Announcing FrameWork 2.0

Yes, I’m back.  It is a new format, a new server and an entirely new look.  But I am back.  And this time around, to maintain my sanity, I am being entirely positive and relaxed.  So I’m focusing on poetry, my friends and family and our successes.  Check it out:

http://anthonyframe.blogspot.com/

It isn’t completely set up, yet, and the links need some work still.  But for the most part it is what it is.  For a preview, here’s my “frontispiece” for the new blog:

Welcome to FrameWork 2.0. This blog is a place to celebrate success. FrameWork 2.0 is all about positive energy and the sharing of that positive energy. It will include announcements of my upcoming publications, the upcoming publications of my friends, calls for submission and mini-reviews. You can sort the posts by clicking on the labels listed below. And if you have a success or a call for submission that you want posted here, send me an email and I’d be happy to celebrate with you.”FrameWork” contains notices about my upcoming publications and the release of the release of those publications.

Friends and Family” contains notices about the upcoming publications of my friends and family members and the release of those publications.

Calls for Submissions” are all of the calls for submissions I see or receive that I post here.

Reviews” contains all of the mini-reviews I write about journals, books, music, movies, etc… These are not professional reviews, but rather are my random ramblings about various texts.

Enjoy!
Anthony Frame
FrameWork 2.0
frameworkblog [at] yahoo [dot] com 

And I do truly mean Enjoy!

Give Me a Leonard Cohen Afterword

There are some endings that are absolutely perfect.  The two part series finale of Sex and The City.  The finale of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I ignore the subsequent seasons as much as possible).  The last issue of The Sandman.  The final “poo-tweet-tweet” of Slaughterhouse-Five.  The last scene of Romeo and Juliet

This will not be one of those endings.  There is no easy resolution here.  No good wrap up.  No way to stop without leaving huge gaps in the conversation.  This is emphasized especially by the nature of all my recent posts about Burma, for which the story is nowhere near the end.

But I’m giving up the blog.  There, I said it.

This has been a long time coming.  I’ve spent too much time here that should have been devoted elsewhere.  I teach.  I write poetry.  I read.  I blog.  I have my own life and a wife and two cats.  And I only have 24 hours in a day.  Something has to give.

I’ve been posting so much lately that my mind is all about posting.  And my pace got so quick that I don’t see myself going back to a slower, once every week or two pace.  I don’t know that I even want to go back to that pace.  So I’m done.

I said I would keep the spotlight on Burma and I guess I lied about that.  Or was I just wrong?  I don’t know.  I do know that I am not writing poetry the way I used to.  And, in the end, if I need to free up time and the only things I can cut out are blogging and poetry, then the answer is real easy.  I will write poetry and stop blogging.

I’ve been thinking about this for a week, at least, though I haven’t really talked about it with anyone.  It may seem sudden, but it isn’t.  I have a book of poems sitting in my office and it needs to be fininshed and I’d rather finish it than post on this blog.  That’s the simple truth.  So finish it (and my many other poetry projects) I will.

I have answered all of the comments on the blog.  In order to keep the comments visible, I am leaving the comments section open, but I have set the blog to moderate all comments.  And since I am not blogging, I won’t be moderating.  Which means, if you post a comment, it will never appear.  Effectively, commenting on this blog is finished.

I have more news reports about Burma that I have been collecting and maybe this weekend I will post links to those stories.  Otherwise, expect no new posts.

I feel a little sad, I will admit.  I hoped I keep this up for at least one year.  But I mostly feel releaved.  It was difficult to chose between poetry and this blog because I enjoy both.  But I can’t balance them both.  And, as already said, I will always chose poetry over a hobby.

So please, keep reading the news though I won’t be reporting it here.  Keep learning about Burma, keep fighting for equality and justice and keep working to make the world a better place.  I will be doing those things, even if I’m not posting about it.

How do I end this?  I don’t know.  So, the best I can think to do is end with some personal beliefs.

I believe poetry can be found everywhere, from books to newspapers to gas stations to the looks on people’s faces.  The world is beautiful and horrific and that is poetic.

I believe Gwendolyn Brooks may well be the most underrated American poet.

I believe Sylvia Plath was a fine poet but had she lived a full life, she would have turned into Elvis — sequins, a mockery and likely performing in Vegas.  Still, The Bell Jar, is a necessary rite of passage for all angst-filled teenagers.

I believe the most beautiful prose can be found in the novels of Barbara Kingsolver.

