Pen Bleeds

Music is a universal language that speaks when words of the heart whisper in muted tones. Open your ears and listen to the message that translates desires of dancing souls.’

The easiest and most effective way of reaching out to people and spreading a message is through the power of music: to create harmonious sound, to tell a story through lyrics and inspire new avenues of approaching life around us.  A great song has the ability to connect with you, taking you on a roller coaster of highs and lows, providing a glimpse into the artist thoughts and emotions.  But have you ever wondered about the writing process or how the lyrics to your favorite song came to life?

Every song has a back story that serves as an inciting cause of its creation. One song that captivates my curiosity about the story behind the lyrics is the summer hit Wake me up. This gem produced  by Swedish house newcomer Avicii, and written by the talented Aloe Blacc, who supply’s the tracks soulful vocals embraces a coming of  age. The melody inspired by country blue grass roots, takes you to a place of euphoric nostalgia, creating a sense of serenity and unadulterated freedom. I imagine when Aloe Blacc wrote the lyrics to Wake me up, he rescinded to a time in his life where he was lost in the wilderness, torn between adolescence and maturity.

Think about this… when we were children the greater responsibilities of life fell on our parent’s shoulders, leaving us to roam free without a care in the world. But as we grew up and transitioned into adulthood, we discovered that the world is a cold and lonely place where only the strong survive. Making that grand leap into adult hood is challenging and scary for every young person. So if you’re not sure about your journey, it’s quite all right don’t fret. Were all feeling our way through the darkness searching for the light.

In the spirit of poetry, I’ve written an expanded triolet poem that encapsulates the back story of Avicii’s Wake me up. This is my first attempt at writing a back poem to a song that inspires me, but I think I’ve captured the bitter sweet struggle between growing older and holding on to days of our youth.

Time of Remembrance

Wake me up when it’s all over

Parents lecturing, teenage mayhem

Fear of fantasies turning sober

Wake me up when it’s all over

Count the hours life grows colder

all these memories fade to black

Wake me up when it’s all over

Parents lecturing, teenage mayhem

 

Wish I could stay forever young

 Childlike innocence roaming free

Languishing in vivid dreams unsung

Wish I could stay forever young

Bliss is ignorance on the devils tongue

red or blue pill down the hatch

Wish I could stay forever young

Childlike innocence roaming free

© Seven Magazine

Anyone Can Write

What is the difference between writing lyrics for a song, poetry, and stories?
Joseph
Photo: Cara Hunter Viera
Well, each art form takes a different approach and certain techniques although I truly believe the best, in all three categories, are the pieces that come from experience and emotion.
Dreamcast Mcfly – Miami
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mark
The difference between all three, in my opinion, is simply this. Writing stories are like putting events and memories together to let you know about what happened in that event. Lyrics are similar but actually put together with music, and poetry, which is the best one, is more of a descriptive and heart-felt set of lyrics just without the music. Trust me its amazing once you really get into it!
Mark- Miami
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(no photo provided)

“For me, the difference is as follows:The connection you are trying to elicit from your audience, and how you want them to interpret them to interpret, remember, and digest.”

Wendi- Detroit
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dave
Lyrics for a song goes with the rhythm of the beat. As for poetry you don’t need the beat, you just need the rhythm of your heart.
David- Miami

Is Affirmative Action Crucial to America?

Has America progressed into a diverse nation where certain laws forbidding discrimination are no longer necessary?  With a two- term African American president at the helm of the country, some citizens believe we have overcome our negative past, prejudices, and preconceived notions in regards to our differences.

I don’t dispute facts, as a diverse nation, we have made great strides in bridging the race and equality gap. Many impoverished minorities manage to emerge through cracks of inner city concrete jungles to rise above poverty, deprivation, and less than desirable socioeconomic conditions. Those success stories are few and far in between, accounting for a small percentage of the minority population, who escape an all too familiar cycle of hell to arrive at the promise land of prosperity. What about their brethren? Still, there are large quantities of minorities who are marginalized because of ill social circumstances, partly due to a system of classism and race discrimination which currently exists in this country. To make a claim that we have achieved such heights where racism is obsolete is utterly absurd. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the 60’s, thanks to President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Act were created to balance the playing field, diversify, and repair a broken system in which African Americans were widely discriminated against. Legislation created during this era helped pave the way for minorities to receive fair and equal access to employment, career advancement, voting rights, education and federal programs predominantly restricted to whites despite race, creed, color, gender, or national origin. No doubt their agendas were a step in the right direction, but what happens when right wing conservative organizations target racial equality as an attempt to destroy progress made during the civil rights movement?

reverse-racism

– Photo Credit: www.taboojive.com

Case in point, last week the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas which challenges the use of affirmative action in admissions. The petitioner Abigail Fisher, a white woman sued the university over their admissions policy. Ms. Fisher, backed by special interest groups and private donors (The Project on Fair Representation) states she’s a victim of said policies, citing reverse discrimination.

