glory our broken bodies and the broken gods that haunt our lives, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

 

“Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.” Leonard Cohen (b. 1934), Canadian musician, singer/songwriter, poet and novelist



Walkers are lined-up neat by the dining room,
like race horses at the starting gate and the
Asians wear crosses, insured by Christianity.
The Europeans find comfort in Vipassana,
Savor the ironies. Hallelujah. Glory be!

Glory be, Hallelujah; glory our broken bodies
and the broken gods that haunt our lives
Praise in all perfect and fractured Hallelujahs

At three they’re viewing Brokeback Mountain,
but I’m staying in my room, playing Hallelujah!
Compressor humming in the background.
I’m just toking O2, pondering the complexities,
savoring the ironies. Hallelujah. Glory be!

Glory be, Hallelujah, glory the broken bodies
and the broken gods that haunt our lives
Praise in all perfect and fractured Hallelujahs

© 2016, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem in praise of all the hallelujahs, the perfect and the fractured, an affirmation of ultimate faith in life despite the broken places and the ironies.  Share your poem/s or a link to it/them in the comments section below.

All poems shared on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time participating in The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com in order to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-).  These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

Deadline:  Monday, June 25 at 8 p.m. PDT.

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, sharing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.

“desecratory deliverance”… and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


I think it is safe to say that this week’s responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Environmental Justice, February 7, a gift to us from Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace, striving to live gracefully) and Steve Wiencek (Scholar and Poet Books, EBay and Scholar and Poet Books, Abe Books ), are consistently marked with an awareness and appreciation that gives us hope for the future .

We extend a warm welcome to poet and musician Dick Jones, new to Wednesday Writing Prompt, and a warm thank you to our treasured regulars: Colin Blundell, Paul Brookes, Kakali Das Ghosh, and Sonja Benskin Mesher and to occasional participants Gary W. Bowers and Denise Aileen DeVires. Welcome back! 

The Northern Maronite Basilica in Brad (Barad), Aleppo courtesy of Hani Simo under CC BY 2.0

I’m pleased that Dick chose to write about Abu Ward, a citizen of Aleppo, the city from which my family sailed from the Middle East to come to the United States a little more than a century ago. CNN called Abu Ward the “last Syrian gardener.” He’s not, of course, though there are few like him. Nonetheless, how some support their spirit in the face of a tragedy so monumental is remarkable.

Like my Lebanese grandmother before me, I season my cooking with Aleppo Pepper. I know that it no longer comes from these beautiful people and their cultured city, which was one of the oldest in world. To say the heart aches is understatement. Rest in peace, Abu Ward, and all victims of this multifaceted violence. The peoples of Syria are not forgotten.

Join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging or pro. See you then … Meanwhile, enjoy – and perhaps be inspired by – this rather special collection.


ABU WARD

‘The presence of the world is flowers’.
Abu Ward

This was the man
who planted flowers

where the bombs
were falling.

This is his son
who kneels alone

by the garden gate.
The dust he pushes

around their stems
with his thumb is where

his father lives now.
And each flower

will lift some dust
as it rises in spring.

Abu Ward (from the Arabic for ‘Father of the Flowers’) maintained his carefully nurtured flower garden during the worst of Assad’s systematic bombing of Aleppo. He was killed by a bomb dropped near his home. His son Ibrahim left school at thirteen to help his father. After Abu Ward’s death, Ibrahim attempted to maintain the garden, which is now closed. Sadly, in this instance, environmental justice has been, as so often, a victim of warfare.

© 2018, Dick Jones (Sisyphus Ascending)

DICK JONES says he was initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats. He has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of fifteen. His work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review. In 2010 he received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea Of Stars. His first collection, Ancient Lights was published by Phoenicia Publishing and is available from them or via Amazon. His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ epic poem La Prose du Trans-Siberien… was published in an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press in 2014. Dick writes lyrics and plays bass guitar in acoustic/electric songwriting trio Moorby Jones.


as you take the road to Paradise

about half-way there
you come to an inn
which even as inns go is admirable

you go into the garden of it
and see the great trees and the wall
of Box Hill shrouding you all round

it is beautiful enough (in all conscience)
to arrest you without the need of history
or any admixture of pride of place

but as you sit in a seat in the garden
you are sitting where Nelson sat
when he said goodbye to Emma;

if you move a yard or two you will be
where Keats sat biting his pen
thinking out some new line of poem

© 2018, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)

