remembrance, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Bill Johnson under CC SA 3.0  license

“The mountains were so wild and so stark and so very beautiful that I wanted to cry.” Jane Wilson-Howarth, Snow-fed Waters



there has always been the wind and on that day
it was pewter, playing tag with afternoon clouds,
but dawn was as clear as window glass and
the distant Sangre de Cristo Mountains were
the lost backdrop to my old cellular visions and
the subject of fine artists, though none to be seen

galleries were hung with signs “gone fishing,”
so we sat on a rough bench to eat our churros,
held mugs of champurrado, sweet and foamy,
stayed to see the sun setting at that far point
were the trees appear sparse and the highest
peaks showed themselves, symbols of promise

we waited to see the earth curl around sky’s
soft edge, somewhere a well-traveled sagebrush
burst into a flaming sunset and dusted it with our
remembrance of time before time measured

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes 

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

There are some places that inspire a sense of connection with primeval roots, almost a mystical sense, such as the one I experienced when my husband and I visited New Mexico years ago. Share such experiences you’ve had with us in your own poem/s and

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, June 1 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

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.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

To Run, No Chance to Dream . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Illustration courtesy of Serkan Turk, Usplash

“People around the world may be physically separated in pandemic lockdowns, but they are joined in at least one way — many are experiencing vivid and bizarre coronavirus dreams.” Why so many people are experiencing pandemic dreams, Helena Humphrey, NBC News



I find myself much engaged by the brave and honest responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, COVID-19 Lunascape, May 20, 2020, which asked poets to share their pandemic-driven dreams. Thanks! and Bravo to mm brazfield, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, and Adrain Slanaker.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a friendly, nonjudgmental opportunity offering the chance to exercise your poetic muscle, to display your work, and to “meet” other poets who may be new to you.


states

birds chirp
the last
song heard
before going
into shallow
restless sleep
pipes clank
neighbors laugh
dogs howl
window cloaked
in moon
sliced Roman
shades cardinal
red i
then find
the cacophonous
earth fading
from me
there is
a river
in the
anemic star
light its
ripples a
veil of
opal and
brass the
pit in
my throat
slowly calls
a chant
a prayer
of sorts
to any
available mother
to take
me in
the arms
of anything
before the
poison of
the hyacinth
breath of
the deep
seated night
will drag
me in
the undertow
of her
charms while
the nymphs
dressed in
Coco Channel’s
post C19
gray suits
flirt for
a like
enmeshed in
electric forgery
unnatural i
the feel
in this
cage of
bone nothing
but mud
midnight news
reporting blues
and the
porous truth
that soon
a derivative
of Pi
will flow
through my
blood to
buffer the
pandemonic messiahs

© 2020, mmbrazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken, Gen X’er chrnicles the art from of living the the Angelino metropolitan environment through writing, art, photography, and culture


To Run, No Chance to Dream

Sweat drips down
my brow
my chin
my arms
my back
Onto the treadmill that has had better owners
it rumbles
it squeaks
it grinds
it whines
But it can’t be heard up two flights of stairs at 3 AM
it won’t disturb my quietly sleeping children
it won’t disturb my quietly snoring spouse
it won’t disturb the quiet illusion of life as it should be
Here in the basement cave with it’s napoleon ceiling
I do not want to sleep
I do not want to dream
I do not want to figure out how to stay safe from something that can’t be seen
I do not want to figure out a “new normal”
If I am moving, I am not dreaming
of things that I can’t control
of things that I shouldn’t hope for
of things that could be or should be
of things that start with “what if”
So I run but not away, just enough to sleep
without dreaming
without pretense
without aspirations
without the energy for my brain to continue the run

It is now 5 AM.

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . 