I believe America is the greatest nation in the world.  I believe we are the greatest nation in the history of the world.  I believe we can be a whole lot greater and should be.

I believe there is something wrong with a nation that considers itself to be good, moral and just, but which also needs to pass, repass and re-repass legislation defining torture.  I believe a truly good, moral and just nation would take the general rule of “If it might be questionable, then lets be safe and not do it.”

I believe there is no hell.

I believe the only real sins are vanity and greed.  All other evil stems from these.

I believe in the afterlife and reincarnation.  I believe in angels, ghosts and aliens.  I believe all are among us right now.

I believe Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President and Guiliani will be the Republican nominee.  I believe at some point during the debate, Guiliani will accuse Clinton of being “more liberal than Ted Kennedy”.  I believe Americans are a lot smarter than that bullshit.

I believe a hate crime is the most serious crime.  History matters. 

I believe anyone who uses hate speech, who condones hate speech, or who sits idly by while hate speech is used, has the blood of hate crimes on their hands.  I believe I have blood on my hands.  But for the world to be saved, we must all acknowledge the blood on our hands.

I believe Western Society is built upon false dichotomies of white/black, male/femal, straight/gay, Catholic/pagan (note the little p), etc.  Those oppositions permeate our language, our politics, our thought process and our societies.  Until we deconstruct and destroy those dichotomies and realize the truth of our nonlinear, non-oppositional selves, until we create a society of unity instead of dichotomy, we will never evolve as a species.

I believe contemporary America is a rape culture.  The world will not be saved until women and children are safe.

I believe the thing that distinguishes us from the beasts is art.  Unfortunately, most higher order primates (who are mostly about to become extinct) have a better appreciation of art than most humans.

I believe, after we get out of Iraq, a period of isolationism will dominate American foreign policy.  I believe this will be a terrible tragedy for America and the world.

I believe Burma is prime example of where America has gone wrong.

I believe in peace, love, understanding, justice and hope.  And courage.  Mostly courage.

Thank you for reading.

Free Burma

Free Burma

Poem for Burma

I’m still sifting through today’s news.  I’m finding it more difficult to find reliable information – I fear the world may be turning its eyes away from Burma – so my next post about what is happening in Burma may be a day or two away yet. 

But this morning I was reading the latest issue of Poetry Magazine and, in the commentary section, found a discussion of a poem that struck me as particularly apt.  I was moved, though I can’t say why.  And I kept reading and re-reading it and thinking about what has been happening in Burma. 

“Missing Dates”
by William Empson

Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
It is not the effort nor the failure tires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is not your system or clear sight that mills
Down small to the consequence a life requires;
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

They bled an old dog dry yet the exchange rills
Of young dog blood gave but a month’s desires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the Chinese tombs and the slag hills
Usurp the soil, and not the soil retires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

Not to have fire is to be a skin that shrills.
The complete fire is death. From partial fires
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the poems you have lost, the ills
From missing dates, at which the heart expires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

Do with it what you will.

Lip-Service for Selfless Sacrifice: Burma, Part Six

[view all of my posts about the Burma Demonstrations by clicking here]

I took yesterday off and while there is some news from Burma from the past two days, it is slim and, as expected, not good.

It seems much of the media blackout in Burma has worked.  There is little information about what is going on inside Burma.  But, the UN envoy made it to Burma.  He was unable to meet with junta generals but he did, surprisingly, meet with Aung San Suu Kyi.  This is good news.  I had heard she was moved from house arrest to a prison, though I am unsure if that is true, and I had feared she may have been killed.  Thankfully, she is alive and hopefully will stay alive.

There were some small demonstrations, including one of 800 people.  But the military has kept them very small and short.  Each report of demonstrations is followed by reports of the military attacking the demonstrators.  The 800 are reported as having been chanting, “Release all political prisoners.”

But, hope is fading.  As already reported, with the monks in isolation, the demonstrators have lost their powerful leaders.  CNN has reported that the monks are being held in their monasteries and that the monasteries are covered with barb wire.  There have been rumors of a mutiny within the ranks of the military, who are predominantly Buddhist, but that rumor does not seem to be true.  Here is a snippet from one report:

Still, a video shot Sunday by a dissident group, the Democratic Voice of Burma, showed a monk, covered in bruises, floating face down in a Yangon river. It was not clear how long the body had been there.