It’s true, affirmative action is used in most public and private institutions admissions process as a means of diversifying their student body, but it isn’t the primary provision that determines admittance.The university automatically admits students in the top ten percent of his or her class, then factors in race and other circumstances. Pro Publica published an article which looks at the conditions she faced when she applied to the university and the reason her application was denied. According to their research, Ms. Fisher didn’t possess the potential and academic prowess to meet the university’s standards. And race didn’t play a major part in her denial. Perhaps, had she been ambitious enough to achieve high academic marks, she would’ve been included in the top ten percent of her academic class, having no problems being admitted to the university of her preference.

In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court sustained the current affirmative action legislation, but in fairness redirected the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for further review. The lower appellate court was given orders to thoroughly scrutinize the university’s use of race in admissions, assuring they considered all other options before focusing on race. I applaud the high court for practicing sound judgment by standing in support of institutions of higher learning, and their responsible incorporation of affirmative action in the architecture of admissions as a means to create a diverse student body. What this means is previous advancements made in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a case which permitted the use of race as a tool to variegate college campuses remains unchanged. The court’s ruling ultimately proved that Ms. Fisher’s legal team failed to demonstrate she was victimized by affirmative action in the admissions process.

equality-bill1

-Photo Credit: http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk

The question remains, when will issues involving race and equality be passé in America? Culturally, intolerance has become a part of the American experience. The depths and effects of bigotry run deep, and without healing, hatred taught by our ancestors becomes transgenerational.  Perhaps, one day, the use of affirmative action policies to keep the scales of equality balanced won’t be needed. But the likely hood of that occurring is slim to none. Until we address the issues that prohibit us from moving forward as a progressive race of people, the fight for justice and equality will continue.

The Pen Bleeds

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

~Albert Camus

Photo Credit:-Photo Credit: www.newsone.com

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on Sunday, June 17, 1917 in Topeka, Kansas to David and Keziah Brooks, the descendants of field slaves. Both of her parents were native to the sunflower state, but eventually migrated to Chicago’s South  Side, where they raised Gwendolyn and her younger brother Raymond.

Her love for poetry stemmed from both parents, who began encouraging their daughter’s creative and intellectual side by having her read and recite poems, at a young age. David Brooks advised his children to use education as a tool to overcome racism, hardships, and other challenges confronted by blacks growing up in the great depression era. No doubt, her parent’s tutelage was influential, priming Gwendolyn for the literary scene, which became a significant part of her life.

At the age of 16, Brooks reached a milestone where her talents became noticed by established Harlem Renaissance writers such as James Johnson and Langston Hughes. Johnson encouraged her to read modern poets to hone her skills and Hughes praised her talents and pushed her to continue writing.  Acting on Johnson’s advice, she began studying authors such as T.S. Elliot, E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, and Ezra Pound who all had some type of influence on her creative process.

Receiving the outside endorsement of two prolific writers, and a few teachers, she felt others were beginning to take her work seriously. Brooks began publishing her poetry in the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, and by the time she turned 19, the paper had published precisely seventy-five of her poems.

Brook’s went on to develop an effectual emotional style of writing, painting a real and jarring picture of the condition of blacks in America.  This was during a time when the “black experience” was foreign to a majority of her audience, which happened to be middle class whites. Writing under the auspices of writers such as T.S. Elliot, in a questioning tone of modernism, placed Gwendolyn ahead of her time and at unique advantage over other poets in her genre. Her work was black in content but traditionally white in style, addressing the lives of everyday African-Americans, the struggles with racism, poverty, black pride, and the exploitation of women.

