Friday, June 26, 2009

Joan Baez to the people of Iran

Do Not Forget

. And here is the rest of it.

G8 countries call for end of violence

TRIESTE, Italy—Foreign ministers from Group of Eight countries meeting in Italy are calling for the immediate end of violence in Iran and are calling on Tehran authorities to seek a peaceful solution.

The officials gathering in Trieste have worked to smooth over differences among themselves and address Iran's violent crackdown on protesters following disputed elections.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday that "we are very worried over these events" and that "we have underlined the need that violence cease immediately."

-from The Boston Globe, June 26, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

How to survive an injury or homeopathy to the rescue

So after the bitter pill of institutionalized medical "care," I began a regimen of self-healing. Seven days after the sprained ankle and broken foot bone, I recognized how to treat the injury.

The cure was in a small white pellet accompanied by a clear gel. It was the common sense cure of rest. It was the sensible laying on of ice. It was the old time household remedy that comes in an ugly brown bottle: hydrogen peroxide.

It was not the antibiotic ordered by the orthopedic doctor, which carried side effects of swelling - an odd prescription for a person with a sprained ankle. It was not the walker prescribed by the doctor, an exhausting primitive device fit for someone with the strength of a bull. And it was not the narcotic offered by the ER doctor, a prescription I refused to fill.

Within a day after taking arnica montana, 30 c., a homeopathic remedy for sprains and bruising, a nearly miraculous thing happened. The purpled, balloon foot began its transformation. Every day, the bruising was a little less noticeable and the swelling receded. I could actually see the veins again. There was a margin between the toes and the apex of the flesh. That was only the external change. What was most noticeable was the absence of pain. I rubbed Boiron Arnicare Gel all over my foot, ankle and toes and voila! Healing occurred. Isn't that what medical treatment is about? Why yes, it is. No prescription required. No harmful side effects. No toxins in my veins. And the outlay of money was minimal.

That's why homeopathy is the bane of American medical-pharmacological complex. It's inexpensive, nontoxic, nonintrusive and doesn't need a medical doctor's prescription. But mostly, homeopathy works. Fast.

Homeopathy is not quackery, as some exclaim. It is not a fad. Homeopathy has been practiced for 200 years and was at one time, the primary medical treatment in the United States. Homeopathy successfully treated cases of the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918-1919 and its practitioners are already researching treatment for H1N1.

Homeopathy is not naturopathy. But it is aligned with ayurvedic medicine. It is safely labeled an "alternative" treatment by practitioners and persons who do not wish to admit its effectiveness.

But the thing is, as long as people like me (and you) can testify to the fact that homeopathy reduces and removes not only symptoms but the root of those symptoms, then homeopathy will continue to be our treatment of choice. Making that choice will dismiss the megalithic doctor & drug complex that govern health care in this country. And insurance - did I mention the insurance companies? They are the third element of the money-making
symbiosis that spells misery for the millions of us out here with sprained ankles and flus and digestive ailments and migraines and sore muscles and lethargy and all the multitude of typical distresses striking the daily American life.

Oh yes, the ice bag works wonders as does hydrogen peroxide for wounds. But homeopathywas the miracle drug here.

Resources for Homeopathy:
The National Center for Homeopathy - includes informative articles and a list of practitioners.
What is Homeopathy? - an article explaining the Law of Similars
Homeopathy and the Swine Flu (H1N1) - listing symptoms of the flu and potential remedies.
Homeopathyflu on Twitter
Principles of Homeopathy
Boiron USA - the site of the classic manufacturer of homeopathic remedies.

Mining the Web

Sharing a couple of useful writing links.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Cold Arms

On the eve of the final day of Spring Break, I break my foot. I knew it was broken when it happened. Felt the tiniest crunch along with the eerie shredding of muscle. Body talks to mind and sometimes we listen. The ER doctor didn't look at my foot. Too impressed with the grandeur of his all black wardrobe, I guess. Maybe even a bit squeamish at the bloodied calf and foot. Who knows?

There were X-rays during the four-hour wait in stall number 17 of the emergency room. They got my $100 co-pay for sure. The doctor returns to tell me, "You're lucky. No broken bones! Just a sprained ankle." Off he waltzes in his all-black splendor, disappearing from the hubbub of the ER, finding a safe haven somewhere where the walls are painted a color other than green.

