March-April 2017 | Volume 13 Number 2
And So It Goes…
We have a great issue this month, including a new feature category, Education, edited by Nancy Barno Reynolds. You’ll also find all the usual suspects: Interviews, Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Art, Music, Politics and Commentary, Comix and more. For almost-13 years we’ve been privileged to bring you creative material from the United States and around the world. We’re not just living in a global economy, we’re living in and dependent upon a global ecology to keep us, our children and our children’s children, safe, informed, and to help them become better citizens of earth and sky.
On a personal note, I want to thank all our contributors over the years, especially those who have worked to keep the ball rolling longest, those who motivated the team from within and without to persevere while so many other parallel demands were in play: Chuck Haupt, whose layout and design created the online magazine effect we were shooting for; Mark Levy, who from the beginning provided the legal framework we needed for a not-for-profit business model, as well as an ongoing Casual Observer column; Joe Weil, whose lifelong dedication to poetry helped establish Ragazine as a vehicle for both younger and established poets to have their voices heard; Emily Vogel, Joe’s wife, who picked up the poetry ball and ran with it when Joe turned to other pursuits; Jose Rodeiro, Duda Penteado, Alan Britt, Raul Villarreal, and other members of We Are You Project who helped expand our readership , and who share aspects of their lives and loves with the world at large; Jim Palombo, who read about Ragazine in a local newspaper article, sought us out and asked to contribute a politics column, which became the anchor for subsequent political commentary from writers here and abroad; Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret and Steve Poleskie, who faithfully contributed columns exploring the Arts from their own other perspectives; Galanty Miller, whose Re-Tweets have become a valued source of wry humor and alternative facts; Fred Roberts, whose Euromusic column over the past several years has covered the hottest up-and-coming and established musical groups in Germany, with one of the finest music columns you’re likely to read anywhere.
More recently other editors have joined the team and you can read about them in “About Us.” Their work and efforts on behalf of Ragazine is of immeasurable value and I’m sure you’ll find their bylines and credits in other zines and on other mastheads now and in the future.
We would not have been able to continue our pursuits without the financial support of donors across the spectrum of readers, editors, and contributors of editorial material. Our readership has grown from a handful of family members and friends to tens of thousands of compatriots, known and unknown – in itself, a huge incentive to keep our shoulders to the wheel, and provide the best possible “ROI” to those who believe in what we do.
And so it goes. Be well, and thanks for reading.
— Mike Foldes
Trump’s unapologetic authoritarianism has prompted Democratic Party members and the liberal elite to position themselves as the only model of organized resistance in such dark times. It is difficult not to see such moral outrage and faux pas resistance as both comedic and hypocritical in light of these centrist liberals have played in the last forty years–subverting democracy and throwing minorities of class and color under the bus. As Jeffrey St. Clair observes, “Trump’s nominal opponents,” the Democrats Party are “encased in the fatal amber of their neoliberalism”[xi] and they are part of the problem and not the solution. Rather than face up to their sordid history of ignoring the needs of workers, young people, and minorities of class and color, the Democratic Party acts as if their embrace of a variety of neoliberal political and economic policies along with their support of a perpetual war machine had nothing to do with paving the way for the election of Donald Trump. Trump represents the transformation of politics into a Reality TV show and the belief that the worth of a candidate can only by judged in terms of a blend of value as an entertainer and an advertisement for casino capitalism.[xii] Chris Hedges gets it right in revealing such hypocrisy for what it is worth – a carnival act.read more
