…the burning… a poem by Sonja Benskin Mesher

My apologies to Sonja and to readers. This poem was scheduled to appear in the March 2019 issue of the Zine, themed Waging Peace. Somehow it dropped out of the line-up. It’s an excellent poem and I know you’ll find yourself touched. / J.D.



he said the flames

came over the trees.

behind the buildings.

bombed the buildings.

so do not wonder why

i don’t play soldiers,

lay them down to die.

he says that i will not battle,

i am no good at it.

too peaceful. i can play

hospitals.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA UA
Sonja Benskin Mesher‘s (sonja-benskin-mesher.net) is a woman of many talents including Asemic Writing. You’ll find samples of her Asemic Writing by rummaging around HERE. Sonja’s bio is HERE.

ABOUT

The BeZine, March 2019, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Themed: Waging Peace

The Mass of Humanity from the Fountain of Time Sculpture by Lorado Taft

“May there be peace in the heavens, peace in the atmosphere, peace on the earth. Let there be coolness in the water, healing in the herbs and peace radiating from the trees. Let there be harmony in the planets and in the stars, and perfection in eternal knowledge. May everything in the universe be at peace. Let peace pervade everywhere, at all times. May I experience that peace within my own heart.” Yajur Veda 36.17)



At The BeZine when we discuss Waging Peace, we mean radical peace. We mean putting down weapons and using words. We are realists. We don’t envision a utopia. We do envision compromise, an imperfect peace but peace non-the-less.

Some of our contributors rightfully see Waging Peace as a path that starts with inner peace. Others were moved to bear witness, to raise consciousness, or to imagine a world at peace and some are inspired to suggest potential solutions.

It’s quite a package we gift you with today from poets and writers representing several of the world’s wisdom traditions and about ten countries including those of the U.K., Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, and the U.S.. Soul stirring. Thought provoking.  Satisfying.

Thanks to all our contributors, to our core team members, and to the readers who are an important part of this effort. Please read, “like”, and comment. You – and your thoughts – are valued.

On behalf of The Bardo Group Begines
and in the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

Photo credit: Fountain of Time courtesy of Johntb17  (Wikipedia) under CC BY-SA 3.0

TABLE OF CONTENTS


How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents or you can click HERE and scroll through the entire zine.

BEATITUDES


Keeping Quiet, Pablo Neruda

Peace Rocks and Peace Roles, Corina Ravenscraft

Insecurity …, John Anstie

Pity the Nation and Let Us Be Poets, Voices of the Poet Prophets, Khalil Gibran & Lawrence Ferlinghetti

POEMS


There’s a Chance, Johannes Beilharz

The Love in the Heart, Faruk Buzhala

The Way of Blessing, Wendy Bourke
Righteous Path, Wendy Bourke

Ethnic Cleanser, Paul Brooks
A Wealth, Paul Brookes
On Innocence, Paul Brookes
I’m Just About, Paul Brookes
Warlord, Paul Brookes
Two Tied, Paul Brookes
She Says, Paul Brookes

Ancient Messenger, Judy Capurso

At the End of War, DeWitt Clinton

Under Siege, Mahmoud Darwish

The Flautist Wears a Shaman’s Headdress, Jamie Dedes
The Plotting of a Story, Jamie Dedes
The Razor’s Edge, Jamie Dedes

Peace Alphabet, Michael Dickel
Here I Stand, Michael Dickel

Picket Fences, Irma Do
Tundra, Irma Do
Recycling Shakespeare for a Better World, Irma Do

Why You Came to Earth, Tikvah Feinstein

Boats on Blue, Joan Leotta
Damascus Cloak, Joan Leotta

the rock tumbler, Charles W. Martin

My Five-Five Fingers, Tomisin Olusala Martins
Flowers of Embers, Tomisin Olusala Martins

Only Collaboration, Carolyn O’Connell

Totem Stump, Myra Schneider

Open Door, Moe Seager

The Irony of Plowshares, Mike Stone

Drop the Guns and Let Us Be Poets, Anjum Wasim Dar

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

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

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 on the Zine blog and The Poet by Day.

The BeZine, March 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 1 – Waging Peace


“We carry the world in our hearts: the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the Earth, the hunger of the starving, the joy of every laughing child.”
—Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B (b. 1936), Benedictine nun, author, and speaker

As we wage peace in this quarter’s The BeZine you’ll find exquisitely confirmed what you already know: that while the psychopaths and sociopaths will always be with us, so will the sane and sensible who are able to sit in contemplation, to recognize insanity and injustice, to frame the questions and outline issues, to open dialog and take action that will help to keep or generate the calm and rational, all first steps to a more peaceable H. sapiens kingdom.

Thank you to the contributors to this edition of The BeZine and to the twelve-member  Bardo Group Beguines core team. Special thanks also to Mike Stone and Terri Stewart for writing introductions to this quarter’s two subsections: Migration (Mike) and March on Guns (Terri).  Much much appreciation to Michael Dickel for his technical assistance and innovation.  And always, thanks to readers for their time, energy, comments and shares. You are an important part of this peace-loving collective.

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
—Author and counselor, L.R. Knost

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community,

—Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor
The BeZine

TABLE OF CONTENTS


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.


WAGING  PEACE


BeAtitudes

This Much I Know | Vandana Shiva
The Roots of Bombs | Thich Nhát Hanh
Something Helpless | Rainer Maria Rilke
Jung Drops in for Tea | Michael Watson

Photo-Story

Flowers (are like people) | Naomi Baltuck

Special Feature

A Defense of Activist Poetry | Michael Dickel

Poetry

Moon Child | John Anstie
Sunday | John Anstie

Obligations | Wendy Brown-Baez
A Taste of Honey | Wendy Brown-Baez
A Poem for Oliver | Wendy Brown-Baez

Finding | Paul Brookes
Luck, Blind and Veiled | Paul Brookes
Yon Dream Cross Had | Paul Brookes

time for the temple whores to sleep with insanity | Jamie Dedes

Peace in the House | Michael Dickel
Peace Conceit | Michael Dickel

A Friend Speaks of Tibet | Sam Hamill

She Was So Pretty When We Were Young | Joseph Hesch
Dreams of Wolf Creek, Kansas | Joseph Hesch

Why Do You Love to Hate Me | Agufa Kivuya

Rest Now, Rest | Edward Lee
The Never Ending Fall | Edward Lee
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programing | Edward Lee

catalyst | Charles W. Martin
anthem | Charles W. Martin

A Regiment of Leaves | Osama Massarwa

Bloody Revolutions | Joshua Medsker

The Edge After | Corina Ravenscraft

Peace | Sravani Singampalli

Gesture | Phillip T. Stephens

III | Pleasant Street

A Tale of Two Cities | Mike Stone
On a Passage from the Mishna | Mike Stone

News from the Front: Guernica is Drapped | John Sullivan

A Taste for Juicy Zobo-Blood | Martins Tomisin
Steal a Glance at the Sky | Martins Tomisin


MIGRATION


by Mike Stone

I’m both a third-generation American and a first-generation Israeli. My immediate roots are English-Scotch-Irish and Russian. That said, except those born in a narrow region of Africa, we are all immigrants who came from Africa (and most Africans probably are immigrants within Africa), our motherland, and we come from all men (and women) and our descendants will go to all men and women.

We have all tasted the double-edged sword of fear and hope upon entering a new land, a new life, carrying our hungry children and our infirm parents on our backs, only some of us have forgotten or cannot see through the thick mists of time. When we think about it, we must realize just how lucky we are to be immigrants and to be able to contemplate our roots.

Being an immigrant confers on us huge advantages, like those of being able to speak two or more languages or to be able to consider two or more points of view. I’m reminded of the well-known lines of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!” Immigrants carry their homes on their backs. They never quite leave the homes of their old country but, as soon as they set foot on new shores, they must build new homes and new lives, because they can no longer live in the old ones.

When an immigrant walks alone in a strange new land, he walks with the ghosts of friends and loved ones he left behind. If you came to this land before the newly arrived immigrant, it’s not enough to welcome him. You should also show him empathy by listening to the stories and the ghosts he carries on his back. Yes, an immigrant might need your help, especially in the beginning when everything is brand spanking new to him. Yes, in an attempt to provide for his family and be less dependent on your charity, he may be willing to work for less than you’d be willing to work for, just to get out from under the guillotine of abject poverty. Yes, if he works beside you, he may work longer hours or do better work than you, but consider whether you would rather pull him down or have him lift you up, which he would gladly do to return your generosity.

It’s been said that new immigrants, like new religious converts, see their new country through rose-colored glasses. That’s not completely true. They see through eyes of hope. They want to see the good. The not-so-good frightens and pains them, but being an immigrant doesn’t mean they see their adopted motherland only through rose-colored glasses, as though all is great when it isn’t so great. Sometimes, when you love something so much and you see it coming to harm, you lash out at the thing harming it and want to protect what is innocent and good in your new country with your body and soul. If you want to feel what it’s like to be an immigrant in a new country like yours, to be a stranger in a strange land, read the poems and a story by Anjum Wasim Dar (links below, in the Table of Contents).

