and furniture with Rosewood

or Lavender Pledge, all furniture pushed
into centre of rooms, to vacuum.
A person is what they do,
not what they say they will do.

Decant bookshelves,
every book cover cleaned.
Roll up, sling over washing line,
slap and beat dust out of all

rugs and doormats. Strip beds,
turn mattresses, air sheets.
It’s a warm spring day.
A clean home is a clean soul.

Bleach bath, sinks.
Glister chrome taps. Blue toilet.
Fragrance bathroom with Lemon.
Defrost fridge, full milk

bottles in a sink of cold water.
Unload and brush out garage,
vacuum Datsun Estate outside and in.
Weed patio and border, cut

straggly grass for first time this year.
Black bag food beyond sell by dates,
or out of fashion.
Likewise, shine your shoes,

pick bits off clothes,
straighten your skirt, tie,
tighten your belt.
A smart person is a smart mind

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Borrowed Eyes

” Please can I borrow your eyes?”
Asks the blind nightingale
of the excellent eyed blindworm
” I’ve been invited to faerie wedding,
and don’t want to look foolish.”

After the nightingale sees bright
colours, red, green and gold
of the faerie occasion, he tells
blindworm, “I cannot return
these worlds of light, but will
sing to you, my friend, night and day.”

© 2019, Paul Brookes

A New Feather

The writer searches for the perfect quill
to make him an author of genius,
his work lauded,
taught in schools
only possession
of this object
will make
the work great.

The carpenter wants a fine pillow
Stuffed with the softest
Gentlest down
To complete
His fabulous carved bed
Made of the rarest wood.

The comedian wants the funniest
feather to tickle his audience
into laughter
that will last
long after
he dies.

The cat wants the meat under
The feather, warm
And tender,
In its jaws.

The dog wants his master
To have the bird
He retrieves,
For his master to be happy
And give him treats,
Maybe even a cooked morsel,
Once the bird is plucked
And cooked.

The bird waits for his new feathers
After his moult
To flatter a female,
Make him handsome,
Nudge her with his display
So she will bear
His children.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Paul’s website is HERE.

Paul Brookes, prolific Yorkshire poet

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play

What She Never Really Wanted

She never really wanted to be
the best, but somehow stood out
among the rest,

In school in class,eagerly took
part in collecting notebooks,
polishing desks with wax and rags,
laughing joking,arms never tiring,
inking the large board black, no
whiteboards then,

meant hard work with joy as the
reward, being close to the teacher
noting the piano chord, humming
volleyball service hits swelled her
wrists,she still wears the support
band and smiles as memories flood
in, the final win and the final fall
was the most memorable of all-

A role on the stage in Shakespeare’s
plays, not a Mid Summer Night’s Dream
but real school life she took as high order
to en wrap and enfold learning time gold
capture every moment each story told-
ten years flashed full of wisdom and fun
peaceful it was all, no guard bullet or gun

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Life with a Perfectionist

Every night she would hear the blame
The kitchen floor is dirty it means one
who works here is the same,
better keep it clean,wash it every night
wipe it dry then you may think of rest or sleep’

soon such instructions felt like insults-
was she dirty lazy careless incapable one
or a free forsaken donated handed over,given
for good, home and house worker, cleaning woman-
why life’s meaning sank so low,was it just common?

soon these thoughts would slip from the mind
as a new day dawned, acceptance quickly sank in
‘ he has a mania for cleanliness’ ‘ hunger for food
crazy love for movies’ values of life die in a dust bin’
line between love care, and sharing is so thin’

more is revealed as cushions lineup on the sofa
spoons forks knives must be separate in the holder
no dust on any table chair desk shelf or cupboard
car, shoes polished, clothes ironed, crease less
bed covers, slippers joined,glasses placed with pens

wrist watch, now mobile phone,must be untouched
three dishes at meals three kinds of fruit at least
tea pink and salty is must, puffs from the Only Old
bakery in the old inner city narrow street shop
dinner time seven thirty, no tea at that hour allowed

for all, to be dressed spic and span hair cut and set
no extra talk or questions,driving speed at will by choice
other person to give way, no traffic police should this way
even look, all ways are my ways’,books for show, display
no row in disarray, set all with pain or be ready never to

see your book again- and so perfection came in way
of ‘good enough’ and peace’ -how to be artistic, who
could be original, perfection may be excellence ‘ but
would you rather have something, ‘okay’ than nothing’
that is all perfect’