In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen, a masterpiece, which chronicles the journey of an African-American girl growing into adulthood. Throughout her career, Brooks was bestowed with several accolades, over seventy honorary degrees, and awards due to the subject matter acknowledged in her writing. She was able to capture the multifarious linguistic dance of rhyme and meter, with a devotion to consciously create original verse that portrayed challenges and triumphs of blacks through many periods. Her poems breathe life into a race of people at a time where being a minority was perceived as unwelcoming and bleak. On December 3, 2000, at the age of 83, Brooks lost her battle with cancer. As time goes on, I’m sure she will be revered as both activist and writer who had the ability to proactively change the world through her magnificent and expressive work.

Below are a compilation of poems that capture Brook’s spirit through many life experiences and ever-changing perspectives on race issues, pride, class, and gender.  Some poems are gritty and straight forward, while others are simplistic in nature, but nevertheless complex and compelling in thought. I also contribute an original piece inspired by Brooks writing. Thank you for reading The Pen Bleeds.

Do Not Be Afraid of No

Do not be afraid of no,
Who has so very far to go”:

New caution to occur
To one whose inner scream set her to cede, for softer lapping and smooth fur!

Whose esoteric need
Was merely to avoid the nettle, to not bleed.

Stupid, like a street
That beats into a dead end and dies there, with nothing left to reprimand or meet.

And like a candle fixed
Against dismay and countershine of mixed

Wild moon and sun. And like
A flying furniture, or bird with lattice wing; or gaunt thing, a-stammer down a nightmare
neon peopled with condor, hawk and shrike.

To say yes is to die
A lot or a little. The dead wear capably their wry

Enameled emblems. They smell.
But that and that they do not altogether yell is all that we know well.

It is brave to be involved,
To be not fearful to be unresolved.

Her new wish was to smile
When answers took no airships, walked a while.

Gwendolyn Brooks

 Ella

Beauty has a coldness
That keeps you very warm.
“If I run out to see the clouds,
That will be no harm!”

So Ella left her oatmeal
And fleecy coat behind
And ran into the winter
Where there were clouds to find.

Mother-dear went following,
But reprimand was mild.
She knew that clouds taste better than
Oats to a little child.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

John, Who Is Poor

Oh, little children, be good to John!
Who lives so lone and alone.
Whose Mama must hurry to toil all day.
Whose Papa is dead and done.

Give him a berry, boys, when you may.
And, girls, some mint when you can.
And do not ask when his hunger will end,
Nor yet when it began.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

Infirm

Everbody here
Is infirm.
Everybody here is infirm.
Oh. Mend me. Mend me. Lord.

Today I
Say to them
Say to them
Say to them, Lord:
Look! I am beautiful, beautiful with
My wing that is wounded
My eye that is bonded
Or my ear not funded
Or my walk all a-wobble.
I’m enough to be beautiful.

You are
beautiful too.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

To Those Of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals 

Sisters!
I love you.
Because you love you.
Because you are erect.
Because you are also bent.
In season, stern, kind.
Crisp, soft -in season.
And you withhold.
And you extend.
And you Step out.
And you go back.
And you extend again.
Your eyes, loud-soft, with crying and
with smiles,
are older than a million years.
And they are young.
You reach, in season.
You subside, in season.
And ALL
below the rich rough right time of your hair.

You
You have not bought Blondine.
You have not hailed the hot-comb recently.
You never worshiped Marilyn Monroe.
You say: Farrah’s hair is hers.
You have not wanted to be white.
Nor have you testified to adoration of that
State with advertisement of imitation.
(never successful because the hot-comb is laughing too.)
But oh, the rough dark Other, Music!
the Real,
the Right.
The natural Respect of Self and Seal!
Sisters!
Your hair is Celebration in the world!

-Gwendolyn Brooks

to the Diaspora

you did not know you were Afrika

When you set out for Afrika
you did not know you were going.
Because
you did not know you were Afrika.
You did not know the Black continent
that had to be reached
was you.

I could not have told you then that some sun
would come,
somewhere over the road,
would come evoking the diamonds
of you, the Black continent–
somewhere over the road.
You would not have believed my mouth.

When I told you, meeting you somewhere close
to the heat and youth of the road,
liking my loyalty, liking belief,
you smiled and you thanked me but very little believed me.