Mike Stone  (Uncollected Works)

Special Feature

Song of Kashmir | Anjum Wasim Dar

Poetry

Reluctant Immigrant | Lisa Ashley

Refugee | Paul Brookes
Refugees Rule Each | Paul Brookes
Our Edge | Paul Brookes
My Daddy | Paul Brookes

..wouldst thou be pm, an abbreviation.. | Sonja Benskin Mesher
#russian | Sonja Benskin Mesher
.shopping in town. | Sonja Benskin Mesher
.the questionnaire. | Sonja Benskin Mesher
.another country. | Sonja Benskin Mesher

The Visitor | Mike Stone
Call of the Whippoorwill | Mike Stone
The Old Colossus | Mike Stone

The Partition | Anjum Wasim Dar


MARCH ON GUNS


by Terri Stewart

Gun violence is at the center of our attention for the current moment. The shooting in Parkland, Florida where seventeen people were killed by a mass shooting. [I am intentionally leaving the shooter’s name out of the conversation.] We have been riveted by this moment since 2013, that is in the last five years, 291 times. 291 times. And we have not taken meaningful action. Granted, some shootings are more grandiose than other school shootings. But does the number of people killed make a difference? Is there a magical tipping point of the number of folks murdered that will suddenly create a call to action?

I don’t think so. The United States embodies a culture of violence that is rooted in our inability to create meaningful reform. What may be different this time is that the youth are rising up with a clear and steady message:

Sensible reform now.

Republican or Democrat, if you take money from the NRA, we will hold you accountable.

We are registering to vote.

This is #NotJustParkland.

This has spread across the United States. Here, in Washington state, nearly as far away from Parkland as possible, students are organizing. Adults are joining in. There is a forming March For Our Lives (or March on Guns) movement. The dates of marches are:

It is not enough that we sit in our safety and support others to do the hard work of creating change. It is time for action.

I teach Bystander Intervention Training. In that training, I talk about discernment as part of the process of knowing what to do. What to risk. Can you put your body on the line? Do it! Can you risk arrest? Do it! Can you write persuasive testimony? Do it! Can you talk to your neighbor about common sense gun reform? Do it! Do what you can do. Risk what you can risk.

In many ways, there are two things that I think are very important. Showing up and being thoughtful. If you can show up to one of the walkouts or marches, then please do. The more our bodies are counted as standing against the culture of violence, the better. Numbers matter.

Second, have that difficult conversation. Do not descend into a shouting match. Here’s your task before you have a real dialogue with that person in your life who is wedded to the idea of no need for gun reform.

1-Reflect on your position. Become informed. Know what a bump stock is. Use the internet to help you.

2-Encounter the skeptic and ask some questions. Be curious not judgmental. Listen to their story.

3-Here’s the hard part. Find a place in their story to connect. Relate a personal story that connects in some way to their story. Maybe it is a concern about safety – For example, “I understand that protecting your family is important. My house was burglarized. I lived with fear of other people for a while after that happened.” Empathy is important.

4-Find a way to expand their thinking. Finish the story. Use different language – this isn’t about gun control but about gun reform. We put limits on most of our rights, such as limits on a free press, limits on free speech.

  • We definitely need mental health reform in the United States. Currently our best mental health treatment is prisons. That is unhelpful for all of us!
  • We know that there is a correlation between domestic violence and mass shooters. Tightening up access to guns for known domestic violence offenders would be a big step.
  • We know that people start out with a regular gun and buy bits and pieces, like bump stocks, that enable them to be created into killing machines. We can regulate bump stocks.
  • We need to study violence with guns in order to really know what the problem is. We can fund the CDC doing research rather than blindly shooting at unknown targets. (see what I did there?!)
  • We need to make sure our databases that do background checks are fully operational and work at capacity.
  • And we need to make sure every person that buys a gun should have a gun. Keeping guns in the hands of legal, careful gun owners.

If you can get one person to move towards one of these positions, you will have succeeded. But you must keep calm and keep curious and not take up too much space in your own opinion.

I hope that you are successful in creating a space where you can move into doing what is right for you as we march together in response to violence with guns.

Peace,

Rev. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again, The BeZine, Youth Chaplaincy Coalition)

PS: I want to recognize Dr. David Campt for the outline of the method of communication above.


Eds. Note: Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, founders of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) organization, have been working with poet-activists to organize 100TPC anti-gun / memorial readings throughout Florida for March and April. More information here.