We need to keep everything in perspective. The over-240 year history of the USA is marked by many painful moments, many are far far worse than now. For example, every battle fought during the Civil War pitted Americans against other Americans in orgies of violence, wherein (over the brief course of four years) around 700,000 American died and many more were either physically and/or emotionally crippled. Plus, the dark and painful legacy of that war lingers, in a furtive way, underscoring much of what happened in 2016. In addition, USA is secretly haunted by the fact that slavery endured in America from the 16th Century until 1863. Or, the litany of abuse, betrayal, and genocide that Amerindians have endured. Or, the continuing Civil Rights struggle, which persists. Plus, the tragic list of US Presidential assassinations and murders of other key US leaders, each of these deaths frayed the fabric of our democracy.read more
you follow the vines,
the leafless branches that one day would die
knowing the joy gravitating between your arms
as body and soul come together in the same dance;
“Venceremos” was a cry that I constantly heard. Cuba was a beehive of armed citizens, milicianos and regulars. I knew of the invasion talk back home and I wondered how in the world a country armed in this fashion could be subdued. Little did I know that the debacle of the disastrously failed CIA sponsored beach-head at Bahia de Cochinos and La Cienega de Zapata would be a total route with Fidel himself commanding from the turret of a former Cuban Army battle tank.read more
I am interested in different disciplines and this is evident in my work. As a visual artist, photography is my base and I build on this through images in movement and my body since my past and present life experiences are the starting point of my work…read more
Major Singer In A Minor Key Country Music Awards to Honor Lacy J. Dalton Lacy J. Dalton may be best known as a country singer, but her musical roots go back to growing up in a musical family in Pennsylvania, years in New York City during a decade when Joan...read more
In time for the January 20 inauguration of America’s 45th president, the venerable Austrian institution Wilhelm Show me the Major Label has pulled off a coup of its own…read more
She starts greeting you in your language, releasing throngs of words you cannot understand so that you become irritated. All this is unnecessary. You know she can speak English and so you don’t understand why she insists on speaking your language all the time. You ignore her and walk away, hoping that your conduct puts her off, but she is unfazed, tipping the taxi driver and carrying your two traveling bags into the house, the smile on her face ever present.read more
In 2010 when the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were rolled out, proponents announced some news that seemed to make sense to anyone who had been in the field of teaching a long time…read more
Father Itchy-Nookie lurks simultaneously in all the crannies of this catacomb, his clutch purse brimming with transubstantial gore — Sam knows this without separating either seizured sets of eyelids. To the assembled expatriate congregation, Hiroshima’s chief attorney of nothingness dispenses wads of gristle and scab, flopping them greasily from the chipped rim of a crude ceramic chalice. And, unlike Sam’s present interlocutor, the wads are not even properly cooked.read more
Lauper *** Panik Collective Dancing About Architecture by Matt Kennedy he quote “Dancing About Architecture” has been attributed to Laurie Anderson, Steve Martin, Frank Zappa, Martin Mull, Elvis...read more
As an artist, I thrive on making art that bursts with energy. Using a process I call contemporary in camera art, I create pieces that uniquely possess the vibrant flowing qualities of color and movement.read more
Q: What film make you cry?
A: I’m unreasonably empathetic towards people I’ll never meet, and easily sucked in to a great film. There’s many films that have made me cry. They aren’t always tears of sadness. Beauty can quite often bring me to tears. Off the top of my head, I’d have to say anything that Wong Kar-wai and Christopher Doyle did together. Especially “In the Mood for Love”, and “Chungking Express”.