Here is some sun. Some.
Now off into the places rough to reach.
Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble,
into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo.
Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

The Homeless Condition

To be homeless
Is to roam the streets at night.
In your loneliness, you are beside yourself.
You see things
Through urban eyes.
A taxi is yellow.
A rat is grey.
A working girl is turning tricks.
Unexpectedly the city knows what you know too.
In every dank alley she is there
And there you stand
Braving a bitter reality together.
Freezing winters, hungry nights
She blankets you in corrugated scraps.
A sadness too much to endure.
She hesitates to look you in the eye
Because your pain is too familiar.
When she pretends
You’re not there
Then turns her back
And walks away,
Your crutch breaks,
Under pressure,
An infinite melancholy.
You are the indigent half
Of a contemptible metropolis.
You reminisce on days gone by
Of simple pleasures
Taken for granted.
To eat plenty,
To bathe well,
To sleep comfortably,
And have a home;
Luxuries to the have not’s.
But she still walks
With blinders on.
An intentional dilemma
Of the human condition.
To watch you lie there
On cracked sidewalks
A fixed structure
Wasting away.

K.S. Pratt

© Seven Magazine

The Pen Bleeds

Are you a believer in UFO’s, little green men, humanoids or other unexplained creatures? Maybe you’ve experienced or saw something that can’t be explained. Skeptics discount the phenomena of alien abductions and sightings as nothing more than vivid dreams or fantasies. They believe such occurrences are fueled by individuals who are attention seeking, or people who may suffer from an issue of psychosis or a side effect of heavy drug abuse. As for me I am a believer. The world is more than black and white; it consists of uncharted gray areas, which account for events that cannot be rationalized by logic alone.

To help guide us through the realm of strange beings and happenings, I interviewed international humanoid and alien expert Albert Rosales. He provides us with a more in depth look on the subject matter, and opened about his own personal experiences with aliens and UFO’s.

 

Q&A with Albert Rosalesalbert

Seven: Good evening! How did you become involved in the education and research of UFO, extraterrestrial, and other strange beings?

Albert Rosales: Hello! The main reason for my involvement in this sometimes taboo subject I have to say has been personal experience, since a young boy living in Santa Clara, Cuba I have experienced strange episodes, from seeing strange creatures, to being missing for a time, loud booms in the sky, strange dreams, bedroom visitations by shadowy beings, etc. I strive to remember everything, but I have never been hypnotically regressed by a professional.

I believe that everyone that has experienced a close encounter with a strange being or suffered any other type of anomalous experience should come forward and make it public, let everyone know. I think is important, the more people that come out (out of the alien close if you will) the more acceptance there will be. Most are afraid of ridicule, becoming social outcasts, prejudice, and of course work issues. I don’t blame them, people have been fired from their jobs for coming forward and telling the world of their experiences, not to mention the psychological trauma and sometimes physical trauma. But I think talking about it to others is a kind of helpful therapy.

I am currently involved in compiling a one of kind database of anomalous experiences, mostly entity or humanoid encounters of ALL types, including the so-called abductions. I have over 17,000 case summaries so far and growing daily. I have cases from every corner of the globe, many translated by myself, sometimes with the help of automatic internet translation engines like (Lexilogos). I have written many articles and journals and my work is known in many parts of the world. I feel a personal satisfaction that I am performing a job that is important and would be even more important in the future.

Seven: The database you’ve compiled on encounters and such is it readily available for public inquiry?

Albert Rosales:  Yes, my complete database is available on CD per request to me or I can provide a list of case summaries per year. Also many of the case summaries are available for viewing at the UFOINFO.com site, go to research and humanoid database for the information.

Seven: What is the most interesting documented case of alien encounters or abductions you have on file?

Albert Rosales: When we are talking about alleged alien encounters or abductions, I must point out that ALL are extremely ‘interesting’ to say the least. It’s very difficult to point out a single case that outshines all the others. There are many however which are well known, like the Betty & Barney Hill abduction of September 1961 (one of the first documented cases of alleged alien abduction) the Pascagoula Mississippi abduction of two men in October 1973, the famous Travis Walton abduction of November 1975, and many others.

Seven: Do you believe the public will ever accept the alleged existence of other worldly beings?

Albert Rosales: Many in the public yes, many have already, I don’t know about the public in general, the uninformed masses, the clergy, the religious zealots, perhaps slowly and surely there will be total acceptance to the concept of ‘others’ amongst us.

Seven: How have your experiences with extraterrestrials and UFO research impacted your personal life or life in general?

Albert Rosales: This subject matter has been a sort of an obsession for me since a very young age, and has not been kind. I have had several experiences myself, mostly as a young man. I think my first two marriages suffered as a result of my studies or my “hobby” if you will. I have spent much more money than I have made that’s for sure. I feel content and that I am doing something important

Seven: Many people are skeptical about UFO’s, aliens, and other creature’s existence due to lack of concrete proof they exist. What are your thoughts on close minded individuals who deny this type of phenomena?

Albert Rosales: Well, billions worldwide believe in a God, and yet they have never seen him. Proof is  a double edged sword, perhaps we do have proof, the US government allegedly recovered at least one crashed UFO or spacecraft back in 1947, maybe other countries have as well, but would they shared that information with the flock? I don’t think so. Many, the aliens or whoever they might be will never allow concrete proof to be shared among the masses, maybe there is logic to it, I don’t know. But I can only speak as a result of personal experience and years of research.

Seven: If you were given the opportunity to travel other galaxies with humanoids would you? What type of questions would you ask and how would that experience be used to educate the people of earth?

Albert Rosales: I would welcome the opportunity to travel to other worlds and realms, and learn from others with far greater capacities than ourselves, from others that hopefully have learned to overcome hate, racism, prejudices, and all those other ills that affect humanity. One question will be, who is God, what is God, I know there is a God, but is it their God, is it the same God?

Seven:  So, do you believe aliens practice a religion or are they an advanced race of beings that have a direct path to God?

Albert Rosales: That’s hard to say, since at times they themselves have been considered “Gods” here on Earth. But I believe that they worship a ‘higher being’ or power or maybe a cosmic energy.

Seven: Once people set aside their fears of the unknown, do you believe it possible for humans, aliens, and other beings to co- exist?

Albert Rosales: You hit the nail on the head; fear of the unknown is what holds us back. I think once humanity ascends or grows and humans are accepted by others in the Universe, it would definitely be possible to live together, just like those famous Sci-Fi films we all have learn to love. We will be part of the greater galactic community if you will, but as of right now I think we are not evolved enough, we are not quite ready.

Albert Rosales was born in Santa Clara Cuba on January 14 1958, migrated to Spain with his family in 1966 and then to the United States in 1967. He lived in NY (Bronx) and then like most Cuban immigrants at the time ended up in Miami. He attended Coral Gable Sr. High, and afterwards he joined the Navy and became a Radioman (Top Secret Clearance) after four years received an Honorable Discharge and went to work with his father who was an excellent jeweler (Seyboldt Building) Downtown Miami.

For more information on Albert Rosales please visit:

http://www.ufoinfo.com/humanoid/

https://www.facebook.com/garuda79

garuda79@att.net

alberthumanoid@gmail.com

garuda79@aol.com

Expression of poetry through art using arranged text in a funky order or shape and pictures or symbols that express a deliberate point of view is called visual poetry. Usually poetry and art tends to be subjective to the creator, sometimes it’s relatable to others, but that depends on the observer’s point of view.  Check out the pieces below.

Fear Aliens

alien

K.S. Pratt

My Shadow

concrete_myshadow

Jennifer Phillips © 2009

The Promise

marriage visual4

K.S. Pratt ©

Hope

Humanity

K.S. Pratt © 

Forgiveness

concrete_poem_forgiveness

J.K. Phillips © 2012

Excerpt: The White Fires of Venus

venus

 Denis Johnson © 1994

 

Over Thinking

overthinking

© 2013 Seven Magazine

The Gay Debate Encroaches On The First Amendment

For many years, marriage has been socially defined and recognized solely between man and woman. It is the very foundation which healthy familial relationships are built upon. Now, same sex couples are seeking the same right to marry as heterosexual couples, but I am opposed to their wishes here’s why:

By permitting homosexual couples the right to marry under federal law it is a threat to First Amendment. How so? The first amendment grants Americans the ability to practice their religious beliefs freely. If your religion speaks against same sex unions, one should be allowed to practice the principles of that faith without legal implications. In the case of Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast, a lesbian couple filed suit against the private establishment stating the owner denied them tenancy because they were gay. The arbiter over the case ruled in favor of the couple citing discrimination, never taking into consideration the owners First Amendment rights.

In regards to free exercise of religion the First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If the First Amendment states one is able to practice their religion freely, then the owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast rights were encroached on. I believe the judge in the above case handed down a ruling which conflicts with federal law. This case forces us to examine how far the hand of protection is extended where the First Amendment is concerned. Does it exclusively protect the principles and institution of religion, or does it also cover the action of putting those principles into practice?

Cases such as Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast and others like it will be used as a position to sue private business, organizations, or religious institutions who reject same sex couples by enforcing their First Amendment rights.

In a letter penned to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson expressed his concern for government interfering with and individuals right to practice their religious beliefs stating: (1) “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

The constitution grants certain indelible rights to the people protecting their individual preferences. It’s injudicious for a government or any group to force a lifestyle or system of beliefs upon another that conflicts with their own. If the U.S. Supreme Court ever decides to validate same sex unions on a federal level, it will be the death of the First Amendment as we know it. Legalizing same sex marriages threatens the blue print our country was built on. It compromises rights of people who disagree with gay marriage, thus taking away certain religious freedoms and freedom of expression.

References

1. Wikipedia: Separation of Church and State

The Pen Bleeds

Welcome to The Pen Bleeds where poetry is more than rhyme, more than reason, more than words flowing with rhythm; it’s a combination of jagged thoughts, feelings, actions, and a unique language opening minds to see the world from a different perspective.

This Months Featured Poet: Dr. Zoë A. Lewis LewisZoeAnn

This month’s feature is an amazing woman! It is a great honor featuring Dr. Zoë A. Lewis a writer who’s passionate words have the ability to melt the core of the coldest hearts. Her inspiration for penning Poetic Penumbra were African, Asian, and Indo-European muses and goddesses known to incite creativity in poets. In addition to that, Dr. Lewis has racked up several degrees and accomplishments, proving, through resilience and perseverance women can accomplish anything. But don’t be intimidated shes quite humble. We posed seven questions to better familiarize our readers about her influential role models and passion for uplifting women.

Q&A with Dr. Zoë A. Lewis

Seven: What is your definition of a strong woman?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: ‘Beautiful woman fights’. My graffiti girl in a favela of Rio De Janeiro says it all.   A strong woman was a young girl that learned how to fight for herself and her beliefs.  All women need to fight prejudice, free their minds and then keep themselves free from being enslaved by what others around her believe a woman should be, in any society.  A young woman creates her unique sense of ‘self worth’. Her self-confidence and inner beauty grace the world because she is strong enough to be gentle; she can give her love freely without fear.   

Seven: Who are your heroines and how have they impacted your life?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: How about my ‘favorite’ heroines because there are too many!

Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, legends of the modern dance movement. I studied dance for years and dreamed once to be a professional dancer. These women were emblematic of freedom and breaking traditions in art, and dance like all things, becomes conventional once its established.  They were leaders in their day because they found a way to capture our emotions with dance movements that were liberated from tradition. Lead, don’t follow was what I captured.

Rosa Parks, Human rights activist.  I grew up during a time of protests and civil unrest – the Vietnam War was on TV every night, and race riots were happening too. Those older than me were protesting in the streets, often with violence. This gentle woman’s nonviolent defiance showed me everyone could challenge the system when it was wrong. I was 13 when I  rode on one of those first desegregated school buses and went to an integrated high school outside of Philadelphia.  Parks’ efforts were relevant to my worldview, teaching me stand up and be heard.

Emilie du Châtelet, French mathematician and physicist  from 1700’s. I didn’t have one female professor in a hard science or mathematics in my undergraduate courses or in medical school in Italy.  I wanted a mentor that was also hot!  This lady was not only brilliant, (she corrected a theory of Newton on kinetic energy), she convinced men to accept her into their intellectual circle when virtually women had none such freedoms. Voltaire, one of her many lovers, declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet was “a great man whose only fault was being a woman.”  I reckoned like her, it was totally awesome to be smart and sexy and enjoy my woman’s body and mind, no need to be just one of the boys.

Sophia Loren – I lived in Rome, Italy for over ten years, Italian is my language of love.   Sophia Loren’s characters in her films inspired me when I was an ingénue in my twenties to focus on what counts as I became a woman. I wanted to be like her as a mother, lover, wife, friend, comedian, confidant, spaghetti-cooking temptress. But of course, for me, I wanted to be all of  them at once – an Italian multiple personality sex symbol –  and  a serious medical student. It was really fun trying.

