Archive for September 2017

OTHER

by Drue BeDo

Hunkering, the inward coil wraps self into self. Ribs hug soul. Notice how, even as the air grows thin, concentrated breathing becomes the language of hope. We’ve been here so many times before. Snakes draw in before they strike. It’s how precision is crafted. Something sharp forms from such compression, yields the gift of alchemy so strong and focused that sidewalks tremble, each weed pushing slow and steady upward. We will defy the force of gravity. And there is such gravity! Our bones are shouting. So listen up: We are the earthquake. We are the tsunami. We are the natural disaster. Call us Hurricane Other. Track the magnitude of our genderfull, agefull, racefull oscillations on the richter scale of seismic transformation. Change is what’s coiling, what’s roiling, what’s calling. Fire and flood; we are the apocalypse. We are hauling our fifty-pound mattresses across unsafe campuses, incinerating the secret sanctified rulebooks of certain tenured professors, politicians, perpetrators whose lip service to social justice in the hallowed halls of white washed wishes and overpriced academe have now pawed one too many pussy. We are toppling the gargoyles, smashing them open in the commons of commonplace. We are airing the deadly laundry. We are standing in the streets, taking up space, exposing the playbooks. We are not singing and placing hands over pounding hearts, we are coiling (not recoiling!) on one knee, finding new notes, creating new scales, hear the hum of a revolution. Listen up pervasive persistent patriarchy! Feel the muscles attached to our thrumming bones; deep in our marrows new oxygen pulses. With air comes intensity. Feel the heat! Pogge, Cosby, Turner, Tag, Freeman, Simpson, Stockley, Pistorius, Wilson, Brantley, Ogawa, Taylor, Souza, Carruth, Danton. We are pushing, pulsing, pushing, pulsing. Pleading is no longer in our lexicon. Listen up! Our bones have grown weary of alleged, pending, questionable, unresolved, vague, purported, unproven, unsubstantiated. We are pushing. Sidewalks crack in every direction, miles and miles and miles. We are Other, Mother, Monster, Moving, Rising, Coiling, Roiling. We are Hill, King, Sanders, Ono, Sulkowicz, Lopez Aguilar, Carson, Kaepernick Union, Davis, Joyner, Graham, Smith, Oliver, Grandin, Hurston, Warren, Angelou, Levy, Tempest…. Yes, feel the tempest!

Other, Mother, Monster, Moving, Rising, Coiling, Roiling.

 

Author’s Bio:  Drue BeDo wields a small but powerful fist of words. Trained as an actor at Columbia University, she is first and foremost a playwright — published with Playscripts.com. In 2003, her adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was performed all over the globe as part of a theatrical act of dissent against, then, President GW Bush’s decision to bomb Iraq. BeDo is currently working on a memoir, and privately coaching writers how to enliven their readings of prose and poetry.

 

 

Resisting in Spain

by Karuna Tzadi Arnold

Helena and Karuna age eleven, played soccer with the boys in their school. But the boys would not let other girls play, as they did not think they were good enough.

The girls complained to their teacher Esther and she decided to have a debate in class.

“Today we are going to discuss the way the fields are divided as the girls do not feel it is fair. The boys have four different ones and the girls have none. What does everyone think?

“The girls don’t know how to play boy games, so why should they have access to the fields?” Miguel said.

“If you’d let the girls play, they would learn,” Helena said.

“It’s always been this way; the girls play other games,” Santi said.

“Maybe it worked for other girls, but we want to play soccer, volleyball and basketball,” Estela said.

“We are the boys and we decide. In my house, the man decides,” Juan said.

“Well, there is no man in my house and my mother decides, so your logic does not apply to me,” Karuna said.

“We live in Spain, and that’s the way it is,” Antonio said.

All the girls voted in favor, so the teacher made a schedule to divide the fields.

On the first day, the girls played soccer the boys began interfering in their game. Making fun of them, kicking the ball and laughing. Helena and Karuna got into a rage and started grabbing boys by their t-shirts and throwing them off the field. Helena was the tallest and strongest in their class even amongst the boys, but they were surprised by Karuna’s strength as she was skinny looking, but due to all the bike riding, climbing trees and fighting with her brother Arcadio, she was stronger than she looked. Their friends Guillermina, Carmen, Estela, Carol, Veronica, Lali, Noelia and Ava started to throw the boys off as well. They got into pulling hair and scratching faces and finally a teacher came to send them all off to the head mistress’s office.

Maria, the headmistress, sat quietly with her short hair and asked the children to explain what had happened. They explained about the debate and what had been decided. She finally looked at the boys and said, “It only seems fair that the girls get to play in all the fields as well. Let’s try it for a month and as long as they are using the fields we will keep to the schedule.  Ok?”

“Okay” they all said. Maria was stern, but fair and everyone respected her.

From that day on the girls played in one of the fields every day and the boys respected the schedule. One day Melchior, Karuna’s brother who later became a professional soccer player, suggested they do an official match with two girl teams. With him as referee, they all met one morning on a Saturday in San Vicente and the first girls’ soccer match in the North of the Island was played in the year of 1986. They later played one more in San Jose in the South of the Island, as there were two girls teams there.

That winter Nick Arnold, Karuna’s grandfather sent her a poem about how brave and how fair she had been. It surprised her, as she had not thought it was such a big deal, she was just reacting to a situation that she thought was unfair, but through his eyes she saw her own brilliance.

Twenty years later Karuna walked down to the school in San Juan and saw the girls playing soccer. She asked them if they had always played and they said yes, they had begun playing in kindergarten. They now had teams and played against other teams. Tears came to her eyes, as she acknowledged how much had changed, not only in soccer, but in all areas of women’s life.

Spain continues to be a very sexist country, but there is more equality than ever before. The small efforts we make in our daily life towards fairness, can help the following generations. We may feel our power is small compared to others, but when we find allies, we can resist and change anything.

Author’s Bio:  

Karuna Tzadi Arnold began writing in Ibiza, Spain, when she was nine years old. Since then she has written in many different countries and currently lives in a small village in Extremadura, Spain, with her husband Lorenzo and their twin 3 year old boys, Miles and Rio. She enjoys her morning walks in nature and inventing stories for her children.

She looks forward to her boys beginning school in September, so she can have more time for her different writing projects; a couple children’s books, a blog and working on an historical novel  “Rosannah”, which takes place in the 1770’s in Pennsylvania and in Wales. She also enjoys writing in Spanish and has spent this year entering writing competitions in Spain and South America. In January two of her short stories “Otra Etapa” and “Blind George,” were published on an online journal www.escritores-en-red.es

 

The Beauty of the Hermaphroditic Snail

by Betty Scott

Surrounded by political rancor, I found myself wishing Superman would swoop in and solve global chaos. Instead I read up on Gastropods and Mollusks. One night I dreamt about … oh Hail to the Chief … Super Snail!  

Snails weigh mere grams. An average adult male moves one millimeter per second. They cannot hear. Their sense of smell is their most important organ. Touch is vital too, especially in mating. Male and female snails produce sperm and eggs. After mating … drum roll please …both give birth, excellent for survival, which began for them in the Cambrian age, 540 to 585 million years ago. (Snail-world.com)

Yet despite their accomplishments and intriguing calcium carbonate shells, snails have been mocked. They’ve been turned into a symbol of laziness. In Christian culture, of sloth. We must travel back to the Greek poet Hesiod to find snails given significance. As time keepers and metaphysical mentors. When they climb stocks, it is time to harvest. (Wikipedia)

With all our human concerns in a life-feeds-on-life world, I still find solace knowing that scientists are researching Mollusks. They’ve discovered the remarkable adaptability of Gastropods. If we listen, scientists will mentor us, too, about bio-diversity and symbiotic relationships: nature’s beautiful formulas. About snails, they tell us, despite their sexual prowess, snails are endangered. Like people, moving toward peace at a snail’s pace beneath the drum-rolling urgency of global chaos and climate change.

Snails speak softly. They don’t carry big sticks. Yet imagine Super Snail with a billboard-sized sign. It reads: Be wise. Live symbiotically by design.

On my snail days, when I wake slow and sluggish, I’m consoled by millions of common citizens world-wide who rise to their feet to march and plead for clean air, land and seas. Time is humanity’s hollow-ringed habitat, the shell on our backs. Left uncorrupted, science and nature … with symbiotic dignity, bring Earth’s needs for peace to light.

Here is the poem, written several years ago, that began my exploration into forgiveness.

Stirrings and Stews

Once betrayed
we stew. We live
a slow simmer.

So this prayer
is for
you and me.

May we remember
stirrings are good
for stews
and people.

One morning
may we wake

no longer angry
at anyone
not even ourselves.

Then on our snail days
slow and sluggish
may we know

snails are garden
pests to some
and to others, escargot.

Poetry often challenges popular uses of words. It’s one way to bring us toward accepting
greater abilities beyond personal gains and losses, likes and dislikes. I’ll conclude these thoughts
with a more recent poem which first appeared on the Cave Moon Press blog. Musician  JP
Falcon Grady often joins me to sing the italicized words.

An Earth Year Blessing

No man a salt shaker
No woman a sugar bowl

To pour, use up
Put out to pantry.

No more darting of eyes
Or senator sneers

When Mama’s Boys pilgrim
To Great Mama’s pastures.

To dance … step by step
With maternal wisdoms,

Tango and waltz
Arms and heads in precision.

Each foot-path a grace
Restoring Earth’s faith,

Mama’s troupes swaying
Singing and praying:

Single Mama, Widowed Mama
Holy sustainer of lives
May we be a blessing to you,
 
May your people tend, Dear Mama,
Your people tend to you. 

 Author’s Bio:   Betty Scott’s writing adventures as a poet and essayist began when she was employed at The Wenatchee World. She taught college students for twenty years before retiring into her daily writing life. She enjoys editing her daughter’s novels as well as poetry and essays written by colleagues. She is currently writing a third collection of poems and a book of essays. Her collection Central Heating: Poems that Celebrate Love, Loss and Planet Earth, will be published by Cave Moon Press in 2018.