A Fable for the Bees

A Poem by Anon ymous

Paint me the Agent Orange sky. 
I want to remember the fable of the bees.
You told it to me the weekend we lived
with the monks; told me we had to make
love quietly but it was ferocious; as if it
were our last time on earth. When we over-
heard the woman next door praying rosary,
we stifled laughs, hands over mouths;
comfortable in our sin. Then you pinned
my arms to the bed, kissed me hard;
whispered the story. Please. Paint it.
I want to feel the blood buzz; the flutter
of your dress in summer, the exploding of Monsanto.

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A Poem by Sherrie Acorn

So I took the vitamin from the company that sues everyone
even though they know they are wrong–how did I not know this?–
and my liver went on a rampage. Did you know a lot of people–
too many to count–take supplements and end up in hospitals
their livers injured, some of the time past repair, but why?
Can it be they are not regulated? Can it be the halo effect?
I’ve learned my lesson–from now on I’ll do my own due diligence

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Can a Robin Become…

A Poem by Robin Freeland

I’m at the wooded entrance
just parked my car and I observe
fresh drops of rain on the Ford next door
with a robin
slipping and sliding

Up to the roof
of the car
her feet grasping
a slippery front window
like a cartoon character
wiry legs spinning
to reach the top

She flies down
to the side-view mirror
and flaps her wings continuously
peering at herself
thinking it’s someone else

She can’t quite place the face
or find a place to land
but flaps a bit more
searching for the reflection
then lands on the ground below

Flying up to the hood again
her legs begin sliding
furiously upward

She raises herself against resistance
then lowers down
and views her shadow self
reaching to contact
the image

Thirteen times she encircles the space
then at last
distracted by something above

Another bird perhaps
or a place to go and rest
maybe just what she needs
to break a cycle

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Domestic Violence Abuse

A Poem by Adri

From the mouth of a woman being abused by her spouse, “I wonder if this is how my life will be from now until I die.”

He pulls my hair.
He slaps my face.
He kicks me on the floor.

I love him so much,
So I don’t have the strength
To walk right out the door.

There’s blood on my face.
Everything hurts,
And all I can do is cry.

I made him mad,
So this is what he does.
I wish I knew his reason why.

My heart won’t let me leave him,
And it hurts too much to try.

I wonder if this is how my life will be
From now until I die.

He says he’s sorry.
He takes me in his arms.
He even starts to cry.

I tell him I forgive him
And that everything is fine.

For now at least because I know
It will happen again in time.

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The Last Toast

A Poem by Maik Strosahl

I drink to the house already destroyed
To my whole life, too awful to tell
To the loneliness we together enjoyed
I drink to you as well
To the eyes the deadly cold imbued
The lips that betrayed me with lies
To the world for being so cruel and rude
And God, who didn’t save us or try.
— Iris DeMent lyrics based on a
translated poem by
Anna Akhmatova

This bottle near empty,
my tongue nearly numb,
these lungs with their rattle,
these coughs thieve away
any breath I have left.

Dear lord,
please forgive
the spite in my soul,
that sent post of remorse
to her box from the one
I am soon to enter,

And may it’s dagger take swift
the life that wasted mine,
the wheeze of this virus to paper—
one last swallow of rye,
one last puff of air
‘fore my body goes cold.

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A Disease Called Power

An Essay by Noris Roberts

I will begin by pointing out that this is not intended to be a partisan political statement, to offend or attack anyone in particular. I write and express what I feel and observe, as a simple citizen. I intend to declare my pain and astonishment seeing that my country is being systematically destroyed and its people humiliated and decimated. In the last 2 years nearly 4 million have emigrated, not because of a war, they’ve emigrated because they foresaw no future, because of hunger and lack of medicine, for not having personal or legal security and basically because they were psychologically affected for living in a permanent state of uncertainty.

The country’s setback is so serious that it has been recognized by most countries in the world. Nobody questions or doubts that Venezuela is going through a huge crisis, although some countries deny it, minimize it or take advantage of it because of economic, strategic, “ideological” or for their own political purposes. Venezuela was considered a “rich” country; today having an 85% scarcity in food and medicine seems implausible, a made up tale, but it’s the reality. It has been impoverished and devastated slowly, not by a war, because it’s a victim of a disease called power.

Our country is immersed in a crisis that was implanted, with cynicism and indolence, by Venezuelans, although it was not created by everyone. The task was implemented by a large number of tiny economic groups and political associates that took advantage of the good faith of the majority of citizens and because a large part of the population, sunk in years of ignorance and overwhelmed by a permanent propaganda campaign, meekly got accustomed to receive crumbs from the State and, conforming to that, got used to not making an effort to achieve anything at all. The destruction was also propelled and propped up by opportunistic groups and individuals who, like the suckerfishes accompanying the shark, aspired to acquire positions of power in order to take advantage and make overnight fortunes. Perhaps one could conclude that the general stance of the population was one of complicity and indifference, only pursuing their own economic welfare regardless the fate of the country. They remained silent, applauded, adapted themselves to the situation and ultimately endorsed what was happening. Those who raised their voices dissenting and not bowing down or openly refusing to accept what was and is now happening, were and are persecuted, censored, exiled or imprisoned. The result of all this is what we unfortunately have today as a country.