Seven: What type of literature, influences, or experiences drives you to create written word?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I was plastered in books most of my life because books grew my imagination and grew my knowledge.  I started to write for others by the time I was in high school, jamming out essays on the floor of the girls bathroom for kids who hadn’t done their assignments, after I’d bartered for something. I simply loved to read and write using my imagination. The force behind writing my Alzheimer’s books came after I was incredibly moved by the loss of an individual with dementia. I wanted to help caregivers, so shared what I knew. That project was a labor of love and compassion. Crazy abandoned love makes us all poets under its influence, whether we write or not – in love, we are all poets.

Seven: Can you share with our readers a time where you called upon your inner strength to encourage and inspire someone?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: When I go to work,  each day I start out, I call upon myself to give up wisdom, skills, and bend my ego towards the needs of my patient. I try to encourage every one of them towards health. Often I take care of drug addicts, shackled criminals, homeless folks, people who are sick that break others around them and break themselves.  I look past whoever they are, whatever they have done and try to be present and in the presence of the individual that is in front of me.  I try to inspire them with the reality that love does exist, caring people do exist. I teach that self love starts each of us on the path to our own healing.

Seven: You channeled numerous female goddesses for inspiration to write Poetic Penumbra. What methods or rituals do you use to tap into your creative goddess?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I don’t have any rituals but I practice yoga and work on getting myself still and open to feel beyond what I can see. Of course making love, while being in love, is the greatest way to tap into my creative space, and the poets through time know this. The poetry collection was unusual because I was semiconscious, half asleep when I wrote it. Around 4 am I kept waking up with these words in my head, I just had to write them down. Seemed to me at the time , the energy of  muses, goddesses in spirit were present guiding my imaginative experiences. Love and the art of lovemaking, tapping into ones sensuality, creativity, never seemed more enchanted. I surrendered and let the feelings pour in  and was suddenly able to write without thinking. I blossomed like a big fat peony and exploded pollen poetry.

Seven: What in your life has bought you or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: Helping patients to die peacefully.  I did hospice work for many years and of course still do when the need arises.  To know you helped someone by easing their pain, any kind of pain, and then guide them and their loved ones, as far as any of  us can offer guidance up to the  moment we ‘cross over’- a nice euphemism for dying – is just beyond words.  To be filled with compassion  and see a final peace and love overcome them, see it in their eyes, that is the greatest gift I’ve been given.

Seven: Women’s roles in the community have drastically transitioned over the past forty years. How have these changes affected you? How can we improve upon those changes to create a better society?

Dr. Zoë A. Lewis: I am fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of giants that came before me.  My mother did not have the opportunities that I did, her generation and her mother’s before her were  removing obstacles for women.  I am blessed to be exquisitely, unapologetically, unequivocally my own person, able to determine my own path. But we have a lot of work to do if women are still kept from a basic education,  sold like animals into slavery, and female infanticide prevents her born life  in many parts of the world still today. These are current horrors.  We can be the giants for the next generation and mentor other girls to do the same: break rules, break traditions, become self-aware and free their minds from anyone who dictates what a girl or woman should be. We need to teach by example, be what you want to be and fight for it.

Zoë Ann Lewis, MD, FACP   is a nationally recognized Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine physician, speaker, published author, travel writer, photographer, poet, radio show host and healthcare education activist.

She has an undergraduate degree in Biology with departmental honors from Temple University in Philadelphia. She got her medical degree, summa cum laude, from the Università degli Studi di Roma -La Sapienza  Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia.  Her graduate doctoral thesis research on melanoma was published in 1993, Oncology.  She completed  her medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital. She won a post graduate scholarship for research on parasites at the Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand 1994. She was elected to the honorary society of American College of Physicians as a Fellow, FACP. She has other numerous awards and medical publications.

She’s an acclaimed speaker on hospice issues, and received national recognition from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for her leadership role in the development of new programs for hospice care and end stage dementia patients.  She produces and hosts the  30 minute  radio program,  ‘Hope Through Knowledge Radio for Caregivers’ on blog talk radio, guests from the NHPCO, AARP, national aging and elder care organizations, and award winning authors.  She has presented at the National Council on Aging, American Society on Aging and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as a faculty speaker.