Toward the end, a nice nurse dressed my wounds, wrapped my leg in gauze and fitted a little plastic nothing around my foot, heel and calf. Then I hobbled out of the ER, hobbled back up the offending front steps, said goodbye and thanks to my friend, who was more concerned with her terminally ill mother than my current catastrophe, and who can blame her?

Ten hours later, an unidentified someone fro
m the ER calls to tell me they have looked at the X-rays and there's a "problem" with the foot. "Define 'problem,'" I say. Lo, there's a bone broken. I knew it. Dammit. What kind of health care is this anyway? Now, ten hours later, after I have hobbled my way throughout this too large house, hobbled up and down the front steps and hobbled into Walgreen's for my prescription and hobbled around to my office, to my bed, to the sofa, to the kitchen for coffee and a bite to eat, hobbled up and down the toilet seat - now this voice tells me: "Stay off that foot!," an imperative coming ten hours later, and fourteen hours after the injury, when my mind clicked into the recognition of "broken foot."

It's now day three of the broken foot. Yesterday I worked six hours trying to get an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. After repeated grade school excuses ("we don't have your x-rays," "the doctor's assistant will have to do that," "the doctor will have to okay this"), they reveal that the doctor doesn't do feet. I'll need an appointment with another doctor, one who does feet. That won't be until Thursday. Four days after the fall.

I call my primary care doctor's office for help. In thirty minutes, I receive three phone calls, four references and instructions on the care of my broken foot. Now THAT is what health care is supposed to be. Yes, I'm just a lowly consumer out here, caught in the morass of institutionalized "health" but I do recognize a broken bone when it happens, and I do recognize negligent service and I certainly recognize a helpful voice when I hear it.

Today I hope to get a pair of crutches. Today I hope to go to the store for groceries and for more of that sticky wrap and non-stick pads, and to the monolithic office supply store for some necessary duplicating. I hope my life can resume without the hobble and the grief and the pain. Meanwhile, I've lost three days of work with a fourth coming tomorrow.

This is why I abhor the traditional, institutionalized, allopathic health care in the good ole US of A. It's not "health" and it's not "care." It is negligence and delay and bureaucracy. And my experience is only just begining. I hope never to experience another broken bone. I hope never to experience an extended illness. I hope to die quickly rather than in the cold arms of American "health care."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

As Economy Changes, So Do Jobs

This morning's NY Times carried a lead article on the "wrenching restructuring" of America's job banks. Quoting the latest unemployment figure of 8.1% or 651,000 job losses during February 2009, the Times made it clear: if you're looking for a new job, don't count on the old jobs.

The article is filled with grim statistics but this quote from John E. Silvia, chief economist with Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C. paints the picture: "These jobs aren’t coming back,” said Silvia.
A lot of production either isn’t going to happen at all, or it’s going to happen somewhere other than the United States. There are going to be fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services operations. Firms are making strategic decisions that they don’t want to be in their businesses.
So where should one look for employment?

Whether you are re-entering the job market or among the generation of new job seekers, go where world attention is focused: eco friendly jobs, environmental careers, positions that concentrate of alternative energy, sustainability in all living fields.

As testament to this emerging job trend, take a look at the University of New Hampshire, recognized as a Sustainable Learning Community with an Office of Sustainability and a curriculum focused on four separate sustainability initiatives: Biodiversity Education, Climate Education, Food & Society and Culture.

Although UNH's Sustainability Office was developed as a grassroots effort in 1997, it kicked off a brand new
educational program just recently. The EcoGastronomy dual major is part of the Food & Society Initiative and got kudos in a recent article in Mother Earth magazine. This is the first such university program in the States, and points toward a new direction in job training - the future.

As further testament to this expanding field, take a look at a few web sites devoted to eco friendly positions. There's the Environmental Career Opportunities (ECO) site, listing positions in environmental law, renewable energy, natural resources and conservation, and similar fields where earth stewardship has become a professional occupation.

But save your time and jump over to the Environmental Jobs board, which posts links to numerous Green friendly job listings., one such website, offers job leads and more significantly, a full menu of updated news regrading the Greening of Business. Its report and 40-minute video, State of Green Business 2009, evaluates the progress in this area since the start of the Obama Administration in November 2008. The report is free and downloadable from their website.

Meanwhile, Obama, who campaigned on research and expansion of alternative fuel sources, may be able to persuade Congress to ratify a greenhouse gas emissions treaty likely to issue from the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen. According to one report, the primary issue with ratifying such a treaty is concern about employment or unemployment. But the advance of wind power may answer those fears, providing new jobs for a new sector of employment in the environmental map. In fact, there's an upcoming conference on wind power, scheduled for May 2009 in Chicago.

So, yes, employment in traditional jobs looks bleak. But a new quadrant of jobs related to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship may be the new direction for displaced workers and those training for first and second careers. It could be a global win-win in the foreseeable future.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lit Mags Looking

Poets & Writers has updated its listing of literary magazines.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

National Poetry Month

ahhh poetry exhales. Out of its hot bellows an echo of old breath.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Just a muse

I haven't put pen to paper in a month. Only three efforts at poetry writing since leaving the MFA program. I exist in this ambivalent state with an aversion to the forced discipline of the program, and a desire to keep a connection. So I read. Buy books and stack them according to preference. I have 29 books waiting.

Most of these are poetry. A few books on poetics and one or two nonfiction.

I wonder what my compatriots are dong, if they are immersed in literature of one genre or another. If they write. Or read. Or if they have fallen away, happy to be relieved of the requirements.

Mostly I wonder what comes next. I conjure up book ideas: a collection written in a heteronym's identity; a remix of my final manuscript. I ponder the idea of creating yet another ezine. Vaguely, I recall my desire to enter the spoken word arena, to create one where I live.

But the compulsion to be creative is slipping. Or is in abeyance.I call it the equal but opposite reaction and wait.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Passion for Gardening

Good news for gardener-poets: Horticulture Magazine is blending poetry into its editorial content. Submissions are by email and poems about gardening or gardeners are accepted, open verse or formal, with a 42-line limit. The magazine's submission guidelines also include these extraordinary words: "will pay upon acceptance."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Double Sestina

Responding to a Double Sestina challenge on FB, here's my contribution, with snippets borrowed from "America the Beautiful."


I Blessed

She believes in the power of shape,
red velvet in her hands, not the dark news.
She wishes for a cause, something to care
about; she looks for a hero.
She flushes at the sound of “Change,”
an eager pink wells across

her soft cheek; she waltzes across
party lines. Icons are not shapes
she can recognize. O but “Change” -
this motif, this pearl of news
has weight; it has a Hero.
So tenderly she lifts him, she caresses

his name, hugs him close, not a care
in the world disturbs her. She fixes his cross
above her bed, addresses her hero
prayerfully. His is a face and a shape
of biblical size and he is good news
long-awaited; he is the Change

that magnifies her living; change
that will right the world. She cares
deeply now, and all news is good news.
She watches his mouth as it moves across
the TV screen, waits for the shape
of that comely smile. This is what a hero

can do, what he does. The hero
is joy in the teeth, picture frame of change;
he is the master of invisible shape;
he removes grief, washes blood; his care
is a watershed pouring across
her wretched hope; the hero renews.

She will remember this day, this new
kindle of hope, when trust in heroes
came like a fire across
her brow. How wondrous this change,
this safe umbrella of care,
this resurrection taking shape.

Splashed across TV screen and news-
papers, the godly shape of the Hero,
our moniker of Change, takes one careful step forward.

II Sainted

Hope is a cross,
and the echo of change
hails our hero.
He ponders the knitted map of care
surrounding him; the path of news,
the precious passions. His mantle, the shape

of his vision, that bright shape
that flourishes across
the visor of a million eyes, this new
scene is his art. The color of change
is held in his nimble hands. But our care-
ful artist will not paint “hero”

for signature. He is wary of the hero’s
plight, the hubris that shapes
the demigod’s fall. Each word drawn with care,
stitch by stitch, the common “we” criscrosses
this pilgrim’s canvas of change.
Still, all the news

touts singularity: he is the news,
he is symbol and motif. He is the hero
we have waited for and change
is grace, this glory-tale. Its shape
is a clarion traveling across
music-hearted sea and fruited plain. Our cares

are the freedom beat, our cares
see beyond the years to good news.
Brothers and sisters lay their crosses
at the feet of our beautiful Hero.
His success is a noble shape,
and old souls wax fair at this change.

Across the wilderness, change
is the mural of the free, we care
bigger now, it’s a huge shape,
and the wilds of thought shun news
of strife and woe. We launch a hero
today! We prop his single body on that worn cross.

We have seen the shape of change.
We have nailed it across noble care and patriot dreams.
We know each new hero is a martyr in disguise.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


A few months back, I was asked about the pros and cons of an unnamed poet who had invited himself as a speaker at my community college. "Could I recommend someone else?," was the question posed to me. Well, how many times has such a question been asked in Dean's meetings at community colleges and universities? How often is there a search for a poet for a local festival? Plenty of times, I figured. And what happens if the people asking the question have no idea where to find a poet for such a booking? They wander around the internet, google "poet" and have plenty of hits, but then, which of these thousands of poets are willing to travel? Who lives nearby? How can they be approached?

To make booking a poet an easier venture, and to promote poets for engagements, I organized a wiki and opened it up to poets I'm most acquainted with: the 800-plus members of the Women's Poetry (Wompo) listserv. Called the Women Poets Reader Directory, the wiki is now bursting with ready and willing poets, seasoned professionals and published writers, who stand ready to read at your next event.

The wiki is completely free. It's divided into the major U.S. regional areas as well as listings for Australia and Northern Europe. It's still relatively new, in its second week of official existence, and I anticipate the wiki will continue to grow.

Wompo members who want to be included, just send me an email or visit the wiki and click the "Join this Wiki" button.

Everyone else -- come by and take a look!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Surrealism ... Synchronicity

Andre Breton in his first Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) is surely talking about synchronicity. He says: "Everything is valid when it comes to obtaining the desired suddenness from certain associations."

Or maybe it's chaos theory, that seemingly random association that creates something of sense or something or of a sensory cohesiveness. Breton says: "If such and such a sentence of mine turns out to be somewhat disappointing, at least momentarily, I place my trust in the following sentence to redeem its sins: I carefully refrain from starting it over again or polishing it. The only thing that might prove fatal to me would be the slightest loss of impetus. Words, groups of words which follow one another, manifest among themselves the greatest solidarity."

No word is accidental. No word or group of words lacks value or is orphaned from some wider train of thought, some nonlinear, but nonetheless, meaningful order.

I wonder what effect Surrealism had on Jung, walking away from the footsteps of Freud, whose psychoanalytic theories launched Breton? How is Jung's collective unconscious - and the ability for each of us to tap into this mine - different from the collective word games of the Surrealists? I imagine inter-relationships among all of them. That's the play of synchronicity.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Israel's Attacks - Indiscriminate,

Even though repeatedly alerted by representatives from Human Rights Watch, Israeli forces continued bombardment of a U.N. compound in Gaza City. Its attacks on citizens who fled to the compound for safety, included bombs with white phosphorous, which is prohibited in populated areas. After the fact, Israel's Prime Minister apologized, and claimed that Israel had been attacked from the U.N. refuge center. Gaza health officials have stated that 70 people died as a result of the attacks, and as of this date, over 1000 have been killed, including children and women. Israeli shelling also hit a hospital, setting it on fire, and a location which housed world media. The article reporting this instances also states that Human Rights Watch is unable to conduct a full investigation into Israel's alleged war crimes because it has been denied safe access to Gaza by Israel.

So Israel apologizes and then blames. Who can absorb this information and not see that something is terribly wrong?

The "laws of war," as adopted by the international community, prohibit "indiscriminate attacks," those very same bombardments that Israel has rained down on the citizens of the Gaza strip. Why is Israel immune to these laws? Of course, the whole idea of having laws regulating warfare is high irony. But they are in place and as a member of the world community, Israel is subject to their regulations just as is Hamas.

My moderate reaction to what Israel has been doing -- "moderate" because my visceral response is not acceptable for public dialogue -- is that the government conducts itself according to whim. A shame Israeli officials do not adhere to Proverbs: Be patient and you will finally win, for a soft tongue can break hard bones. (Proverbs 28:13)” or Seek peace, and pursue it. (Proverbs 34:14)”

I also see Israel's attack on the Gaza strip as intimately related to the change in the U.S. administration. Is there any doubt that the country began its attack in the final days of the Bush presidency, knowing well that Bush would not intervene and that Obama has no authority to intervene? Its actions are on a par with Bush's attacks in the Mideast, which were nothing more than the last, greedy grasp for petroleum resources before the greening of the globe becomes mandatory.

Mostly, I see Israel as a bully state, bluffing its rationale for killing civilians with the weak premise that it was under attack. More and more, it seems that Bush and Israel read from the same blood-tainted script.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Backgrounder on Hamas

This site of the Council on Foreign Relations provides additional details on the evolution and composition of Hamas, its violence toward Israel and its varying popularity among Palestinians.

Understanding Hamas

From news reports, one gets the impression that Hamas is some kind of grassroots, terrorist cadre that has infiltrated the towns and homes of Palestinians in the Gaza strip. That may be partly true. But this synopsis (and others to come) gives a somewhat fuller explanation and brief history of the political party, how it evolved and its interactions with Israel.