PLANTING A SEED (For many people) In the back room with Van Morrison. In the back room. In the back of the back room with Duckett & Beaz, back somewhere below purple azaleas, on our backs & on the back of a B&O retiree's gold-plated swan song. In the...read more
In the dark firelight, my thoughts spin to memories of teaching in the 1970s. I remember, as a young teacher, loading (far too many) preschoolers into my van for a spur-of–the-moment field trip, and on a summer day too hot to play, taking them wading in a fountain signed “no swimming.” Then, in the 80s, setting up early intervention programs, deciding how the programs would work —because who, other than the teachers and parents of these young children with special needs, would know what was needed? And even in the late 90s, in the more conventional setting of a public middle school, putting subjects aside for a full week to celebrate Earth Day with the entire 7th grade, hiking, doing trail work, picking up litter around town, making posters, hearing speakers, and helping students create environment-themed fabric squares to combine into a class quilt.read more
I won’t let my kids drive until they’re old enough to steal a car./ We need a President who will fight for the sleeping class./ And for my third and final wish, I’d like, oh, I don’t know, I guess I could use a more comfortable chair./ Just a friendly reminder to have your pets spayed and married!read more
Unpredictable Pleasures You’re a shipwreck rusting into sand, but keep the wind’s sighing inside your tattered sails even when the world seems cold as a coffin’s white silk lining. Like the breathlessness of sparks, the unpredictable pleasures of love always arrive...read more
Finding a dealer, for me, is next to impossible. First of all, even since 2004 the art world and the art market has exploded. Thousands of artists are competing for a handful of galleries. The competition is daunting. Secondly, because of my age, I believe I am looked at as a “has been” … a kind of failure, and dealers are reluctant to take a risk with an older artist. They are much more willing to exhibit younger artists. The market is very much youth driven. Maybe … hopefully … at some point my age won’t be a hindrance. There is always the hope that I will be “discovered” …in my quickly approaching old agread more
Queen Kong by Amanda J. Bradley 88 Pages, 7 x 10 Library of Congress Control Number: 2017930503 ISBN: 978-1-63045-038-0 Anticipated Publication Date: April 24,, 2017 Cover Illustration by Mikayla Lewis by Emily Vogel, Poetry Editor Much of classic feminist theory...read more
Now Helen lifted the lamp, surprised by its weight. She needed two hands to wrestle it into the box. A sharp stabbing in her lower back made her cry out but no one was there to hear her. She got down on her knees and rubbed at her back with both hands, tears filling her eyes.
Damn you, Ed. You knew I hated this ugly thing. Twenty years I put up with it, twenty years of parties, all those embarrassing moments when our guests walked up to it, peering at the garish colors, then at me, a question in their eyes.read more
Jeanne Mackin photo Steve Poleskie and his screen prints at the American Center in Belgrade, June 1981 *** A Cold War Warrior by Stephen Poleskie here has been a lot of comment in the news lately...read more
HERON: MONTEREY WHARF, CALIFORNIA Heron, hunchbacked, Drab chapel-grey, Bedraggled loner, Still as a statue On guard, staring Away and stood In a calmness Perfected since birth. What is a moment In unbothered composure? The ridiculous legs, The ungainly posture, The...read more
They learned without even knowing they were learning. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Don’t we enjoy those experiences where we lose ourselves in a topic or a hobby or an interest? I think of the hours I spend on the Jersey shore late each June, umbrella up, sunglasses and sunblock in place, book in hand, lost in a story. All that time, I add to my working vocabulary, to my knowledge of syntax, to my repertoire of voice and cadence … and following the plot, getting emotionally lifted and suspended and dropped, again and again … and when I look up it is time to leave the beach, shower, and find some seafood for supper.read more
In the last 62 years since I acquired my permanent teeth, I estimate I’ve had 177 cleanings, some more vigorous than others, but don’t get me started. Cleanings now average between $75 and $200, the average being $127. I’m already ahead of the game, because Julie charges me only $125 per session. Even at that conservative figure, I’ve spent more than $22,000 on cleanings. That’s what you would expect to pay for a 1983 Lamborghini with auto-glide, to put things in perspective.read more
He likes to imply that he is a very skilled golfer, claiming at times to have a 3 handicap, which puts him in the really good, almost pro category. However many of his playing partners have indicated that his scores don’t seem to reflect the number of swings he takes and/or the penalties he incurs. Nonetheless, like with his other embellishments, his “scoring” is not something so uncommon for many others who play the game, i.e., let’s not make this too big a deal.read more
AFTERMATH Big Sur, California, May 2009 Phosphorescent green flickers against wet dark, fire in another tongue Memorials of trees, stripped bare, black as mummies, stand witness Leaf-laden alders, parchment ghosts, testify in blanched whispers Our dead...read more
TEAHOUSE IN THE JAPANESE GARDEN The young man and the ancient Japanese flute make sounds like breath and wind, like rain and river, make sounds that soar—like birds— sounds that sing— toward evening’s silence, sounds we are told, of water dripping— from the...read more
Kayle Kaupanger, Unsplash Trump International Hotel And Tower Chicago. Chicago, United States. *** From Kafka’s Castle to Trump’s Tower by Carmen Firan very morning K waited to be called up into the Castle. A...read more
So what does all of this data mean? At 30,000 feet, I believe it means that America’s schools are moving in the right direction. It appears that the United States is closing more gaps than other nations in the world. Compared to the 2006 PISA results, America’s gaps between high and low socio-economic achievements have not only narrowed, but they have closed in greater numbers than those in other nations. Within the United States, however, large gaps between high and low socio-economic groups still persist.read more
I’ve been in a public school teacher for 22 years. I’ve read the progressive pedagogy of the ’60s and ’70s. It stands in stark contrast to political timidity of 21st century teaching. We teachers are not revolutionaries. We aren’t even progressive. We are largely instruments of whomever is in charge and cowards when it comes to standing up. I include myself in all this. I’m scared I might get fired, scared I’ll be APPR-ed out of a job, scared someone will notice me.