From Colin’s ‘The Recovery of Wonder’ 2013


desecratory deliverance

we have grown to love distillates

bagged sugar cherry extract oil
of cloves buckminsterfullerene

essences pantheonized for delectation
bottled genies at our command

we so love purities
fleece white as snow
anthracite darkly dense
radial 24-caratotomy
kruggerrandom acts
and we feel godlike
magicmongering

we soupify the sky
we landfillet the lakes
sadsaturate soil
slagsilt the seven seas

it is a remorseless juggernaut
this megamodular magicker
and some of us are waking up

some of us want a different magic
the magic of the camper
who goes sees enjoys records
leaves the site none the worse

some of us want a reckoning
a calling to account
shame and punishment
some of us want to be sheriffs

but YOU STOP THAT NOW
is just like any other war
on any other badguy

and artificial value
has yielded unartificial power
and corruptive pushback
and corrosive continuance

deliverance must come
as with any other childbirth
spasmodically and with some blood
crowning and pushing through membrane
a slap and a gasp and a wail

our magical recording
and
transmitting devices will help
ill-gotten gains though they be

our one-person choices will help
at least
the enormity of the challenge
the size and perversity of the beast
will be revealed
as you yes you
give up your midas’s vehicles
stop eating the factory-farmed
children of hell’s misery
and reduce
the
“places you must see before you die”
to
zero

serve up justice to yourselves
and fire the single brick
of your life’s commitment
in the kiln
of paradise

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)


A Matter Of England

I stroll the matter of England
every workday. Recall rich
ancestral lords use miners sweat
lay clanking rails, raise putrid stench,
employ.

I walk the matter of England
see lives snatched by unmarked
uniforms, history laid waste
to make a point and remove sting
of sweated labour

I tread the matter of England everytime I chronicle the artificial lake, pit demolished, rails removed, soil has been moved on, seasonal.

Decipher its taste when we in/exhale its dust, decode invasions private/public, ingest new blood, remember old.

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

Land Is History

is a past pitman.
ancestor, a nailmaker
whose strong coffin nails
stout fasten the woods
grain swish as land without
skeleton to hold its’ skin.

Both open cast places.
where redundancy rips
old features from their faces,
old skulls from beneath their skins.

Redundancy within weeks drains the Dearne from their arteries, smooths disused canals from their cheeks, wetlands asset-stripped from their eyes.

And children sit on father’s knee as on a hill hear how men
made hills a sack of land
a weight of meaning
emptied.

Land no longer propped
by miners hands
subsides

into history.

© 2017, Paul Brookes  (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

(Land is History is from Paul’s first pamphlet: “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, 1993, revised 2017)

We Stop Decay

devote lives to prevent decay
of wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our minds,
faculties of our hearts

Each day we weed, we resow,
rework, rebuild
the wood, breath, bone, brick,
gardens of our hearts,
faculties of our minds.

Laugh to heal the stench
of rot, worm eaten
brick, bone, breath, wood
landscape of flesh
fresh produce of light.

Born to decay in decay
heal the ever opening wound
brick, bone, breath, wood
flesh of landscape
light produce of flesh.

Laugh.

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

Purple Moors

were once forests
national parks heavy industrial
this oak headland a pitsite

lads snap off livelimbs
anarchic coppicing
black dogshitbags sway
on limbs left alone

don’t visit in a storm
oaks are lightningtrees
people can be oaks

oakgroves of druids
duir means a door
exit and entrance

raw open wounds of sacrifice
still bleed sap

this hand has molded
a garden out of wildlife
words out of nonsense

she used to say “when
one door closes
another opens”

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


Village Circle

Cactus seedlings nestle in the shade
of green-trunked nurse trees, creosote
and heart leaf limber bush.

Elf owl and gilded flicker nestlings
rest in cozy, cool saguaro boots
above beetles building galleries.

Long-nosed bats sup on pollen and nectar;
pack rats pillage ripe vermillion fruit.

All, like me, look forward to rain.

© 2018, Denise Aileen DeVries (Bilocalalia)


#For Your Future’s Sustenance #

O my son!

Raise your head
I’m your benevolent mother
My eyes -your azure sky
When you are blown by caustic fervor
My brimming watery eyes turn into serene raindrops to alleviate you
My hands -your verdurous trees
When you lie wearily on my verdant lap
My hands spread florid twigs to shade you
My moist lips -your rivers
When your thirst touches me
Words of my lips turn into rivulets to kiss you to mitigate your thirst
Now -my son
Why are you burning my eyes with your voluminous black smoke
Why are you cutting my hands with your severe axe so grimly
Why are you tearing my lips throwing poisonous blues
I’m your mother earth
I’m your reason of survival -with snowy peaks
-golden flowers
-dancing rivers
Wouldn’t you be just to me
Wouldn’t you be fair to me
Not only for me but also
For your nourishment
For your children’s nutriment
For your future’s sustenance ages after ages …

©2018, Kakali Das Ghosh


.. spaces..

connect with spaces,
you may move differently.
sound different.

a specific style of dancing?

which reveals the environment as a character,

animation through animated intent

or something.

Johann Botha said this.
he is in Pretoria, he is
part of our audience

another sat quietly.
it can be dark.

the date is set.

24 this month
of winter

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)

.earth & #8211..

he asked me what i missed, i told him.

he suggests we look after the environment.

eat carefully, mind our ways.

i will.

these are the falling days.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


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DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE: Wednesday Writing Prompt


Given the media reports on the U.S., you might think we are the only ones with gun violence problems. Unfortunately we are not alone.  According to a Global Burden of Disease study in 2013, firearms were the cause of 180,000 deaths worldwide, up from 128,000 in 1990.  Approximately 47,000 were unintentional.