Meanwhile, diplomats are being informed that the military has tried to break into at least three monasteries.  They were prevented but promised to return with greater numbers.  During the attempt, the monks chanted, “Loving kindness.”  These kinds of actions are what got me first interested in this story.  I fell in love with the monks’ peaceful protests and my heart breaks at hearing about how they are being treated.  With any luck, the rest of the world will have enough of a broken heart to take action.

The New York Times reports that without the monks, the demonstrations have simply lost focus and this has allowed the junta to quickly and violently destroy the few small demonstrations.  One Western Diplomat is quoted as saying, “Troops are chasing protesters and beating them and taking them away in trucks.  There are pockets of protesters left. They are unorganized, and it’s all very small-scale.”

No one knows how many are dead.  The junta continue to claim only ten people are dead.  Everyone else knows the number is much, much higher.  Many fear hundreds may be dead, but I fear it is, or soon will be, in the thousands.  I have heard reports of streets lined with bodies with a few brave souls praying over the bodies.  We may never know how high the death toll really is.

No one is really doing anything to protect the Burmese people.  The sanctions by the United States have little effect and everyone in the international community knows that US economic pressure will have little, if any, effect on the junta.  China is said to be the only country that can have any effect but they seem unwilling.  Still others claim China’s impact has been overestimated.

So today, it was quieter, but that is not really a good thing.  According to The New York Times, Shari Villarosa, the chief diplomat at the United States Embassy, has said, “Today has been quieter than previous days, meaning far fewer protesters came out, but the military is being very quick to use violence, tear gas, guns and clubs to break it up.”

International condemnation and outrage continues.  Monks in New Delhi have been marching in support of the Burmese civilians and monks.  They have also criticized the Indian government for not doing anything about the situation.  In the 1980s, India had supported the pro-democracy movement in Burma.  But they quickly changed sides and supported the junta, who controlled the country’s resources.  Now, however, India’s parliament is speaking out in against the junta and demanding the release of all political prisoners.  They have sent a letter expressing, “solidarity with the monks, nuns and the people of Myanmar. We would like to appeal to all concerned, that the political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are released and the process for establishing democracy be started soon.”

The Catholic Church has also spoken out against the violence of the junta:

Pope Benedict XVI expressed serious concern Sunday about the situation in Myanmar and said he strongly hoped that a peaceful solution would be found.The pontiff told a gathering of pilgrims in Italy he was following “with great trepidation the very serious events” in the Asian nation.However, the Catholic Church has urged Catholics in Burma not to protest and not to march, likely to ensure because of the dangers of demonstrating.

Rebels in Burma are also coming to the aid of the pro-democracy movement:

The Karen National Union (KNU), which has battled the government for 57 years in one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies, condemned the government’s violent crackdown to disperse protesters.

The KNU urged 17 ethnic rebel groups that have signed ceasefires with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the junta calls itself, to unite in opposing the government.

But, despite the international outrage, global companies continue to support the junta

US energy giant Chevron, French oil group Total and China’s top oil producer China National Petroleum Corporation are among companies giving much-needed income to Myanmar, defying activists’ calls to pull out.

Burma’s natural gas has enticed companies to deal with the Burmese military and government and most companies publicly acknowledge that, despite the junta’s violent response to the demonstrations, they would not being changing their policies.  In addition to natural gas, companies are vying for Burma’s teak, forest products, jade, gems, beans and textiles.  They should be ashamed.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, says, “Unless and until Beijing, Delhi and Moscow stand in unison in pressuring the SPDC for change, little will change.”

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, an exile group based in Washington, has told the Associated Press, “The world cannot fail the people of Burma again.  Selfless sacrifices deserve more than words and lip-service. They want effective intervention before it is too late.”

But for me the most telling quote from all of the reports comes from the same Associated Press article (the emphasis is mine):

Die-hard protesters waved the peacock flag of the crushed pro-democracy movement on a solitary march Saturday through the eerily quiet streets of Myanmar’s largest city, where many dissidents said they were resigned to defeat without international intervention.

The blogs are roaring on this topic as well and I encourage you to click on the Sphere icon below to see what people are writing.  But it seems so futile to this blogger.  I almost want to give up.  What can I do sitting in my Ohio apartment?  My friend, and fellow blogger, Jim Trumm has the answer to that though (he has another post worth reading as well.  Check it out here). 

At the very least, the bloggers are, as Trumm says, bearing witness.  And we need that now more than ever.  Our media won’t cover these things deeply and when they do they wait until it is too late.