It is terse and leaves out the many complexities. But for those who are curious about Hamas, it's a beginning.

Hamas is one of the two main Palestinian political groups. Since June 2007 it has been in de facto control of the Gaza Strip, after seizing power from the Fatah party in a series of bloody clashes.

Hamas derives its name from an acronym for the Arabic words ''Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya," which translates into English as the Islamic Resistance Movement. It was founded in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising with its roots in Muslim Brotherhood politics in Gaza and became more active in the second Palestinian uprising which started in 2000.

The groups' 9,000-word charter, written in 1988, includes a description of the struggle for Palestine as a religious obligation, saying the land is an endowment that cannot be abandoned.

It recognizes the fact of Israel but refuses to recognize its right to exist, and has been responsible for many of the deadliest suicide attacks in Israel.

But the social programs that were the group's initial focus made the group widely popular among ordinary Palestinians -- it created centers for health care, welfare, day care, kindergartens and preschools along with programs for widows of suicide bombers. In January 2006, facing a divided Fatah, the party created by Yassir Arafat, Hamas won a decisive victory in parliamentary elections.

After Hamas took office, it faced increasing turmoil. Israel withheld tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and Western assistance to the Palestinian government was cut off until Hamas renounced violence and agreed to recognize Israel. After months of negotiations, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah of Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, agreed in March 2007 to form a national unity government in an attempt to end the Palestinians' international isolation. The pact did not succeed in restoring the flow of aid and did not last. Clashes between the two groups steadily escalated until gunmen loyal to Hamas took control of Gaza.

Hamas now was in sole control of a territory, but one of the poorest in the world, and conditions in Gaza quickly went downhill. Israel sealed off its borders, causing businesses to wither. Hamas remained defiant, and increased the rate of rocket attacks against border communities within Israel. For months, what followed was a steady cycle of Gazan rockets, Israeli retaliation, more rockets and more Israeli raids.

By June 2008, Hamas and Israel were both ready to reach some sort of accommodation, and the six-month truce was declared, although never formally defined.

Their job, the Hamas officials said, was to stop the rocket attacks on Israel not only from its own armed groups, but also from others based in Gaza, including Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

It took some days, but they were largely successful. Hamas imposed its will and even imprisoned some of those who were firing rockets. But the goods shipments, while up some 25 to 30 percent and including a mix of more items, never began to approach what Hamas thought it was going to get. Israel said it planned to increase the shipments in stages, and noted that the rockets never stopped completely.

After the truce lapsed on Dec. 19, rocket firing stepped up quickly, with more than 60 rockets and mortar shells falling on Israeli border towns on Dec. 24 alone. On Dec. 27, Israel began a sweeping campaign of airstrikes across Gaza, targeting not only military installations but at the infrastructure of Hamas’s control. On Jan. 3, 2009, Israel opened a ground war, sending tanks and troops across the border into Gaza.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One Perspective on Gaza

I am, admittedly, not well versed on the historic conflict between Israel, Palestine and Hamas. Yet, it takes no historical analysis to understand bloodshed. There's nothing to interpret when a country bombarbs its neighbors' buildings, homes, mosques and kills living beings, citizens who are without protection. This is what Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. Am I am simplifying a complex situation? Yes. And No. Vioence begets violence. It is an enduring cycle, one as old as scripture. Listen as Bill Moyers calmly, fluently and persuasively asks for the violence to end.

Friday, January 09, 2009

On Recuperation

Two and a half years later.

A recent trip thru the internet,
I find old posts of mine. Searching with one intent, and like many internet voyages, arriving at a different destination. I discover in retrospect, the present: stultification and ossification. Though the discovery has been on a continuum. It's the shock of reading the old that reinforces the new. Recognize the passive drip of imagination. Detente or dumbed-down thought? Diplomacy or denial?

Two and a half years of compliance. It numbs the brain. One does get swept into a category of right thought. One's curiosity does become circumspect. One's opinion does grow lean, filled with doubt, cautious.

Now I am in recuperation. I am disengaged and disengaging from the concrete load of academic duress, the four-books-a-month club. Like 'em or not. From the mandatory say-something-smart, the torture of immediate thought without the ample and needed cushion of retrospect. Done with the briefest introspection. Done with the minutes ticking, the calendar pages flipping, the 15th-of-the-month bearing down like some upended, roaring, misused metaphor.

Recuperation equals assimilation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008