 “The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems — and in most years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as ‘weapons of mass destruction’.” — Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, March 2000

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, there are many countries that surpass United States in gun violence. These are largely in the Caribbean and Central America,  the result of gangs and drug trafficking.

A recent feature in Forbes Magazine reports that annual firearm-related deaths in the Philippines are 9.46 per 100,000 and 9.41 per 100,000 in South Africa. According to Kaiser Foundation the U.S. is at 11.1 per 100,000.

“From 1979 to 1997, almost 30,000 people in the United States alone died from accidental firearm injuries. A disproportionately high number of these deaths occurred in parts of the United States where firearms are more prevalent.” Wikipedia

The presence of guns in households and the ease of acquiring guns contribute to the numbers of successful suicides. In fact, my sister died from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the head. She was twenty-seven and I was thirteen. It’s been fifty-four years but I have never stopped wondering how and where she acquired a weapon and how she learned to use it.

“There are more than 875 million firearms in the world, 75 per cent of them in the hands of civilians. Guns outnumber passenger vehicles by 253 million, or 29 per cent. Each year about eight million new small arms, plus 10 to 15 billion rounds of ammunition are manufactured — enough bullets to shoot every person in the world not once, but twice.The authorised international trade in small arms and ammunition exceeds US $7.1 billion each year.” GunPolicy.org (hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health)

ACCORDING TO THE GENEVA CONVENTION ON ARMED VIOLENCE AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • More than 740,000 people have died directly or indirectly from armed violence – both conflict and criminal violence – every year in recent years.
  • More than 540,000 of these deaths are violent, with the vast majority occurring in non-conflict settings.
  • The annual economic cost of armed violence in non-conflict settings, in terms of lost productivity due to violent deaths, is USD 95 billion and could reach as high as USD 163 billion – 0.14 percent of the annual global GDP.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

Today, for Wednesday Writing Prompt, we tackle gun violence. In concert with poet Evelyn Augusto of Dueling with Words to Stop Gun Violence, I ask you to bare witness and to do the work of raising the communal consciousness of this critical issue, especially the consciousness of those who feel the need to carry guns, those for whom a gun is part of their identity. This is the first time I’ve invited a guest to post a prompt and I do so because Evelyn has made a commitment to this cause.  You can read more about what she’s doing HERE.

– Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Tony Webster under CC BY 2.0.


“537 children under the age of eleven have been killed or injured by gun violence in the United States this year alone, according to Gun Violence.org.” Evelyn Augusto

U R Not Your Gun

(For Shaun)

You are: The sound of your mother’s voice calling your name and your father’s
chance for a better life–not his,
but yours, because it’s too late for him,
but not for you…not yet, unless you forget

U R Not Your Gun.

You are your greatest fantasy and
someone’s best friend and another’s
first love. You are shelter
from the storm.
You are memory and risk and reward.
You are tougher than your
disappointments, you are kinder
than you imagine, you are everything
that child you once were
wanted to be and more. But

U R Not Your Gun–

not grey and cold and lifeless.
Not unforgiving like that. Not hollow or predictable. Not dangerous.

U R Not Your Gun. You are someone
I can love.

© October 2017, Evelyn Augusto for GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE POETS DO… 


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem…post a poem….Stop gun violence.

If you feel comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below. All work shared on theme will be published by The Poet by Day next Tuesday and also on GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE, POETS DO…DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE . Anyone is welcome to take part in Wednesday Writing Prompt no matter the status as a poet: beginning, emerging or established. You have until next Monday at 8 pm PST to respond.


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At the Dead of Noon, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

A screenshot for “Duck and Cover” (1952), early cold war era propaganda film for children (U.S. Public Domain)

If you weren’t there
you can hardly imagine the beauty,
the exquisite peace of those hot summers
Sun as bright as a child’s heart
Trees thickly leaved and old as God
Heat rising off the nubby concrete
in mighty rainbow waves and life
moving in time to the music of paradise
Or, so it seemed to preschoolers at play

At the dead of noon
a stillness
Even the child sensed it
that transcendent moment,
nature in quiet meditation
no breeze
no sighs
no butterflies winging
children stopped playing
grown-ups stopped working
the Hudson Bay stilled its roiling

when
suddenly
the beloved city choked on the swell of an air-raid siren ….

…. testing

just testing

just blowing a chill wind into
languid days of childhood dreaming
toddlers crying for toddler reasons
well-trained grade-school children
diving under oak desks for the required

. . . duck

and cover

As if that would save us from extinction.

© 2011, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

The cold war: there was so much revealed by the singularity of that time. What crazy quirks do you remember or have you heard about from those you know who lived through it?

If you are comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below.  All shared pieces will be published on this site next Tuesday.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY