Posted in Memoir, Poem/Poetry

Oh My! 1967 – the first poem of mine ever published; Yikes! – 17 years old

Dan and I as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I. He stands 6'5' and I stand 5'2".
My cousin Dan and me as kids and probably the last time he was shorter than I am. He stands 6’5′ and I stand around 5’2″ – give or take a bit depending on my shoes.

I was definitely the product you’d expect from the odd and awkward situation in which I grew up and surely I showed little talent, no free thinking and no genius or particular promise. The poem is not good – some youth write profoundly beautiful and wise poetry and young people today are far more savvy than I ever was  –  but it does illustrate that after fifty years or so writing will improve. We writers often have our doubts, but we are an unrelenting bunch. We write, write, write. We enrich, reform and reframe as if every word of ours will spark more Light in the collective unconscious, which I rather think they do.

Make of Me a Tree

I am young, Lord,
but my heart is true,
Make of me a tree

Make me strong and supple
That when tempests blow,
I shall stand unyielding.

Let me be humble in the
Praise of Your Majesty
And testify to Your greatness.

When rains besiege
Let me be shelter
To those who have not found Your Son,

For

Yes! I am young
but my heart is true:
Make of me a tree.

Amen.

– Jamie Dedes

As for cousin Dan in the photograph (six years younger than me), he was inspired by the poem to paint a lovely “portrait” of a tree. These days it’s Father Dan – Rev. Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp. – a theologian and professor at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Dan always showed real promise. Like my son, Richard, and Dan’s brother, Christopher, even as a toddler he was smart and funny.  So many of you appreciated Dan’s piece What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?  Come March, Dan will be back in the United States. We will get to visit for the first time in forty years.

And, yes!, I did want to become a nun. I was told there would be family background checks and I feared rightly that there were things in my parent’s history that would embarrass my mom. I became a now-and-again wife, a mother, a writer, a poet. No regrets. The life mission is essentially the same though the vehicle of service differs and the actions are grounded in ethics not creed, which is not to imply that the two are necessarily exclusive.

RELATED:

DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.
DANIEL S. SORMANI C.S. Sp.

The Blessed Mother: She reminds me of who I am and who I should be, Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp., The BeZine, July 2016

Note: The photograph of the two of us together was taken at a fundraiser our mothers were helping with for the Guild for Exceptional* Children in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. This remains a worthy effort and worth your time if you happen to live in that area and are looking for a good cause to support.

* exceptional = developmental disabilities

© 1967/2016 photographs (Daniel Sormani Family Album) and text and poem (Gigi “Jamie” Dedes), All rights reserved

Posted in Photograph/iPhoneography, Poem/Poetry

An Unexpected Word, a poem

Some days fall open on an unexpected word,
piercing your too pedestrian obsessions,
pushing you into the doorway of mystery.
You’ve heard all about it: the light, the way!
The truth waiting like a mother for her child ~
and here you are momentarily free, swimming
in the amniotic fluid of your own nascent soul.

not started

(c) 2016, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in Poem/Poetry, Social Justice/Activism

For the Girls, a poem

girlThey come like thistle and thorn,
and write their rage upon my body.
They come like locusts and
feed on the fields of my soul.
Like the angry storm, they drown me.
Like the desert sands, they suffocate me.
They see me, a little person
of little consequence …
a girl
Just a trinket, a toy, a receptacle,
something to sell, buy, trade or
marry-off prematurely,
without my say.
But hear me, I am the answer.
I am the calm after the storm.
I am the antidote to
stone hearts and desiccated souls.
I am the future and the past.
I am the hope, the dream, the reality.
I am real.
I am human.
I am the answer.

“Women are half the society. You cannot have a revolution without women. You cannot have democracy without women. You cannot have equality without women. You can’t have anything without women” Nawal El Saadawi (b. 1931), Egyption feminist writer and physician

RESOURCES:

Girls Not Brides

Lifting the Veil: Artists in Support of the Tahirih Justice Center:

The Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing violence. Come out and support some of New York’s most powerful artists as they perform to raise money for a worth cause. $10 suggested donation all going to the center. Thanks to Terri Muuss for sharing this with us. Lifting the Veil Facebook Page is HERE.

August 7 at 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. EDT at BrickHouse Bewery & Restaurant 67 W. Main Street, Patchogue, New York 11772.

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There is no place for child marriage in a world where empowered girls lead the way into a better future for everyone everywhere!

©2010,poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in Photograph/iPhoneography, Poem/Poetry

Iglesia San Mateo Unidos en Cristo, a poem in English y en español

leftthis is no city of ultimate bliss*,
though the traffic is backed up to kingdom come

and the streets are a scrimmage, full and rough,
teeming with feral bits of hope and hunger

the people here are virtuous though,
ripe with love for one another, for Christ and music

hear the music winding, insinuating
and tumbling from la iglesia y las casas

the rents are morbidly obese, don’t you know?
though the wages and hours are skeletal

too often along B Street and downtown,
a man begs a cigarette, a woman begs for lunch

Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
Filling their hands with your bounty?
A Lover’s Call, Khalil Gibran

*****

esto no es una parte de la ciudad que está feliz
el tráfico es interminable y ruidoso y crudo

y las calles son una áspera, lleno~
lleno de esperanza salvaje y hambres profundas

la gente aquí es virtuoso, con buenos corazónes
madura con amor por el otro, para Cristo y la música

escuchar la música, que insinutes, una cascada ~
fluye de la iglesia y las casas

los alquileres son obesos mórbidos, ¿no lo sabes?
aunque los salarios y las horas son esquelético

a menudo a lo largo de la calle “B” y el centro de la ciudad
un hombre pide un cigarrillo, una mujer pide luncha

If I really screwed up on the translation and you’re burning to let me know, you can leave comment in Letters to the Editor. Thank you!

This is what inspired the poem:

Iglesia San Mateo Unidos en Christo
Iglesia San Mateo Unidos en Cristo

City of Ultimate Bliss

© 2016, poem, translation and photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in 100 000 Poets for Change, 100TPC, General Interest, poetry event, The Bardo Group, The BeZine

SAVE THE DATE: 100,000 Poets for Change act in global solidarity on September 24, 2016

100TPC2014Logo

100TAC100TMC

AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM 100TPC COFOUNDER, MICHAEL ROTHENBERG: “On September 24, 2016 poets, musicians and artists around the world will be organizing poetry readings, parades, gallery exhibitions, music and dance performances focused on issues of peace, justice, and sustainability. This important annual global act of solidarity is the core activity of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, a non-profit organization.

100 Thousand Poets for Change offers an opportunity for a peaceful global discussion of issues such as war, global warming, poverty, racism, gender inequality, homelessness, gun violence, police brutality, lack of affordable medical care, censorship, and animal cruelty. Individual organizers are free to choose the specific topic and focus of their local event. If you are interested in participating in this global action please post sign up HERE.”

*****

100TCP - 2016

THE BARDO GROUP BEGUINES will host a virtual 100TPC event on September 24 with American-Israeli poet, Michael Dickel (Fragments of Michael Dickel) as Master of Ceremonies. Between Michael and me the event will run from morning in Israel to midnight in California.  You can share your work through Mr. Linky (instruction will be provided) or in the comments section of the blog post that day at The BeZine where you can also enjoy the work of other artist activists.

Work may include anything on topic: poetry, essay, short fiction, video (music, mime, dance, dramatic monolgue), art and photography and so forth.  The topic we’ve chosen this year – selected by Rev. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again founder) – and supported by our core team of poets, writers, story-tellers, artists and photographers, musicians and clerics is ENVIRONMENT and ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

This event is open to everyone wherever you are in the world and makes possible participation even if there is no street event happening in your area or if you are homebound. We hope you’ll join us.  Soon after the event, we’ll collect everything into one commemorative page. This is tradition. Commenorative pages from prior years can be accessed at The BeZine through its blog roll. All work will be also be archived at Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Please feel free to share this post widely. Thank you!