She is the author of three books.:  “I hope they know….The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care, ” a listed resource with the National Alzheimer’s Association,  and the Spanish translation, “La  Guía Holística para la Enfermedad de Alzheimer”, and Poetic Penumbra.

Her websites, zoealewis.com  and hopethroughknowledge.org, are sites  dedicated to “Hope Through Knowledge,” promoting physician and community education on Alzheimer’s disease and end-of-life care.

Dr. Zoë has 16 years of experience as an internist and hospitalist. She was the Corporate Medical Doctor for Beacon Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc.,(the largest hospice in New England and  she is one of the first certified HPM specialists in the country.)

She held academic positions as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard School of Medicine, Tufts University Medical School, and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Currently she  holds three state licenses: Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania and is an independent contractor hospitalist physician and hospice consultant. When not working, she lives in Miami Beach and travels, and produces and hosts her radio shows. She’s been to  45 countries and now writes and photographs her travel experiences for the internet magazine, Travel Curious Often.

For more information on Dr. Zoë A. Lewis please visit:

Website: zoealewis.com

Twitter: twitter.com/zoeannlewis

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Hope-Through-Knowledge-with-Zoë-A-Lewis-MD-Talk-Radio-for-Caregivers/191572204199518

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/hopethroughknowledge

Blog Talk Radio: blogtalkradio.com/hopethroughknowledge

Books

1. Poetic Penumbra

Itunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/zoe-a.-lewis/id521169283?mt=11 

Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/shop/zo%C3%AB-a-lewis/poetic-penumbra/paperback/product-2846354.html

2. I Hope They Know- The Essential Handbook of Alzheimer’s Disease and Care

VBW:http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/I_hope_they_know.html

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably different.  ~ Melinda Gates

Welcome to our women’s issue!  Seven is celebrating inspirational women across the globe who contributes positively to society in some way, shape, or form.  Who are your female role models? What is your definition of a strong woman?

Women represent a vast majority of the world’s population, and yet are the most underserved, impoverished, and uneducated in comparison to men. Partly, this is because of gender inequality and poverty which marginalizes women as a whole. But when women armored with the essential tools to compete in a male driven society, where odds are stacked against them before conception, they blossom.

This month The Pen Bleeds features the artistic stylings of Dr. Zoe A. Lewis, Shashi Moore, Jill Scott and Maya Angelou, all positive women who inspire others to use their voice and be comfortable in the skin they’re in. See how their verses flow below, and be inspired to pen a piece of your own!


poetic

Untitled 

Why fear confrontation,
if once for love we died?
We ably massacred our enemies,
blood mingled side by side.
No strangers to our glorious past,
no shadows left to fear.
Steady onward towards our future,
rebirth through love is near.
We’ve found each other once again,
but still I’d like to know,
if love finds life eternal each birth,
why souls are want to go?

-by Dr. Zoe A. Lewis

 Essence of a woman

Heavenly beauty of divine handiwork

Preordained with chic elegance

Delicate mingling of strength and poise

Adorned with virtues of inestimable value

Covert, hidden display of aptitudes

Archetypal, classic

Placed on earth to stand beside her

Complement gent

Cherished and charmed

No aorta of abuse should befall

The creation of God

-by Shashi Moore

Tree Like She (for Grandmothers Everywhere)

How many times have you heard the infant cry?

How many leaves have you lost to fall?

How many secrets held?

How often, the dead weight of castrated boys on your arm?

How many younglings lost in the name of lesson?

How many generations?

Fire from fire

Storm from storm have you stood with your feet clinging

And your bones crying for lie down?

How many poets rest their backs against your frame?

Tree How many danced when the wind blew

Or the water tumbled

Or the sun looked and the snow painted?

How many names carved in your heart?

How many lovers rock sweet and right under your blessed shade?

How many moons?

How many knives?

How many destinies have you seen get wet?

And yet you are constant

painstakingly healing and swelling from your greater providence

You have seen the earth green and fresh

Turn to synthetic

Yet you grow

Through fences

Through the concrete

Through wire

Through rapid obliviousness

Through hared swept in neat piles

I watch you sway in the October breeze

and am

up

lifted

everytime

-by Jill Scott

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

-by Maya Angelou

© 2013 Seven Magazine