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum’s sites are:

“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

Lola’s Magic – A Gazel

When Lola arrives, it’s hard to deny there’s magic
The children happily sigh, “It’s magic!”
My tween can whisper secrets in her ear
Lola – my spy who can pry – hush magic!
My sweet girl’s dollies all need a cuddle
Lola’s arms wide like the sky – hug magic
Train engineer boy with curious spark
Lola answers all the why’s – smart magic
The toddler is whining, “No” is his word
Lola’s sweet talks – he complies – bribe magic!
Then quiet, they gather around her chair
Lola gives sweets on the sly – bad magic!
Homemade dinner, there’s so much to clean up
Lola’s sink is spotless, dry – clean magic
I’m exhausted, drained, this job is so hard
Lola’s shoulder, allows me to cry – mom magic

FYI – Lola means Grandmother is Filipino/Tagalog

© 2019, Irma Do


Distances are much shorter now,
Time flies on wings aloof
Tall isn’t tall anymore
What happened to my youth?

Young means twenty minutes is forever,
A mile is around the world and back
Tall is Dad at five foot eight
How did I miss the attack?

Something came and stole my youth
Time and distance is the proof
Maybe when my time runs out
I’ll know just what it’s all about.

© 2019, Jen Goldie 


It must be fun, to own a goat,
To buy a boat, to stay afloat,
To see a tree, walk on its knees!
But Oh! My golly! Oh!
To see a tree, walk on its knees?

It must be great to stay up late,
To watch a monkey roller skate,
To see a book, get up and look?
But Oh! My golly! Oh!
To see a book, get up and look?

It would be nice to have a castle
To own a tall giraffe named Basil
To see a deer playing bongos!
But Oh! My golly! Oh!
To see a deer, playing bongos?

It must be nice to have a car
To make the distances less far,
It would be fun to know tomorrow
From a crystal ball you borrow,

It’s just the images we create
To give us patience
To sit and wait……….

© 2019, Jen Goldie


Now, here you go
she’d smile with a wink,
as she handed out
apples she’d cleaned
In the sink,
A comforting hand
A heart warming hug
and gramma would smile
and glint with a shrug
A scrape on the knee?
oh dear, let me see
with the warmth in her eyes
and the love in her touch
the scrape that you got
didn’t hurt very much.
Run along she would say
It’s a great day to play,
but don’t go too far!
There’s buns in the oven
and cookies in jars, then,
with a warm loving hug
and comforting smile,
she’d send you outside
to play for awhile.

© 2019, Jen Goldie

Jen’s sites are:

With the Woman

There’s a chiming hel-looo
as she opens the front door,
drops her travel bag
and encircles us
in her warmth.

Our luscious, dazzling daughter
with strawberry-kissed smile,
double-cream cheeks
and honey-bee eyes
to match her lustrous hair.

She kicks off scarlet pumps
and curls, latte-limbed,
on the sofa; sips black tea
and texts a message home,
relays love to our grandchildren.

I admire old and new tattoos:
butterflies, stars, swallows
and, where a sleeve might fit,
a crimson heart emblazoned
fod yn ddewr.

Do her ladies ask what it means?
“Yes,” she laughs, “very often.”
I hold her hands in mine.
They’re small but strong:
first cradle for a baby’s

blood-stained head
when she wears regulation blue,
echoes the motto
on her arm and urges
“Be brave. One last push.”

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

.balfour beattie.

power and beauty
stone and steel.
rise above
mud and wood.
swarmed by
worker ants.
world without end.

wyn is a poet.

a visionary.
monkeys and tigers
stalk welsh hills
satanic mills
of his imagination.

he is the blake
of the a470.

did he once see
angels on peckham rye

i expect he did, i expect.

we will not know
unless i ask him.

he will tell.

yet not when
his colleagues
are listening.

he may be shy.

balfour beatty.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


we will not have blankets,

if there are none, take the old

rags, layer , stitch and stitch

by hand till fingers bleed.

work along the coast

with thread and diligence.

gather wools, layer carefully,

we shall have warmth this winter.

we will have quilts to share.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


i do not wait for the alarm,

just the red bar on my gauge.

it is a quiet village, a name

i can’t pronounce. so i stopped

for fuel.

how nice, an attendant, probably

owner/mechanic came, took my

keys and did it all for me.

whilst chatting about the day, how

the nights draw in, and i felt cosy.

a softer voice than some, his clothes

hard working.

i asked for twenty quid’s worth

to see me home, and a chomp

at 25p.

i shall stop there next time.


© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

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

Newsroom Transparency Tracker Empowers the Public in an Age of Distrust

There are over 242 codes of ethics in journalism that vary across various regions of the world. The codes of ethics are created through an interaction of different groups of people such as the public and journalists themselves. Most of the codes of ethics serve as a representation of the economic and political beliefs of the society where the code was written.] Despite the fact that there are a variety of codes of ethics, some of the core elements present in all codes are: remaining objective, providing the truth, and being honest.

This week PEN America and the Trust Project released a first-of-its-kind digital tool that tracks the transparency of over fifty leading national and regional media outlets by surfacing the policies, practices, and people behind the news.

The Newsroom Transparency Tracker encourages media outlets to be accountable to the public and empowers the public to make informed choices about the news they watch, listen to, and read.

The Transparency Tracker will serve as:

  • A media literacy tool that empowers the public to hone in on reliable sources of news and defend themselves from fraudulent news and misinformation
  • An accountability tool that encourages news outlets to be more responsive to the interests of the public
  • An educational and research tool that helps teachers, librarians, media industry professionals, and academics assess, and teach the standards and practices behind, news reporting

Susanne Nossel

“In an age when the spread of fraudulent news threatens the fabric of our democracy, it is vital to equip news consumers with the skills that are needed to vet and value the information they receive,” said Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer of PEN America. “By pressing newsrooms to share more information about how the news is gathered, reported, and edited, we hope the Tracker will help foster trust where it is warranted in reputable newsrooms and begin to inoculate the public against the threat of misleading and false information.”

The Transparency Tracker uses four of the Trust Project’s “Trust Indicators” to highlight the information that each featured media outlet publicly reveals about its ethics codes and related commitments, how it does its work, and the expertise of its journalists. Developed collaboratively by over 100 senior news executives within the Trust Project network, the Trust Indicators are transparency standards rooted in core journalistic values and based on in-depth research capturing what the public values and trusts in news.

“Journalists have ethical values and principles that, all too often, they forget to share with the public, but bold transparency is key to regaining a trustworthy press,” said Sally Lehrman, award-winning journalist and CEO of the Trust Project. “Our Trust Indicators are designed to pull back the curtain on who and what is behind real journalism, so we all can make more informed choices about the news we consume.”

PEN America’s commitment to newsroom transparency is also rooted in research, which has included reports on the harmful impact of fraudulent news on free expression and civic life in the United States. In October 2017, PEN America published the report Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth, which found that the spread of fraudulent news has been magnified by declining trust in traditional (“mainstream”) news media. One of the report’s key recommendations for news outlets was to be more transparent, particularly regarding the ethics that underpin reporting and editing, fact-checking, corrections, and distinguishing news from commentary and opinion.

The Trust Project is the first organization to address mistrust in the news by developing global transparency standards, giving the public access to tools for combating misinformation. The Tracker expands awareness of and access to the consortium’s Trust Indicators, which an estimated 327 million people see across over 125 news partner websites. Dozens of additional news sites are in the process of adopting and implementing the Trust Indicators.


Who the partners are:

PEN America is a nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion 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. Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 centers worldwide that make up the PEN International network and works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.

The Trust Project is a global, collaborative network of news organizations building Trust Indicators and working with technology platforms to affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion, and fairness so that the public can make informed news choices. Led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman, the Trust Project is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lehrman founded the nonprofit, nonpartisan Trust Project in 2014 as a response to the crisis of trust in news and the increasing confusion over the distinctions between journalism and information that may be advertising, promotion, or actual propaganda.

PEN America and the Trust Project are grateful to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for making the Newsroom Transparency Tracker possible.

This post is courtesy of PEN America, the Trust Project, and Wikipedia.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

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