..were we dreaming?.

as i passed i saw the room, coal on your table,

spread neatly. wondering i glanced around,

saw the snowy underwear on hangers,

the chandeliers.

it all showed pride and i know

you have seen it too. raddled

face in mirrors, knowing that we

are all much the same, without

meetings and disagreements.

so,

must we write about it before we forget,

before people come and disagree?

they have small waists and a national costume.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..bad night dreaming..

dreamed of devastation, flew miles low

over concrete . skeletons, bones of the thing.

all is dust, as dust we have become. slow.

grey. nothing moves here no more. no sighs.

they have forgotten us. we have forgotten them.

are we now the bones of what we were?

bad night dreaming.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Teaching Me

Of the classes my father paid,
Of the classes I paid for me,
Nothing tops like the classes I teach me,
Am the pupil,
Am the tutor,
Notes compare the mood,
Yesterday does shine quite a bit,
Today has it’s shadows,
Tomorrow seems a decade away,
My score sheet blurrs,
May mark pen draws exes in excess,
A staccato of dreams zig zags on the edge,
Every human smote rides my eyes,
I mourn with ease what mornings bring,
Vacation vacated it’s pull,
Reading tells better news,
Afraid is quite real,
Reality is traumatic,
My own voice sounds alien,
And prayer raised it’s volume,
My bridal hopes still dreams of a sunrise,
My groom is every human with a sigh,
Am reaching out to myself more,
Am negotiating with mind more,
Am recounting scars with a smile more,
Am learning from own lessons and tutorials,
And my score though not high,
It’s above average truth be told,
For priorities are ever clearer,
Rif raf and procrastination has exposed themselves.
I have met me and sat with me besides sleeping with me,
And I dare say am pleasantly surprised at who I saw,
A creature who thought they knew but now know they didn’t,
For what had mattered all those wasted years is simple,
Love life as you live it in the moment,
Enough is the best stock to keep,
Health is wealth of a kind and matters a lot,
The mind has great capacity to adapt,
And Humanity is just one part of the universe, and not the universe,
That all men are basically the same and their needs are simple.
And I woke with the smiling sun,
Thankful for such a class that taught me the simplicity of life.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Please Complete in Triplicate

Yellow ties snake out of
brown bin liners
like thin layers of leather
with static cling that
accommodate copious quarts
of unrecognized
refuse, be it
a shattered sex toy or
a shiny tray splattered with spaghetti.
In the “new normal,”
I’m denied discretion as
it’s deemed an anti-contagion
civic duty to
fill out forms
listing every last
object chucked into each
garbage bag sagging
by the curb.
I nitpick over the papers,
plunged into panic as to
whether I’ve revealed
all my trash truths
in ink black enough and
fearing I may find myself
fined or detained or
banished to a rubbish blacklist
because I’ve unwittingly breached
the bureaucracy theater
thought up to thwart either COVID-19
or the bearers of virtual torches and
pitchforks turned viral
on Twitter.

© 2020, Adrian Slanaker

To read more of Adrian’s work, just do a search on this site and/or on The BeZine.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

PEN America Announces “Freedom to Write Index,” the first count of writers imprisoned globally; “Words,” a poem by P. Veravera Rao

Photograph courtesy of Manuel Sardo, Unsplash

“The numbers in this Index are, of course, far too high, but we also know that advocacy to free those unjustly behind bars does work. In this moment, when truth is vulnerable, and when the world faces a time of reckoning in which a new future waits to be written, it is imperative that we defend the freedom to write, and work to free those who remain behind bars for daring to exercise that power.” Karin Deutsch Karlekar, PEN America’s director of free expression at risk programs



On Tuesday PEN America released the inaugural PEN America Freedom to Write Index. It’s the first annual global count of writers and public intellectuals unjustly detained or imprisoned worldwide. Covering calendar year 2019, the inaugural Freedom to Write Index shows that at least 238 writers, academics, and public intellectuals were imprisoned or held in detention in 2019, facing often brutal treatment and baseless charges. The Index includes novelists, poets, playwrights, songwriters, biographers, memoirists, essayists, bloggers, and genre writers. Nearly sixty percent were being held by just three countries: China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

“The Index spotlights governments’ nefarious will to suppress truth and control the public mind by silencing writers who dare challenge authority or portray social and political alternatives that rulers reject or fear,” said Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America. “Many of these writers use the imagination to pierce ideological orthodoxies, give voice to suppressed populations, and rally readers to think and act in new ways. This is what makes great writing potent, but also threatening. Rather than treasuring literary icons, too many regimes regard esteemed independent-minded writers as a menace to the brittle state, and seek to prevent words, stories and ideas from chipping away their iron control.”