An oil country with a small population; an enviable geographical location; an example for other countries during certain periods of its history; that had some cycles of amazing development; that has hydrological resources, fertile lands, forests, jungles and minerals of all kinds; brilliant men of science, letters, music and sports, lost its way and became a regrettable caricature of misfortune, corruption and carelessness. It’s not only food and medicine are scarce; diseases that were eradicated resurface; aggressiveness, distrust and violence flourish; corruption is consented and justice is flagrantly distorted. For a long time now, decades, the country has been subjected to permanent campaigns of destabilization and alarm, caused and promoted premeditatedly by the Venezuelans themselves. The country, adrift, has seen with perplexity how some individuals became immensely rich while the country was gradually dismantled, falling into pieces and cornered in a dark moral, spiritual and economic poverty.

A country in which the State owns production lands; sugar refineries, coffee plantations, food processing facilities, cement factories, banks, hotels, sea and air transportation lines, the main telephone and Internet company; manufacturer of steel, aluminum; electricity, water supplier; radio stations, television channels, commercialization companies; builder of highways, houses and at the end…, ironically, does not produce anything because it is inefficient, but mostly because it is corrupt. In order to cover everything up, since the State is never responsible for anything, it sells the idea to the people, through continuous, grotesque, false and shameless propaganda campaigns, that against the country there is an economic war or a media war or a dollar war or electric war, which is fomented and executed by political opponents or foreign interests… If so, the State has shown itself to be absolutely incapable and inefficient to win these wars. This is clearly seen when, from 2016 to this date, an Economic Emergency was decreed (No.2.184) and renewed 13 times “to assure the population the full enjoyment of their rights, preserve internal order, timely access to goods and services, food, medicines and other products essential to life” and this resulted in one of the greatest hyperinflations in world’s history, public transportation reduced to 10% of its capacity and more scarcity of medicine and food. It is also evident that the State failed when the electrical installations, in 2013, were militarized when the so called Great Electrical Mission was announced: “We are going to militarize, that is the word, all these electrical installations that, in addition, now become security zones to protect and avoid any kind of sabotage action”. In the end, the electrical installations were, according to the State, permanently sabotaged by iguanas, lightning, cyber attacks, electromagnetic pulses, terrorists and snipers; however, there was not or has there been, proof of these supposed attacks. As a consequence of this “State and military protection” we’ve had permanent blackouts that seriously affected the economy, health, education, drinking water supply and the general welfare and mental stability of the population. The only war the State truly won was to stay in power.

Historians will capture this period and will be highlighted as one of the most macabre and nefarious of our history. The pages will not be written in ink, they will be written with tears and blood. They will describe a period in which love and peace were sung to the people, but at the same time State policy subjected them to a ferocious psychological terror, economic and social intimidation and falsehoods. It will A period that was promoted as a “great emancipatory epic”, rhetoric mounted by spiteful and perverse people, but which in fact left aside the basic interests and rights of its citizens. A period when the social pact agreed in the Venezuelan Constitution was violated; in where, with the approval and encouragement of the State, many citizens became high-level predators and others of lower level, called “bachaqueros” (large red ants), whom immorally and unscrupulously took advantage, like cannibals, the needs of others. In this pitiful history there will be a very special chapter highlighting the use of justice as a political weapon and a chapter that will have notorious components, unusual and not previously seen, of those who carried out this process, those who will have a privileged place, those who supported the surrender of the sovereignty of their own country to other countries; of turning the country into a spillway for terrorist groups and for having had close ties with drug trafficking.

It is debatable whether we deserved this or not, or whether it was caused by the naivety of a people who believed in siren calls or by not understanding the true value of freedom and the fragility of democracy. What is clear is that this is a lesson that must not be forgotten and must remain engraved in the DNA of the Venezuelans so that it does not happen again. It must never be forgotten how the ruin and the future of several generations were executed, turning a country into a grotesque caricature caused by a disease called power.


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Harvest of Hate

A Poem by Wole Soyinka (stanzas 0ne and two)

(Dow Chemical sold the US military napalm—a chemical that caused great fiery harm. Monsanto and Dow Chemical both were—and remain to this day—responsible for Agent Orange and the generations still very much so negatively impacted by it. This poem was written during the Viet Nam (American) War.—editor’s note.)

So now the sun moves to die at mid-morning
And laughter wilts on the lips of wine
The fronds of palm are savaged to bristle
And rashes break on kernelled oil

The hearth is pocked with furnacing of teeth
The air is heavy with rise of incense
For wings womb-moist from the sanctuary of nests
Fall, unfledged to the tribute of fire

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