You should also check out Kyi May Kaung’s blog.  She is a Burmese poet who has gathered a lot of information that has helped me, at least, to understand the reality, the concreteness, of this story.

And we should all be reading Ko Htike’s blog.  He is a Burmese exile who has been covering this story wonderfully since day one (and before).  You can read more about him here.

I also recommend Bumese Bloggers Without Borders.

We are all bearing witness and we must continue to bear witness.  But to do so we must view and think about dangerous, difficult and disturbing things.  Witness.org has a video called “Shoot on Sight” (It is also available on YouTube and GoogleVideo).  Is there a stronger word than “saddened”?  How about for “enraged”?  Or “sickened”? 

My words are failing me and that is the nature of our task during this crisis.  Since no one will go to Burma to stop what is happening, since no one seems willing to stand up for democracy in Burma, and since the junta will not stop, the citizens of the world must bear witness.  We cannot forget what has happened in Burma nor can we forget what will happen.

So, if news continues to come, I will keep following it.  Hopefully, at least the blog-world will keep the spotlight shinning on Burma and the junta long after the violence has “ended” in order to keep the people’s movement for peace and democracy alive. 

The world may be paying lip-service to the Burmese people.  I will not.  And hopefully neither will you.

Sphere 

[view all of my posts about the Burma Demonstrations by clicking here]

Bloodbath Again! Burma, Part Five

[view all of my posts about the Burma Demonstrations by clicking here]

This will be the second post today about what is happening in Burma.  The news is grim.  Today, there were no massive protests as the military has taken control of the streets.  Read all about it:

Troops Take Back Control in Myanmar

There were small groups of activists who challenged the military, but they were quickly taken care of by the military.  As they were clubbed and shot at, they shouted “Bloodbath again!  Bloodbath again!”

The civilians were dealt a serious blow by the military when the monks were corralled.  As one woman said, “The monks are the ones who give us courage. I don’t think that we have any more hope to win.”  This same woman has not seen her boyfriend and fears he has been arrested.

Here is one description of today’s actions:

Just a few blocks from the Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon, some 2,000 protesters armed only with insults and boos briefly confronted soldiers, wearing green uniforms with red bandanas around their necks and holding shields and automatic weapons.

As the crowd drew near, the soldiers fired bullets in the air, sending most of the protesters scurrying away. A handful of demonstrators still walked toward the troops but were beaten with clubs and dragged into trucks to be driven away.

Still others vow to continue to demonstrate despite the military crackdown.  One civilian said, “We will win this time because the international community is putting a lot of pressure.”

I wish that were so but I tend to agree with a different Burmese civilian who is quoted as saying, “Why don’t the Americans come to help us? Why doesn’t America save us?”   But of course American can’t save them.  We are too busy elsewhere.  All we can do is put sanctions on the leaders of Burma.

Yahoo has installed a Full Coverage News section devoted to the Burma crisis.  You can access it here.

The Charleston Pst and Courier has published the following editorial:

Burma protest needs world support

Unfortunately it seems less likely everyday that anyone is going to do anything to stand up for the peaceful demonstrators of Burma.  No one wants to take on the Burmese government because everyone is more interested in the resources of Burma than in a democratic Burma.  Read about that:

Action On Myanmar Unlikely Despite Anger

Finally there is a flickr site set up by Yahoo devoted to this story as well.  Find it here.  And there are plenty of other, privately designed, flickr sites devoted to this story as well.  Just search “Myanmar Monks” or “Burma Monks” and you will find them.

Pray for the Burmese people.  They are peaceful.  They want respect from their government.  They want a say in their lives. 

And pray for our world leaders so they may find a way to help the people of Burma have those things.

Sphere

[view all of my posts about the Burma Demonstrations by clicking here]

Honoring Matthew Shepard

There is some excellent news out of the Senate today.  Yesterday, the Senate voted to extend Federal hate crime laws so they will protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual and disabled Americans.  Previous laws only covered people who were attacked based on skin color, gender, national origin or religion.

Read all about it:

Senate Votes for Expanded Federal Authority to Prosecute Hate Crimes

The bill is named after Matthew Shepard, the young man from Wyoming who was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die in 1998.  I cannot think of a better way to honor his memory than to extend hate crime laws to include the GLBT community.

Of course, President Bush has indicated he will veto the bill when it gets to his desk.

Sphere

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.