China tops the Freedom to Write Index, having held at least 73 writers and public intellectuals in prison or detention for their writing in 2019. The new PEN America analysis, drawing on sources including the extensive casework of PEN International, finds that most often, China uses the excuse of national security and “subversion of state power” to imprison writers. In the first few months of 2020, writers, citizen journalists, and activists in China have been detained by authorities as part of a government campaign to control both the domestic and international narratives on the COVID-19 pandemic. Rounding out the top three, Saudi Arabia held thirty-eight writers and intellectuals in detention or prison last year, and Turkey held thirty.

“Speaking out on behalf of individual writers at risk around the world has long been the bedrock of PEN America’s advocacy work,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, PEN America’s director of free expression at risk programs. “When writers are in jail, they know that the PEN global network will not let them be forgotten. We hope that this report with names and personal stories will help raise the profile of these writers, mobilizing journalists, legislators, human rights advocates, and political leaders to protest their unjust detention. The numbers in this Index are, of course, far too high, but we also know that advocacy to free those unjustly behind bars does work. In this moment, when truth is vulnerable, and when the world faces a time of reckoning in which a new future waits to be written, it is imperative that we defend the freedom to write, and work to free those who remain behind bars for daring to exercise that power.”

The PEN America Freedom to Write Index shows that in 2019, some thirty-four countries held writers, academics, and public intellectuals. The Index also found:

  • Countries in the Asia-Pacific region held one-hundred writers and intellectuals in detention or prison during 2019—making up forty-two percent of the 2019 Index—while countries in the Middle East and North Africa held thirty-one percent of the global count. Together, these two regions accounted for almost three-quarters of the cases in the 2019 Index. Countries in Europe and Central Asia held forty-one imprisoned/detained writers, or seventeen percent of the 2019 Index.
  • Of the 238 writers and intellectuals in the 2019 Freedom to Write Index, over half were prosecuted under laws concerned with national security. All thirty of the writers and intellectuals in the Index detained or imprisoned in Turkey face national security charges. In China, “national security” violations comprise over half of the seventy-three cases of writers and intellectuals in detention or prison, fifty-three percent.
  • At least fifty-three writers and intellectuals were held in detention on secret, unknown or undisclosed charges; this amounts to over a fifth of writers and intellectuals in the 2019 Index, and is particularly prevalent in Saudi Arabia.
  • Over two-thirds (sixty-nine percent) of individuals counted in the 2019 Index remain in state custody at the time of this report’s publication. Just under a third are out of state custody but continue to face ongoing legal battles or appeals of convictions; probationary restrictions on work, travel, and local movement; and/or harassment from state and non-state actors.

The report also reveals patterns in terms of what motivates governments to target writers. The drive to suppress ethnic identities and nationalism puts individuals writing in or advocating for ethno-linguistic minority languages under heightened threat, including in the context of crackdowns on Uyghur culture and language in China and Kurdish in Iran and Turkey.

Countries like China and Russia are also attacking writers who seek to expose painful truths about their countries’ respective histories, challenging enforced storylines propagated to reinforce ruling regimes. PEN America also found that while most writers being detained are men, women comprised sixteen percent of the cases documented. Many were targeted directly for their writing and advocacy on women’s rights, particularly in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Alongside the Index, PEN America is launching a new, searchable database of Writers at Risk, containing details of each of the writers in our 2019 Index along with hundreds of other cases of writers, journalists, artists, and intellectuals under threat around the world. This database offers researchers, rights advocates, and the public a wealth of actionable evidence of ongoing global threats to free expression.



Poet P. Varavara Rao; photograph courtesy of Chaithu under CC BY-SA 3.0

WORDS

Words, smothered in the folds of the self,
Must be stirred awake,
Made to amble and watch
See if wings can bear aloft
The crippled limbs
And soar into the sky.

Like the first showers after the drought
To my parched ears, my own worlds,
Not any other’s, remain strange.

Like the marvel of the sky
Discovering its lost monsoon
I long to sprout on a soil
In the vibrations of a sonorous world.