But enough is enough.read more
On this first of September, sundown rushed a draft through the practice area. Patrice pulled her papa’s old grey sweater closer. The rest of the singers had been little more than acquaintances; she immediately forgave them their small-mindedness. And she and Agnes had shared nothing beyond Thanksgiving dinner, walks home in the dark, giggles, and naïve, girlish dreams. Patrice had been caring for her mother while other girls learned the tricks to making and keeping friends. Another way in which her mother had robbed her.read more
Echoes of neo-Fascism are not only visible in Trump’s rhetoric but also in his policies. For example, his white supremacist ideology and racist contempt for Muslims was on full display in his issuance of an executive order banning all Syrians and people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. In doing so, Trump has not only made visible, and without apology, his embrace of the frenzied lawlessness of authoritarianism, he has also put into place an additional series of repressive policies for the creation of what might be called a democracy in exile.read more
AFTERMATH Big Sur, California, May 2009 Phosphorescent green flickers against wet dark, .............fire in another tongue Memorials of trees, stripped bare, black as ............mummies, stand witness Leaf-laden alders, parchment ghosts, testify...read more
How to Save Your Manuscript Before It Leaves Your Laptop: An Interview with Cindy Hochman by Ann Cefola indy Hochman peers over a manuscript. On the first page, she has already discovered...read more
“… we have an education system that seems most focused on verifying its own worth, making it ‘too busy’ to be concerned with developing ongoing, civic dialogue. (Especially in these turbulent political times, this should be a top priority, at least on par with developing technological skills.)”read more
My photography work recently published in L’Oeil de la Photographie is part of an older series, which I once created on the theme of “Sheet” (as in bed linens) and the body. Similar to many of my images, I show only details, not a whole body. In hindsight, I notice today that quite often I focused on the bottoms of my models!!!read more
Axid Rain was my highlight of the 4th semi-final night. They call their genre flatrock, which I attempted to google but finally gave up. They’re a hard rock band, in the classic vein of MTV or Huey Lewis and the News, with a fantastic live show. Frontman Yannick Mense, in his leather hat and seaman’s jacket was all over the stage. Pure charisma and wild guitar riffs. All in all an electrifying performance.read more
More and more, as my life journey progresses, I feel and understand the great need to give greater value to the preservation and care of “Mother Earth,” or as we say in Latin-American world, “Pacha Mama” – by which we mean the planet earth with Nature and all it carries, the very life of its species. That is why I have been increasingly questioning the aspects of the modern world that revolve around a system of generating a prevailing capital, which is increasingly and obsessively prized in the current system, over a human capital. For that reason my political vision comes in hand with any manifestation and tendency close to a more humanistic vision, a vision that dignifies the coexistence between human beings, their habitat and the rest of the species with the preservation of these in balance and harmony of all.read more