Please scroll down for features and poems on this topic.

we can be heroes

  

Features

From the Desk of a Gunshot Survivor | Evelyn Augusto

Sex and the Second Amendment | James R. Cowles

A Moral Failure | Jamie Dedes

A Letter from Vermont: A Near Miss | Michael Watson

Poetry

Two Lamentations | Michael Dickel

The No Peace Piece | Corina Ravenscraft


EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE NOTED,
ALL WORKS IN “THE BEZINE” ©2018 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

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

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.

Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration


Later today I’ll post the responses from readers to last Wednesday’s writing prompt, which is usual every Tuesday. Meanwhile . . . 

In December 2015 world events led to a spontaneous eleventh hour special section – Waging the Peace –  in The BeZine, which I edit. This seems a propitious moment to bring to the fore once again those ideas, ideals and experiences shared with us by Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Rev. Ben Meyers, Father Daniel Sormani, C.S. Sp., Sophia Ali-Khan, Israeli-American poet Michael Dickel, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi. Thanks to all of them and to Carla Prater, the assistant director of Buddhist Global Relief for their contributions to this collection and their assistance. I’ve included links to each of the features in table of contents for Waging the Peace. It is below the following introductory remarks.

Rabbi SteinBerg-Caudill (the Interfaith Rabbi) is a teacher who espouses a Jewish Spirituality and Universalist teaching for the future brotherhood of all people. When I contacted him about this effort he reminded me of what surely should be foremost in our minds and hearts:

“The Hebrew word for PEACE – שלום – does not imply a lack of strife. It implies instead WHOLENESS, COMPLETION. If one is in a state of peace, he can still be whole in a time of chaos.”

Rev. Meyers of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo also counsels inner peace with his You are the promise … the one … the hope. Rev. Meyers says:

“I understand and often share the ‘urge of urgency’ over the peacefulness of peace. But this I also know: We live at the intersection of action and reflection.”

Father Sormani, a Spiritan priest who has lived and worked in Algeria and Dubai and is now teaching theology at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, asks What Have We Done that People Can Pick-up Weapons and Kill. Father Dan says:

“We have become our own worst enemy. Whenever we separate the world into ‘them’ and ‘us’, whenever we accept blind generalizations and cease to see a unique individual before us, whenever we forget we are all victims of carefully orchestrated deceit and deception for wealth and power, the force of darkness wins. Bullets will never win this struggle, only the heart and mind will.”

Lest you missed Sofia Ali-Khan‘s letter, Dear Non-Muslim Allies, which made the rounds on Facebook and was also picked up by some mainstream media, we’ve included it here.

We’ve also included a video recitation of Tunisian poet Anis Chouchéne‘s profoundly moving poem against racism and fanaticism. Chouchène speaks directly to radical Islam  … but I think you’ll agree that he ultimately speaks to the fear in all of us.

“Peace we keep an eye on/while it packs its bags/to abandon our lands, little by little …”

Chouchène concludes as Father Dan does, that we must be able to see the individual.

Michael Dickel‘s poem Mosquitoes (excerpt from his chapbook, War Surrounds Us – 2015, Is a Rose Press), is featured. The poem starts out with Israelis and Palestinians crossing the artificial lines that divide to offer one another condolences on the deaths of their children.  This is a favored poem of mine, especially so because when I initiated The Bardo Group (now The Bardo Group Beguines) in 2011, I had in mind virtual crossing of borders through the arts. (Our mission statement is HERE.) Michael’s poem demonstrates how we are manipulated by the propaganda machine.

We’ve included a short video presentation on the seven steps to peace developed by peace activist, Rabbi Marc Gopin. Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC).

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, an author and teacher. He is the founder of Buddhist Global Relief.  With permission, we offer the 2015 talk he gave at the New Year’s Interfaith Prayer Service, Chuang Yen Monastery. Bhikkhu Bodhi says:

“Real peace is not simply the absence of violent conflict but a state of harmony: harmony between people; harmony between humanity and nature; and harmony within ourselves. Without harmony, the seeds of conflict and violence will always be ready to sprout.

Bhikku Bodhi goes on to analyze the obstacles to achieving world peace, the prerequisites of peace, and the means to realizing these goals.

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

Jamie Dedes,
Founding and Managing Editor of The BeZine.


Waging The Peace
An Interfaith Exploration

You are the promise . . . the one . . . the hope, Rev. Ben Meyers

What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?, Fr. Daniel Sormani, C.S.Sp.

Dear Non-Muslim Allies,  Sofia Ali-Khan

Peace Be Upon You, شوشان – سلام عليكم, Anis Chouchène

Mosquitoes, American-Israeli poet, Michael Dickel, Jewish

Peace Steps: One Man’s Journey Into the Heart of His Enemies, Rabbi Mark Gopin

Waging Peace, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist teacher