Once again I yearn to learn the utterance
At school and on the commune,
From pupils and plebeians
I dream of seizing syllables
From each of history’s furrows.

Without this voicing peal
How will this silence,
Loaded for so long in the self,
Explode?

Without this booming resonance
How will this scene,
Cryptic for so long in the eyes,
Scintillate?

Once again I must learn to utter
In communing with and listening to
Our people;
I must be tethered to the word and abide by it
What’s man’s legacy after betraying the word?

Nothing debases the word:
In the blazing furnaces of time
Under the plummeting hammer clangs,
This, as the fittest moment,
I go on forging expressions.

– P. Varavara Rao



Cases highlighted in the 2019 report include:

  • The poet and leftist intellectual P. Varavara Rao, writer and artist Arun Ferreira, and writer and scholar Vernon Gonsalves, who were all detained in India in August 2018 alongside a number of other activists in relation to their writing and work on behalf of minority and marginalized groups in India. Other writers have issued pleas for their release, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Iranian writer Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, first arrested in 2014 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 on propaganda charges for an unpublished fictional story concerning the practice of stoning as a criminal punishment. Released in April 2019, when she had served over half her sentence, Iraee was rearrested in November 2019.
  • Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan language rights activist who documented his work in a microblog and was detained in 2016 after he appeared in an article and short video feature published by The New York Times. He was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “separatism” in 2018, and remains behind bars.
  • Egyptian poet and songwriter Galal El-Behairy, who is serving a three-year sentence on charges of spreading false news and insulting the military, in relation to both his lyrics to the song “Balaha,” which criticized the state of the Egyptian economy and government corruption, and to his unreleased book of poetry. The filmmaker who worked on the videos for Balaha, Shady Habash, died in prison on May 2 at age 24.
  • Poet and blogger Ahmed Mansoor, who is serving a ten-year prison sentence in the United Arab Emirates for criticizing the government on social media. The official charges against him include insulting the “status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols” and seeking to damage the UAE’s relationship with neighboring countries by publishing false reports and information on social media.
  • Yury Dmitriev, a Russian historian and head of the Karelia branch of the Russian human rights center, who has worked to uncover and document mass graves from the era of Stalinist purges.
  • Chimengül Awut, a Uyghur poet and editor at Kashgar Publishing House, was arrested in 2018, reportedly for editing the novel Golden Shoes by Uyghur writer Halide Isra’il. Authorities have since confirmed her editing as the reason for her detention, but explicit legal charges are undisclosed.

By highlighting the threats experienced by a broad range of writers, the Freedom to Write Index and database complement existing datasets that focus on journalists or scholars, helping paint a more holistic picture of attacks on freedom of expression globally, and shining a light on the impact when individual creative voices are silenced.

PEN America is deeply grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for its generous support of the Freedom to Write Index and Writers at Risk Database.

This post is compiled courtesy of PEN America, Wikipedia, and Poem Hunter

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.



Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

COVID-19 Lunascape, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Johannes Plenio, Unsplash

“With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily stimuli has left dreamers with a dearth of “inspiration,” forcing our subconscious minds to draw more heavily on themes from our past.” The pandemic is giving people vivid unusual dreams. Here’s why., Rebecca Rener, National Geographic



A fulgurous moon on pandemic nights
Piercing the substrates of dreamland
Doing a lindy-hop with my hippocampus

Retrieving data records and videos
The oddly stored sentences and mental
Photographs, well-played scenes

Of midnight Mass at St. Pat’s, my
Baby’s sticky kisses, a swan-dive into
The red of Valentine’s roses, the feel

Of champagne fizz-tickling my lips
Visions cavorting at length, nothing
Fear-filled or surreal, just the good old

Joys of life, resurrected to counter the
Green phlegm of a COVID-19 lunascape

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I’ve been having the most interesting and engaging dreams since the lockdown started. Rather odd since for me “lifestyle” hasn’t changed that much. I wondered if I was alone in this and did some research. Not alone. Some people are having dreams that are frightening or bizarre. I wonder what your experience is. Tell us about your pandemic dream-scape in your own poem/s and …

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, May 25th by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

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.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders