“souls and human beings”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The urban poor buy water from water vendors for, on average, about five to 16 times the metered price. Photo courtesy of Oxfam East Africa under CC BY 2.0

“Wealth does not trickle down to the poor. Oxfam knows this, the IMF knows this, the World Bank knows this. Poor people have always known this.” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director



These responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, which was “poverty,” September 19th demonstrate sensitivity, observation, conscience, compassion and skill. Clearly, these are more than good poets. They are the most decent human beings. Thanks Irene Emanuel, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Marta Pombo Sallés and bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov). Also with appreciation for participating and sharing their fine work, a warm welcome Wendy Bourke and Alethea Kehas.

Read on, enjoy, be inspired and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt tomorrow.  All are encourage: novice, emerging and pro.


souls and human beings

she walked down the street median … passed the row
of idling cars that would have raced by her,
but for, the bright red orb that signalled: stop

she held a cardboard sign ‘pregnant – need money for food’ …
I could not tell, if the gloom upon her old young face
reflected anger or hate or sadness or pain or all of it

it is impossible to move around this manic city without anguish …
without words like ‘souls’ and ‘human beings’ tumbling
across your mind, like tosses of dice in a game of craps

she caught me … staring at her through the window …
and I sheepishly cast my eyes down – for I knew the look I wore
expressed my shock and frightened thoughts of the fate
that awaited the unborn child … if there was an unborn child

she came up to my car door, as if she’d been summoned
and, rolling down the window, I pressed a blue five bucks
into a limp and grimy hand … wondering … if I’d just been played …
as if such speculations have a place … where human beings beg

© 2018, Wendy Bourke (Words and Words and Whatnot)

Canandian Poet, Wendy Bourke

WENDY BOURKE lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, goes on long rambling walks gathering photos and inspiration – and hangs out with family and friends.  After a life loving words and scribbling poetry lines on pizza boxes and used envelopes, Wendy finally got down to writing ‘in earnest’ seven years ago.  Her work has appeared in over 100 poetry anthologies and journals.


Bloated Bellies

I wasn’t poor for long,
At least that’s what I chose to believe
My grandmother tells me the story of our return
From the Hare Krishnas
Faces the color of ashes, bellies bloated
Over skinny legs
I was too young to remember
But the ache has become
A troublesome cyst
I refuse to extract
Inside a place to dark and deep
For life. Like the hole in our outhouse
I don’t remember walking in the night
But I remember shame folded
Into second-hand clothes
And the pink satin nightgown
Never worn by another child
All that was missing was a crown

© 2018, Alethea Kehas (Alethea Kehas, Author and owner of Inner Truth Healing & Yoga)

Writer Alethea Kehas

When she was two, ALETHEA KEHAS spent several months in hiding with the Hare Krishnas from a father she chose to believe was a villain until she reunited with him at the age of thirty-six. Alethea’s story is told in her memoir, A Girl Named Truth. She is also the author of The Labyrinth, Book 1 in the Warriors of Light fantasy series for children of all ages, but especially those who feel a little different on the inside and outside. Alethea’s Amazon page is HERE.


A Penny Drop

must never happen.
We must always be misunderstood

to communicate clearly and cogently.
Wrong end of the stick grasped firmly.

Vagueness is clarity.

If you let the penny drop confusion
and disillusion will result.

Please misunderstand me.

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

The Poor

burn amongst riches.
Shreds flicker fall from height,

Billow into drives of mansions.
Poor though they have less

always give more than the rich.
So many missed in the flames

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

As many of you know, Paul launched a series of interviews a few weeks ago. HERE is the link to the most recent.  It’s with Deborah Alma, one of my faves.  She was also featured on The Poet by Day and in The BeZine regarding #Me Too a women’s poetry anthology. She is England’s “Emergency Poet.”
HERE is the link to Paul’s U.S. Amazon page. HERE is the link to Paul’s U.K. Amazon page.

Togetherness

They’re there;
hollowed into make-shift sponge-foam beds,
tight-curled into malodorous rag-blankets
and plastic of dubious origin.
They’re there;
the shadow-ghost people
of no fixed abode,
gathered loosely together
in cohesive misery.
They’re there;
existing on society’s fringe,
sustained by the government’s pandering promises;
sharing glue-highs and garbage rot.
They’re there;
old children, dying people,
together in perpetual poverty.
They’re there;
trampled contours on grass verges,
silhouettes on street corners,
robotic vendors with nothing to sell but themselves.
They’re there;
the street-people of forgotten causes,
unified in the rainbow nation
of lost hopes.

© 2018, Irene Emanuel


Blessed

We met every Friday at 5:30

I gave without thinking

You were never poor in spirit.

Me, in my Abercrombie and Fitch,

You, with your Aromatic and Filth

We met every Friday at 5:30.

Pasta and tacos,

Admonishments and side eye

I gave without thinking.

Survival your strength

Laughter your life line

You were never poor in spirit

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

Irma is doing so well with her poetry. Four of her poems are featured in the September issue of The BeZine. Brava, Irma!  


.green road.

green road is where I was born; in winton.

green grocer delivered each tuesday and thursday.

green front doors and hedges line the road, repetitive.

green shooting brake denotes uncle’s arrival, posh we thought,truth came later.

green our neighbour’s face as bombs fell/were pushed; she hid in the outside toilet.

green school knickers; janet next door under her gymslip.

greens up the garden, with spuds & rhubard, runners & plums.

greens for dinner, liver & gravy; poor food, i guess there was rationing.

green her coat with big buttons,darted & half belt she wore while shopping.

green my mittens, shetland hand knitted; a souvenir.

green the scarf that matched, richer now.

green the sky; the storm passes.

2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.four boils

the planing office is up the road, by the old hospital

that was once a work house for the poor & suffering

to suffer more.

boils.

pass by regular on the way to somewhere else.

it is listed so any changes are scrutinised.

boils.

there have been a few.

changes.

i do apologise

did you say planet?

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher


And Tiny Little Poem

and tiny woman
with
and tiny puppy
(in front of the bins)
collects
into big bags
her life

© 2018, bogpan / Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия )


Ode to Trump’s Vanity et al

Spring anticipation in the air
Orange reddened sun
Gets ready to hide its rays
Behind the lowest of all mountains
Mirroring itself on the lake.
Vanity at its highest level.
Yet the picture turns out different
In a mixture of yellow and blue
Of greed and sadness a faithful clue.

“You’re so vain,
You probably think
This march is about
You…”
Reads the banner
At the Women’s March
January 21, 2017.

Millions came together
Across the globe
To raise their voices
Against your choices
Mr. Trump.
Your misogyny,
Racism,
Xenophobia,
Your greed and your lies
Are most unwelcome
Because it is your vanity
That makes you lie.

Where’s the first media-built man
That promised jobs for the working-class
To make America First and great again
When all you bring is constant pain
Erasing truths and liberties from earth.

The second man’s now on the surface,
Two sides of the same coin,
And the reddened sun sets down
While Vanity School runs high
For Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders,
Frauke Petry, Beppe Grillo…
And the like.

Even Spain’s Rajoy’s a little Trump,
Profound ignorant and clown,
Who drains the fund backing pensions
With an air smell of corruption.

Won’t you grant us, Catalans,
Once for all that referendum
Any democratic state would offer
To a stateless people to decide:
The right to self-determination.

No, instead, you’re blurring powers
Just exactly as Donald Trump
Judicializing politics and sending
The very democrats to court
For organizing a participatory process
In Catalonia, November 9, 2014.

Vanity School expands its limits
And buys a handful Orwell’s 1984
While the sea has just began to weep:

Mare Nostrum, Mare Mortum,
In 2016 almost 5.000 people
Drowned and died
From 2000 till now 30.000 dead!

With Barcelona’s pro-refugee rally,
The largest in Europe and perhaps
In the entire world till now,
We will surely not have enough
To eradicate our human misery.

The red sun has just hidden
Behind the lowest mountain
And as darkness unfolds
The picture changes colors:
Grayish blues carrying their shadows
On a rippled lake obscured
Where birds and ducks move
Swiftly countercurrent.

© 2017, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

Marta’s “A tasty lentil soup” served up in both English and Catalan was published in response to another prompt, but we’re going to share it again … Enjoy!

A tasty lentil soup

keeps you warm from the cold.

Coldness outside

speaks of emptiness,

sadness in a cloudy day.

Or is it just the fog all around

that saddens your mind and spirit?

Going through the streets

the walking dead

if they can still walk.

You saw poverty’s face

the system’s decay.

 

Needles in their hands,

hollow eyes, ailment,

people lost without a second chance.

Is this what you came here for?

But you had your lentil soup

that kept your body warm

while your bleeding heart

sank into the deepest darkness.

You detached it from the body

took it to analyze and

put it on to a microscope

 

And the bleeding heart spoke up

vomited nothing but the truth

awaiting the other truth that hurts.

You knew it would happen.

The lentil soup eaten

in the Arabian restaurant

and then a sudden sound,

a slight noise on the floor,

something moves near your table.

You raise your eyes and there it is:

A black pigeon inside

walks a few steps toward you

as if he wanted to speak.

“Do we have a new guest?”

The waitress gently guides him

to the main room

near the entrance door.

The bird moves his wings

flies inside the restaurant.

The waitresss, a little scared,

utters an “oh” sound

while the black pigeon

displays his wings, flies away

through the restaurant door.

A sad bird looking

for temporary company,

maybe a friendship

but forever unattainable.

El colom negre

Una saborosa sopa de llenties
t’escalfa del fred.
La fredor a l’exterior
parla de buidor,
tristesa en un dia plujós.
O és només la boira per tot arreu
que t’entristeix la ment i l’esperit?

Anant pel carrer
els morts caminant
si és que encara poden caminar.
Has vist el rostre de la pobresa,
la decadència del sistema.
Agulles a les seves mans,
ulls buits, malaltia,
gent perduda sense una segona oportunitat.

És per això que has vingut aquí?
Però tu et menges la teva sopa de llenties
que t’escalfa el cos
mentre la teva ànima sagnant
s’enfonsa en la més profunda foscor.
La separares del teu cos
i l’agafares per analitzar
posant-la en un microscopi.

I l’ànima sagnant va parlar
vomitant res més que la veritat,
esperant l’altra veritat que fa mal.
Ja sabies que això passaria.

La sopa de llenties menjada
en el restaurant àrab
i llavors, un soroll sobtat,
una remor al terra,
alguna cosa es mou prop la teva taula.
Alces la mirada i és allí:
Un colom negre a dins.
Camina uns passos cap a tu
com si volgués parlar.
– Tenim un nou convidat?
La cambrera el guia gentilment
cap a la sala principal.
L’ocell mou les seves ales,
vola dins del restaurant.
La cambrera, una mica espantada,
deixa anar un “oh!”
mentre el colom negre
desplega les ales, vola lluny
a través de la porta del restaurant.
Un ocell trist, buscant
companyia temporal,
potser una amistat
però per sempre, inabastable.

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés


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.

THE BeZINE, Vol. 4, Issue 2: Poverty, Hunger & Working-class Slave Labor

November 15, 2017


In the four-year history of The BeZine, this is the most significant edition. All of our concerns – peace, environmental sustainability, human rights, freedom of expression – depend on a more equal distribution of wealth, on making sure no one goes hungry and on breaking-down barriers to employment, healthcare, education and racial and gender equity.

This pyramid (courtesy of Wikipedia) reveals that:

  • half of the world’s wealth belongs to the top 1%,
  • top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world’s total wealth,
  • top 30% of adults hold 97% of the total wealth.

We’re all cognizant of that profile, but if you feel you’re sitting pretty and you’re not at risk, you’re employed, educated and middle class after all, you’d be well-advised to reconsider. The middle class is now – and has been for some time – dramatically challenged to find work, to acquire jobs that are fairly paid, offer stability and reasonable hours, and in the U.S., enable them to send their children to college.

The implications of a concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, the oligarchs and mega-corporations, are horrendous. Not the least is the undermining of democracy. Those who vote for and support the oligarchs because they think that’s where their security lies are victims of propaganda and bound for disappointment. The shadow of catastrophe (not too strong a word) that hangs over us is not due to the poor or the “other” who doesn’t look like us, worship the same God, or speak the same language, but to the 1%.  Huxley was disconcertingly prescient.


This month our core team and guest contributors create a picture that beckons and behoves us to abandon stereotypes and propaganda about the poor, to recognize slave labor in its most absolute terms (human trafficking and prison labor) and more subtly in the conditions faced by workers at almost all levels of the corporate pyramid. We are called to ethically source the products we buy, to study our history, to bravely speak out against injustice and stupidity and, by implication, to shine a light on best-practices, those programs, services and unofficial efforts in your city/town, region or country that are helping and that can easily be implemented anywhere in the world. (You can share these with everyone via our Facebook discussion group.)

Beginning with Juli’s impassioned editorial, The Exponential Demise of Our Well-being, and moving to our BeAttitudes: John Anstie’s powerful Dictators and Desperadoes … Delegation and Democracy; Corina Ravenscraft’s and Trace Lara Hentz’ thoughtful invitations to awareness; Phillip T. Stephens on prison injustice; Sue Dreamwalker’s encouragement to see the homeless as fully human (and she connects us with homeless poets and artists in England); and Joe Hesch’s honest exploration of self, we are called to responsibly participate in history.

We present a memoir from Renee Espriu and a short story from Joe Hesch this month. These are followed by yet another stellar poetry collection from poets around the world, including work by core-team members: Charles W. Martin and John Anstie.

New to our pages, a warm welcome to: Juli [Juxtaposed], Sue Dreamwalker, Michael Odiah, Evelyn Augusto, Michele Riedele, Irene Emmanuel and bogpan. We welcome work from among our previous and regular contributors: Paul Brookes, Trace Lara Hentz, Renee Espriu, Sonja Benskin Mescher, Denise Fletcher, Phillip T. Stephens, R.S. Chappell, Rob Cullen and Mark Heathcote.

In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes, Founding and Managing Editor, The BeZine


HUNGER, POVERTY and THE WORKING CLASS AS SLAVE LABOR

How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:

Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


EDITORIAL

The Exponential Demise of Our Wellbeing, Juli [Juxtaposed]

BeATTITUDES

Dictators and Desperadoes … Delegation and Democracy, John Anstie
Change Your View and Your View Changes, Corina Ravenscraft
‘Til the Jails Are Empty, Phillip T. Stephens
Blessed Be, Lara Trace Hentz
Homeless, Sue Dreamwalker
Ramble Tramble, Joseph Hesch

MEMOIR

Meeting Poverty, Renee Espriu

SHORT SHORT STORY

And Crown Thy Good, Joseph Hesch

POETRY

As if …, John Anstie

Carolina Oriole, Evelyn Augusto

Ecomium, bogpan

Crow Share, Paul Brookes
Means Tester, Paul Brookes
A Hunger, Paul Brookes
The Good Employer’s Manifesto, Paul Brookes

Bitter limp fruit, Rob Cullen
Life in complicated times, Rob Cullen

Empty Pocket, R.S. Chappell
War Over Hunger, R.S. Chappell

proud at unjustified margins, Jamie Dedes
an accounting, Jamie Dedes

A Thread of Hope, Denise Fletcher

Dustbowl, Mark Heathcote
Humanitarian help worker, Mark Heathcote

Togetherness, Irene Immanuel

a slave’s mentality, Charles W. Martin

#ice&mud, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Nautilus, Michele Riedel

Life, Michael Odiah

EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED,
ALL WORKS IN “THE BeZINE” ©2017 BY THE AUTHOR / CREATOR


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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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.

We have a goal . . .

Behind the scenes at The BeZine we’re working to pull together the wealth of insight and artistry shared for 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change into a commemorative page, the content of which will also be archived at Stanford University, Stanford, California. Thank you to all who contributed, read, commented, shared links and supported this worthwhile effort at The BeZine blog as a virtual event or in one of some 500 cities around the world.

While the big event is over for this year, the goals are ongoing as this video indicates. The work for Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice is a never-ending journey. So the question each one of us asks ourselves is what next? What action can I take? What small part of the big project can I take on? It is, after all, up to each of us to “be the change.”

The Mission …

Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation<br/>Moshe Dekel (age 5)

Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation by Moshe Dekel (age 5)

Reblogged from: The BeZine blog, 26 September 2015.  This is our mission for our 100TPC event, which is still open to submission from you. Much appreciation to Michael Dickel for this and for MCing the day …

Welcome to the 5th year of 100,000 Poets (Musicians, Artists, Mimes…) for Change, and the 2015 edition of The BeZine Online 100TPC Event! If you’ve done this before and you know the score, skip to the comments or Mister Linky at the bottom of the post and begin. If you are wondering, hey, what are you folks up to then check out some serious non-fiction here:

Our mission here today as poets, writers, artists, photographers, musicians and friends is a sort-of fission for change—a burning with and expression of the desire for peace, environmental and economic sustainability, social justice, inclusion, equity and opportunity for all. We seek through our art to do a bit of old-fashioned consciousness raising, to stimulate thought and action leading to the kind of change that is sustainable, compassionate and just, and to engage in the important theme of the issues facing humanity today—but all with a goal to alleviate suffering and foster peace. We don’t want to just “talk about it,” we want words, art and music that help us take action in some way for positive change wherever we are in our lives, in our world.

We see a complex inter-woven relationship between peace, sustainability, and social justice. We all recognize that when people are marginalized and disenfranchised, when they are effectively barred from opportunities for education and viable employment, when they can’t feed themselves or their families or are used as slave labor, there will inevitably be a backlash, and we’re seeing that now in violent conflicts, wars and dislocation. Climatologists have also linked climate change, with its severe weather changes and recent droughts, to the rise violence in the world, and even contributing to inequities in areas – like Syria – where a severe drought destabilized food production and the economy, contributing to the unrest that led to the civil war, according to one study.

Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulged much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civial war and ISIS conflict

Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulfed much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civil war and ISIS conflict

There are too many people living on the streets and in refugee camps, too many whose lives are at subsistence level, too many children who die before the age of five (as many as four a minute dying from hunger, according to one reliable study—more info), too many youth walking through life with no education, no jobs and no hope. It can’t end well…

Syrian refugee camp, photo: The Telegraph

Syrian refugee camp
photo: The Telegraph

More than anything, our mission is a call to action, a call to work in your own communities where ever you are in the world, and to focus on the pressing local issues that contribute to conflict, injustice, and unsustainable economic and environmental practices. The kind of change we need may well have to be from the ground up, all of us working together to create peaceful, sustainable and just cultures that nurture the best in all the peoples of this world.

Poverty and homelessness are evergreen issues historically, but issues also embedded in social and political complexity. They benefit the rich, whose economic system keeps most of the rest of us as, at best, “wage slaves,” and all too many of us in poverty, without enough to provide for basic needs or housing (including the “working poor,” who hold low-paying jobs while CEOs are paid record-breaking salaries and bonuses in the global capitalist system). We are united in our cries against the structures of injustice, where the rich act as demigods and demagogues. We have to ask of what use will all their riches be in the face of this inconceivable suffering and the inevitable backlash from the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need fairness, not greed.

So, with this mission in mind, and with the complexity of the interrelationships of social justice, sustainability and peace as a framework, we focus on hunger and poverty, two basic issues and major threads in the system of inequality and injustice that need addressing throughout the world.

We look forward to what you have to share, whether the form is poetry, essay, fiction, art, photography, documentary, music, or hybrids of any of these—and we want to engage in an ongoing conversation through your comments on all of the above as you not only share your own work here today but visit and enjoy the work of others, supporting one another with your “likes” and comments, starting or entering into dialogues with writers, artists and musicians throughout the world and online viewers, readers, listeners.

Think globally, act locally, form community.

—Michael Dickel, Jerusalem (with G. Jamie Dedes, California, USA)

DIRECTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION

Share links to your relevant work or that of others in a comment The BeZine blog post HERE or by using Mister Linky below. To use Mister Linky, just click on the graphic. (Note: If you are sharing someone else’s work, please use your name in Mister Linky, so we can credit you as the contributor—we will give the author / artist name in the comments, from the link when we post the link in a comment.)

You may leave your links or works in the comment section of The BeZine post HERE. If you are sharing the work of another poet or artist, however, please only use a link and not the work itself.

In addition to sharing, we encourage you to visit others and make connections and conversation. To visit the links, click on Mister Linky (the Mister Linky graphic above) and then on the links you see there. (Some Mister Linky-links can be viewed in the comments section after we re-post them.)

28 September 2015 note: In addition to what you’ll find through Mister Linky, you’ll see that there are many many pieces in the comments section or links to them.  We haven’t tallied everything yet, but we think we’re approaching 75 or 80 works.  J.D.

Thank you! 

All links will be collected into a dedicated Page here at The BeZine and also archived at 100TPC.

Thank you for your participation. Let the conversation begin …